Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good to the Last Fish

I like ice fishing alright, but for the past few years I've tried to end the year with a fly fishing trip. I'm no purist, ask anyone, but I do enjoy fishing with a fly rod more than any other method I've tried. There's just something about the casting, flies, fly tying, and, of course, the fish. Speaking of tying flies, I received a new fly box for Christmas that made it very clear that I've been slacking on my tying. 

I like to use these as a dropper off the back of my streamer
With some new flies in the box (still not full...) the plans were laid for a cast and blast trip with my brothers. After my drive up to the big city and a short night on the couch we set out on the long drive to where we hoped to find some big, willing trout. What we found was deep snow cutting off our access and ice helping to limit our options. Wes and I threw streamers while Jeff had more success fishing nymphs under an indicator.

Jeff playing a bow to the net

Wes with a nice tiger
With fishing not being quite what we'd hoped for we headed to our next destination for the blast portion of the trip. There were a few jack rabbits taken, but the highlight was when Jeff put the hurt on a coyote. I've never even shot at one of these dogs but Jeff has shot quite a few of them and is really into the predator hunting. I guess we all have our thing...

Jeff with his 'yote
It was a long couple of days, with a horrible night spent in the truck included, but a great way to round out the year. It was a good year with lots of new adventures and time well spent with family and friends. 2016 promises to be even better with Atley getting to deer and elk hunt for the first time and the possibility of more camping and fishing trips. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

When I got home my boy Caden drew me my last fish of the year. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hard Water

One of the things we always try to get out and do this time of year is a little bit of ice fishing.  When it's good ice fishing can be a lot of fun. When it's not so good it's pretty much awful. I think I'm the only one in the family that really enjoys spending time out on the ice, but my family puts up with so many of my oddities one more isn't that big of a deal, right?

Once on the ice, we enjoyed the nice morning and tried out a few different depths trying to find the fish. With only 5" of clear ice moving wasn't a big deal so I kept trying out different spots hoping to find some active fish. 

Once the storm started moving in we drilled some holes closer together and set up the shack. Just in time! Once the storm hit the snow and wind hit so hard we couldn't see more than about 10 yards and it would've driven us right off the ice had we been out in it. It's nice being in the shack for a lot of reasons, but it's nice to keep an eye on the boys' rods too. Seems like Caden had more hits than all of us combined but didn't notice. Luckily Deli was paying attention and hooked into a fish that seemed intent on stealing all of her line. Unfortunately, with all of us being in one shack the running fish it meant that tangles were unavoidable and the fish got off before we could get a good look. That was it for Deli and the boys so they helped pack things up and went to the truck for an attempt at a nap. I was left on the ice alone with the promise that I wouldn't be too long. I decided to move again but this time the move paid off on my first drop bringing a nice rainbow that got off just after peeking above the ice. I figured this was the spot and quickly moved my gear over to take advantage (Deli saw me running around on the ice and would later make fun of my goofy run). With the stuff all moved I made quick work of actually catching a fish.

A few minutes later I was fighting another fish of about the same size when I thought I had lost her at the hole. I could plainly see my lower jig disconnected from the fish, yet could still feel the fighting bow. Once I landed the fish the mystery was solved. I had somehow hooked a swivel from someone else's rig that had hooked the fish. Just about the weirdest way to catch a fish I've ever seen. 

With enough success and a weird story to tell I loaded up and headed back to the truck. Miraculously, Deli had gotten a little sleep despite the boys' best efforts at keeping her awake. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

Merry Christmas!
- Kidder

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Rod

I don't actually need a new rod (don't tell the wife). I do like building them though, and the idea of having a new rod for still water or anywhere else I might need to cast a little further/fight a little bigger fish made me want a new one. I decided to go with a blank that I've built two rods on already (both were 8 weights, one for my Dad and one for me) in a 9', 4pc, 5wt. I like the black blank and the price is nice. The only hesitation I have is the lack of any type of warranty or replacement tip. (see the blank here)

This rod was going to be for me to keep, so I figured a little extra bling would be more than okay. I decided to do a crosswrap just above the signature that ends at 17" and a decorative wrap that is at 22" to help with fish measurements where there is a slot, a flip up hook keep (the juries still out on whether I like this or not), and a custom handle that I turned. 

