People sometimes ask me what it is about hunting that I find such enjoyment in and it’s a fair question. Hunting season is just a few weeks out of the year and for those few days or weeks that one gets to hunt, you get up early, go to bed late, and hike for miles in many types of terrain, in weather that’s either hot and dusty or wet and cold (rarely just comfortable) weather and often you come home tired, sore and empty-handed. And yet for the last 22 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed each fall having only missed one season over that time period (my son was born in October of 2017).
For me its definitely about the adventure, the challenge, the excitement leading up to the hunt, but the two most important things for me are the fellowship time with my brothers and enjoying the incredible natural beauty that brings me that much closer to our creator. I also am beyond excited to be able to begin to share the outdoors with my son (5) and daughter (3). Both of them, but especially my son, love the outdoors, taking short trips to the mountains, hiking, fishing and asking over and over to hear stories from my last trip.
This year, four of us went on an archery elk hunt in the Eagle Caps in late september. I was really excited for this hunt because in 2016, the last time I hunted the area, we had great interaction with a lot of elk but my physical conditioning failed me and I had to call it quits early. Hiking in rugged county and high alpine slopes is not for the office dwelling real estate broker. Fast forward to 2022 and I was physically ready but unfortunately, the hunting was very different this year.
The elk population was really pressured hard by the wolves and despite Caleb Howard calling in a nice 5pt for me the first morning, which turned out to be our only close encounter all trip, the hunting was really hard. Lefi and JC probably hiked 70 plus miles that week and Wes and I were over 50 miles each. Despite the challenges with the hunt and the lack of success, the incredible beauty of the Caps and the great fellowship had this hunt go down as one of my favorites in the last few years. God truly made the Caps some of the most ruggedly beautiful country in Oregon.
My second trip this year was a mule deer hunt in the high desert of eastern Oregon. This Rifle hunt had me pretty excited for the opportunity to find some mature bucks and possibly even have a chance to harvest one. The week before we left though the weather forecast came out and it was for a solid week of 85 degree blue sky days. If your not a hunter, you might think that sounds amazing but if you are, you know that those older mature deer might not even move during daylight hours with this kind of weather and it also means DUST! Lots and lots of dust everywhere.
After three days and glassing up over 100 deer, we had only seen 2 bucks and both were younger deer. Well long story short, we knew the odds of the hunt improving dramatically were slim and I do like deer meat a lot so Dan and I both shot freezer trophies and not wall hangers. Again a phenomenal trip dispites some of the disappointments in the hunt. The fellowship aspect of hunting for me is something that is hard to describe because it gives a group of people the chance to truly disconnect from the craziness of life for a few days or a week and recharge mentally.
I still have a one more adventure back home in SW Oregon as my wife, her brother and his wife all have deer tags and I get to play guide here shortly when we see the weather improve in another week or so.