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July/Aug 2012 Issue of EBJ


One Man's Quest by Jeremy Yarbrough

One Man's Quest

Jeremy Yarbrough

July/August 2012 EBJ (Issue 72) - My heart pounded deafeningly as I scrambled across the marble-like scree. At just over 12,000 feet, my lungs gasped for air. I hurriedly climbed over the knife-edged peak. "Antlers! Massive antlers,” I said. My adrenalin-filled arms swiftly lifted my binoculars to my eyes, as I scanned the basin below. I couldn’t believe my eyes; both bucks were bedding in a stalkable spot.

After they settled in, I slowly eased off my sweat-soaked pack, slipped my boots off, and slid on another pair of wool socks. Slowly, I inched forward in the red zone, cognizant of my every move. At 25 yards, I sat motionless; afraid any movement on my part would be spotted. An hour passed like minutes, and then I saw velvet antler tips dancing above the pines. My body tensed in anticipation of the upcoming shot. I kept telling myself to focus and pick a spot. The smaller buck emerged first and fed directly toward me. At 15 yards, any small movement would send him and my target buck racing into the towering pines below. Suddenly, the big buck emerged, 30 yards below. He began feeding his way farther away from me. My patience was tested as I watched him slip over a small ridge, exposing only the tips of his massive, velvet-covered antlers.

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Bittersweet Success by Butch Dillon

Bittersweet Success

Butch Dillon

It was that time of year again to start applying for those special tags. We all hope to become a successful applicant. This year was no different than the last 26 years of applying for the limited-quota moose and sheep tags in Wyoming. Going into the draw, I had 16 points for moose and one less on sheep with only 15. I knew this year for sheep that I would be able to draw in at least three of the areas I had been applying in.

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The Color of Winter by Craig Gerrmond

The Color of Winter

Craig Gerrmond

My 19-year-old energetic guide, Ben, and I traversed straight up from some no name lake to almost the top of a mountain. It was about a three-mile hike to get where we wanted to be and set up our camp. On the way up we spotted five goats, three of which were really nice billies that I’d be more than happy to go after. After three grueling hours of hiking through slippery, muddy, and thick wet brush in the drizzling rain, we finally arrived at the spot we’d be calling home for the next four to five days.

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All In by Brock McMillan

All In

Brock McMillan

My emotions were hard to describe as we carried my first elk off the mountain. I have hunted big game for more than 30 years and harvested many animals, but this was my first elk. I had never felt like this before. I am not sure if it was the years of anticipation, the physical demands of 15 days at 9,000- 11,000 feet, the mental ups and downs of the hunt, all of my friends that helped, or the gratitude of just being able to hunt. 

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Elevated by Marlon Holden

Elevated

Marlon Holden

Hunting, in my eyes, has always been about the memories, the anticipation and the excitement of the unknown. Each year begins with honing my skills, improving my physical and mental abilities and anticipating, waiting, sometimes even loathing the offseason. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about the upcoming events, traversing high country ridges above 12,000 feet, seeking out mature, high-country mulies in some of the most grand country the world offers. A friend once asked me why I push the physical limits of my body to chase deer around.

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The Granola Bar Bull by Clayton Nalder

The Granola Bar Bull

Clayton Nalder

Two years ago I set foot in this area for first time after looking it over from a distance. After a long, hot season I did an exploratory hunt into the area. The first morning, I chased seven different bulls before missing a six-point at 25 yards. I vowed to return, as several of the bulls were trophy size. To avenge the miss, I shot a smaller bull the first week of the next season, and did not hunt this area. That previous July, I took my wife, oneyear- old daughter, and dog into this spot and got pictures of four bulls; one a big six-point that walked 35 yards from us. 

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Lightning Strikes Twice by Fred Waymire

Lightning Strikes Twice

Fred Waymire

In 2009 my good buddy Chad and I drew two of the six nonresident tags in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico and came home with two bulls that any archery hunter would be more than proud of. Chad’s bull was 343 and mine was 320-class. In 2010, I put in for the tag again but Chad was unable to put in with me. I knew it was a long shot with terrible draw odds, but I couldn’t help not putting in for the tag because of what I had experienced the previous year. 

It was August 28, two days before the opener and I was once again heading 900 miles south of my home state of Idaho with yet another New Mexico elk tag. Chad wasn’t able to go, but another really good buddy of mine, Jake, decided to take the journey with me. We took off full of excitement on our 17-hour drive. I was still in disbelief that I was holding another tag one year later. I told Jake if we could come home with a bull like the one I had taken last year I’d be a happy camper. It was a 10-day hunt and with only one tag to fill, I would have more opportunities at a big bull this go around, so I planned on being a little more choosy this time. I figured I’d set the bar at 340. 

We arrived at our old campsite and set up camp with just enough time to head out for a short scouting trip. We located a few bulls that night but nothing special. The next morning we decided to head into some country with a few water holes. It was pretty slow being the prerut and the weather was hot and dry, so we thought we would take our chances at sitting over water for the first couple days. A couple bulls bugled at a distance, but shut off shortly after daylight and we were surrounded by a herd of playful cows at the waterhole. Just to sit there, though, at 15 yards from a herd of cows was enough to make my morning hunt enjoyable. 

That night I took Jake up to the top of the mountain range where all the magic had happened the previous year. I sent him to a spot with hopes he’d find some good bulls to pursue in the morning. I decided with this warm weather I’d take another stab at a waterhole. I got into the waterhole with a couple hours of daylight left. When I got there, I found an old ground blind that someone had built years ago. As I was clearing up a shooting lane, a good sounding bull bugled not more than 200 yards from me, so I scampered to the old blind and set up. Within five minutes a big 7x8 bull came charging into the water like he owned the place. I sat there with an arrow nocked at 35 yards thinking, "Is this really happening on the first day?” The bull splashed around for a good five minutes, but I couldn’t get myself to send an arrow at him. 

I guessed him to be 315-320, but with nine days left and not knowing what Jake had found, I passed on him and watched him leave as fast as he came in. That night I had three other nice bulls come in but nothing pushing 340. As the darkness settled in, I was on my way to find Jake to tell him of all the excitement I had encountered! Jake had also had quite an evening. He was in shock as to how many mature bulls and numerous bugles he had heard that night. 

Over the next couple days we spent most of our time on top where Jake had got into most of the elk, but were unable to find much worth going after. We had a handful of bulls in bow range, but nothing worth notching my tag on so we kept plugging on. 

The third day of the hunt, September 3, we took off walking from camp on an evening hunt. We were more or less scouting some of the lower country, but after finding nothing around that area, we found ourselves back on top in the same general area we had been hunting before. As we got almost to the top, we started hearing bulls from all directions. Across the canyon were two lone bulls, just feeding and not really acting like they wanted any companions, but they were definitely worth a closer look. We took off on a fast pace and got over there, but they were nowhere to be found. This turned out to be a good thing though, because this is what led us to the bull that I would soon be punching my tag on.

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Paying the Mountain Goat Dues by Clinton Smith

Paying the Mountain Goat Dues

Clinton Smith

Could it be done? This is the question I asked myself as I began thinking about applying for an archery mountain goat tag. After checking the harvest statistics, I realized that it definitely could be done. I would worry about that if I were fortunate enough to draw. I went ahead and applied and much to my surprise I drew! 

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Redemption by Jason Stafford

Redemption

Jason Stafford

All I could do was watch in horror as the big 6x6 bull I had spent the entire summer watching walked out of my life, or so I thought. It had been a slow opening morning with the full moon and extreme heat sending the bulls to their daytime beds right at first light. I had dropped into the steep canyon the big bull called home all summer long, hoping to catch him in one of the many hidden meadows feeding. As the pale pink rays of the beautiful Wyoming sunrise overcame the night’s darkness, I caught a glimpse of a nice bull on the edge of the dark timber, but he quickly fed into the timber and out of sight.

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The Elk Rut in Review by Casey Ripple

The Elk Rut in Review

Casey Ripple

Another year of chasing those majestic creatures has gone by, and our blisters and egos have started to heal. In talking to and hearing from a lot of different people, there seemed to be a common theme, not only here in Montana, but from all over elk country that "it just seemed to be an off year.” At the same time, others had good success even with difficult conditions and big lulls in activity. Now would be a good time to get out our hunting journals and look back and see if we can piece together some of what caused what we weren’t seeing and more importantly hearing.

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More Than Miles by Tyler Boschma

More Than Miles

Tyler Boschma

How many times do I have to do this before I get it right? I had just blown opportunity number two on a heavy horned three-point, that I had named Hoss. What made it sting even worse was the fact that I lost my rangefinder in the process. Sitting there in my state of depression reminded me why I hunt this hard. I never know when will be the next time I get to bowhunt the great West and the majestic mule deer that call this place home. Since I joined the military I have not hunted in the lower 48.

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The Ultimate Test by Jeremy Von Glahn

The Ultimate Test

Jeremy Von Glahn

While cursing myself about coming into the basin via this route, I took a moment to inspect my bow and my bloody knee. Hoping that nothing heard my limb pocket bouncing off the rocks or my groan of pain, I hobbled over the skyline and nestled into the rocks. As I sat there to compose myself, I had some time to look back on some of the journey to get here. 

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Floods and Fires by Scott Hettinger

Floods and Fires

Scott Hettinger

What seemed like a slam dunk turned into a whiff. I am a Minnesota Vikings fan and have been my whole life, so when the bull turned away my first thought was it’s just like the Vikings versus Saints in 2009. I was sure we were going to the Super bowl that year. I was so excited and then Brett Favre threw the interception. My heart sank and that was the feeling I had with this bull. However, unlike the football game, my luck was about to change as I drew my bow. 

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Hardcore Field Test


Easton Injection With Deep Six Components by Darin Cooper

Easton Injection With Deep Six Components

Easton has improved upon two of the biggest performance factors facing bowhunters out West with its new Injexion series of arrows. They found a way to make a micro diameter hunting arrow to reduce wind drift and increase penetration. That might not sound like big news, but it’s bigger than it seems. 

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