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How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.

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CoolBees:
I've never been much for naming things. From tools, to cars, to rifles, to kittens, to Queen Bees - I just don't name them. In my observation, things already have names and you just have to wait until they reveal their names.

This is a story about Old Reliable's name ...

I had an archery Elk hunt scheduled. The trip just didn't go right from the start.

2 days before my scheduled departure date, my long-time friend who is an expert at calling Elk, and had volunteered to call for me - Cancelled. I had never called an Elk, and had never taken an Elk with a bow. "Well, its Youtube & Sportsmans Warehouse now" - I said to myself.

Then 3 days delay for both my new Super fast Bow (setup specifically for Elk) to finally show up, and electrical problems with my truck, - kept me dancing and on edge.

Finally I got onto the road: destination no-mans-land in the high country of Montana with 2 Elk tags (Cow and a Bull) for a Rut hunt on public land in an area I'd never seen, with a bow I hadn't shot, using Elk calling that I'd never done, and no guide. What could possibly go wrong? ... My goal: fill the Cow tag.

(This was a Permit Only area for Bull - but allowed me to take a Cow with the Bull tag during archery season)

3 flat tires later, I limped into Bozeman, MT for some replacements, missing both outside tires on the rear of my Dually and the spare. ... another day delayed ...

The next morning I finally arrived at the end of the long 4wd road and began to set up camp. By 10 am, camp was set up and firewood stacked.

Time to sight-in the new Bow! I unpacked it and set out a target.  ... the new Ultra-Fast, Ultra-Sleek, Wonder-of-Modern-Engineering Bow - wouldn't even hit the target @ 20 yards. "Yup, that's how this trip has gone" I thought.

So - I got out my (now) ancient Bow to check it's willingness to hit a target. (I had debated bringing it, and only tossed it in the truck at the last minute "just in case"). Thankfully, it was spot-on as always. ... some confidence returned to me.

A couple hunters passed thru and stopped by camp to chat around 1 pm. They were Archers also, so I told them about the bow problems and asked for advice - they couldn't help. However, in the course of conversation they told me where a herd of Elk had been seen daily. They were hunting a Bull (permit only, which I didn't have), and they agreed to tell me in exchange that I wouldn't head off in a certain direction where a Bull was that they wanted. I quickly agreed. The spot they pointed me towards was a saddle between the heads of 3 canyons, less than 800 yds from camp.

Around 3 pm I headed out, following their directions. Soon I found a likely spot, and settled in. Using techniques learn on YouTube in the last 72 hrs, I began calling softly. A Herd Bull quickly answered. 3 hrs later, he finally showed - bringing his herd with him. ... my aim was true, and the old bow placed the arrow flawlessly thru the heart of a large dry cow @ 24 yards. For the next hour, the herd stood all around me feeding, with the herd bull screaming (bugling) - sometimes he was as close as 12 yards. I felt like I would be suckered into his lungs each time he drew a breath to scream. The adrenaline was so high I lay on the ground shaking like a teenage boy on his 1st hunt. There was no way I could hold my bow still for a chance to fill my 2nd tag (on a 2nd cow). ...

I arrive back at camp that evening shortly after dark - still in shock and wonder at what I had achieved & experienced!

The 2 hunters returned shortly also - and one said "I SEE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!!" ... so I told them the story. When I finished, the guys says, "so your Old Reliable got it done for you!!"

The next day - it snowed 3 feet. As I sat in my tent, in front of my wood stove, with the chest freezer full of the finest meat, realizing that I was snowed-in ... I didn't worry. It was hunting season in the high country, and it was Friday - there were a lot of people trying to get into the mountains harder than I was trying to get out.  :cheesy: ... Sunday afternoon the 1st truck pulled thru after clearing the last downed tree from the road. ...

And that's the story of how Old Reliable got its name.

** that new fancy bow spent the next 9 months back at the manufacturer - when I finally got it back, it shot quite well.

*** I'm still not good at naming things. My favorite cat is a wild feral that has taken up residence outside my house. She's an amazing hunter has become friendly over time. I love her ... her name is still s***head.

CoolBees:
Yesterday - Old Reliable gave me this: a perfect shot with no ruined meat ... and, a wrap for the Turkey season 2020. I'm tagged out.

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CoolBees:
Here's a picture of the Elk from the story.

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The15thMember:
What a great story, Alan! 


--- Quote from: CoolBees on April 30, 2020, 06:41:00 pm ---I've never been much for naming things. From tools, to cars, to rifles, to kittens, to Queen Bees - I just don't name them. In my observation, things already have names and you just have to wait until they reveal their names.

--- End quote ---
I like this concept.  It reminds me of some Native American naming conventions.  The idea that something's name should be what it inherently is and that is something that can only be found and not decided upon or invented. 


--- Quote from: CoolBees on April 30, 2020, 06:41:00 pm --- For the next hour, the herd stood all around me feeding, with the herd bull screaming (bugling) - sometimes he was as close as 12 yards. I felt like I would be suckered into his lungs each time he drew a breath to scream. The adrenaline was so high I lay on the ground shaking like a teenage boy on his 1st hunt. There was no way I could hold my bow still for a chance to fill my 2nd tag (on a 2nd cow). ...

--- End quote ---
 
That's incredible and must have been amazing!  I have had the pleasure of being relatively close to elk, and seeing and hearing the bulls bugle during the rut.  They are truly astounding creatures, so huge and so powerful.   

CoolBees:

--- Quote from: The15thMember on April 30, 2020, 07:50:23 pm ---...  I have had the pleasure of being relatively close to elk, and seeing and hearing the bulls bugle during the rut.  They are truly astounding creatures, so huge and so powerful.

--- End quote ---

So true 15th. They are amazing, and beautifully unique creatures - and HUGE! Every time I'm blessed enough to approach an Elk on the ground, I'm always amazed at their size! ... and then I think to myself, "how am I gonna carry that thing out on my back?" ... even though I've done it many times before. It still gets me.

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