Thank you much.
Against all odds, with one hunting "point" I happened to be one of the 25 hunters in the State of Utah this year who drew out for the "limited entry, once-in-a-lifetime, bull elk hunt" on the Panguitch Lake Unit. This was all thanks to my ever sensitive and thoughtful husband "placing my name in the hat" so to speak.
Friday night, September 17, 2010, the night before the hunt opened...Grandpa always-to-the-rescue Henrie showed up to take care of the kids so I could go to Panguitch to "scout" for elk with Ryan. I have to say, it all started out a bit like Halloween....I put on my costume.....
And then crept around behind Ryan like Rambo...with my supersonic eyes (I am a fan of binoculars now. Who doesn't want supersonic eyes??)
Good thing I read so many Louis L'Amour books as a kid: Avoid broken branches, step on rocks with your moccasins (ok, forget those), and make no noise....This is the part I don't like. I LOVE to chat and visit with whoever I am with. Keeping my mouth shut is one part of hunting I'll never get used to...Ok, on with the story....I followed Ryan Rambo style to a lookout point where he could "glass" (look through his scope at) the meadows in the surrounding areas. I was wishing I had a good book, but the scenery was quite eye pleasing.
It was just then that I thought, "Why not get a little snuggly with my husband? I can do that quietly!" As I leaned over for a hug, my nostrils were filled with the scent from the bottle Ryan had been holding and spraying around of (believe it or not) "cow elk urine containing her in-heat hormone." That's when it smelled like a Halloween horror movie. NASTY!! Seriously, some of the things hunters think of are just downright disgusting. Well, let's just say that that romantic moment lasted less than 10 seconds; in fact I don't think we ever reached the "romantic"stage....
We left there and did sneak up on a doe and a little buck on our way back, but no elk were seen. In fact, Ryan had been out all day looking (actually all month if we want to get technical), and finding anything to shoot the next morning seemed to be next to impossible.
As you all know, I had been praying rather fervently you might say that I could get an elk opening morning. I felt overwhelmed with everything else I needed to be doing. I knew I was being unrealistic, a little bit of a hunting party pooper, you name it, but I wanted to get the meat and get on with life :). My maternal instincts were far outweighing any hunting instincts that may have existed in my bones.
Some great hunting friends of Ryan's, Bro. Chris Nelson, Bro. Brad Larsen , and Bro. Kevin Cox, very kindly volunteered to come help us try and find an elk. Bro. Brad had seen some elk Thursday evening and felt like he could get us into some. We decided to go where he suggested opening morning. We all stayed at the Henrie Family Ranch house that night. Saturday morning, when the sky was still awfully dark, Bro. Chris knocked on our bedroom door and said that it was already 5:30 and time to get up. We looked at our alarm clock that said "2:14" and wondered what in the world was malfunctioning. After Chris had everyone up, and everyone else's clocks said 2:14, he realized that he had started and stopped the stopwatch function on his new watch in the dark. He had been trying to find the light and somehow accidentally stopped his stopwatch at 5 minutes 25 seconds. After hearing much laughter in the next room, Ryan came back in ours and asked me if I wanted a sip of water. I told him all I wanted to do was to shoot Chris :).
We did all eventually get a little more sleep before 5:30 rolled around. We left the ranch house at around 6:10 a.m. and drove to a spot where Bro. Larson had said he saw some elk a couple of nights previous. We got out of the truck at approximately 6:50. We hiked in a ways to two different little knolls; Chris and Ryan were with me. As soon as we sat down, we heard a bull elk bugle and a cow "chirp." Ryan grabbed his scope and looked through it and saw an elk. He said, "I'd let you shoot that one!" I thought he was kidding. Ry and Chris decided we needed to get closer, so we hurried our hinies down the hill to the next knoll. No sooner had I sat down, Ryan handed me the gun, told Chris to give me the shooting sticks, and told me to find the elk in the scope and pull the trigger. I said, "Are you sure???" He nodded yes, I aimed, pulled the trigger, and the rest is pretty much history. I shot the darn thing at 7:12 a.m. opening morning. Ryan did remind me to reload and I fired two more bullets. The second one missed and the third one hit him again. A couple of tears of gratitude and relief snuck out that I quickly wiped away in the presence of so much testosterone. My hands were a little shaky when I put the gun down, but I just can't tell you how THRILLED I was that the hunt was successful and over.
His arms were folded on entrance to the pearly gates.
I honestly can't thank these guys enough. Truly, they did all the work. It is not an easy task to help a woman in advance with her target practice, obtain and pack all of the necessary equipment, and then pick the right location. They worked as a team like a well-oiled machine to skin and carve up that elk and haul it off the mountain. I gained a tremendous appreciation for their skills. I never could have done anything like this without them. They really are extremely talented at what they do. They had me laughing all morning. In essence, it kind of felt like I had gained some brothers. As we laughed and joked around, it really reminded me of my teenage years when I was surrounded by my seven bros.
In memory of my previous post where I told my readers, "couldn't you imagine me walking off the mountain with an elk head draped across my shoulders," the guys decided I should try it. That stinking thing is heavy (and when I say stinking, I mean it literally!!)
Guys: "Do you got it?"
Me: "I won't know until you let go!"
Oh yah, baby
And as my neck was about to snap, Bro. Chris came to the rescue!
Just as they lifted it off of me is when Ryan noticed and started plucking ticks off the elk's face. Are you kidding me?? Ew, Ew, Ew, Ew!! That's when I was totally done with the elk. My skin was crawling!!
Well, I did have to get one more picture.
Grandpa brought the kids over, and it was so good to see them. My son, Dev, was bummed he missed out on the actual hunt, but we enjoyed some fun on the four-wheeler later that hopefully made up for some of it.
I love this crazy family of ours. I am the craziest of them all. It was an adventure I will always remember. I was bound and determined to tell Ryan after this hunt that I would NEVER hunt again, but it was such a hilarious morning,
that I changed my mind,
believe it or not,
Against All Odds.