Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Archery Shoot for 2017

Our first archery shoot of the year was on April 22-23. Unfortunately Kyle had to work and missed most of it, but he came out and did 1 round. Saturday we did a round with friends then I ran Kyle back to town so he could get ready for work and went back with the kids to keep shooting. Unfortunately I didnt realize that they had changed the required number of rounds you had to do. It used to be 5 rounds over the 2 days, now it is 3 rounds over the 2 days. So the kids and I did 3 rounds the first day and 2 rounds the second day. The first day we shot pretty decent, with the exception of the last round- that was a nightmare and it didnt help we were both tired. Pheonix and I were shooting for scores. The last course we did was labeled A course and it was tough. The shots were shots you would never take while hunting, they were all very far distances for the kids with tricky shots for them as well. By the end of A loop, Pheonix was in tears and beaten down. She had no confidence left and I kept telling her to keep her chin up and try not to worry about it. It was a relief when we were done and able to head home. We were all exhausted mentally and physically. But tomorrow was a new day and we would be refreshed and ready to go.

The next day we both shot really well, much better then the day before....but to our dismay the scores didnt count. It was still good practice either way. At the end of the weekend Pheonix and I both placed 2nd in our divisions. Pheonix will only have this year left as a mini cub. Right now she shoots a Diamond Prism with fingers and no sights (we put a sight on it and tried to teach her to use it but shes having some troubles adjusting and just shoots how she always has- by instinct).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Solo Spring Black Bear

Its been a slow spring for us getting out to do some hunting. We had a huge snowfall, followed with endless amounts of rain this spring. I got out a few times to look for antlers with the kids, once by myself for turkey and really that was it. It was May 10 and the weather was finally getting beautiful and I figured it would be the perfect day to go out to look for a bear. I decided to go after I picked the kids up from school instead of trying to squeeze a hunt in before they were out at 3.

I picked them up and we went home to get our stuff together. They complained the whole time because they wanted to go to the park- i told them too bad. I needed to get out after being trapped in the house all winter with a bad back and then with the endless rain. I decided to go out to our favourite spot for bear and check our little honey hole first. A friend I took out last year had missed a tank of a bear in the same spot and I figured it would be a good place to check out first. We got out there by 5:00 pm and started slowly making our way through the bush roads. On one stretch of road we came across a painted turtle, hanging out on the road. So we pulled over and helped him get across to where he was going. Our little honey hole is just a very short, very old bush road that leads to a grown in landing and massive clear cut. I pulled into the mouth of the road and stopped to check the wind, it was blowing right into the clearing. The wind always seems to blow in the wrong direction in this area but the road goes along a little ways before it drops into a dip and turns a corner to the clearing. So i drove in a little farther keeping an eye as far down into the dip that I could see. Eventually I seen a small patch of black, so I stopped and put my binos up to take a look- it was furry. So I put the truck in park and said to the kids that there was a bear in the clearing. Pheonix right away was sitting on her window with her binos looking at the bear, repeating to me, "Mom its a good bear!"

