Utah, 2008, DIY, Public Land
My boys love to hunt. There is nothing my eight-year old son Canyon would rather do than get up early and head out to the mountains, fields, or marshes to chase animals and just be out. He loves the early morning stops at local gas stations to pick up a doughnut, drink, and a treat as we drive our way to the hunt. My two-year-old son Daken can identify a buck, bull, tom, ram, rooster, drake and just about any species of North American game. I can remember hunting animals since I was two with my dad, brothers, and grandpas. Many of the memories that I truly cherish are hunts and campouts with my family.
When I was eight, I remember a man named Terry stopping by our house. He had filled his limited entry bull tag in a popular southern Utah unit famous for great bulls. He had just made the kill and wanted to share the moment with us. I will never forget climbing in the back of his truck and running my hands over the bull’s massive antlers. Since that day I have wanted to take a big bull... 25 years later, I had my chance.
Last spring, my wife called me at work with anger in her voice. “What’s this extra $280.00 on our MasterCard? You better not have drawn something!” I was already doing cartwheels; I knew I had finally drawn a big bull tag.
My good friend Ted had drawn a late season tag two years earlier and had convinced me that the late season tag was just as good as the earlier hunts. He had killed a dandy of a bull, and had shared with me the joy of hunting the big boys as they were bunched in bachelor groups in their wintering grounds.
Word spread quickly in our rural community and I immediately began getting phone calls or running into guys at the grocery store, each telling me where the biggest bull on the mountain was. Many said that I was crazy for “wasting” my points on the late hunt.
I didn’t get much sleep the night before the hunt. Only someone who has drawn a good tag after waiting a lifetime knows what I was feeling; it’s excitement, worry, and adrenaline all mixed together.
For a full account of Cade's adventure, go to page 41 in the August/September 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.