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Old 09-28-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Unexplainable Backcountry

As the real world known as “life” faded into the distance at the beginning of archery season,
the vision of bugling bulls and high country mulies began racing through my mind. Little did I
know I was in for the season of my life. With 27 days to live and breathe what we call hunting,
I was beyond ecstatic to be able to go and do things that most people now in society don’t
even know exist.


I hunted the first week with my best buddy chasing trophy bulls, calling in spikes and cows
that had death wishes, and putting in miles upon miles under our boots with multiple close
calls. Everyday was getting us closer to what we thought would be success. With the sun
falling quickly, it was marking the end of the first week of the 2010 bow season. We were able
to locate and stalk a group of deer with a couple of small bucks just before dark. As I slipped
an arrow behind the front left shoulder of the bigger of the 2 bucks, my adrenaline rush was
not to disappoint. Watching my first buck run 50 yards and fall over backwards was
something I had dreamed about as a kid growing up. As the meat was left hanging from the
rafters of the garage for the night it was a huge feeling of success but also relief; relief in the
fact that I could focus on elk for the rest of the season knowing that another tag wouldn’t go
un-used.





Driving back westward with a little bit of antler in the rear view mirror I had a week of
inescapable work that needed to be attended to, and since I was in town I was not to head east
again without kicking off the 2010 waterfowl season. With a couple phone calls from a good
buddy about which fields the early season honkers had been using, we found ourselves
setting out over 100 full body goose decoys along with digging our blinds in the edge of the
field. Climbing into our lightly frosted blinds that we had set the night before, we laid restless,
waiting on the sunrise of yet another “opening day”. After two days of steel and feathers
flying I was ready and itching to get back into the high country of the Rocky Mountains.





I can’t really explain to you in full what took place in the next 24 hours after leaving Portland,
but I was about to test who I was and what I was capable of as I ventured solo into the
backcountry of the majestic and untamable high mountains. I reached in the late afternoon
what was to be my base camp for the next 14 days and wasted little time setting it up and
loading my pack with everything to survive more then comfortably in the backcountry for the next three to four days.



Waking up at 4 am after a much needed and surprisingly very cold
night of rest I hurried to cook some breakfast, throw my pack on, and start down the long dark
trail by 4:15. The first lesson I learned here was you find out very quick how heavy your pack
really is. About 200 yards down the trail and I felt like tossing the tent, pad, and sleeping bag
in the sage brush, 400 yards and the water was lucky it was still in my pack…




I was able to crest my first destination’s ridge top just in time to see the
sun roll away the darkness on day number one in God’s amazing country.
Looking for over a half hour into the first canyon I was surprised to see
nothing but pine trees, sage brush, and seemingly life-like rocks through
the length of my binoculars. I threw my pack back on and headed for the
next canyon hoping for a little more life than the first. Reaching the
highest point of the next canyon I herd the last noise I expected to hear, a
cow. And not the kind of cow you want to hear in the backcountry… a low
moaning like the sound from a moo cow hit my ear from the hillside below
me. I was very frustrated that I had come miles into this area only to find
I wasn’t the only one up there that didn’t belong. Standing there
wondering what would be my next move I heard a ghastly bugle from the
same location. Raising my binos to my eyes I began to see elk start coming
out of the woodwork all over the hillside below me. Then I heard it again,
a low moaning more like a growl then anything else in the herd below me. I
was able to spot a decent 6x6 for a quick second which I found out later
was the culprit of this noise. Between the ghastly bugle of the little 4x4
and the growl of the 6x6 I had made up my mind that either one would be
a big trophy to me if presented the opportunity. I made a game plan in
about five seconds and dropped my entire pack on the ridge and headed
down the opposite side of the ridgeline with just my bow and rangefinder.




500 yards down the ridge and I popped over the top to locate the
herd again. Cows were feeding about 80 yards below me and the 6x6
was chasing some cows and the 4x4 farther down the ridge so back
over the edge I went and ran a few more hundred yards down before
coming over the top again. Another 5x6 bull was below me in the
bottom so I waited for him to feed off before I advanced. As I moved
back up the ridge to the talkative herd I bumped the 4x4 and a few
cows that were closer then expected and had been feeding down
toward me. They busted up along
the slope to the main herd and started feeding again. Sitting there
watching this hunt unfold was almost too surreal, just watching the
elk do what elk do, with the herd bull chasing the little one off, cows
talking, feeding, and sleeping, I was really trying to just live the
essence of it all.




Before I get any further in the hunt I have to say the
only reason this hunt worked out was because of the
wind. So many times in bow hunting the main deciding
factor that makes or breaks the hunt is the wind. With
a strong and unheard of steady breeze out of the head
of the canyon it was one thing I could rely on all
morning.



I continued my stalk back up the ridge with every carefully placed
step inching me closer to the herd and my dream. The herd started to
get alert for some reason and started moving up the ridge to the
saddle that I had just come from. I backed out of there and started
running up the hill to try and get around them. But before I got to the
top of the ridge I started angling towards the elk and was stopped
dead in my tracks by a cow staring at me no more then 30 yards
away. I quickly slid back behind a tree and the cow went back to
feeding. Now for a reason I will never know, the herd decided to
come down the ridge straight towards me instead of going over the
top into the next canyon. From here it all happened fast.