I turned the truck off and told Easton to stay in the truck and be quiet, he was more than happy too. After-all, the little monster refused to wear any other footwear then his flip flops, but I did make him pack his gumboots. I got out of the truck and got my rifle ready and told Pheonix to jump out with me. She has never been on a stalk with me other then for grouse so she was excited. I gave her the camera and showed her how to use it so she could video it all for the show. She was very determined but her footsteps were pretty loud. I kept turning to her to remind her to walk lightly, but i knew it was hard while holding the camera so I didn't worry to much. We slowly crept up the road until we got to where the road dropped, I couldn't see the bear and I was worried he had heard us and took off up the bank into the trees. So I quickened our pace until I caught a glimpse of him around the corner, he had no clue we were there, he was just milling around feeding on green grass. We went to the right side of the road where the bank dropped, I got set up on a root-ball as a rest and I told Pheonix to stay just behind me. I was all set and ready, I watched him through my scope waiting for the perfect shot. He was a good bear, and had a beautiful coat on him. He eventually started to walk back on to the road and stopped to sniff something in the dirt, so I took my shot. It was a perfect shot at less than 100 yards. It went right behind his shoulder and took out the far one. I watched him rear up and spin a few times while I was re-loading my 300 wsm. I watched him take a few steps and I put my rifle up again, but once I had it up he disappeared. So i stood up and turned to look at Pheonix. She was vibrating with excitement, and was the first to say anything. She whispered loudly too me, "Did you see him spin!!!" and she never stopped talking all the way back to the truck. She wanted to go get him right away, but I told her no we should go back to the truck and Easton and give him some time. Little did I realize that she had watched him drop right after he took his 3 big steps. But I still wanted to be sure. So we walked back to the truck and Easton was asking if we got him, he was all excited asking if we could go see him. I decided to drive the truck down to the clearing much to Pheonixs dismay, I made her ride in the truck instead of running down the road like she wanted. As we drove down, I seen a black thing laying only 10 yards from where I shot him. I made the kids stay in the truck while I checked to make sure he was dead and there weren't any other bears hanging out in the clearing. When I gave the Ok, they both jumped out excited to see him. Then the hard worked started...i now had to skin and quarter the beast by myself, and his hide was so nice that I wanted to rug him. I'm not a good skinner...unfortunately lol...but I tried my best to skin him out good and tried to keep it somewhat symmetrical. I was glad to have Pheonix with me, she held a leg here and there for me or pulled on the hide to help me skin it. He was heavy, I can lift 240 pounds off the ground and I had troubles rolling him- I had the kids help me roll him over. After 2.5 hours of skinning and field dressing, I finally had him in the truck and we were headed home. The kids were just buzzing the whole way home, asking if we could go out again the next day for a bear. I just laughed and told them we wouldn't be able too- I needed to deal with this bear and buy my second tag before we could head out again. The next day Pheonix was still pretty pumped and dressed in head to toe camo for school, I took the meat to the butcher and measured the head and hide. My skinning job wasn't as good as I had hoped, so i will probably just have him dry tanned. But he was a 6 foot bear and his head was a green score of 17 1/2".

Although I go out on my own a lot or with the kids, this was the first time I got an animal on the ground. Kyle was at work in Sparwood which was 3 hours away, Pheonix made sure to text him from my phone to rub it in a little bit. I was pretty proud of myself being able to do everything on my own with 2 kids in tow. It may have taken me a looooong time and I couldn't move the rest of the night because my hips hurt so bad, but I was pretty happy. Not bad for my first trip out for bear and being the first bear of the season! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Family Ice Fishing

Ever since I could remember, I have LOVED fishing. Growing up we used to have family ice fishing trips all the time in the winter and in the summer months i was casting off shore or sitting in a boat with my dad. My last ice fishing trip when I lived at home was with my Nana and Grandpa and Papa Pico, I was 17. I was up at 4am, wide awake and ready to roll when they picked me up. It was cold..and the bite was slow, but I wouldn't have had it any other way....

Fast forward a few years...

I now get to enjoy the same family tradition with my kids and husband. Both kids love fishing. Easton prefers the summer months to fish in where he gets to cast and reel in, Pheonix loves both kinds of fishing. Whether they are fishing or playing while Kyle and I fish, they still have a lot of fun. Sometimes we get used to just watch the rods and when a fish is on the kids take over. I have found it is a lot more watching them catch the fish then yourself.

Winter doesnt have to be cold, miserable and boring.  Grab some fishing rods, chairs and a wood stove and get out on the ice and have some fun.

Oudoor Adventures with Jayson Podcast Interview

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jayson on his podcast last month. You can hear it here at:

Ladies Hunts in Spain

Spain is a beautiful, history rich country. The people are very friendly, the scenery is amazing, and their is a high population of animals to hunt. A trip to Spain is never a waste of time! I had the amazing fortune of hunting in Spain in 2015 and I hope to do it again! My friends Daniel and Alba own the outfitting business Trophy Trails and have given me some amazing women's only pricing to pass on to any ladies interested.
There are a wide range of animals to choose from at varying prices.
- Gredos Ibex
- Beceite Ibex
- Ronda Ibex
- Sierra Nevada Ibex
- Barbary Sheep
- Red Stag
- Balerian Boc
- Pyrenean Chamois
- Cantabrian Chamois

You can also do combo hunts, or go for the Spanish Ibex Slam!
If you are interested in pricing or more info, please email me and I can get you the information!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Last Stand Goat Hunt 2016