The decisions that go into building a rod for myself take more time than actually building the rod and I'm always on the lookout for new ideas (Pinterest actually has some really good stuff here). While there was plenty that I was unsure about the rod turned out pretty cool looking and after a quick tryout on the back lawn I really think this is the best rod I've built so far. 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
- Kidder

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Too Busy

If you're too busy to fish, you're too busy. With that in mind I decided to slip away with a buddy of mine for a few minutes on a local stream. Even in this week with 3 performances and attending my son's first concert (he did a great job playing clarinet) I still had a window after school but before pep band on Friday. Once we arrived I knew exactly where I wanted to spend the small amount of time that we had, and headed to one of the most productive holes. His nymph rig wasn't getting love so I tossed in my Simi-Seal Leech to see if I could get a reaction. I missed the first bump but made the connection on the second and a healthy brown came to hand. With the sun going down, and temperatures following suit, we declared it a success. One more week and I'll have time to chase some fin....

Yeah, I was pretty happy to find this one

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
- Kidder

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Bit Cold Out

Every trip begins at the vice trying to anticipate what flies will work and tying up some other patterns just in case the first bit of inspiration doesn't pan out. The trip in question was going to be an over-nighter for the two days after Thanksgiving. I think about a lot of different things when I tie flies and since this session was heavy on Simi-Seal Leeches and a little soft hackle pattern I've been tying for the past 20 years, so I could afford to let my mind wander. Obviously, I have much to be thankful for including the most wonderful wife a guy could ever hope for, two amazing kids, and a life we've created that allows me to run off and spend a couple of days fishing with my Dad and brothers whenever we can wangle it.

Once the flies were tied and the equipment packed I received the call that I was dreading. My dad was on the line explaining how if we went tomorrow my brother Jeff wouldn't be able to come with us. Being the generous types that we undoubtedly are, we decided to postpone for a day so that Jeff would be available. So black Friday saw me hanging around the house until mid-day when I finally headed up to my Dad's for the short night on the couch. Before I turned in I tied everyone up a new leader and replaced a couple of fly lines for my Dad. Of course Jeff texted us in the morning letting us know that he was sick and wouldn't be coming.

Lots of deer acting dumb during the rut

It was a long drive, but with an early start and no surprises we made it just after first light. Getting out of the truck brought the reality of how cold it was. With quickly numbing hands and iced up guides we brought the first fish to hand (which of course made them colder). Whenever we come fishing here it seems like all we catch are rainbows, but once we made that comment the tigers came out in force to prove us wrong. I love catching rainbows, but having another fish in the mix definitely keeps things interesting.

Awesome color on one of Weston's many fish

Cool hooked jaw on this one

Tigers sure can be pretty
After fishing for a short while my Dad told me he was having some trouble with his 5 wt. I built this rod for him a few years ago (looking at it shows how far I've come) so I'm a little protective. Turns out part of the reel seat came off of the main part of the rod. I'm not sure if this has more to do with the weight of the automatic reel he insists on using, the cold, or if I did something wrong on the initial build (I'll let you know how the repair goes). Luckily, this was to be the maiden voyage for the 8 wt I built for him over the summer (check it out here). On only the 2nd cast he'd ever made with the rod he pulled in a decent tiger, talk about a good start.

Should be an easy fix, just wondering why it happened

Pretty good way to break in a new rod

Seems like everywhere we wet a line there were fish willing to eat. At one spot my brother Weston and I probably caught twenty or more small fish before something larger came to play. I instantly knew that the fish that had taken my Simi-Seal Leech was quite a bit bigger than anything else I'd caught that day. After a quick fight I brought the hog to the net for a quick pic and release.

She's a chunk
The cold followed us all day, but the last spot we fished seemed to be slightly warmer and we spotted several nicer fish out cruising. I tried adding a soft-hackle behind my leech but continued to only attract the attention of the smaller fish. On went a chironomid under an indicator which brought some looks and close calls but no better fish. The day was starting to run out and Weston wanted to look for some coyotes before we had to head back home so we packed it up long before I was ready to call it quits. I was sure glad to make it back home the next day but the fish that got away are still keeping me awake at night! Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
- Kidder

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review: In Hemingway's Meadow

In Hemingway's Meadow
Edited by Joe Healy

This is a book that's been on my Amazon wishlist for quite some time. I'm not sure why I didn't buy it earlier, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. The book is a collection of Award-Winning Fly-Fishing stories that offer a wide range of settings and characters.

The first story to really grab my attention was For Keeps by Gary Whitehead. The story is of Larold and his brother Rich fishing on the Battenkill. Though, to say this is a fishing story (like so many throughout this book) is to miss the point. This is about life's regrets and trying to make peace with the past through fishing. Childhood mistakes had come to haunt their relationship and the passing of their father left them estranged in ways hard to describe. Rich had a mental disability and growing up Larold made some mistakes that he was having trouble forgiving himself for. Thoughts of their father's treatment of Rich while growing up also clouds the time on the water, though they seem to find closure by the time you get to the end. Edith's Rule by Seth Norman is essentially about the same thing, but of course, the answers are as varied as the characters. This story is about an older fisherman that has become somewhat of a fishing hermit. The widower spends time on the water thinking of his loss and reflecting on what he calls Edith's rule. The idea that certain items just belong to certain people, what to whom only she seems to know. It all comes around and by the end of the story Edith's rule helps the old boy make connections with the people around him and, potentially, find some healing.

