Caribou Gear

Wyoming Elk with my Old Man

jlong17

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Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
435
Location
'Merica
What a roller coaster this year has been. I was able to draw a Wyoming General Elk tag and had spent the spring months planning the hunt with my cousin - a very experienced hunter. The excitement quickly turned to concern when we recently learned that his wife has cancer and he will no longer be able to join me on the hunt. I started asking my brothers and friends if they'd be able to join me, and have not been able to find a replacement. I decided I would move forward alone, and strike out on a solo hunt into the mountains of Wyoming. Just a few days ago I figured I'd ask my 65 year old dad if he wanted to go on an adventure, and his face quickly lit up.

My dad has never hunted a day in his life, much less heard a bugle from a bull. We (four brothers and my Dad) grew up backpacking and fishing the Eastern Sierras. I was only 5 years old when my dad took me 10 miles into the John Muir Wilderness for a week of hiking to glaciers and fishing the lakes fed by them. It was an adventure I have never forgotten. Now here we are, 30 years later, and I'll be taking my Dad on an adventure I hope he never forgets either.

I know I'll need to adjust my expectations, as he is not going to have the hiking capabilities that he used to have. I decided I would bring the trailer with me now, and make a comfortable base camp where he could get good sleep and stay in camp some of the days fishing the nearby river. QUESTION: Any advice from you more "seasoned" HT'ers on hunting with a senior citizen? :p

I'm looking forward to making memories and hopefully seeing success. If anyone will be in western Wyoming September 15-30 and wants to link up, feel free to reach out. Best of luck to everyone this coming fall, and don't forget to remind yourself that filling tags doesn't match filling photo albums with great memories.
 

JLS

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Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
17,185
Location
Almost Arkansas…..
First, terribly sorry to hear about your cousins wife and the big C. I wish them the best.

Second, what a cool trip with your dad. My advice, just let the trip be what it’ll be. No pressure, no expectations.

I think the camper is a great idea. Can’t wait to hear the rundown.
 

BuzzH

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Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
15,016
Location
Laramie, WY
QUESTION: Any advice from you more "seasoned" HT'ers on hunting with a senior citizen? :p
Yeah, don't let them have a rifle and a tag...all you'll end up doing is packing their dead elk.

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JohnCushman

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Nov 27, 2009
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13,054
Location
South East Colorado
My dad was an over the road truck driver and we never spent a lot of time together growing up. Once he retired and I came back from Iraq (he's a Viet Nam vet) we became very close. My mom never wanted guns in the house growing up and he never wanted to hunt or fish, so I lost out on that part of my childhood. Dad does enjoy camping, though, now that he's retired. He's been to Wyoming with me on an antelope hunt and is coming out for my moose hunt to camp and take in the experience. He's 73 now, so one of my main concerns is his comfort. I have 2 pads for his cot and a good warm sleeping bag. We'll be in a sturdy Kodiak tent. We'll have plenty of snacks and hot cocoa since he doesn't drink coffee. A hunt talker offered his UTV for me to use, so he can get around easily. We'll have plenty of snacks and SPAM singles and food he'll eat since he's a picky eater. It's my hunt, but to me it's dad's vacation and the time spent with him and friends is precious.
 

2rocky

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
4,261
I really treasure the time my Dad and I have had hunting together. Here in the last 10 years he's certainly begun slipping. I mean , he IS 80 now...and he has put a Hard Stop on DIY hunts for big game out of state. He has committed the funds and the time to being a guided hunter from now on.

Ask your dad what he feels comfortable doing.
Does he want to get up in the morning and hike to a Lookout point?
Would he drive to the end of another road to pick you up as you hunt your way there?
Does he want to go out and listen for bugles from the end of the road?
Does he want to be the CampJack and read romance novels during the day?

Find out what his boundaries and limitations are.

Have a good communication platform if you are going to be solo. Have check in times especially around and after dark. My rule was By 30 minutes after sunset I'd check in and let them know how far out I was. That gave me a window of silence if I was on something at last light.
 

rtraverdavis

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Oct 20, 2016
Messages
3,487
Location
OREGON
Like JLS said, really sorry to hear about your cousin’s wife and I hope for the best for them.

I’ve hunted quite a bit the past 6-7 years with my dad, who’s in his 70s and has some serious mobility problems—four hip replacements, knee replacement, drop foot, spinal fusion—the works. I always find it real important to talk game-plan with him well ahead of time so that we can both get our expectations on the same page. He’s well aware of his limitations and I don’t try to push him, and he is content to hang back and let me go when I need to.

Last year, he joined me on a hunt in which I had a tag and he didn’t. We brought his SxS and he would drive me to the spots I wanted to hike in from, then he’d go set up somewhere he could feasibly get to to glass. (He can’t even hike much more than a few hundred yards now.) When we were apart we’d occasionally give each other updates through the InReach. I did spend most of the time hunting on my own but we had a lot of windshield and camp time to share, which was wonderful. But I wouldn’t have been able to kill the buck that I did if I’d stuck with him the whole time—and he wanted me to be successful.

Other trips where we’ve both had tags, I made it much more about our time together, which was wonderful because of the time/bonding shared, but not as “serious” of a hunt. Here’s a recap of our 2020 Wyoming trip:


My best advice is talk with him a bunch between now and your hunt and come up with a plan for how you want to handle it, and then just enjoy the hell out of your time with him and in those mountains. It’s a damn special thing.
 

