Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 50

ARCHERY 48 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL It’s important to have a good team. Here, the author enjoys the last load out on a previous season’s hunt. zach Even though I left my Oregon archery tag in tact I still found suc- cess in my ventures. Lessons learned don’t come cheap and they’re often paid in heartbreak, blood and sweat. It was no different for me this year. In my six days elk hunting I covered close to 90 miles, most of which were in search of the bull I wounded. They were steep, hard and unforgiving miles. We packed in on Ben’s horses and mules. It was how I always dreamed of hunting the rugged wilderness coun- try, and from that perspective it didn’t disappoint. I learned a few tricks around the pack saddle and got to see some amazing country. That in and of itself was a success. I hope to continue to hunt that way from here on out. The smell of sweaty mules lends itself to high country hunting. The use of horses and mules opens up so many op- portunities for an elk hunter and I’m thankful that I have a friend who shares my passion for elk hunting. Getting a text from Chad with a picture of that bull was pure joy. Chad and I have run the bad luck gauntlet of archery hunting, so anytime he or I find success it’s always special. He’s wise beyond his years in hunting knowledge and his witty remarks always make for a few good laughs in camp. If there was ever a guy who deserved a bull like that it was Chad. Bow hunting can be a cruel endeavor, for both the hunter and the hunted. It can humble a guy pretty fast. I can say without a doubt it did me. It’s been nearly three months since my botched shot Sep- tember nightmare. I keep telling myself that elk are dirty tough, and if there was ever an animal to survive something like that it would be an elk. I haven’t decided if I’ll bow hunt again next year or ever for that matter. Yesterday, if someone would’ve held my feet to the fire and asked Ben Rodriguez made a last ditch effort to tag this fine public land OTC trophy. me ‘yay or nay’ on archery hunting next September I would’ve said pass. Will I still feel that way next September? It’s hard to tell right now because the wound is still fresh. I’m going to let the winter and spring seasons pass me by and hopefully by early summer I’ll remem- ber why it is I love archery elk hunting. I suspect the sounds