Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Washington Elk and Deer Season

The Washington Hunting Season has come to an end and we can honestly say it has been a great one.  Take a look at the story that one of our hunters wrote about his hunt with us.  If you would like to see the photos that go with this story just go to www.tshuntingadventures.com and click on the story link on the Washington page.  

Scott Marvin 
Location: Aarchery Outfitters, Washington 
December 1-6, 2010 

December in Washington! 

A thin layer of sweat covered my chest, evidence of the work it took for me to climb 
the 30 feet in the self climber. A new relationship and appreciation with my safety 
harness gave me the confidence to move about and crawl into my heater body suit. 
My bow hanger was in my vision over my left shoulder complimented by my Matthews, 
suspended but locked and loaded. My guide had just left. It was quiet…I mean whisper 
quiet. No wind, no squirrels, no ravens…just my breathing. Here I was, in Washington, 
archery hunting and the game was on!  

This was our archery hunt with Brian Jennen and Aarchery Outfitters. We trekked 
across North Dakota and Montana. Zipped through a sliver of Idaho and navigated 
through the streets of Spokane. Finally turning north after a thousand or so miles of 
heading west, we tackled the last leg of our journey and reached our new home in fine 

After day one, it was obvious that this would not be an easy place to leave. The beauty 
of the country was appreciated every day. The guides, cook, and our new hunting 
partners (Mike and Mike from Mass, Jessie from Maine) made the trip even more 
special. Most of all, it was the excitement of waking up each morning knowing that this 
day was going to be as special as the last one and afford the potential for another great 
hunt or shot opportunity. This was not going to be an easy place to leave. 

 We fine tuned our routines as we became more comfortable with the camp. Our daily 
duties of breakfast, packing our own lunch, gearing up and picking on each other were 
motivated by one fact. It meant that soon we would be driving through snow country 
pointed towards a stand site reinforced by photos of game that had been visiting “our” 
stand in the last few days. Talk about peaking your interest! 

Personally this trip would become one of those memories etched in my mind because 
of the one that got away. In my case, I did the power company lineman trek up the 
tree with my climber. At what seemed like a reasonable height, I looked down to see 
my guide pointing up with his finger telling me to go higher. The weight of my pack 
gave evidence that I had maxed out the tether rope used to raise my gear. My guide 
took care of that as he placed his 6’ frame under the pack, raised my gear above his 
head and gave me the signal to climb further. In time, my guide had left, I was in my 
heater body suit and the woods were as described….whisper quiet. By hour number 
three, some movement at my 12 o’clock gave me a view of a buck and a nice one. A 
shooter buck. As deer tend to do, he took his time in fact, he took forever. I found that 
in the process I was 13 again. My breathing was rapid and interrupted and my hands 
were suddenly sweaty. Crunch, crunch and he was at 40 yards. It took me forever to 
lift my bow off the bow hanger. I cradled the Matthews in my hand and slowly clipped 
my release on the string. Crunch, crunch and now he was behind a tree. “Excellent”, I 
thought as I planned out my next move. “Move straight and I can draw, turn back and I 
can draw…this is good. All I have to do is wait.” And wait I did, for a half hour the buck 
fed and stayed put with me at the ready. Finally, the magic time had come as the buck 
turned 360 degrees. That caught me off guard a bit but I drew and as the buck walked 
another two steps I anchored and squeezed my release. The buck whirled and ran and 
with that, my opportunity for a filled tag as well. I had passed on a very nice light frame 
10 pointer earlier in hopes something bigger would come along. It did and not only 
that, it left. So, unlike Conway (who incidentally made good on his buck at the same 
time of 1:30 and about a mile away), my visions of a Washington trophy buck include 
the disappearing horns and the white tail waving at me as it disappeared in the timber. 
I intend to remedy that next year upon my return. 

Highlights of our trip included the first buck taken by “Quiet Mike” of Mass. The 
excitement in the story, the reenactment of events and the recovery of the trophy 
was enjoyed by all…a number of times! “Other Mike” also connected and somehow 
managed to slay a trophy even bigger than his partner. Conway made good on a 
1:30pm trophy which made the guides super happy and great fodder for happy hour 
stories. Brother Buzz and I were relegated to telling stories about the ones that got 
away as we both squeezed the release on our Matthew bows. Mixed in between all 
these highlights were stories of a bull elk that walked within 5 yards but did not afford 
a shot, of trophy bucks working their way around the stand site within a cast of the 
stand but not presenting shot options. Of an archer reaching his altitude of 30” only to 
drop his bow and have to climb back down and repeat the process. Or…an afternoon 
spent watching deer, and then eventually cows and calves from mid day until dark…all 
without releasing an arrow. Hunt data showed extremely high success for an archery 
hunt. Six of us, three with our deer tags wrapped around antlers, one who made good 
on a doe and two of us who missed but made good on a return commitment next year 
to this fine camp. 

Indeed a great place and an even greater place for the opportunity to collect on that 
trophy buck or a chance to fill your freezer with elk meat. We loved the mountainous 
country that treated us each day to postcard picture perfect country. Trees burdened 
with layers of snow, the quietness of the forest floor, the ever steady movement of 
game as they drifted in and out of bait sites. The numerous “gotcha moments” when 
trophies came out of nowhere and kicked our heart rates into high hear. Fun, friends 
and a chance to pull back to your anchor point as your pin settles on a Washington 
trophy. For sure, a place that is hard to leave. 

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