I’m looking around my house back in Bozeman as I type… Complete disarray. Packs, computers, arrow tubes, spotting scopes, binos, bows, Optifade Sitka clothing, and Mystery Ranch duffel bags completely mask the carpet. We’re back in Montana, and once again we’ve returned empty handed, with only another un-punched tag to hang on the wall. We left New Mexico a couple days ago, racing back north to prepare for this weekends departure to Alaska on archery Dall Sheep hunt with Bozeman hunter Nate Peckinpaugh and Alaskan guide Lance Kronberger.
I never caught up with Houdini and the rut never got going. The big bulls we had hoped would show up down low, stayed high across the boundary in another hunting unit. These bulls were fat and happy with the new grass that came with the big rains. With water and food everywhere, there was no reason for them to descend to what could be easily found on the ranch. Such is hunting. I know what tag I’ll be applying for down there next year! In less than a month however, many of these bulls are expected to be living on the ranch, and I’ll be returning to photograph a rifle hunt with three of my friends who have tags, armed with firsthand knowledge of the ranch and the elk’s patterns.
There’s no time to worry about not filling my N.M. tag. By tomorrow morning’s sunrise, I’ll have completely packed for Alaska, climbed more than 3000 vertical feet in the dark, and hopefully already have located a bugling bull, deep in a Montana wilderness honey hole. I love being home.