Zootownelk

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Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
332
I think you have the right idea about giving him time at a nice base camp if he wants to sleep in and that frees you up to hunt hard in the mornings, if you want. Like others have said, just enjoy it- no expectations. The last elk hunt I went on with my dad, we ended up going into Jackson for some Belgium waffles at the Wort and then drove up into Yellowstone and back around for the day. Hunting wasn't good but the memories sure are! He was only able to hunt a couple hours at a time, but I was blessed with that time. His last ride..

Dad on Horse 2017-2.jpg
 

gouch

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Jan 29, 2019
Messages
1,161
Location
SW Oregon
Damn, don't sell the old man short. Tomorrow I am going on a three-day hunt with my 66-year-old friend. I'm 68. This thread makes me feel like I'm supposed to just go out and sit on the front porch and yell at the neighbor kids.
 

IAhawks84

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
101
I've gone with my dad a couple times in the last few years. He's been 55-60, by no means a senior citizen. Sometimes I've caught both of us getting too caught up in the "success" in filling tags. To me that is not the important part. My advice, for whatever it's worth, would be to enjoy the trip for time you guys spend together. Don't grind yourself to the bone hunting. Take the time to make a good meal, share stories around the camp fire, or jump off and see a site on the way to or from. It is obviously wonderful to be successful, and I'm sure you'll put forward plenty of effort. When it is over though if you're successful, you'll never forget the memories you had together.
 

Seamaster

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Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
231
Sometimes we more seasoned fellows like to hike at a slower pace and enjoy the outdoors. It is unpleasant to hunt with a young guy that wants leave camp a bit late and then sets out to prove how fast he can walk.
 

duckhunt

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Joined
Dec 17, 2012
Messages
4,754
Location
Newhartford Iowa
My dad was an over the road truck driver and we never spent a lot of time together growing up. Once he retired and I came back from Iraq (he's a Viet Nam vet) we became very close. My mom never wanted guns in the house growing up and he never wanted to hunt or fish, so I lost out on that part of my childhood. Dad does enjoy camping, though, now that he's retired. He's been to Wyoming with me on an antelope hunt and is coming out for my moose hunt to camp and take in the experience. He's 73 now, so one of my main concerns is his comfort. I have 2 pads for his cot and a good warm sleeping bag. We'll be in a sturdy Kodiak tent. We'll have plenty of snacks and hot cocoa since he doesn't drink coffee. A hunt talker offered his UTV for me to use, so he can get around easily. We'll have plenty of snacks and SPAM singles and food he'll eat since he's a picky eater. It's my hunt, but to me it's dad's vacation and the time spent with him and friends is precious.

You can't go wrong with spam.
 

NEWHunter

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Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
1,121
Location
Brookfield, WI
I’ve taken my Dad to WY for antelope each of the past three years. He has MS and his mobility is extremely limited. This was something I never really thought about much until the hunts were over, but it really sucked a a lot of energy out of me.

I did the work for close to two people. The result was that what had been planned as 7 or 8 day trips turned in to 5 or 6 day trips. After all the driving, loading and unloading, processing his animals, and extra effort to try and make my dad comfortable, the desire to #keephammering began to wane.

Not sure where your Dad is at, but knowing what I know now, I would probably have tried to go slower and steadier to try and maximize our time a bit better.

You’ve got the right attitude. Above all, enjoy the experience - if he has a good time, you’ll have a good time. Fill those albums. Wish we were headed west again. Good luck!
 

jlong17

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Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
435
Location
'Merica
Thanks for the well wishes @JLS and @rtraverdavis . Cancer definitely sucks. She is only 45 and takes great care of herself. It's certainly not fair.
I also forgot to mention that my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago. He has handled it well, but I can tell the hand shaking bothers him. @NEWHunter I will definitely keep this in mind when I inevitably get caught up in my typical fast pace way of doing things. I have certainly been guilty of not capitalizing on quality time with him recently. He's retired now, and it seems like all the boys spend less time fishing together even though he has more than enough time for it. All of us brothers have families and careers, but still no excuse. Like you said @JohnCushman , time spent with Dad is precious and I intend on making this hunt focused on that.
@Hunting Wife I am excited to tell the story of this adventure, and with all the cool Live Hunt threads going right now I am feeling motivated to not only embrace the moments along the way, but to capture them as well.
I read through your thread @rtraverdavis of your hunt with your Old Man in Wyoming. What a cool story and great pics. Looked like a great time for sure.
@gouch I'm definitely not trying to slam the "old timers". Honestly, I find myself having more in common with Boomers than I do my own Millenials. I respect the heck out of anyone who continues to get into the mountains and chase elk in their later years.

Anyways we just got back from Bass Pro, and he's getting excited. I've given him several videos to watch of @Big Fin chasing elk around, and a few calls to start practicing with. I'm going to start showing him common elk set ups and calling strategies.
He is going to do the Dad thing and check the trailer bearings and make sure the truck doesn't need any attention.
The moms are going to start helping us knuckle draggers with meal prepping and creature comforts.
The brothers are pitching in their optics, packs, and clothing to help outfit the adventure.
Elk season is on the horizon. The anticipation, the planning/prepping, and the bonds that grow in the elk woods is all I can think about today.
 

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