December/January 2012 EHJ (Issue 128) - The year was 1966, I was nine years old, and my father brought home a 6x6 elk mount from the local Elks Lodge. They were doing some renovations and needed somewhere to store the elk mount for the time being and I was awestruck the incredible animal. I would stare at it for hours and dream that someday I would hunt and take on one of these magnificent beasts.
Fast-forward to August 18, 2011. When I got home from work, I spotted a UPS next-day air envelope at my front door. As I walked up to grab it, I thought that this was either really good or really bad! As I picked it up, I realized that it was from Eastmans’. I started trembling with excitement; I tore it open and saw this on the cover page, "Dear Curtis, Congratulation’s! You’re the Grand Prize Winner of the 2011 Eastman’s Trophy Elk Hunt with Hill Ranches of Colorado!” No way!
I think I went into a state of shock because I knew this was a one-in-a-million chance of winning. Immediately, I started calling everyone I knew. First was my great friend, Steve Cook, who after that, I called everyday to ask him if he heard that I had won a trophy elk hunt right up to the day I left for the hunt in Colorado. In fact, there were days I would not have to say a thing - he would answer the phone by sarcastically saying, "Hey, did you hear some guy from Bakersfield won the elk hunt?” My answer was always "Really? Who is that lucky guy? Oh wait, it’s me!”
So, with only six short weeks to get ready, I hit the gym and practiced shooting as much as I could to prepare for the hunt. The next thing I knew I was in my truck and off for the seventeen hour drive to Trinidad, Colorado.
Friday, September 23rd, I met up with Guy Eastman and his film crew –that’s when reality sunk in. After some introductions, I followed them to Hill Ranch where I met Nancy, who cooked wonderful meals for us, then Paul, our guide, who with his humor, made me feel right at ease. After lunch, we headed out to sight in my rifle. Once my gun was dialed, we headed back to the lodge. Ike Eastman pulled in with Ron Coburn, the owner of Savage Arms and Bowtech, and Grant, their guide. This was going to be an incredible hunt with a great group of guys.
For a full account of Curtis's adventure, go to page 32 in the December/January 2012 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.