A hunt I’d rather forget

Slm864

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There are some hunts or trips that I wish I’d never gone on or id rather just forget and this year was one of them.
I made my flight to Colorado from Pittsburgh with a brief stop in Denver before getting to Montrose. After a long travel day I set up camp for the evening with plans to head in the next morning.
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The next morning started out perfectly. I located some elk and waited for the wind to be in my favor to move in.
At that point I got a message from my wife on my inreach saying that my dog had unexpectedly become horribly sick and she was headed to the emergency vet. Needless to say my mindset changed immediately. I got out of the woods and drove to service so I could call. After talking to my wife and the vet it was determined that there was a mass on his intestines and with his age they couldn’t do anything and he would not make it until my return.

I packed up all of my stuff, drove through the night to Denver and got the first flight home in the morning. Shortly after arriving home my long time buddy was gone.
Though he was not a hunting dog he was trained from a pup as a tracking dog and did a good job until he was older and couldn’t get through the woods as easy. He enjoyed going fishing and hiking with us.
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Him along with his older “brother” were our family pets and big part of our lives.
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He waited at the door for me at all hours of the day while working shift work and was always happy to see me. He was there through all the good times and the bad, through my wife and My marriage as well as the birth of both kids and everything else that ever happened in 9 years of his life.

I know some people would say it was crazy to come home just for a “pet” and there are people out there with much more dire things going on in life but he was more like another kid to me and was part of my family. I figured he was there for me every minute of his life so I wanted to be there with him. It’s definitely been a tough several weeks for myself, wife and kids with the house feeling more empty.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but I’d really wished I hadn’t gone hunting even though it would not have changed the outcome. I’m sure as time goes on it won’t be nearly as tough and I’ll be looking forward to next years hunting trip but for now it definitely sucks.
 

nhenry

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I'da done the same. Sorry for your loss, man. Glad you were able to be there for him in his last little bit of time
 

Stocker

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I leaned pretty early on who to take and who not to on hunting trips in specific areas. Back in the days when I thought I needed a hunting partner for anything “out west” A really good friend of mine and I decided to go chase mule deer. It was gonna be a hard hunt with not many mature bucks in the area, we knew it was gonna be hard.

I’m not going to disparage him, he’s still a great friend and a good hunter, we are just total opposites, he’s very calculated, and gets down and out easy. I’m a runner and gunner and as long the season is open I’m still hopeful.

The scouting day didn’t turn up much but small bucks and a million people. Opening day we hiked in as far as we could in the dark and were overran with people 30 minutes after sunrise. He had already mentally checked out. We moved 30 miles to some different terrain. I found a good buck about 4 miles away so we made a stalk. We had a chance at a “decent” buck in between but both passed it. As mule deer do the big one vanished by the time we got there. We’d planned to hunt the whole week, on the way back to the truck he said he was done and was going home. I felt bad for bringing him snd made the 8 hour trek home after opening day.


I almost turned around when we got home, but I never did. It’s the only time I’ve ever given up on a tag and it made me sick. I’ve eaten plenty of tags, but there’s a level of satisfaction knowing you did absolutely everything you could to be successful. I won’t be leaving early in a tag anymore unless it’s punched.
 

Slm864

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I leaned pretty early on who to take and who not to on hunting trips in specific areas. Back in the days when I thought I needed a hunting partner for anything “out west” A really good friend of mine and I decided to go chase mule deer. It was gonna be a hard hunt with not many mature bucks in the area, we knew it was gonna be hard.

I’m not going to disparage him, he’s still a great friend and a good hunter, we are just total opposites, he’s very calculated, and gets down and out easy. I’m a runner and gunner and as long the season is open I’m still hopeful.

The scouting day didn’t turn up much but small bucks and a million people. Opening day we hiked in as far as we could in the dark and were overran with people 30 minutes after sunrise. He had already mentally checked out. We moved 30 miles to some different terrain. I found a good buck about 4 miles away so we made a stalk. We had a chance at a “decent” buck in between but both passed it. As mule deer do the big one vanished by the time we got there. We’d planned to hunt the whole week, on the way back to the truck he said he was done and was going home. I felt bad for bringing him snd made the 8 hour trek home after opening day.


