Success Comes in Many Forms

I recently got home from helping my dad on his limited opportunity elk hunt this past week. He had an any elk tag up in northern AZ and it was a challenging hunt. I had a lot of fun, as did he. First couple of days we didn't see any elk, but plenty of sign. Sunday things finally turned for us when a friend of mine, Jeff Schorey, came out and glassed with us.  Jeff glassed up 3 elk, with one of them being a decent bull.  These elk were over where we had been hunting the previous two days, but we'd never been able to find them.  Monday I actually heard some bugles while glassing, and Tuesday we ended up seeing 9 elk, all but 1 or 2 of them were bulls. We were into elk the rest of the hunt except for Thursday morning, the last opportunity for my dad to hunt due to appointments he had that afternoon.
An old brick kiln
Inside the brick kiln
He had a couple of close calls, just not close enough.  In all, I counted that we had 23 elk sightings between my dad, me, Jeff, and Terry Hartsburg, who came out Monday through the end of the hunt to help out. (Thanks Terry for the help!) Several of these sightings were of the same elk on multiple days. Glassing was key for us during this hunt. Trouble was we were spotting the elk 2-3 miles out, and they were usually out in the open with little cover to allow my dad to get close to them. We sent my dad on some seriously long stalks. I don't want to make excuses, but the full moon and warm temps didn't help matters as the elk were bedding early and coming out late.
In all, my dad had a great hunt and he was just happy he was able to be out there after his heart attack this summer. You can read about that by clicking here. Three months ago he was seriously wondering if he'd even be able to hunt this year.  Seeing my dad out there on that hunt hiking and doing everything necessary in an effort to be successful made me realize that the real success wasn't in him downing a bull, but him coming back from his heart attack to being out there doing what he loves to do.  Based on the time we got to spend together and the enjoyment we got out of the hunt, I'd definitely call the hunt a success.


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