Warning: If you're the type of person that has a super weak stomach or became a vegetarian because you found out you were actually eating dead animal... This is not the post you ought to be reading.. Check back in a few days.. Maybe I'll have a different post up for ya!
It all started a couple Christmas' ago when John really wanted a Bow- which I had awaiting him under the tree. He decided to pick up Bow Hunting after a friend got him interested in Ohio and when we lived in Utah, the outdoor mecca he just had to have his own bow! Anyway, it's a relatively new hobby and John gets loads of enjoyment out of it. He's thus far had moderate success. I mean, I think he's done great, but I think that he has had some disappointments along the way. Last year, for example he got a deer tag and came home empty handed. Imagine how discouraging that would be. But this year, he got drawn (kind of like a lottery ticket) for a VERY desirable Elk tag. What made it so desirable is the fact that it was in the section of Arizona where all the HUGE trophy bucks have come from.
This Elk trip was partly why I was so unsuspecting of the surprise anniversary trip John planned. The day before our anniversary, he was stressed out and when I asked him about it he admitted that he was stressed about vacation. Naturally I assumed the elk hunt since he has been target practicing, packing and planning for this trip for a good 9 months and it was only a week away! After we got back from our Cancun trip, John had a day and a half before he left for his two week Elk adventure.
And he's off! He drove up to Flagstaff and met up with his cousin's husband, Chris and Chris' father, Dan. They, between the two of them have 50 years of Bow Hunting experience so just for that fact alone, John was extremely appreciative that they allowed him to tag along (Dan had the same Elk tag that John had)! Not only was he in the presence of greatness but they had quite the set up- trailer, shower, microwave, 4-wheelers! Sure beat John's plan to camp out in his tent and eat dehydrated meals for 2 weeks! And so it went... the guys found a watering hole where the elk (and other inhabitants of the land) were sure to visit to rehydrate and cool off and it was there that John set up a "blind" (basically a fort he could hide behind so he was unseen by the visiting wild life. He sat that by night and let out some bugles by day which kept him quite busy for the first week. He had days were he didn't see much and days where he would see all kinds of elk but just didn't get a good shot or they were too far away. He passed on a couple of "Spikes" in hopes of an opportunity on a bigger guy later. The guys kept talking about the Rut which they predicted would happen any day!!! Apparently, when this rut happens, the bull (male) elk throw caution to the wind and their sole mission becomes to find them a woman!! Needless to say, hunting becomes much easier during this time since usually they are pretty cautious animals and do well at being quiet and keeping out of harms way.
I drove up to visit John after a week of his hunting pursuits. He had taken off two weeks total and it may have been another week without Riley seeing his father and me seeing my best friend. He was beginning to feel the time crunch since he was half way through his hunt and hadn't had the perfect shot yet. I stayed the night and left before he went out for his evening hunt the next day. It was during this evening hunt, as I was driving back to Phoenix that John was sitting his water hole, as was now his routine. Just as the sun set and the darkness was becoming too thick to see anymore, John heard some lapping at the little pond. It sounded different though- not like the deer and elk that he had seen/heard previously. This sounded like a cat lapping up water... A really BIG cat. He caught a glimpse of a silhouette through the darkness and sure enough, he was a few yards away from a mountain lion!!!!! Imagine yourself, helpless with no weapon but a bow and arrow, in the dark in the woods near a MOUNTAIN LION!!!! His pulse raced and his brow began to sweat. He sat tight and didn't move for fear that any movement would be heard by this unexpected predator. Eventually, when the darkness would no longer allow sight he heard the lion stalk away, headed into the woods- BEHIND HIM!!! So he waited in fear until he thought it was far enough away that the rustling of leaves and pounding of dirt would not be heard. He quickly ran to his quad and sped back to the camp with quite the story to tell the guys!!
The next morning he awoke and still remembering the night before, he grabbed his loaded gun (only for mountain lion protection) along with his bow before leaving the camp for the morning hunt.
Turns out that he got within 17 yards of a nice sized bull elk. I'll end here maybe partially for you, but mostly for myself. I am an animal lover and I turn away when watching the Discovery channel during an attack. I will say that the elk did not suffer- John is a very good shot.
And we'll soon have 150 lbs of Elk meat (pending the pick up)- which I've heard is among the most tasty meat in the wild game category.. well between elk and buffalo (I'll let you know once I cook some up)! Guess we won't need to buy any beef for a while!!
This picture shows off the Bow, in case you were wondering what it looks like.
Keep in mind that my husband is gleaming with pride and I, as his wife am just thrilled for his success with his big Elk hunt this year.