Favorite hunting memory...(inspired by europe)

Hilljackoutlaw

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What is your fondest memory afield at camp or whatever. I know most of us have probably to many to count, but try and be as specific as possible and narrow it down to one.

My fondest is my first year as a legal hunter at pennsylvania deer camp with friends and family. I was going for years with dad but not old enough to hunt. When I was 12 and finally got a license it felt different. I felt as I was part of something special and bigger than I could ever be. I was part of filling the freezers for family and friends which was an important task back in those days, part of a camaraderie that was the coolest thing since sliced bread, part of the "adult" activities, card games and dice, part of a tradition that was very important to my grandpa and great uncles. Luckily for me I was taught by lots of good men from day one how important all aspects of hunting were and how it was not a game and not to be taken for granted. The lessons learned on my first ever trip to Pennsylvania deer camp as a licensed hunter have served me well and still come to the surface opening day wherever I am for the last 23 years.
 

rwc101

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Laramie, WY
My dad and I hunted together for almost 10 years when I was a kid without seeing much of any deer. We never shot one in that time. One day we get into the stand early, and my dad fell asleep like usual. To this day I can vividly remember how my heart pounded when a nice 8 point materialized out of the dawn and I had to wake my dad up without spooking the buck. I remember the look on my dad's face when he realized what was going on more fondly than actually getting our first deer together.
 

rtraverdavis

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OREGON
When I was ten I went on my first mule deer hunt with my dad. Opening morning we got up earlier than I’d ever been awake and hiked what felt like 20 miles but was probably only one. My feet hurt like hell and, not wanting to let my dad down, I did my best refrain from complaining. Finally I broke down and started bitching. My dad swung the flashlight beam to my feet and we both saw that I’d put my boots on backwards. “Dipshit.” he said, and we both started laughing hysterically. Sort of sums up a lot of life.
 

ElkFever2

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Iowa
I used to have permission to hunt whitetails on a 10 acre woodlot right on the edge of a small town. You could hear neighbors talking, dogs barking, and other common sights, scents, and sounds of a developed area. My expectations for a wilderness-like experience hunting here were zero.

Yet, there were several experiences on that property I will never forget.

Early October a doe and her buck fawn came down the trail and stopped about 10 feet from me. The fawn nursed while mom alertly scanned the woods for signs of danger. I could hear the suckling.

Another time a resident doe went into heat ahead of the others. This drew bucks from near and far like moths to a lightbulb. One morning I saw nine bucks from my stand. Two pairs of them sparred each other. I had never seen whitetails fight before! I left my bow on the hook and just watched the show that morning.

The last memory was early November. There was a cold snap that week and it was well below zero before the sun rose. The wind was not right for my stand, so I walked to another spot I could hunt from the ground, about an hour before first light. On the way there in the blackness and faint light of the moon I walked in by memory without a flashlight. Sensing another's presence, I looked up and staring back at me was the big buck I had been holding out for, not ten yards away in the open field. He was a sway-backed brute with a beautiful towering rack. We sat there and stared at each other for what seemed like a long time. He didn't stomp or snort, or pretend to feed, or otherwise seem alarmed. I turned around and left.
 

bobbydean

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New Mexico
Of course family, my 4 year old at the time. Too young to walk but wanted to be with me. We drove forest road ( ROAD HUNTER) until we saw a small herd of does. I stepped out to see what I would see. Daughter was asleep in the back seat of the pickup. Came alive with deer!

Did not see a buck and headed back to the pickup and a little 4 point stepped up to a high point behind the does. We were not trophy hunting, just wanted to give my little girl a taste of hunting.. Offered a neck shot at 40 yards.

Sarah, daughter, was so excited. Drug to little guy to the truck. Sarah asked if she could help. Old school, I gut deer. Told her to hold the legs apart and we gutted the buck.

She was so thrilled and is to this day my favorite hunting memory 26 or 27 years later.
 

MTelkHuntress

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Missoula, MT
My first whitetail deer. It was the only day I ever missed high school. My dad and I slowly got out of bed on a Monday (previously hiked 15 miles the day before...had some awful blisters) made our way up to the parking area around 11 am. Started hiking and at about a mile in saw a buck. My dad quickly stacked our packs and had me lay down for a shot. Made a clean shot at 100 yards. I can count on one had the number of times I've seen my dad tear up....and that moment was one of them. He was pretty proud. I think I used all my luck that day though...because that was the easiest drag out ever.
 

Quackillr

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MT
Hands down my at the time 13 y/o daughter Jessica shooting a Montana sharias moose at 80 yards and my buddy saying “I think she missed” and her quickly replying “I did not miss” just as it tipped over.

