Since around 1993 the Shaggy Outdoor Team has been hunting and fishing in the Mountains of Arizona. While I came from a state which had little to no public hunting, this vast wilderness of available land to hunt and fish was incredible.
It took till 2005 for me to hunt and kill my first Bull Elk in the White Mountains of Arizona. A tenuous hunt filled with knee-high snow and mountainous terrain. This is when I found that the Mtns-R-Us was in my soul.
I hiked with my pack prepared for the kill of a beautiful elk in the late seasons of Unit 1. I found myself over dress and underprepared for this hunt as my local friend flew up and down those hillsides in that knee-high snow like he was walking on flat ground.
I didn’t need those heavy winter boots and thick winter hunting clothes. My companion proved that standard hiking boots and a lightweight jacket were all one needed. What he knew that I didn’t was we wouldn’t be out for hours or even days. He knew we’d be back at the truck within a couple of hours because I was not ready for this challenge.
I was successful on that first Bull Elk trip, not for the dense layers of clothes, but for just circumstance that left me strolling the mountains on my own. Yes, I hiked a short distance that morning I was successful to find myself face to face with a cow elk at 2 feet and a bull and 50 yards.
What a great hunt. Successful and memorable to boot.
Outdoor adventure seekers should always look to push themselves and get uncomfortable. I know that trip allowed me to learn more about the White Mountains of Arizona than I expected. And today my hunts are all measured by that first Bull Elk kill. None have lived up to that first time yet, but a new adventure is always one fall hunting season away.