Our 2016 fall hunting season has been quite a bit different compared to previous years. Usually we spend our majority of September and October trying to get an elk. I have been trying for 8 years to get an elk without any success until this year. On top of that success, i managed to get him the second day of rifle opener (Sept 11). So this made for a pretty relaxed season for both Kyle and I. Since I had a bull down he wasn't in a hurry to get himself one ( that would be a lot of meat!) so he focused on helping other people and trying to get himself a sheep, and I helped out a friend a few times that is new to hunting. October it was back to the grind, particularly for Kyle, for Mountain Goat. He and I had a trip planned together then afterward he had 2 of our friends coming in from Alberta on an accompany to hunt permit. Well our first trip in ended up being a dud. It rained the whole time and the clouds never lifted enough for us to see up where the goats hang out. 4 days and not a single goat.
After our hunt, it was Myles turn (one of our friends from Alberta) to try and tag out on his first mountain goat. On day 2 of their hunt, Myles took a goat. Although it was a nanny, it was a trophy of a lifetime. His goat aged out at 13 years old, was skinny and had no teeth left. She wouldn't have made the winter. The perfect nanny!

Kyle came home early and went to see if he could find a sheep before he had to go back to work. Next days off Kerwin was coming in for his goat hunt. Kyle has taken Kerwin out before on a permit in the same area, but our friend Warren was with them. On that hunt 2 years ago, Warren was successful. Now it was Kerwin's turn at success. They had a little less than 7 days to get it done. They seen lots of goats but most were nannies and kids with a couple young billies. The young billies stayed higher in the rocks then a few of the nannies, so they just watched until they had an opportunity. On the last full day of their hunt they decided to take the Nanny that was on their hit list (if a billy didn't come lower for Kerwin). This nanny was not in good shape. She was completely emaciated and never ventured farther than the alder patch and the creek.

Kerwin's Nanny
Worried that she had an illness, parasites or a disease they took her. If she did, we don't want her to infect the rest of the herd. They videoed the field dressing and she had no fat at all and very little muscle mass, her hair was also much shorter then it should have been...more like a mid-late September hair. Her growth rings indicated a healthy life and good feed. So what happened? What ever happened to her happened during this year. We took the meat in to the biologists in hopes they can test it, unfortunately (and we didn't know at the time) the organs would have been a better thing to bring them. The taxidermist skinned the head out and commented on how the muscle in the jaws was like hamburger and her teeth weren't very good as well. So maybe she had an injury? Either way she wasn't going to make it through the winter and she was probably living in a great deal of pain. And Kerwin got his first goat.

Second times a charm...well that's how it worked out for Kerwin so I was hoping that would be my luck as Kyle and I headed out again to try and get me a goat. We had even less time this trip, 3 days but the sun was shining which was rare for this area. The first day was a wash, we knew we wouldn't get a stalk on unless we just happened to stumble upon the goats right away. As we came in we noticed a truck parked with ramps out for an ATV and a sled stashed beside it off the road, weird. It was right before the slides that take out the road. We kept going and once we got through the slides there was another sled stashed just off the road, concerning. Someone that knows this area is getting prepared. This didn't sit well for Kyle as we continued on our way. The whole month of October when Kyle was in here he never seen another sole. That all changed in about  an hour for us. We came upon an ATV, the guy stopped to chat. He was the trapper in the area and the truck and sleds are his. He was getting prepared for when the slides come down so he wouldn't be trapped in the back. He proceeded to tell us the last 3 years the slides blew out the road on Oct 29, Nov 5 and Nov 9...and it was November 6. He told us a guy last year got stuck in there with him, the guy was hunting for goat but the trapper was prepared and had no issues leaving his old truck or ATV in there for winter, the hunter wasn't. They had to barge the guys truck out on the lake and it cost him $600. This made us nervous...we started to second guess our staying there. After chatting with him for a half hour or so he mentioned just before we parted ways that there was a few guys camped up farther, goat hunting, but they were packing up camp. We passed the guys as they were coming out. We got up to the slides where Kerwin and Myles got their goats and they were bare. Not a single white body. We found where the guys had their camp set up, right at the bottom of the slide in the wide open where the goats could see them. I was feeling pretty deflated and Kyle was frustrated and worried.

