2013 Year In Review

With 2014 upon us, I looked back at 2013 to reflect on the highlights and good times I had throughout the year.  All in all, it was a great year to be outdoors.  I spent at least 55 days in the field in 2013, and 35 nights camped out.  We camped out more together as a family this year than any previous year, a trend I hope to continue.  I got to participate in many hunts this year, including my own, close family members, and close friends.  Any excuse to be in the woods is always a good excuse.

I'd like to take this post to touch on some of the highlights from throughout the year.  Hopefully I don't drag on too much, and will mostly try to tell the story through pictures.  I saw and experienced a lot of awesome things in 2013, many of which weren't shared here for whatever reason.

2013 started out in January with my son and I going archery javelina and deer hunting.  Not many pigs were seen that cold, windy weekend, but I was able to stalk into within 35 yards of a bedded buck, only to have him jump my string and result in a clean miss.  Ryan got to watch it all, and was surprised the next day when we couldn't close into shooting distance on some other deer we found.  It was his first time deer hunting and he thought every time we found deer would lead to a 35 yard shot.  I only wish...  It was this trip that I realized I had a budding future hunting buddy.  He was very interested in the hunt, and I was having trouble keeping up with him going up the hills.

Notice the broken arrow in my quiver.  This pic was taken right after I missed a buck.

Ryan checking out a pig cave
Next up was Ryan's first backpacking trip to some central AZ mountains.  I wrote about this here.  Ryan had a great time and we're already talking about doing another 1 or 2 backpacking trips this spring.  

In early summer the family went up to the cool mountains of Northern AZ to camp out and we did a fairly popular trail for a family hike.  There was a little grumbling and complaining, but overall everyone had a great time and it was great to get up in the mountains to escape the valley heat.  I wrote about this trip here.  

At the end of July my oldest daughter, Grace, and my wife, Karly, took a Hunter's Education class from Youth Outdoors Unlimited up in Northern AZ.  It was a busy, fun weekend.  You can read about that weekend here.

After much training and preparation, my first hunt of the fall season was to Colorado for archery deer.  My friend Chris and I had a great time backpacking into the mountains of southwestern CO for a week trying to arrow a deer.  Even though unsuccessful, I brought back memories that will last a lifetime.  You can read more about this trip here.  I will say that I will be back, and even now I'm trying to plan out my 2014 season and see if I'm able to do this trip again.

In early October, right after the AZ archery elk season, my dad had a limited opportunity any elk tag.  I knew that this would be a tough hunt, but I was able to spend the entire week up elk hunting with him.  As an added bonus, my family came up for the first four days of his hunt.  It was a good week, and although my dad wasn't able to fill his tag, I learned a lot more about that hunt and that unit.
Opening day snow...
Leaves starting to turn...
Eating well!
Ryan and my dad
Waiting for the elk to show up
2 of 3 bears seen that evening
Elk and Bears feeding together

Wallow we found
Kate on Thompson the mule
Right after my dad's hunt ended, Rob's and his brother Hunter's elk hunt started.  I stuck around after my dad's hunt for Rob and Hunter's hunt to help out some.  One can never get enough elk hunting!  Opening day was fun, but frustrating as it seemed like everyone had the same plan as us.  Saturday started out very windy, and the morning hunt was a bust.  Saturday evening started out with a fast hike up the mountain, and ended in a quick, exciting call in right at last light.  What I had hoped to be able to accomplish for my dad we were able to get done for Hunter.  I was excited to be a part of Hunter taking his first bull.

A couple of weeks after my dad's and Hunter's elk hunt, my wife's limited opportunity cow elk hunt started.  Thanks to some great scouting by a good friend and my dad, we were able to get into them opening day and she had her cow down soon after the hunt started.  My dad was able to bring the kids out to experience the day with us.  You can read more about this hunt here.

Next up was my southern AZ coues deer hunt.  This is a hunt I look forward to every year.  I recently posted about this hunt here.  I went with good friends and co-bloggers Rob and Jay.  We were able to fill 2 out of three tags, but had a great time, even with it being super HOT.

A couple of days after the coues hunt, I headed up to northern AZ to the area known as the strip to help my buddy Curt from work.  While he didn't shoot one while I was there, he tagged out on a great buck the day after I left.  I left with a longing to return to that country to see and experience more of what it has to offer.

Big buck rub
Typical Strip Trick tank (note the 6 cameras)

Curt's Strip buck

With the year closing to an end, and all of my scheduled hunts over, Ryan and I tagged along on Rob's brother Hunter's December southern AZ coues hunt.  With a very limited time to hunt, and Hunter not having shot a deer before, anything with antlers was game.  Hunter was able to make a great shot on this buck, and Ryan and I were very excited to be there as part of it.

Ryan taking a mid morning nap
Hunter's buck

Ryan helping to load up the meat.

All in all, 2013 was a great year for getting out and doing what I love.  Here is hoping that 2014 brings the same opportunities and that my family, friends, and I draw some decent tags.  Even without good tags, there should be plenty of opportunities to get into the outdoors!


  1. That sure looks like a heck of a year. Congrats on all the great game taken. It's great to see your kids getting out in the field too. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks Ben! It was a great year and if 2014 is half as good I'll be happy!


  3. Congrats on an excellent year, and here is to an even better 2014. Also, job well done on getting your family out there with you. I find it more rewarding when I get my family involved in the outdoors than even when I kill something.

  4. Thanks Travis! I agree. I'm really enjoying the fact that my son wants to go with me so much. It won't be long before he's out hiking me...


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