I was just a half-mile down the trail, and I was already running into piles of fairly fresh bear scat. However, also by the half-mile mark, I was really starting to feel the effects of the hike on my body. By 0.8 miles I was starting to get shaky legs, general muscle weakness, and my head was starting to spin a bit. And right at the 1 mile mark, the trail opened up and gave me just enough flat ground to drop my pack and take a seat. So, I plopped my butt down to try and figure out what was going on. I hated the idea that I might have to pull myself off the mountain before my hunt even began, but I knew something just wasn’t right.
Quality gear won’t make animals walk out and surrender to you like the French in WWII, but it can mean the difference between staying out another day, riding out a rainstorm so you can hunt those magical moments after it passes, or heading back to the truck early because you’re just too cold, wet, and miserable to keep going. More time in the field = more opportunities with animals = greater chance of success…it’s math. So, I bit the bullet and finally invested in a full set of legit, top of the line hunting gear from First Lite. I spent six days straight in these clothes, putting in about 40 miles and more elevation gain/descent than I even want to think about. So, the big question: IS FIRST LITE CLOTHING WORTH THE MONEY???
Six months of planning, endless gear sorting and testing, constant training in the gym, shooting my bow as often as possible…and it all comes down to one week in the mountains of Colorado. When I first decided I was going to hunt elk in Colorado, I won’t pretend there wasn’t a voice in the back of my head saying, “can you really do this?” I think if we’re honest, most of us battle that self-doubt when we’re faced with a brand new and extremely daunting challenge. But, for all those who may be dreaming of their own first out of state elk hunt, I figured one more post reflecting on the trip, what I learned, what I’d do differently next time, and all that good stuff might be beneficial so you can head across state lines as prepared as humanly possible.
Okay, I realize I run the risk of sounding like I think I know everything about being a husband and father. I wrote just a few weeks ago about how to be a great dad, and now I have the nerve to tell everyone how I’ve mastered the husband game too??? Well, as I said in that last article, I am FAR from having this all figured out. I probably wouldn’t have even tried to write this article, except my wife kept insisting that I should (apparently, she seems to think I’m a fairly decent husband…which means my brainwashing strategy is working perfectly). So, wherever you find yourself on the relationship spectrum, here are the three ways that I try to show love to my wife every single day…
As the days drag on and success evades you, it can become so easy to get discouraged. “This will never work!” “What am I doing out here?” “I am just a terrible hunter and my family is going to starve!” Anyone else have these thoughts running through their head out there? That alarm goes off early in the morning, and you lie there arguing with yourself about how it’s a waste of time to even bother…why not just stay in your sleeping bag and save yourself the embarrassment of taking your bow for a hike today? But, I try to keep the following three thoughts at the front of my mind on any hunt, and it drastically changes my ability to be successful.
I’m a big believer in getting into the best archery equipment you can afford and that you shoot well. But, of all the accessories to improve your bowhunting experience, I have never understood the price that a top of the line quiver retails for. As long as it stays on your bow and holds onto your arrows, what on earth could possibly be worth the five-times as much you charge for your boutique arrow receptacle? I simply have not been able to bring myself to drop $150 on such a “meh” piece of gear. What I have done is use three different budget-friendly quivers over the past couple years, and I figured other people in the same boat might like to know what is the best bang for the buck. All three of these are in the $30-45 range, and I have spent actual days in the field with each of them. So, here’s the breakdown…
The sun came up, the hours started to tick by, and I didn’t see anything. After a while, the fact that I had been up since 4:00 started to catch up with me, and I could feel my head starting to droop. Eventually, I straight-up fell asleep. I’m not sure how long I was out, but I remember being suddenly awakened by the loudest, most hair-raising sound I had ever heard in the woods…a giant bull elk bugled directly behind me. I snapped awake, and slowly turned my head to see a bull and five cows standing less than 10 yards from my blind. The adrenaline dumped into my veins, my heart-rate went through the roof, and I remember thinking, “holy crap…this is about to happen!”
Dads need to know how they can win, and I firmly believe if you can be consistent in these three areas, you will absolutely win the fatherhood game. You’ll have bad days, your kids will have bad days, there will probably still be an unfortunate goth phase around 14…but ultimately your kids will have that stable foundation only a dad can offer that will help them turn into the functional adults we all hope and pray they will become (you know, so they can finally move out of your house). Okay, enough jibber-jabber…let’s go!
I can’t believe how fast time flies! I decided over five months ago that I was heading to CO for an Over the Counter Archery Elk Hunt, and it felt like I had all the time in the world. Now, I am just a couple weeks out from hitting the trail in a brand new wilderness in an unfamiliar state chasing these magnificent creatures that I haven’t hunted in two years…the mixture of excitement and trepidation is hard to describe (it’s like the night before your wedding day…if you feared you might fall off a mountain or utterly fail at getting married). If you have also been trying to get yourself prepped for a brand new hunting adventure (whether out of state or in your own backyard), then what should you be focused on in these final weeks leading up to the big hunt?
The question of the day is about the Ritual from Elite Archery…is it really as shootable as they claim? According to Elite, the Ritual is the culmination of every piece of ground-breaking bow technology they’ve ever developed…all crammed into one, magnificent compound bow. That’s quite a claim, if you ask me! But, I recently had the opportunity to form a relationship with Elite, and to get myself into a brand new Ritual 33. But, does it live up to the hype???