I consider myself to be a very fortunate person. I missed a shot on a nice 5 x 5 elk this year, the last week of the archery season in Colorado. There I was in the Flattops wilderness area, with a bull elk coming in to what he thought was a cow looking for romance. I missed what should have been an easy shot due to a combination of errors on my part, the main one being using the wrong pin.
So why do I consider myself to be fortunate? That’s easy. The events leading up to the shot and the aftermath all were fantastic, an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. To be fair, harvesting an elk would have been wonderful and I am a little disappointed in my failure to connect. But that’s all secondary to the adventure.
What an adventure it was, complete with ups and downs!
Danner boots was a sponsor for the Trembling Giant Sweepstakes. This is a film every hunter should watch with his or her friends and family. It’s a very well done tale of why we hunt. The grand prize from this contest was an incredible array of hunting related items: Danner boots, Yeti cooler, Lone Wolf knives, Leupold optics, Bear bow with accessories, Sitka gear clothing, Lifetime membership in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and a six day fully guided elk hunt with Winterhawk Outfitters.
I was the winner. I’m still finding it hard to believe my good fortune.
Hopefully I can do them justice by describing the experience. First of all, the folks at Winterhawk were fantastic! Great group of people and I hope to hunt with them again some day.
Days started early, well before sunrise. It is a very eerie feeling to be riding out on a mule in complete darkness. Days ended with us returning to camp in complete darkness as well. I saw elk every single day that I hunted. On one stand, I even had an elk calf walk up to me and give my face a sniff. We saw mule deer, a bald eagle, and a beaver in a beaver pond. The scenery was beautiful! The Aspens were a bright golden color with evergreens providing a nice contrast. There were ponds and streams everywhere. I can’t even begin to describe this as it was a near religious experience to see. This alone made the trip worth it.
We did most of our hunting at around 11,000 ft. elevation. They aren’t kidding when they recommend you be in the best shape you possibly can be in. I could have been in better shape, but I have no complaints. I slept very soundly at night from being worn out.
The gear I won came in very handy on this hunt: we got rained on fairly heavily one day, and the Sitka rain gear performed flawlessly. The Danner East Ridge boots were perfect and my feet were dry and comfortable the entire trip. They are my favorite boots.
The trip was not without some drama, the second day of the hunt, my saddle came loose and I took a pretty good fall on my back. I did not hunt the third day at all and was convinced my hunt was over. Stuff happens, and hunting and riding both come with some associated risks.
Copious amounts of Naproxen and ibuprofen worked wonders and I was able to return to hunting on the forth day. This was the day I had an opportunity on a decent 5 x 5, but screwed up and missed. I made a couple mistakes, tried to recover and ended up using the wrong pin…oh well, that’s why they call it hunting! There were hunters in camp that never had a shot, and one hunter that was unable to recover his elk. I consider myself lucky for even having an opportunity.
I ended up coming home with nothing but memories. I’m a far richer man for having gone, so I have no real regrets – but I do occasionally kick myself for missing what should have been an easy shot. This truly was the hunt of a lifetime, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
- Tim Lovern
TIM LOVERN has lived in Arizona since 1982, moving there from the Chicago suburbs. He has hunted in Arizona extensively, from waterfowl to elk and everything in between. He is currently employed in the I.T. field as an enterprise architect for a large company based in California.