I almost turned around when we got home, but I never did. It’s the only time I’ve ever given up on a tag and it made me sick. I’ve eaten plenty of tags, but there’s a level of satisfaction knowing you did absolutely everything you could to be successful. I won’t be leaving early in a tag anymore unless it’s punched.
I tried to get the right flights to get back out the last week of the archery season but the stars just didn’t align with the ability to get time off, flights, rentals and everything else. Being I was 100% solo made the decision easier. Had I been bailing on hunting partners might have made it much more difficult. I told my wife that there are people I wouldn’t have left my hunt for but I felt differently with my dog.
I think it also weighed heavy on me that my 2 young kids had never experienced the loss of someone/something that they were close to and I didn’t think it fair to put it all on my wife to handle alone

Not getting to hunt and try to fill that tag, albeit a cow tag in a LE area, still sucks. I really wanted to get back out there and fill it so I definitely hear where your coming from in that regard.
 
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MtnElk

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I know some people would say it was crazy to come home just for a “pet”
I think a ton of us understand exactly what you were feeling. If my lab was sick and dying, the only thing that would keep me from running out of there immediately would be if an animal was on the ground. I'd need to take care of that first so there was a waste of life. But in your situation, would have done the same thing - without even thinking
 

OntarioHunter

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I tried to get the right flights to get back out the last week of the archery season but the stars just didn’t align with the ability to get time off, flights, rentals and everything else. Being I was 100% solo made the decision easier. Had I been bailing on hunting partners might have made it much more difficult. I told my wife that there are people I wouldn’t have left my hunt for but I felt differently with my dog.
I think it also weighed heavy on me that my 2 young kids had never experienced the loss of someone/something that they were close to and I didn’t think it fair to put it all on my wife to handle alone

Not getting to hunt and try to fill that tag, albeit a cow tag in a LE area, still sucks. I really wanted to get back out there and fill it so I definitely hear where your coming from in that regard.
Helping your kids through that was definitely the right choice. They will never forget what you did. Best example of a good dad.
 

Slm864

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Not that it helps, but I think you did the right thing. He gave you 9 good years, and 1 elk tag pales in comparison to that.

There’s always another tag…
That’s how I viewed it even though elk hunting is my favorite part of the year.

I still have 4 deer tags for home which the season has yet to start and I might try to use the flight credits and extra vacation for some winter fishing in the gulf.
 

Stocker

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I misread the title, because I’m stupid. I thought this was like a “tell your” hunting trip you’d rather forget. Didn’t mean to derail what you had going.



There’s bigger things in life than hunting, you gotta do what you thinks right. Nobody else.
 

Slm864

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I misread the title, because I’m stupid. I thought this was like a “tell your” hunting trip you’d rather forget. Didn’t mean to derail what you had going.



There’s bigger things in life than hunting, you gotta do what you thinks right. Nobody else.
No worries. Nothing derailed lol. This train really isn’t even on tracks. It’s just me blabbering.
 

Akcabin

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Dogs. Not just for hunting. The affection that they give to the family. Our kids were always with their dogs. And I felt that they were safe. And knowing that nothing will get near our home at night or when we are gone. Our dogs give to us in many ways.
When I just want to watch a prime performance. I do some retrieval exercises, for both of or good. Watching her hunt up. If you haven't watched a good dog on the hunt your missing a real treat.
Our chessys have been great family members, trusted n honest
Sorry about your family's loss
 

ajrcktts

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Really sorry man. My last dog came home to us when we'd only be married 2 years, and before had any kids. He stayed with us for 11 years and through the birth of all 3 children. He was as much family as anyone else. He passed away two years ago while I was on the road home from Montana but still 2 days out. I'd been gone for his last 10 days and it still makes me a little sick. But it gets better and it helps to remember how much your family loved him and how he loved them. If he could talk, I'm sure he'd tell everyone just how good he had it all those 9 years and wouldn't trade it for the world.
 

