Recently, pro staffer Christian Bond of The Outsiders TV took a trip to Arizona to hunt mule deer. Here's a little recap from the trip:
What's A Successful Hunt? - by Christian Bond
A lot of people have asked, "were you successful?" and though it may seem like a simple question, it's not a simple answer. I guess it just depends on the person and his/her definition of success? In short, we weren't successful in harvesting a mature Mule deer BUT that's just the icing on the cake. (Quite frankly, I'm not into sweets so cake to me is just as good without icing...lol) Overall, we ended our year on a high and I feel more than successful at just that.
I'm a competitor...there's nothing that I don't believe I couldn't do or be the best at, BUT this adventure humbled the competitor inside of me. You see, it still amazes me in the simple fact that even after 20 years in the outdoors, I still have a lot to learn. To say we battled several challenges would be an understatement. And to say we didn't give it our all, or hike far enough, or glass every drawl, mountain, or yucca covered flat would simply frustrate me, but I soon would say, "you are correct...obviously we didn't hit the right ones at the right time." But then again, it wasn't always sunshine and 70 degrees either. For example, of the 7 days we hunted public lands, 5 of those days presented challenges for all bow hunters. The unforeseen rare weather phenomenons, like flooding & strong winds prevented daylight movement. The other 2 days were great conditions for spot and stalk but the pressure of other hunters and "recreationalists" turned more problematic than anticipated. Though these challenges didn't slow us down; instead, each day we devised a new game plan, stayed positive and kept grinding at it.
Hours before sunrise we began our long adventure, gaining the most elevation possible before sunrise. It always seemed to be below freezing, thus causing us to pack light and to battle the cold temps while ascending upward. Before each ascend we would load all that was mission critical into our Pioneer packs. Essentials beginning with food (protein and carbs), water, and even tweezers (cactus needles, Cholla plants, and tiny thorns I've never seen before that all end up in the most disturbing places; not to mention, they are very painful and leave an indescribable burning feeling once the skin is pierced). We also packed preventatives, such as, rain gear, tape, GPS, and so on. These were all necessities that I've learned through years of experience to better help one to go further off the beaten paths. As challenges unfold, remember, "You aren't alone and because your ancestors did it with less, you can do it with more."
After 42.06 miles hiking and setting up at 20+ remote mountain, we came up empty handed on locating a giant desert muley. Even though I never found a respectable deer to pursue, I did get my cousin on a 2 x 2. One of which was the largest 2 x 2's he's ever seen. The large brute was 8+ years old and would touch the 140's as again, a main frame 2 x2. He wasn't able to seal the deal due to an unannounced doe, but all in all, we walked away happy! Witnessing the Tremendous sunsets & conquering some very challenging terrain/mountains left us feeling more than victorious in Arizona.