My favorite hiding spot in the world is also the place I’m able to see most clearly. Whether it is in the middle of a quit woods watching the stillness and patients of a deer, or on top of a mountain watching the courage and strength of a majestic bull elk, I’m able to really think about why hunting is so important to me. I am able to see how it has affected some of the most important things in my life; family and personal self worth. This leads me to an antelope hunt in Northern Colorado with my Dad and little brother Kale.
After a mid-morning brunch my dad, brother and I returned to the field. While driving down the road, I happened to glance off to my left; immediately hitting the brakes as I grabbed for my binoculars the pickup skidded to an abrupt stop. “Good Buck!” was the only words needed to get my younger brother Kale, reaching for his rifle. Dad leaned forward from the back seat and agreed with my observation, “Yep, good one!”
The buck was a dandy, tall dark horns with great cutters (prongs) and hung tightly to the rear of a small group of antelope that nervously milled around a shallow depression in the rolling Colorado landscape. Even as I eased the truck back out of sight, the buck and his current “girlfriend” were on the move, splitting from the rest of the herd.Slumped over Kale, Dad and I snuck down and around the base of a small hill, hoping to intercept the tall dark horned buck that had just split from the herd. Crawling to the top of the next ridge, I peered over and slid back down out of sight, motioning Kale forward. “I can see the doe but not the buck”, I whispered. “She’s at the bottom moving to your right. That buck has to be with her somewhere.” Slipping off our packs, we continued to crawl forward slowly, taking a look.
Upon sliding forward through the dense sage brush, the buck had magically appeared again out of the drainage below us. Holding up, the buck presented Kale with a perfect shot. Quickly planting my shooting sticks for him I whispered, “There he is, 200 yards, when you’re on him go ahead and chamber one. Take him when you’re ready.” Unfortunately he rushed the shot a bit and hit just above the bucks back. The buck spun around running another fifty yards up the hillside out of the drainage, it was apparent it was a clean miss. We watched attentively, as the buck stopped and continued on grazing as if nothing ever happened.
“Go ahead and chamber another round; you’re going to get another shot” I instructed my younger brother. Doing as told Kale ejected his empty round and chambered a new one. With a couple slight adjustments, allowing for a clear shot through the dense sage, we were in position again. This time standing at 250 yards the buck offered us a second shot. With perfect aim Kale put him down for good! “Awesome shot!” I yelled out as I gave him hands up. Dusting ourselves off still shaking with excitement, we high-fived and took a few seconds to enjoy the moment, which I doubt any of us will ever forget!
Being able to share experiences in the field with loved ones has taught me many things needed in life as well as in the woods. I’ve been blessed having an opportunity to guide others on dream hunts and have come to the realization; hunting is less about learning to kill and more about learning to live. The joy of the hunt is truly the thing that should be cherished and enjoyed!