Slm864

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Really sorry man. My last dog came home to us when we'd only be married 2 years, and before had any kids. He stayed with us for 11 years and through the birth of all 3 children. He was as much family as anyone else. He passed away two years ago while I was on the road home from Montana but still 2 days out. I'd been gone for his last 10 days and it still makes me a little sick. But it gets better and it helps to remember how much your family loved him and how he loved them. If he could talk, I'm sure he'd tell everyone just how good he had it all those 9 years and wouldn't trade it for the world.
I worried that very thing would happen. I’d get home and he was already gone. Very Sorry to hear that happened to you.
I’m sure that made it even more difficult.
 

2rocky

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My family kinda has an unspoken rule about stuff at home. We don't say anything while the hunt is going on. Especially when there is nothing we can do.

But when we are headed home, then the folks at home will tell us what happened, and how they dealt with it, and what we need to do when we get there. I can remember a couple times...One was the Employee's house had a small fire, and another was my Grandmother's health went downhill rapidly.

One year when I left for an Elk hunt I took a little extra time to say goodbye to my first stockdog, Sophie who was about 16 at the time. When I was gone, my wife at the time took her to be put down, and didn't tell me. I was more than a little peeved.
 

FI460

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Sorry for your loss. He was quite the handsome pooch.

I had a similar thing occur while I was in Idaho in 2010. I had just killed my biggest buck when my mom called and told me my dog Pepper wasn't feeling well. Turned out she had salmon poisoning. We had a phenomenal vet who did everything he could, but there was no saving her. I wanted to leave early but it was a 12 hour drive home (in good conditions) and I was one of four in the truck.

What was one of my best hunts at the time turned into a nightmare after that first call: A leaking boot, trailer blow outs, and an axle replacement on the side of the highway outside of Burns. I almost made it but when I parked my grandpas truck in his driveway and jumped in mine to finish the last 2 hours of the trip it wouldn't start. My dog passed that night. It was crushing to not be there. She had been my #1 support through my first real breakup which was still fresh. I took solace knowing that she was with my mom and roommate/ best friend at the time, but IMO you did the right thing going home.

Dogs are special. I burned a considerable amount of vacation time that I had reserved for hunting this December when my dog (in my avatar) got sick. I'll be hunting many fewer days this year, but I spent 17 incredible days with her doing all the things she loved after the vet told me she only had 2 days left. The only thing I'd trade it for is more warning so I could have been there even more.
 

Slm864

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Sorry for your loss. He was quite the handsome pooch.

I had a similar thing occur while I was in Idaho in 2010. I had just killed my biggest buck when my mom called and told me my dog Pepper wasn't feeling well. Turned out she had salmon poisoning. We had a phenomenal vet who did everything he could, but there was no saving her. I wanted to leave early but it was a 12 hour drive home (in good conditions) and I was one of four in the truck.

What was one of my best hunts at the time turned into a nightmare after that first call: A leaking boot, trailer blow outs, and an axle replacement on the side of the highway outside of Burns. I almost made it but when I parked my grandpas truck in his driveway and jumped in mine to finish the last 2 hours of the trip it wouldn't start. My dog passed that night. It was crushing to not be there. She had been my #1 support through my first real breakup which was still fresh. I took solace knowing that she was with my mom and roommate/ best friend at the time, but IMO you did the right thing going home.

Dogs are special. I burned a considerable amount of vacation time that I had reserved for hunting this December when my dog (in my avatar) got sick. I'll be hunting many fewer days this year, but I spent 17 incredible days with her doing all the things she loved after the vet told me she only had 2 days left. The only thing I'd trade it for is more warning so I could have been there even more.
That would have all been horribly tough. Trying like crazy to get home but continually hitting roadblocks. Sorry to hear that.

I understand your point on trading for more time spent. My dog always enjoyed riding the side by side and there was plenty of times I didn’t take him. Looking back I wish I would have but that’s life I guess
 

FI460

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That would have all been horribly tough. Trying like crazy to get home but continually hitting roadblocks. Sorry to hear that.

I understand your point on trading for more time spent. My dog always enjoyed riding the side by side and there was plenty of times I didn’t take him. Looking back I wish I would have but that’s life I guess

They can't go everywhere. But anymore I allow them to go more than I don't.
 

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