“Ain’t Nothin’ Too Tall” by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren
By Jared Bloomgren
Since my last post was about my favorite place to hunt; the mountains, let’s document a 14 day hunt that took place near and above 10,000 feet. This is a quick day by day account of a backcountry hunt.
Day 1-4: Strictly these days were in order to hike into the area and set up a camp at high elevation above the tree line and to spend 3 days scouting before the archery season was to open. A very dear friend of mine was along to film this hunt with me. We were able to find a huge non-typical mule buck that would make anybody’s jaw drop and plans began to get set in place as to how to close the distance on this monster in the days to come!
Day 5-6: Found numerous shooter bucks in the area while paying particular attention the huge non-typical that would easily score over the 200” mark. There were no stalking situations that presented themselves and the buck was missing for most of this time.
Day 7: A failed attempt to get in front of the huge non-typical quickly made my mind up to wait for him to come back out of the dark timber in the evening. We were perched in a small saddle with cover awaiting the bucks to head back over the top and into the basin to feed and drink for the night. My camera man failed to pay attention as the huge non-typical and numerous other bucks closed the distance. I had to watch as the huge buck disappeared out of my life forever. They keyed in on him messing with his camera rather than preparing for laying down some amazing footage! Aaaahhhhhh…..
Day 8: Trying hard to not kick my buddy off the mountain for messing up a deer of a lifetime opportunity for me all while watching another buck that I had become to know well as he fed on the same ridge almost every morning. Found numerous other bucks but nothing of his caliber.
Day 9: Watched again as the same buck fed on a very distant ridge. I decided to name this buck “Too Tall” as the ridge he was on was too far away and very tall as well as him having a very tall rack with huge backs. It seemed like I would never make the attempt to go after this buck even as predictable as he was because of the terrain and the effort needed to make it happen!
Day 10: A failed stalk on a different buck had me walking nearly vertical to reach the top of the mountain where I set off from. Here is where the burning lungs and aching legs really came into play! I tried not to think about the buck on the distant ridge but my mind kept coming back to him and if I wanted to go after him or not.
Day 11: Watched again as the buck I nicknamed “Too Tall” fed on the same ridge in the morning and evening but his location was a good half a day hike away or better in bear country. Attempted a stalk on a nice buck but was unable to complete the stalk because of misjudged terrain.
Day 12: After finally coming to terms with myself that the huge non typical was not going to show himself before I had to leave the mountain I decided to make the long move to try and kill that big typical buck I nicknamed “Too Tall.” All while still trying not to kick my buddy off the mountain for what happened on day 7! We set out on a long journey that would have us camped out below where we had seen the buck numerous times.
Day 13: After a restless night sleeping on a steep slope in a bivy set-up with a potential grizzly close by that was encountered in the dark the previous night; I was awakened from frost falling off of my sleeping bag onto my neck. A short hike in the darkness had me overlooking the ridge that was very distant the previous 12 days. The buck was nowhere in sight. After pressing on farther we finally located the buck higher on the open ridge now with two other bucks. I was able to complete that stalk on camera with boots off, above 10,000 feet, and put an arrow through both lungs of “Too Tall” at 23 yards! That is what dreams are made of!! Finding a bloody arrow after making a great shot is like finding gold! The rest of the day was spent deboning, caping and packing the buck off the mountain and back to the truck; all while barely surviving the worst lightning and thunderstorm ever! The hail never seemed to stop either! Never had lightening that close before! I could feel the electricity in my hair! Getting back to the truck late, soaked and chilled to the bone, blistered feet, hungry and tired but replaying the shot in my head made it all fade away……
Day 14: Awoke at the trail head with the thought of having to go back in to break down camp wasn’t very excitable. My body was abused and sore but I pushed that to the side…….I wondered if everything would just stay there for next year’s hunt?! Figured that wouldn’t be a good idea and set back in after getting the meat on ice. Once reaching camp we spent the rest of the day recouping and eating plenty to help lessen the weight on our backs for the final trip out for the year. Not so sure that was a good idea later on!
Day 15: Packed camp off the mountain and headed for home with many memories to cherish and a buck that scored over 180”! Although my buddy and I are still very close to this day….I have not let him forget the buck of a lifetime that should have been on my wall! ;)
Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren is a hardcore Do-It-Yourself bowhunter who strives to better himself each year in the outdoor community. As a professional hunter, freelance writer and photographer, he likes to relive his outdoor adventures through written expression and photography making the reader feel as if they were along on the hunt. He attributes much of his success to the vital education he has learned from the various big game animals that he hunts. He is quoted as saying, “In each and every hunt, success or defeat, I learn something from every outing and that I can put in my arsenal of knowledge to use at a later date, a later date that will again put my wits against that of my prey.”