A close second would be last year, same daughter Jessica now 17 and not able to participate in the 2 day junior hunt saying to her sister 13 y/o Janey who is slightly gun shy “god dammit Janey just squeeze the f’ing trigger” as we all watched a solid 180” central Montana mule deer stand broadside for 5 mins at 120 yards before walking away. I can count on one hand the amount of times all my kids have cursed in front of me and that may be the only one that ever gets a pass lol.
 

BearFoot

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Alaska
You Know, each day of My life, is the best day ever! For this post, my boys first moose.
My twelve year old sharp shooter, dropped this nice bull. The kid got his first moose down! 110394

Took a bear a couple of days later.
110395

Then I took my moose.

110396
 

F250

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Vermont
My wife and I were elk hunting in Utah. She had a bull tag. We had been working a 6 X 7 bull for over 45 minutes. We had started him from 3/4 mile away. He was screaming the entire time. We watched him destroy a rather large Juniper tree, disappear into a ravine, and then come to 90 yards. I was shaking so badly I could barely get a reading on the range finder ( my assignment). There is no way I could have shot a rifle !! She calmly put two rounds perfectly behind his shoulder.

A close second would be another elk hunt. My wife and I had both drawn December cow elk Muzzle Loader tags in New Mexico. We were hunting in the Gila National Forest on 4" of fresh snow. Well before dawn we hiked up a mountain overlooking a sage flat. As is became light, we watched a herd of about 3 dozen elk feeding across the flat headed into a stand of softwood. There was a very tall dead pine tree near the middle of the wooded area. We bailed off the backside of the mountain and hurried to our tall landmark. Shortly there were elk talking and moving all around us. We had turned so we were back to back in order to watch 360 degrees. I felt her sliding down my back as she dropped to a prone position. I turned as she was lining up on a huge cow standing broadside at about 100 yards. I had my binos on the elk when my wife fired. The elk took off running with no apparent injury. My wife rolled over, gave me a thumbs up, and said, "Got her". I had my doubts. There was no blood or hair on the fresh snow where the elk had been standing. We followed the tracks for about 150 yards without so much as a single drop of blood. My doubts increased but my wife was like a child at Christmas with her excitement ! We found the elk dead with, once again, a perfectly placed shot behind the shoulder.
 

teej89

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It's complicated.
It’s a toss up, my favorite moments are when I’ve been in the past passenger seat. My dad an first antelope, my fiancées first turkey and my dogs first rooster, it was in the late season and he had an amazing flush in grass over my head and I winged it and it coasted 75+ yards before touching down. Didn’t hear the dog for a couple minutes and next thing I known hes fighting his Way back thru the thick grass with his first rooster. There was some goofy dog and owner celebrations in the field following the retrieve, when probably looked like morons.
 
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Europe

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Hilljackoutlaw,

great question and you received some great answers,

I have thought and thought but I have so many. I have been very lucky to have kind hearted, adventurous men in my life who did not take themselves to serious. My grandfather, dad, husband, son have all provided a life for me that leaves a smile on my face. My grandmother, mom and daughter have as well. In fact our daughter is the subject of this story. she was young, 7, maybe 8. We were hunting Elk in Arizona and we had spent hours hunting this big guy. We finally get within range and a clear shot when he walked into a clearing and our daughter said, and not in a whisper, "oh wow, he is so beautiful" and he was also, gone. Bless my husband he started laughing and gave her a hug.

But with your permission hilljackhunter, three others came to mind-----shooting doves in Argentina and missing. Getting upset and throwing the shotgun at them. husband walks up, dusts off the shotgun, loads it and says "your shooting under them" and walks on downfield. Maybe you would have had to be there, but everyone started laughing.

Two from Africa. Asked a tracker, "what happens when a Black Mambo bites you?"---he said "you die" Bathing in a river and running with onky hunting boots on to the tent screaming, with a hippo in hot pursuit.--that was funny, later

We had made plans to hunt Water Buffalo in the North Territory, Aust. But when we got to Cairns we loved that little city. We ended up renting a helicopter to drop us off on a small island in the Barrier Reef. We were alone obviously and decided to scuba nude. After about an hour we notice a boat and we look through the Bino's and 4 or 5 guys are looking through Bino's right back at us--so that hunt turned out a bit different.

But yes, so many memories of family. hunting and the great outdoors has brought so many good times into my life, which are now wonderful cherished memories.

Thank you for starting this thread giving each of us a chance to share our stories. Great stories guys. Mtelkhuntress. Great story, thanks for sharing it with us. That day in the field was far more educational than whatever you were studying in school that day. Your father had every right to be proud. what a great day !
 
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noharleyyet

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A multi hour evening time lapse while my son and I watched a herd of elk feed from cover toward us while we hid in a small tree copse on the valley floor. The bull came straight as a string from 1000 yards to 350. Kenny made a good shot and the herd didn't budge. Nearing last light we wait til they begin to slowly move off so we don't bust em into a run. As we're sneaking counter clockwise slowly out of the small tree clump another herd fills their previous spot and freeze us in the crepuscular gloam, still legal shooting time & able to see them with the eye but seconds racing for riflescope efficacy. I can't get a convincing sight pic & it is over, but we have experienced a couple hours of adrenaline rush neither of us will ever forget.
 

