Last year was an exciting one and we were fortunate to film hunts in several western states, including Hawaii. While we as hunters often share our success shots, when we look back at the photos from our journeys, it’s often the other images that bring back vivid memories.
I recently finished sorting through and indexing over 15,000 images captured from last year’s hunting and fishing trips. While I’m still needing to update the 2011 Hunting Report on my website (that will be done sometime in March), I wanted to share some of my favorite images.
It’s hard to pick a favorite, really, as they all have special meaning. Some have more meaning than others, but still, every photo tells a story in its own way.
There was the horseback hunt into Wyoming’s wilderness, where the weather was perfect and the elk plentiful. Though it was one of the most grueling horesback hunts of my life, it led my buddy and I into some of the most breathtaking country there is. When at that top, at over 10,000 in elevation, we were seeing more bighorn sheep than elk…but oh, what a view! One of the greatest feelings of being there, however, was knowing we stood very near where the legendary writer, Jack O’Conner once took a great ram.
There was a dog, Bridger, who accompanied us in to elk camp. He guarded the camp against bears while we were out, and was so happy to see us return at the end of each day.
There was the bowhunt for late season mule deer in central Washington. We saw lots of bucks, and some whoppers! But the most memorable was a big bodied 2×2 that was at the peak of rut. The shot we caught of him lip-curling after having sniffed some fresh urin is something I’ll never forget.
Whenever I have a chance, no matter where we’re hunting, I like to try and get in some fishing. Last year, after filling an elk tag Travis, our camera man, and I got in to some gorgeous brook trout. We hit some nice rainbows along the way, too.
Then there was our youngest son, Kazden, who not only got his first turkey last year, after having just turned 9, but he also took his first blacktail deer near our home in Oregon. Those hunts were priceless, and he was more than thrilled…but not as pumped as I was!
One morning we were headed out on his deer hunt and the sun shined brightly on the hill tops, it’s silver rays slicing through the fall colored leaves which clung to the trees. We just sat there and watched as it slowly faded away, not saying a word.
Hawaii treated us well, as always. Those who have hunted Hawaii know it’s not all palm trees and sandy beaches. The rugged, lava-formed mountains can be as grueling and dangerous as any sheep country, but the views from high atop these places will take your breath away.
One of my favorite success shots of the year was a whitetail we took in Idaho. Both Travis and Dustin (our editor for The Hunt), caught the action on film. It was a total team effort, and everyone whose ever tried filming a hunt knows how hard it is to capture the action with one camera let alone two…the fact it was spot-and-stalk made it that much more special.
We met many great people and made new friends along the way. The places we saw, we saw because of the hunts that took us there. This truly is a great passion we all share.