Don't Wait!

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Have you thought about a trip out west for big game? Have you dreamed about what it might be like to ride horseback through the beautiful Rocky Mountains, while looking for deer or elk? Have you dreamed maybe of traveling to Canada for a moose, elk, bear or deer hunt? Have you wondered what it might be like to see the wild Alaskan bush?

Well, I have a little advice for those who have wondered those, or similar thoughts. JUST DO IT!! If you think you might enjoy it, my bet is that you will enjoy it. Too much $$ you say?? Well, cheap it ain't, but I can promise you that by a little careful planning and an open mind the price should be well worth the memories.

I'm not a wealthy man, by any stretch of the imagination, I can promise you that! I am able to afford dinner and the electric bill often enough to keep the wife smiling and not a heck of a lot more. I worked damn hard in my life though and at one point a few years ago I discussed with my wife spending some serious $$ on some hunts I felt I really wanted to persue.

She listened intently to my explanation and then kindly said that she was all for my traveling to new places for new game. Besides, she wanted something different hanging on our den walls besides all those darn deer heads! Well, hells bells, why I had I waited so darn long to ask?

I made plans then, at 51 yrs of age, to go on an outfitted hunt by horseback into an area where motor vehicles were not permitted with my best friend, Gary. We sent our deposits, sighted our rifles and headed out to Idaho, meeting in Denver and continuing on together from there.

I killed an average mule deer buck at 4 PM on the 7th and last day and we weren't back to the truck with the deer and horses until about 9 PM. The experience of shooting that deer, average as he might be, on that very steep hillside and then actually getting him back is a story that takes a good three drinks to finish.

Although Gary has not been able to accompany me again, I've made a couple other trips since that first. The next year (2006) I went to Alberta, Canada once again for a big mule deer. I passed up a very makeable shot at a nice buck a bit bigger than my first and saw no other shooters for the rest of the trip.

However, the stunning vistas of the northern Rockies there, the herds of wild horses I saw running those mountains and the other wildlife are memories I do have that will always be part of that trip. A couple of very nice Alberta residents, Doug and Terry as camp mates made the fact that my guide was not the most personable fella a moot point, completely. Spending a 12 hour day with him, when he muttered perhaps 10 words total was totally OK by me, with the excitement of the horses (very fine steeds) and the beautiful country I was enjoying.

I can tell you this much, sitting atop a 1800+ pound horse that was 1/2 Percheron and climbing those Alberta mountains was quite something and no words can explain that, I don't think.

I made another trip I'd dreamed of this past spring, at age 56. My good friend Al and I traveled to Alaska for a black bear hunt. We were outfitted, but did the entire hunt on our own, after being dropped at a spike camp in the foothills of the Alaska Range. Neither of us collected a bear, but the times we shared there in the wilderness we simply awesome. We have talked of returning again just as soon as we can possibly afford to.

Nope, as you can see, none of my "big" hunts produced any fantastic trophies. But I carry many Boone & Crockett memories with me from all three of those great hunts. I don't even need photos to remind me of those gale force winds encountered high atop an Alberta mountain top, one blustery day. I also still remember looking directly across to an adjacent peak and watching a herd of big horn shhep scramble away.  I can still see those snow-capped mountains of Alaska that were our views 360* around ou 9X9' tent. And I feel the chill of the steady sleet that pelted us when we encountered it on day 4 of our Idaho hunt, after both Gary and I took our rain gear out of our packs that very morning.

These are only a few of the many wonderful memories these trips have gifted me with. Heck, I've not even touched on how wonderful a trip like this can be with a special friend accompanying you!

Do not wait until it's too late for you to consider it. Do it now! I promise you will never regret it. I'm not sure how many more years I'll be able to withstand these types of physical hunts, but I do hope to find that out!

The very average mule deer buck I shot on my first "big" trip

The view that we had upon opening the tent flap in Alaska


Deer Slayer's picture

Thank you! This is one great

Thank you! This is one great article. I am still pretty young yet. I will turn 23 in May. I will also be getting married in May. I know there are a few things I want to do as far as hunting goes. I want to get an elk, a bear, an antelope. these are just a few things. If I start early and do one every few years,  I can have most if not all of these hunts done by the time I'm in my 30's. Thanks for sharing.

arrowflipper's picture

Absolutely Right

You are absolutely right.  If you don't make it happen, it just won't happen.  You have to make up your mind and then do whatever it takes to put it all together.  If you have the desire, there are ways of putting the money together.  Sell some things in the garage that you don't use anymore.  Put in a little extra overtime.  Sacrifice not having that late every morning.  Don't go to a few movies.  Put your money in a place where you won't be tempted to borrow from it.  When I booked my trip to Africa, I became very creative in ways to save money.

Great tip!!  Make it happen.  You'll be glad you did.

ManOfTheFall's picture

     Thank you, thank you so

     Thank you, thank you so very much. I think this is one of the best tips I've read. Ever since I was 25, I've been saying I am going to go out west and shooy me a big old bull elk and one of them cool looking antelope. While I'm out there, there are so many more animals I could hunt that I don't get to back here in Ohio. It's probably to late this year but I am going to be planning my trip this year. I will start by talking with all of the outfitters at the Ohio Deer and Turkey Expo. I will be spending my next weekend there with my wife. She is usually pretty supportive of me and my hunting as long as I take care of her and treat her right. should make for a great weekend. Our anniversary is in September so a nice trip to the Rockies for her and me would do us both wonders. Once again thank you so much for the tip!!!!! 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Now that's a tip!!! I fully

Now that's a tip!!!

