We all have our bucket lists in life and many of us have been lucky enough to even check some off at an early age before we get too old and physically unable to actually do it.
I’ve been lucky enough to hunt different species in different states and check some off including Arkansas rice fields and green tree timber for ducks, Wisconsin ruffed grouse and woodcock in the Northwoods, ducks in the great wetland potholes of the Dakotas, and pheasants in the great grasslands of the Dakotas to name a few.
What’s left to check off my list includes sea duck hunting out east, a turkey hunting grand, royal, or grand slam, an elk hunt, a bear hunt, an Alaskan moose hunt, and a Bighorn sheep hunt just to name a few. This is the year I will at least get to chase one of those dreams as three years of drawing preference points finally paid off for a northwestern CO bow elk hunt in mid-September.
Friends and of mine and their family are originally from CO and make this a yearly trip with at least some of them drawing muzzleloader tags. They pack horses and mules and head up to the same campsite each year and have been doing it for over 20 year straight. I was invited years ago and finally decided to make it happen with the support of my wife (well, we’ll see how it all shapes up when I’m actually hitting the road). We will be sleeping in a huge canvas tent with an iron stove and some of what I’m sure will be excellent camp fare. 10 days in the mountains is a dream come true for guys like me. . . .
As preparation for the likely chance to draw my tag on year three I’ve begun talking to one of the guys who hunts in their group—one of only two bow hunters that regularly puts his in-state tag on a nice bull elk. Many years he is able to make it happen for him and his wife in a matter of a couple days. I’m a firm believer in both book learnin’, learning from those more experienced than I, and just plain old doing it and learning from mistakes made. I can check two off before getting there and then it’s up to me just screwing up a few times. My goal is to harvest an animal (I have an either sex tag) as elk meat is some of the finest wild game I’ve yet to enjoy. A good elk steak is sure hard to beat!
I’m getting comfortable out to 60 yards with a new sight pin and shooting all summer long. I’ve got a new day pack coming, some cow calls, and a packable survival kit to name a few things not already in my arsenal.
My grandfather who passed away many years ago worked hard and was able to make several trips to Alaska throughout his later years to hunt bears, moose, caribou, and more. As a young man it was my dream to hunt with him up there. When he passed away I was given the job of going through his hunting room and divvying out his belongings to family members. Going through the various drawers and secret passageways I was able to discover photos of him and friends up in the North Country living life to its fullest in the outdoors. How I wish he was still here for us to complete some of those adventures together. I still have his .300 Weatherby Magnum that he used on many of those trips and as with the 10 gauge shotgun of his that I kill turkeys with each year—grandpa’s legacy will live on with me on one of those bucket list hunts some day!
Here’s to everyone who makes those hunts happen!
Any suggestions for such hunts posted here would, I’m sure, be much appreciated.