Team Effort

By Wayne Muth
North Dakota, 2011, DIY, Private Land

Wayne Muth - Team EffortMarch/April 2012 EBJ (Issue 70) - When the clerk at the Game and Fish Department handed me the tag I had just purchased, she said, ‘You get the first one!’ I looked down and the number on the tag read "0001”, it was the first tag sold in 2011. Little did I know how the number ‘one’ would hold a significant meaning to me in just a few short months.

My wife, Judy, had drawn a coveted North Dakota elk tag, so the opening weekend found us perched high on a badlands butte glassing for these tan nomadic creatures. We had scouted together several weekends prior to the season and although I had spotted one cow elk in this very drainage, Judy had yet to feast her eyes on an elk. As we settled in and waited for the sun to splash sunlight onto the basin, we both reflected on how fortunate we are to have an opportunity to experience these great resources that God has to share with us.

The dawn broke quickly and bringing with it a brisk crosswind through the valley floor. We soon found several mule deer bucks together feeding; two of them were nice mature animals and all dressed in their velvet attire.

As we continued to glass, I spotted a lone buck feeding in the basin directly below us; he was a good buck with deep forks. This buck worked his way along the creek bottom feeding contently and with that I went back to searching for elk.

Judy started watching the buck and mentioned several times how good he looked. She kept saying how nice he was and started to coax me into going after him. I agreed that he was in a great spot for a stalk, but I told her I didn’t want to mess up her elk hunt. Several more minutes went by and several more times she pushed me to give it a try. It was her unselfishness now surfacing again. She has always been the kind of person who likes to see others succeed and encourages other even if it sacrifices herself.

Well, as all good husbands should do, I listened to my wife, unstrapped my bow, grabbed my release and planned a stalk. It was going to be a tough stalk, but I had three things in my favor; he was alone, the wind was right and my wife’s good luck would be on my shoulder.

Wayne Muth - Team Effort

For a full account of Wayne's adventure, go to page 44 in the March/April 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.