Late summer has arrived, the dreams have begun. I expect that I am not alone with this phenomenon of vivid elk hunting dreams becoming more frequent as I sleep each night. Distant bugles in my dreams are getting closer as I scramble through the woods in pursuit of the majestic creature that creates them. Countless different scenarios play-out with each different dream, but they all tend to end similarly with me delivering a perfect shot on a magnificent bull. Although I’m always a bit disappointed to wake and find that the story is just another dream, I’m also excited to learn that I am one day closer to the real thing. Bow hunting elk is in my blood. The act of it charges my soul’s battery, the anticipation of it gives me focus and determination for many of life’s other demands.
My own personal preparation has been somewhat lacking this year. Between career obligations, family challenges, and physical injuries I’m just not as prepared as I should be. My confidence is still quite high as I plan to rely on years of experience instead of the sheer determination of my earlier bow hunting years. As always, I have goals for the season: Help my twelve year-old son have a great muzzleloader hunt and maybe kill a bull, help a friend take his first elk, and continue with a quest to help a great friend finally arrow a 6 x 6 bull (he is a 5 x 5 killing machine!). Success for me is often defined by helping others with bow hunting elk. One of the best years I remember was one of the very few that I didn’t kill a bull myself. It was a great season of rutting action and calling three separate bulls for two friends and my brother. At season’s end my pack was bloody, my legs were tired, and my satisfaction was sky-high.
Of course, I would like to also arrow some animals myself. At the top of the list is a big Muley buck in velvet. The little one I took last year to finish my Colorado Archery Big 8 leaves much for improvement. I’m also itching for a bigger bear than the one I took in 2003. Even with these personal goals at the top of my list, I inevitably will find myself being lured into chasing bugling bulls. There is something magical about elk and the thrill of bow hunting them. Nothing else compares; not even close.
Whatever the outcome of the season I will again measure success by the memories created. In the end, these memories are what fuel our passion for more. Antlers on the wall are mere reminders for the memories burned into our mind and soul. Our future dreams may not actually need real experiences to draw from, but it certainly can’t hurt!
Provided by HUD Prostaffer Matt Dorram