I loved the majority of the stories in the book, and only liked the other, so it was no surprise when I stayed up way too late and finished the book long before I was ready to be done. It's a good read and I whole-heartedly suggest you read it.

"I'm no philosopher. Not even a therapist. So, can somebody explain to me how 15 years of friendship comes down to two guys up to their knees in maybe the most beautiful river in the world with nothing but clear, empty water connecting them in any real way?
I didn't think so.
I said, "Dave, sometimes you just lose them.""

Pg. 116 Opening Day by Richard Chiappone

Buy it on Amazon HERE

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep it Going

As I surveyed the stream for any active fish in the cold light of the morning I had to take a second and appreciate the fact that I was again standing in a stream, about to fish. I really wasn't expecting to see anything, but I didn't want to blow an opportunity just because I was in too much of a hurry to recognize it. Today was about slowing down, trying to find a groove and enjoy just being in the moment. The fishing, I kept trying to convince myself, wasn't the real reason I pulled myself out of my warm bed and drove down to brave the cold in my leaky waders. I'd pre-selected my fly, a black simi-seal leech, and tied it to what was left of my leader. Lots of people don't like tying on a fly until they've looked at the water but I've always felt that an act of confidence can't hurt your chances too much. 

The far side of the stream held more than it's fair share of the water in a run that continued for about 25 yards. Not huge by many standards, but for this stream it's about the best you can hope for. The 5wt rod felt a little foreign in my hands because I hadn't fished it more than twice in the past year, but I knew that I'd get familiar with it again pretty quickly. This was one of my favorite rods, the first I ever built. It's a great feeling rod, but not the prettiest build I've ever spun. It was a good fit to the fishing that was ahead and as I made the first cast that fell just short of the opposite bank the anticipation of a strike took my mind off of the equipment. I was fishing. 

Nothing on the first or second cast, so on the third I mended the line upstream to try and get a little more depth to the swing. Whether this was the determining factor or not, a healthy little brown trout attacked my fly and soon I had him in hand. After a quick picture (he was, after all the first fish of the day and perhaps the last) he regained his bearing almost instantly and set off to the other side of the stream to sulk. The next cast provided an almost perfect replay, but this time a little rainbow came to play. He was slightly smaller than the first fish, but he had a little more weight to him and fought well for his size.

I continued to have success on the swing as I worked down to the end of the run. Several fish would follow the fly all the way through the swing and then commit on the next cast, or hit the fly a few times before I hooked them. I was working my way upstream, but fishing down so that meant getting out of the stream and walking up past the water I planned to fish. Then I would get back in the stream and fish the run down. Two steps forward, one back. The action was consistent, even if the fish weren't huge, so I was willing to put in the extra effort. 

After the sun had found it's way high enough to find the water the streamer bite slowed. Instead of switching over to a nymph rig I added a soft hackle dropper off the back of the streamer and found some more willing fish. They seemed to like this idea a lot better on a dead drift so I threw on an indicator and began fishing upstream more like a gentleman, but I still let the flies swing below me before recasting and found a couple of streamer eaters this way. 

The day warmed considerably and by afternoon I was down to my shirtsleeves and wishing I'd have put more water in my vest. It was probably time to call it but the warm air had me hoping that a solid hatch would come off and I could end this day with some dry fly action. So I kept fishing and working my way upstream, even coming across a confused little cutthroat to round out the trifecta. The streamer/soft hackle system continued to work through the afternoon and once the sun hid behind the peaks on the western bank I started working my streamer more aggressively again. The fish were more than cooperative and I felt like I could've continued catching fish all night. It seemed like as good of a time as any to call it and head back to the car. I knew the walk would be a long one so I snipped the fly from my line to avoid any distractions. 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature. 
- Kidder

Monday, November 2, 2015

Back to Fishing

It's been way too long since I've been fishing. This is the thought that's been keeping me awake more and more throughout the month of October, a month in which I didn't fish at all, especially since the white stuff started creeping down the mountain. So, despite getting home late on Halloween and the fact that no one wanted to go with me, come hell or high-water I was going fishing to start November out on the right foot. So the only thing keeping me awake last night was the decision of where to go. So I tried to weigh my options (should I fish a stream? which? a lake? kick-boat?.....) as I slowly got down to getting a couple of hours before light. 