We only had 2 hours before dark so we decided to sit tight and hopefully the quiet valley would coax some goats out. About an hour before dark a nanny came out to feed. Some life jumped back into us. We watched her for a bit and decided to go down to the next slide to glass. Right away we found 2 more goats, both billies. One very young and small, the other was a shoot able goat. We didn't have time to go up after them so we sat and watched trying to decide the best way up to them for the morning. As kyle was occupied i looked up and noticed a third body, i announced the third goat noting how much bigger it was then the other two. This got Kyle excited. He got the spotter out and sure enough it was the massive goat he seen with Kerwin. So we stayed there until he finally bedded and we quietly made our way out of the valley. We decided to go back to town and stay at a hotel. Kyle's reasoning (although he was partly kidding) was it was good luck to go back to town, get a cheap hotel and go to Boston Pizza for dinner (he did this with Kerwin and Myles and both shot their goats the
next day). I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.

We went back in the morning and sure enough the big guy was still there and a nanny was just below him. But he was watching her intently. So we packed up and got ready to hike up after him, Onca stayed in the truck. After an hour hike we were just below the rock cliffs, we dropped our packs to strap our rifles to them so we could have 2 hands for climbing the cliffs. I put my rifle down then peeled my pack off and put it down- ready for my rifle. Before I decided to strap my rifle on, I looked up out of habit and there he was. All I said was Goat. Kyle kept messing with his stuff without looking up and brushed my word off saying it wasn't that he already checked. I said Kyle, there is a goat watching us. He stopped, unbelieving and looked up asking where? I told him to look on the left side of the saddle, that its standing on the top. He seen him, he put his binos up and started cursing- it was the big billy. I knew it was farther then 200 yards so I instantly jumped on Kyle's rifle (my rifle is new and i haven't figured out the drop yet at farther distances). I got set up with his pack as a rest while he ranged him. 390 yards but i was shooting at about a 50%+ incline, he said put the 300 mark on him. He was facing chest on but I wasn't concerned. I put the 300 on him and felt very stable. I squeezed the trigger and instantly reloaded after the shot. Kyle announced a miss. I was baffled, how did i miss?? He disappeared into the trees and never gave me another chance. We climbed up a little ways into the cliffs and sat for a while, hoping the other billy would come down to check out the ruckus. He never did and I was feeling pretty frustrated. The fog started to roll in and we made the decision to go back to the truck before we got stuck up there with no visibility. When we got down, Kyle wanted to go check the zeroes on the rifles. He was confused at the turn of events, I kept saying I felt solid and his rifle has killed 2 goats in the last 2 weeks
without fault. We left the area and headed down low to shoot them at our metal gong. My gun was still on, Kyle's was shooting 4 inches to the left at 100 yards. I was relieved that it wasn't me that caused the miss but I was still pretty down. Did i just lose my chance at filling my tag? With the cloud cover low again and not letting up I wasn't very hopeful. We had to leave the next afternoon and if we didn't find a goat right away than all i had was the next morning. We went and checked another valley but it was fogged in worse then the area we were just in. So we made the decision to go back and hope we could catch something moving below the fog line. We were coming up to the slide that Warren had shot his goat out of 2 years prior, but there was a slide before that one- so we slowed down to take a look. I was on the wrong side of the truck so couldn't see up the slide, but it didn't take long and Kyle slammed on the brakes-Goats! He was instantly out of the truck with the spotter. 2 young billies and 2 nannies. So I got my pack and my rifle out. They were 800 yards, we had to hike up into the slide to get closer, this time we brought Onca along. We got as close as we could without them busting us, 500 yard shot. Kyle gave me his rifle again and I got set up. I wasn't nearly as stable as the morning shot but stable enough to make a shot. I put the 500 marker on him and squeezed my trigger. Kyle watched in his binos and said he went down. Over and over again I asked him if he was sure he went down and he repeatedly told me I folded him. I felt a little better but was not getting my hopes up until I had him in my hands- all I needed was another fiasco like my elk!

"I have learned not to celebrate 
until I have my animal in my 
hands because as soon as I celebrate,
I shake uncontrollably." 