3855WIN

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Mississippi
Son was ten and had just started hunting by himself. I’d left him on a ridge overlooking a Mississippi hardwood bottom. There’d been a light snow the night before. I eventually eased back around to him. We were whispering when he said ,”there’s a buck” and scooted down the ridge for a clear shot. I didn’t see the deer until he was on his death run. The kid threaded a great 150 yard shot through the trees. On the ride back to camp, I told him, “I’ll look back on these days as the happiest times of my life”.
He wasn’t smiling because he lost a tooth cap the day before eating candy. Haha. E6BAEEBE-396C-40E1-BF94-B09BF7A66F21.jpeg
 

Brauee20

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Michigan
It's one of my earliest memories. I must have been like 5 or so and it was my first time being able to tag along with my dad. It was late November, and I was dressed like we were headed to the artic.

Two deer entered the cut bean field a ways off shortly before last light. My dad looked at me and asked me if I was ready to crawl. Being in Michigan's shotgun zone, we had to close the distance.

Being 5 and still half afraid of the dark, I stuck right to the bottom of my dad's boots. 10 yards into the field I took a heel to the nose. He swung his head and gave me a half hearted are you ok with a "this is never going to happen" look on his face.

Somehow my dad managed to drag me along in the crunchy bean stubble to within shooting range. It felt like we crawled two hundred yards but looking back now it was probably only 50. He tells me to cover my ears and he eases up to his knees. I don't really remember the report but I do remember the big flash of light out of the end of the barrel.

After a couple minutes we walked over to the deer. He took out his knife, handed me a flashlight and punched his tag. He cut the deer open and asked me if I was ready to get dirty. What was most shocking was how warm the viscera was. We had a quiet conversation about what it meant to stop another living thing's heartbeat as I struggled to empty the cavity of everything below the diaphragm.

We had a conversation about this outing on our way to Wyoming last fall, about what it meant to me and lighting the fire. He never showed how disappointed he was in himself for killing a button buck. As a matter of fact, I never knew it was a yearling deer. In the low light and excitement of me being along he had misjudged the two deer. It was all excitement on his face, and a respectful tone to his voice. It was a valuable lesson as I begin to debate on the right time to bring my 3 year old along on his first hunt.
 

HSi-ESi

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My senior year of High School and my younger brother was a Freshman. It was after football season and we only had 1 last weekend for an elk hunt. My Dad had a friend that lived in a cabin bordering FS and he let us go through his place for access. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and we stopped by the cabin the night before to look over some maps.

The next morning found us hiking our way up the ridge, snow was mid-calf to knee deep - and soft fresh snow. We didn't have a big plan, just get to the top, look for sign and maybe find some elk. After climbing about 2000', we were coming up to a small timbered pass, with a meadow on the south face. There was a group of about 15 elk, all cows and calves. They were spread out feeding, closest one about 75 yards and the small pass was about 125 yards. My brother had first shot this trip, so he picked out his elk and I had mine picked out. When his shot broke, I was hoping for at least a second or two - but there was no hesitation in the elk. I was following the lead cow in my scope and had a clean shot as she was at least 1 length away from any other elk. My shot broke, and I saw the impact right behind the shoulder and the elk stumbled once.

We get to the top of the pass and found my brothers elk down. Dad and I went through the shot sequence and everything I had seen. He started working out the trail while my brother and I gutted his elk.

When we were done, I yelled down the mountain to Dad - and he yelled back to come down his trail with the first elk. Mine had gone 3 or 4 hundred yards before piling up. The north slope was steep and snow was mid-thigh to waist. I hadn't seen any blood on the way down, Dad said he'd noticed 1 set of tracks was limping - I haven't figured out how he knew that, but he found the elk quickly. We finished gutting the second elk, the started dragging both done the mountain. We knew there was a FS trail part way down, but had never been on it. We finally hit the trail and found a decent place to stash the elk.

The area is heavy Griz country now, but in '93 it wasn't as much of a concern. Hiked to the truck and shared the story with Dad's friend. He had heard the 2 shots and thought it was cool we tagged 2 elk.

Next day was dragging them to the truck, but it only took the morning. Then a quick drive home cause Basketball practice was starting up.
 

Mtnhuntr

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Sep 26, 2017
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I agree, impossible, but I will share my most recent favorite.

Some of my kids on their first hunt last year. It was so fun sharing the mountain with them, seeing the sunrise, watching does and fawns feeding on the hillside, and talking about how God must love us a lot to share all of this. Reminded me of my first hunts.

45E53C6F-F4A0-4073-895A-00F91BB06321.jpeg
 
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