As I kneeled down and nestled into the base of a bushy pine tree,
cows immediately started walking in a single file line on a beaten path
13 yards below me. Cow after cow after cow went by at a slow pace
feeding every couple steps. About the 20th elk to come by was the
small 4x4, stopping at 13 yards to feed as I was thinking to myself
“what are you doing Andrew???? A bull at 13 yards and you’re
passing??” I knew full well I might have just made a big mistake
watching this bull walk out of my shooting lane. I was still so
enamored with the grunt of this herd bull somewhere within 80 yards
around this pine tree that I knew it was either the herd bull on this
hunt or nothing at all. Eight more cows walked the trail below me
followed by a little gap in the action, but not for long. A big cow
started through my shooting lane as I saw the tines of my dream
coming around the pine tree. Shaking like a wet dog in sub-zero
temperatures I managed to pull my bow back and rest my sight on
its tan hide. He started up the hill a little bit towards me then started to
run to push the cow back on the trail just as I released, sending 29
inches of carbon into his vitals. He buggered and disappeared down
the trail.





My heart was pumping so hard that I lay down in awe of
what just took place. Knowing I had just killed my first
bull was one of the best feelings I have ever been
presented with. I eased around the pine tree to my
left to see if any elk were still in sight and bingo! 50
yards away stood my bull swaying back and forth with
20 some inches of arrow sticking out the opposite side
of his body. A couple minutes went by before he lay
down and I slowly backed out of there and headed
back up the ridge with a skip in my step to empty my
pack. As I reached the highest point where my pack
was, I looked back down over God’s amazing country
and an elk body caught my eye below where I had shot
my bull. I pulled the binos up quick and was flooded
with emotion as it was my elk all piled up and lifeless
80 yards down from where he had lay down. I imagine
when I backed out of there my scent worked its way to
him which got him back up and made him run straight
down hill as far as he could make it.



A quick phone call
was exchanged with my dad, then down the mountain I
went to put my hands on a dream fulfilled.




With this being the first animal I ever had to cut up by myself I
stood there looking between my knife and the bull
wondering “where do I start”. Shot the bull at 8:15 am
and was found walking back into base camp at 3:30 pm
with an 80+lb pack and an aching body. I was truly
blessed to have some really good friends camped up
near me at base camp that asked no questions and
were ready to go help pack it out. One of them had a
pack horse so we spent the rest of the daylight cutting
a trail into the bull and got back to camp with the rest
of the meat on the horse and the rack on my back at
10:00 pm.



Rolling out of my bed in Portland I never imagined that 24 hours later
I would be slipping an arrow into a herd bull at 12 yards. There’s nothing like
the overwhelming feeling of success and accomplishing something
I’ve set out to do for the last 8 years. God really blessed me this
season and I’m ecstatic to have a freezer full of meat to get me
through this year at college.




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Last edited by Adjhunt; 09-29-2010 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:25 PM   #2
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Great job and congrats. I will be looking for the rest of the story soon.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:52 AM   #3
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great story--
waiting for chapter 2
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:07 AM   #4
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Great story and nice buck.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:11 AM   #5
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Nice deer and story,waiting for part two
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, TO BE CONTINUED...

Great post. looking forward to part two.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:54 AM   #7
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Nice post and pics. I will be waiting for the rest of the story. I had a good time hunting geese with you. I am sure Briley is getting bigger and loving those goose wings!
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:00 AM   #8
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I like it! Can't wait for part 2.....
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:28 AM   #9
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Great story and sweet pics, can't wait for part 2!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:50 AM   #10
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Nice buck Andrew,
looking forward to the rest of the story.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:02 AM   #11
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Great thread so far. Keep it all comin. I believe that is a GLENCOE high school shirt i see in one of those pics! Go Tide! haha
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:37 AM   #12
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nice hurry hurry
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #13
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I'm waiting this one out......
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:22 AM   #14
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Nice story Andrew! I was wondering when you were going to post your Eastern Oregon success!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntnfish57 View Post
Great thread so far. Keep it all comin. I believe that is a GLENCOE high school shirt i see in one of those pics! Go Tide! haha
Sure is! Best high school in Hillsboro!
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:29 AM   #16
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Debatable...
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:42 AM   #17
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I've seen how this ends and its worth the wait!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:05 AM   #18
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Finish finish FINISH!!! You haven't even sent me a picture yet!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:11 AM   #19
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Love the rear view mirror pic
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:30 AM   #20
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Dang you and your To Be Continued *$#@! Great story and pics so far. I'll be looking forward to reading part 2.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:32 AM   #21
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Alright everyone..... there ya go. Finished!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #22
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DUDE, that's a DANDY bull! You've had a heck of a year! I'm glad you stuck a couple so you can focus on video footage from now on! LOL! Good work my man, congrats...God is good.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #23
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Nice Really great story & pictures thanks for posting!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:54 AM   #24
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Great bull! its nice having a freezer full of meat at college
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:06 PM   #25
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nice bull bud! great season for ya this year congrats!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:13 PM   #26
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Great feeling isn't it. Congrats. Looks like a huge body on that ol boy
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:14 PM   #27
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Freaking Awesome!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:18 PM   #28
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good story and nice work
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:21 PM   #29
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Great story and pics!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:23 PM   #30
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Excellent year for you.
Congratulations
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:29 PM   #31
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Congrats on some great hunts...awesome thread, I really enjoyed the story and pics!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:30 PM   #32
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nice way to end the season, good job
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:30 PM   #33
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Great story and pic's. CONGRATS
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:44 PM   #34
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very nice!!! i don't see much luck coming into play for you this season. congrats on making the right choices at the right times!! beautiful animals
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:56 PM   #35
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Good job. Definately better than that bird.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:18 PM   #36
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Gotta give it to you, your a pretty good story teller. Great photos! Your right on when you talked about how todays society doesn't even have a clue on some of the settings and situations you got to experience. Congrats on everything.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:19 PM   #37
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I salute you my friend !!!!!!

