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Author Topic: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.  (Read 412 times)

Offline CoolBees

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

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.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2020, 06:46:19 pm »
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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Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2020, 07:27:53 pm »
Here's a picture of the Elk from the story.

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You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Online The15thMember

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2020, 07:50:23 pm »
What a great story, Alan! 

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.
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. 

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). ...
 
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.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2020, 08:00:05 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.

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.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Seeb

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2020, 08:15:17 pm »
what would you estimate this one weighed?

Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2020, 08:38:53 pm »
what would you estimate this one weighed?

On the hoof (live weight), probably 550 to 650 lbs - maybe a bit more. This was a large dry cow - 1 of 3 mature dry cows in that herd, that I noted.

The average Bull live weight (where I usually hunt) is 900 to 1200 lbs - yielding 380 to 430 lbs of meat - once completely de-boned. I've weighed the meat from several Bulls, so I know this part for sure. I don't eat bones, so I don't pack bones out - (learned that neat trick in my younger days on a long packout - the light finally dawned on me, as I leaned against a tree in exhaustion).  :cheesy:

My biggest Bull (2003) weighed just over 1400 lbs - I know because there was a scale and a loader available that day. That Bull was from the Western Park herd. Most Bulls I've seen on scales (game check stations mostly) come out of Montana's Northern Park Herd & average around 750-900 lbs field dressed.

Elk down here in California  (Tuley Elk sub-species) are much smaller - 450-600 lb live weight average for a mature Bull, that I've seen, and Cows as low as 230 lbs.

So there's a large variance based on sub-species and location. Even in Montana, a Bull from the Bridger mtns is quite a bit smaller than a Bull out of Yellowstone (90ish miles away).

After saying all that, ... I'm just guessing at the weight of that cow. As I recall, I got around 290 lbs of meat from her, which is a bit more than most cows, in my experience.
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Offline Seeb

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2020, 08:32:48 am »
good story. have you ever done any hunting in the Black Belt area of Alabama?

Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2020, 12:36:46 pm »
good story. have you ever done any hunting in the Black Belt area of Alabama?

No, I've hunted in many states, but never there ... but I've heard they have lots of deer in Alabama. Whitetails are so much fun!

My daughter got her first (big game animal) deer last fall ... clean kill, one shot. I rattled him in for her. Love whitetails! (My favorite to eat too - with Elk a close 2nd)

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Offline Seeb

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2020, 02:41:14 pm »
I know you are proud of her!


Offline Ben Framed

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2020, 06:14:24 pm »
Great story Alan. Reminds me of when I was a boy reading Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and Sports Afield. I grew up in the South. In my minds eye I could picture myself out there, riding my favorite horse with a couple pack horses along, viewing the mountains and meadows as we tracked along. I could almost smell the crisp pure mountian air, all the while taking in the unlimited beauty of what was described and offered in those articles. While staying weeks at a time. Must be a wonderful experience. Thanks for the wonderful story. And congratulations on the elk!

Blessings,
Phillip
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Geoff

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2020, 10:19:47 pm »
  G'day Alan,
                     I maybe a bit feral and dont think I look like a cat but that is what so called good friends and family call me !  !
Local Area Network in Australia - the LAN down under.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: How "Old Reliable" got its name - a hunting story.
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2020, 10:37:01 pm »
Hahahaha! G'day Geoff! Me too!  :cool: :cool: ... I thought that was my name till I was 9 yrs old!  :cheesy: :cheesy:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln