September/October 2012 EBJ (Issue 73) - This hunting story begins in 1984 in the rolling hills and canyons of south central Montana. I was 12 years old when my dad took me to Montana to hunt mule deer for the first time. My Dad has been hunting in Montana since 1971 and I finally had my chance to join him on this annual trip. We have made the annual trip together for the last 27 years and it is the strongest tradition I know in my life.
1984 was the first year I met Henry (whose parent’s home we visit in Montana). He and I found a hunting bond that would prove to last a lifetime. Our first hunt together in 1984 was a success. In addition to a nice mule deer buck, Henry and I harvested enough rabbits to enjoy a meal and draw praise from our parents and friends. Unfortunately, the lesson we learned in having to clean every rabbit ourselves made us appreciate and respect the life and harvest of any game we sought. This lesson formed the fabric of our hunting philosophy and spirit.
Over the last 27 years we have been fortunate enough to walk the same Montana country in pursuit of deer, antelope and predators with rifles and bows. However, I had never pursued bull elk with Henry until the fall of 2011. After Henry and I drew Montana archery tags in 2011 we were excited for the challenge. However, 2011 would be the first year that my dad did not accompany me to Montana due to conflicts with his schedule during the earlier archery season.
Although the out-of-state tags were expensive, Henry assured me it would be worth it, as he did every year we hunted together. Henry lives in this country and the pride and respect I have for this Montana paradise is second only to his. We prepared all year for the hunt, and when September 21 arrived I could hardly wait to head north to meet Henry.
My optimism leading up to the trip was a bit deflated knowing the weather was to be near 90 degrees all week, and the feeling of the void in our camp without my dad. Henry works harder at hunting than anyone I know. He scouts year round, patterns the deer and elk, and knows every inch of every canyon, draw and shade tree. As a result, I knew we would still have a great hunt.
For a full account of Greg's adventure, go to page 42 in the September/October 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.