Kyle decided he wanted to try and get the other billy, so he grabbed the rifle and took a shot. I was watching in my binos and he missed, I watched the rock blow up above its back. Then all hell broke loose and there were goats scattering all over the place. Finally things seemed to quiet down so we decided to head up and retrieve my billy. He died in the cliffs above the alders, and let me tell you....that slide is NOT what it seemed from the road. From the road it looked like it was nice and open most of the way up with a gradual increase in steepness, then comes to a short alder patch then clears up again just before a bit of cliffing. NOT! The entire slide is thick alders and it gets steep fast then continues to get steeper the closer you get to the cliffs. And under all those alders its grass and with the rain it was very slick. Anyway, we get up to the rocks and Kyle decides to go up to find my goat while I stayed with the packs and Onca. Onca wanted to go with him but the rocks were steep and slick and the bush on the top of them were 10 times thicker than the alders we just fought through. So I'm standing there with my rifle strapped to my pack- on my back, petting Onca when I hear Kyle yell Get ready he's coming! I'm like what the --??? So I yell back, "What do you mean he's coming???" I was under the impression I killed that goat. All of a sudden the bushes start shaking violently jut above me to the right but they are so thick I cant see him, until he is RIGHT THERE! He pops out of the alders about 15 yards to my right and starts walking straight towards me. I froze. My rifle was still strapped to my pack on my back and I didn't want to make him bolt, but he was going to walk right into me! I momentarily forgot Onca was sitting on my feet until he started growling at the goat walking at us. The goat stopped at about 12 feet from me and focused on Onca. My thoughts went to Oh Sh*t what if he comes after Onca? Thankfully he didn't and instead he turned around to head back towards Kyle (who was about 100 yards above us still fighting his way down the cliffs) giving me the time to whip off my pack and grab my rifle. I put my rifle up, announced to Kyle I was taking a shot, and all I could see was hair- my scope was on 15 but I didn't have time to fiddle with it. I found the top of his shoulder in the scope and went down a little ways and fired. He dropped on the spot about 10 yards from me, then rolled down to 15 yards below me before he got hung up on some alders. About 10 minutes later Kyle's head poked out at the top of the cliff asking if I got him. He then proceeded to tell me his story of finding him, still alive, 10 feet from him in the thick bushes. My first shot did get him and that's why he dropped but it was a little far back, so he didn't die right away. 

After we got our pictures out of the way, Kyle insisted on packing him out whole. We didn't have any cliffs to deal with, just alders but even with that he fell down a lot. I kept asking if he was sure he didn't want to quarter it up and he insisted on doing it, and he said it was faster this way and was concerned about bears.

I have been on 3 goat hunts now (my own hunts, I've been with Kyle for his), 2 being successful and the successful ones always ended with a close encounter with a goat.  
I'm pretty happy to finally have my billy!! My first goat was a nanny, so I'm happy to be able to say I have a billy under my belt as well.  
 ** Sorry about the different sizes in font...I have literally spent 2 hours trying to get it all to be the same and I give up. **

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Broken Curse

Hunting season. So it begins for a new year...archery starts September 1st-9th and rifle opens the 10th. Some are polishing up their archery skills before opening day and even more are cleaning their rifles in anticipation for 10 days later. Kyle and I are among the few that get to start our season early in hopes of beating the rush. Some come in from all over the province for archery season while many come in for rifle. Most are in hopes of scoring on an elk. Ive been hunting since 2005 and have not gotten an elk..year after year i would try my hardest and get out whenever i could. Most of the time with my 2 kids in tow. It wasn't easy and i kept wondering if maybe i was cursed. Would this be the one animal that would elude me and haunt my dreams for all my days? Or has it just been year after year of bad luck and my time will come? Either way i started my year with hope that this would be it.
The archery season came and i was ready. 

I headed out opening day, kids at the grandparents, so i had the whole day to myself to hunt. I met up with my friend James and his boy to hunt in the morning. We seen 2 cows and a calf first thing in the morning, they were pretty spooked but i figured i would try anyway. I knew where they would pop out of the trees and i already knew which cow had the calf. I set off and as i came around the treeline to the opening i was stopped dead in my tracks. There was a guy walking slowly down the treeline towards where they would pop out and i was frozen with disbelief. At first i thought maybe he didn't know i was there so i stood there contemplating what to do next. While lost in thought he stopped and turned around. Noticing me standing there he came walking over to me. It didn't take long of talking to him and the hunt was ruined for both of us and I discovered he was well aware that i was chasing them. I left the clearing fuming. That was the first time I've ever had another hunter deliberately ruin my hunt. 