You deserve it !


Congrats.

T.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:26 PM   #38
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God did bless you.

First and foremost, you know how to tell a story.

Your photos speak the words you left out and tie in to the whole adventure. Incredible and telling and real.

A huge undertaking for any team of hunters, but alone, it shows your determination and stealth and skill.

Congratulations on a superb bull, and a proper report and expert photos.

You did it right.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:28 PM   #39
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Nice work!! Good story too! Nothing satisfies like a solo hunt and a big bull down! Nice Work!
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:30 PM   #40
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Wow! Nice Going Andrew!
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:31 PM   #41
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We had an unforgetable year andrew i think i may have even had more fun watching you get your "firsts". Great job man, weve got a freezer full of two elk, deer, and more geese than we know what to do with, we'll be eating good all winter long.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:31 PM   #42
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Great photos and excellent story telling! Congrats on your successful adventure.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #43
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One heck of a story there.... A+ in my books!

Keith
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:04 PM   #44
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Andrew,

great story and, as always, great pictures! Congratulations on a great season and thanks for sharing
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #45
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oh dude...so awesome!!!!!! You dog! Great bull, fantastic season!
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #46
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Andrew! Gret job man... awesome pics...
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:35 PM   #47
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Good job Andrew way to go on the animals this year..
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:41 PM   #48
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Best photos of a tagged critter this season and a heck of a bull. Amazing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #49
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Sweet....nice pics also!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:07 PM   #50
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Outstanding! I have to say it is really nice to see such a young guy appreciate the whole experience of the hunt. Not that a lot don't but I still think it's great to see.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:35 PM   #51
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

If you don't mind me making a slight hint / suggestion, with writing like that and the pics you took,,, boy that is ONE HECK OF A STORY, and Truly worthy of being printed in Eastons Bowhunting Journal.

What this young man did: That my friends is DIY at is CORE!
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:16 PM   #52
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Congrats On a great Hunt. thats a nice Bull. thanks for the story..
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:44 PM   #53
elkthumper
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

thats badass!
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:01 PM   #54
blacktail519
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

I honestly had no doubt after reading and enjoying your posts the last couple years, I kept saying to myself. "this kids got what it takes and will get himself a wall hanger with time" and sure enough, your time has come my friend. Congrats on a great bull that is well deserved with patience, time, and effort. It all pays off in the end! Well done

Todd
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:11 PM   #55
RacMaster3
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I love it! Great story and pics and bull!!! Congrats man way to get it done.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:03 PM   #56
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

So you had 27 days straight to hunt? How many days did you have to hunt to get your deer and how many days to get your elk?

I keep reopening this to look at that pretty bull, I think this is the kind of story we all wish we had.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:06 PM   #57
GameChaserFid
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Congrats Andrew! The pictures and story were awesome. You should be very proud. Great job!
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:07 PM   #58
BurnsScout
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

Great season, Congrats!!!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:19 PM   #59
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

nice bull Andrew,i can't wait to get my first bull,and if it looks like that i will be on cloud nine !
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:20 PM   #60
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Default Re: The Unexplainable Backcountry - Success, Pictures, ...Completed

I don't have time to reply to everyone, but I appreciate the awesome comments much more then you all know!! So THANK YOU to each and every one of you!

Greenheadgunner-

I hunted the first 8 days of the season and got my buck on the 8th day, then was home to work for a week, then 2 days of goose hunt'n, then back to the high country and killed my bull on the first morning in.

So I was able to spend the rest of the season calling for family and friends, with the pleasure of packing out another bull...



It was an unbelievable experience and one I'll never forget. Nothing quite like a successful Solo DIY backpack hunt in the high country of the rocky mountains.

Had an amazing last week of the season with friends and family too!

I'll post some more pictures later of the rest of the season after this bull hit the dirt.


A friends bull.... (not pictured)
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