I fully agree.  My dad is still a very able hunter, however, that won't continue.  We have talked for years and years about doing certain hunts.

Well, we are finally diggin in and planning to take a trip to either Illinois or Kansas next year.

I would hate to have his hunting time pass by, and know that we could have done more.  Time is tight now, with 4 young kids, but we will all regret it if we wait.

Critter's picture

I agree for those of you

I agree for those of you thinking of doing it just do it.  I may of waited a little too long to enjoy the wilds of Alaska and Canada.  A couple of bad knees will limit me to what I can hike and go after.  Granted there are outfitters out there that will cater to just about anyone as long as they know what your limits are it is more enjoyable when you are healthy and can really enjoy it yourself. 

hunter25's picture

I wish someone had pushed

I wish someone had pushed this advice on me when I was younger. I am 42 now and working hard to make up for lost time but there are so many things I eant to do and so many places I want to hunt. I'm making good progress but could have been much farther if I had started younger.

But at the same time I know my son does not yet appreciate the many places he has been and the animals he has been able to hunt.

I had a very good friend about 20 years older than me that upon retiring a few years back bought several new rifles and made plans for a multi state hunt now that he had the time. He never made it as he passed away 6 months later from cancer.

Make your move now and you will never regret it.

groovy mike's picture

Right on target



You are right on target.  This was told to me many years ago, and I am telling young hunters the same thing.  Don't wait until your knees ache and your eyesight is gone to get to those dream hunts.  GO while you can still enjoy the hunt.

Go while you can still hike up those mountains and follow the game.

You never know what life willm bring you and that may include a physical liitation that shuts down some aspect of your mobility.

If you an stretch the budget at all and go while still feeding your family.  Do it now!

It is worth it and you will not regret it.

The memories last forever!

Of course, it is NOT worth losing a marriage over, but that is another subject.....

jim boyd's picture

Ed, You are not doing anyone


You are not doing anyone any favors, here, Brother...

First of all, I am DYING to go out west and you are making it very hard to slow down the plans!

Secondly, please send your address - my wife is wanting to come "visit" you with her cast iron frying pan and I can tell you (from some fairly good experience) that if you can simply not answer the door when she gets there - you will be a lot better off.

You see, my darling bride is not overly enthused about this whole "I need to go a western hunt" idea that I have hatched.

I will, here and now, blame this forum for this malady, also... I was fine until I started seeing some of the majestic photos you folks have posted and also was able to see some the simply stunning beasts that you folks have taken.

For now, I will suffer in silence, putting pennies away, as I build toward what I hope is a trip to Colorado in 2012 to hunt for elk.

Great tip, Ed, with some great photos... and while the buck may have been semi pedestrian, at least you came, you saw and you harvested.... I see no shame in that nor do I feel any hunter requires an explanation for a good kill (not that you offered one) and I call that a completely successful hunt!!!!

Here is what I suspect - your next buck will be better than this one - of that, I would just about bet.

Here also is another thought - that buck is a LOT BIGGER than the one I killed....  because I have never taken a mule deer - because I have never been out there - which is exactly your point!!

Get off of our duffs and make a trip.

Great work!!

groovy mike's picture

go for it

Just go!  Do it while you are young enough to enjoy it.  Combine it with a trip the wife will WANT to go on.  And when she LOVES the trip so much that she takes up mule deer hunting herself, you'll have ME to thank for it!

Yeah...and when you figure out how to make that work - tell me so I can do it TOO! lol

Tndeerhunter's picture

in line

First, I wish you an absolutely splendid first western experience! It is something that does and should change a man forever. Now as far as someone knocking at the front door, I'm afraid your wife may be in the back of a long line of other wives who's husbands have accompanied me on a hunt or three or bought a gun or six at my urging! LOL!

jaybe's picture

Take Her Along

  I am in full agreement with the idea of "doing it now".

  I have wanted to go on an "out west" trip for as long as I've been hunting, but have always put it off for one reason or another.

  Well, next fall at 67, I will be heading to Wyoming for the first time with a rifle in my hands.

  It won't be a high country, back-packin', horse-ridin' adventure, but it will be walking and hunting in an entirely new type of terrain and hunting a new species of animal.

  And my wife will be going along.

  Not that she wouldn't allow me - even encourage me - to go with just the guys, but she loves the great outdoors herself.

  Beyond that, she is a hunter who has contributed quite a few whitetails to our larder over the years.

  I have encouraged her to get a license, but because of having had both knees replaced two years ago, she doesn't think that she'd be up to all the walking that goes along with a western hunt. She's probably right on that point.

  But we will be staying in our 5th wheel camper along with another couple, who will be in theirs. The other wife doesn't hunt, but simply loves to spend time sitting by the trailer on the warm afternoons ejoying God's great creation (I'm told you can see a long way out there).

  So, yeah - start making your plans now for the first of more trips and hunts that will offer you new experiences in new places.

  Figure a way to take the wife along.

  I think you'll be glad you did.