The rest of my archery season go by at a fast pace. We managed to make a trip to visit and Hunt with Kyle's cousin Randy in the next valley over for a couple days. We seen lots of bulls and some were calling but nothing managed to come together for us. Out of the archery season i only missed 1 or 2 days of hunting, i didn't see elk every day but I did see some decent whitetail bucks that I was able to attempt a stalk on. 
The archery season passed and although I was feeling slightly defeated, I was looking forward to rifle season-sort of. This year rifle opener fell on a Saturday, which meant the amount of people in the bush was going to increase big time, more so then if it fell on a weekday. While archery season I can shoot any bull and below 1100m a cow as well, come rifle season its 6 point or better unless you stay below 1100m then spike is open as well. My chances were narrowed down significantly, but at the same time increased. Getting into range of a bull with my rifle would be much easier than with my bow but it was finding a 6 that was the hard part. Last year we had elk everyday of season (except in archery, we seen nothing) but none were legal. 

The day before opener, September 9th, still during archery season and Kyle was on days off. So his parents took the dogs and kids for us and we headed up the valley. The plan was to get up to where Kyle wanted to hunt for the morning of rifle opener and we would hunt our way up with our bows. On our way up we seen a nice black bear but no elk. We got up into the mountains and it was full of people ready for opening morning. Every corner we turned held a new camp, some with multiple trailers, ATVs and trucks. We did see a cow and calf moose. Kyle was frustrated. We glassed until dark and without seeing anything Kyle decided he would rather sleep in our own bed for the night. So we started the long drive home. On the way home I suggested going up to where we had our trail camera in the morning, traffic in there was pretty limited and I just had a good feeling about the area this year, even though we hadn't seen a 6 point in there. He hummed and hawed but i insisted. So in the morning, that was the plan.

We were up early even after a late night, all the gear was still in the jeep so we just had to get dressed and grab the guns then go. It was a closer drive then where we went the night before but difficult to get into with the jeep. We managed to get in with it still dark out and parked down below. The plan was to walk the 2 kms in then go sit where we could see the trail that cut through the clearing  and where the camera was set up. The wind was perfect and it was still fairly dark when we started walking up the road but light enough for me to see the rocks on the road so i didn't kick any. We got up to where the trail cuts through the clearing but it was still too dark for me to walk up it without scaring everything in the valley ( I cant see very good in low light and usually end up kicking something, tripping or falling). As we waited for it to lighten up more I scanned the clearing with my binoculars. I was really happy I had my Minox binos because they work awesome in the limelight. After about 10 minutes of glassing on and off, I found 2 elk. I quietly said Kyle there are a couple of elk on the landing, which was about 500 yards in front of us, but I cant tell if any are bulls. We stayed rooted to the spot, we were in the wide open and didn't want the elk to notice our presence. I watched them through my binos, as it lightened up a little bit more I could tell one was a bull and now Kyle could see through his binos as well. He confirmed the bottom elk was a bull but couldn't get a count on him. We watched until they disappeared around the ridge and we started hiking up to the landing- abandoning our original plan. We got up to the landing and it was finally light enough to see around us without issue, so headed up and followed the ridge. On the other side of the ridge it dropped down into a small clearing without any type of road or trail access. Just as we crested the ridge to see down into the clearing we caught them heading into the trees on the other side- we were too late.
We backed away and went to the landing and decided to go back to plan A, the wind was still good and we had time to get up there before it got too late in the morning. We went up and sat for a couple hours until the wind started to change and swirl. So we backed out. 

We decided to go into town to get some gas and a snack. We tried to decide what to do for the afternoon/evening. I suggested going back to the same area and having an afternoon nap until it was time to go again for the evening. So we did. After a late night and early morning I was tired, the jeep isn't the most comfortable thing to sleep in but i still managed to get a couple hours in. Once it was time to go, we got ready and checked the wind-it was blowing all wrong. It was a huge dampener on our what to do? We took a chance and left the area for another one, we didn't want to stir the area up with our scent and I was dead set on being back in there for the morning. So we drove around, glassing trying to find something but we had no luck at all. After dark Kyle wanted to go all the way back home to sleep but I didn't want to, I wanted to go back up to where we had been that morning and sleep in there, i mean we had the tent and our sleeping gear along with the stove and mountain houses- we were set up to stay on the mountain. So much to Kyles dismay and my persistence and stubbornness- we slept on the mountain. I wanted to be the first ones in there just in-case that bull was a 6. We parked farther down then we had parked that morning and Kyle in all his grumpiness said he didn't want to have to mess around with the tent in the dark or in the morning so I suggested we sleep in the jeep, that didn't make his mood any better. I grabbed my sleeping bag and put my seat all the way back and settled in for the night. It wasn't the best night sleep, my knees disagreed with this sleeping arrangement immensely.

In the morning we didn't even bother eating, we just put our gear on and went up to where we had parked last time. Kyle was concerned we weren't going to see anything, and i was worried as well but didn't want to divert from our course. The night was a very bright night, it was like daylight- you could see everything.We were worried they would leave the clearing earlier and we would miss them again. As we hiked up to the same spot as before we stopped to glass the clearings, there was nothing. So we continued to the clearing  he had disappeared to the morning before. We came up to the ridge and with Kyle being over a foot taller than me, he could see much more than me. We didn't get to far up the ridge when Kyle grabbed my arm and said the bull was bedded in the middle of the clearing.I quickly got my rifle ready while he counted his tines. I got up to a spindly little Christmas tree and used it as a wasn't the best rest. Kyle said he is a six, take him when you are ready. It took my a few seconds to feel like I could take a good shot off that spindly thing. Once I felt a little more comfortable i squeezed my trigger on my new Browning x-bolt 300wsm. After I shot I quickly reloaded, and Kyle was already celebrating. My bullet hit him and he didn't even move, his head just dropped. I instantly started shaking so bad from the adrenaline and cold, I was in shock- I finally after all these years got my elk!! 

Kyle said he would go back the 2 kms to the jeep and bring it up to the landing and grab our packs. I stayed with my rifle ready for either a bear to come in or for the bull to jump up and run (it has happened before to people we know!). I was still shaking pretty badly and I thought I had seen his head move. So I tried my best to look through my binos and keep still to watch him. Sure enough he moved his head again! I got back behind my rifle and tried as hard as I could to stop shaking. I wasn't succeeding very well. One I felt somewhat better I tried to put another in him- and missed. After hearing my gun shot Kyle rushed a little more to get back to me, not knowing if a bear came in or my bull got up. Once he got to me I told him the bull was still alive and to please put a bullet in it to end its suffering- I tried but was shaking to badly. So he did and with that the bull expired right away. 

As we got our packs on and loaded up to hike down to retrieve him, I had a mixture of emotions. I was excited to see my bull but it was now overshadowed by this guilt and doubt. If my shot didn't kill the bull right away, but Kyles did- was it really my bull? Did I just wound him superficially? If I did, how could I claim the bull as mine when it wasn't a killing shot? Was it my fault that the bullet strayed from where I wanted it to go? Did my rifle somehow get knocked out? All these questions would be answered once I got my hands on that bull. 

I desperately needed the answers and I was trying to rush down to my elk, but Kyle wouldn't allow it- he wanted pictures of me when I lay my hands on him. I was impatient. When I finally got to him, I was in awe of his beauty and strength. My shot was a killing shot, it would have just been a longer death and for that I was racked with guilt. I was thankful that Kyle had been with me and was able to make death quicker for him, I didn't expect to have quite that strong of a reaction after shooting him. I always shake a little after I pull the trigger but never so much as to render me useless if I needed to take another shot. My only guess is after trying so hard, doubting myself, working myself up every season, excitement, disappointment...10 years of all these emotions built up, and in that moment of celebration it came out all at once.

After we got some photos, i started to field dress him but I was going to slow for Kyle and he soon took over. So I got all the bags out and the tarp out to put the meat on and held legs when he needed. Once one of the hind quarters were freed from the bulls body I put it on my pack and strapped it down. I managed to get my pack on and get up without any help, the pack didn't feel too bad (Thank you Crossfit!) and I made my way up to the ridge and dropped down to the jeep. By the time I got to the jeep, unloaded the quarter into the jeep and made my way back to Kyle he had the bull pretty well done. He was just working on the head but all the meat was separated. This round I was taking a front quarter, backstrap, tenderloin and the head as well as my rifle- it was much heavier than my first pack. Kyle, being the giant he is, decided to take both quarters, tenderloins and backstraps in one trip. Needless to say I had to help him up off the ground, but he still beat me to the jeep.

A week later I took my gun out to double check my zero. It was off by almost 3 MOA- which was exactly how far over my bullet hit from where I was aiming. I was happy it wasn't me, but confused how my gun got knocked off. It must have gotten bumped or something while it was in the jeep.