Pretty cool to see wild turkeys
Finally, I was heading out the door with enough fishing gear to fish no matter what. I brought the backpack loaded with everything I needed for a hike. But, just in case, I also brought the waders and everything I'd need to hit a stream for a back up plan. Once I reached the jumping off point I noticed that I was above the snow line and the wind was making a valiant effort to flip my car. Typical Kidder attitude took over and I mounted up and started on the hike. 

The hike wasn't too bad since the deepest snow was only a few inches, but I knew the hike out would be a muddy mess. Along the trail there are a couple of small ponds where I swear I've seen fish out of the corner of my eye but they always seem to disappear before I can get a second look. Well today those fish materialized in the half light of dawn and I even hooked one before moving on towards my intended destination (not without promises of another try on the way out of course, more on that later). 

Kink of a weird pic, but there's fish in that hole
Once I reached the small reservoir that was my main objective for the day I noticed that the summer weed beds were still out in force and the water was lower than the last time I was here. That's not a very good combination as it leaves very little of the water table open for fishing, especially since I was stuck to shore fishing. I hurried over to a spot where I've been pretty successful and spooked the only fish in the neighborhood (a nice brook trout that I'd have liked to had a closer inspection of). I continued fishing my way around the small reservoir, but I only spotted two other fish and had no success. Thoughts of the back-up plan resurfaced and if I'd have been on the right side of the water for a quick escape this story would've ended very differently. As it was, I was on the far side, away from the trail, and although it would make my escape slower I decided to keep close to the water to keep an eye out for anything that might change my fortunes. The beaver lodge that made an outcropping far enough into the water to give me access to deeper water was exactly what I needed and after tying on yet another new fly I had a nice brookie follow. On the second cast I let the simi-seal leech fall through the water column a little longer and it was more than he could stand.

Mighty fine brookie
After reviving and releasing the beauty I made a couple more casts from the lodge, making sure to let the fly sink as long as possible, and picked up another fish. This time it was a decent little cutthroat and I was thinking that my day was finally picking up. 

I love the spot pattern
Too bad no one told the fish. Those were the only two fish that would come to hand from this reservoir today, so I made the muddy hike back out to the car. Along the way I stopped at one of the ponds but the fish had gone back through the worm-hole and were nowhere to be found (where could they go, the water's only a foot deep at best?) but followed the water up the hill to find a cool little waterfall before finding the car.

It seemed a bit bigger in person...
It was getting a little late to make the drive to a stream that I've been itching to fish, so I elected instead to fish one of the many small reservoirs in the area that I often overlook. I knew the fish probably wouldn't be large ("probably", isn't that the great part of fishing? We never really know) but figured that I might be able to scare up a few more before heading home. I was right, and I landed quite a few on my leech before they started surfacing. Of course I made the switch to a dry and enjoyed casting to riseforms and watching the small rainbows inhale my Parachute Zebra Midge until it was past time to head home. It felt great to fish again! Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

A good place to finish the day

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Tomorrow's Fish

Tomorrow's Fish
and The View From My Vise
by R.E. Long

Just because I've been spending most of my fall hunting and working (not necessarily in that order) doesn't mean that I'm not still thinking and reading about fishing. Luckily I found this R.E. Long book to keep my head in the game. I really liked the format of a short story then a fly recipe of the fly featured in the story. It made for some good reading and a nice application story to the patterns. The patterns are as varied as the locations for the stories. R.E. fishes from coast to coast for trout of all varieties, accidental salmon, and some bluegills. His stories make me want to go to these places and try my hand at fishing them and provided a great escape from my day-to-day. 

"That moment in time where I am in my perfect corner of the world, the fish is cooperating in his corner of the world & the fly ends up right where it should be. Set perfectly in the corner of that buttery-gold jaw." - pg. 177

Buy Tomorrow's Fish at
Check out Ralph's Fly Box 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Black Powder

It's a great time of year to be out
The muzzleloader deer hunt is a weird one in Utah because it doesn't have the traditional Saturday morning opener, but instead starts on a Wednesday. That means that in the all the years that I've been going on this hunt I'm yet to actually be able to get out on the opener. But the muzzleloader is still my favorite of all the deer hunts. The leaves are changing, the weather is cool and (usually) dry, and the elk are starting to get really vocal. One of the reasons that I usually can't get out is just part of my job, I have to direct the pep band at football games and it seems like every year there's a game. This year was no different and I was really tired from all of the homecoming activities so I didn't even get up on the mountain until mid afternoon on Saturday. No big deal, on the ride up the hill we spotted some elk and after dropping our stuff off at camp Atley and I went after them. I still had my control cow elk permit and was hoping to fill it with the smoke stick. We could only get about 300 yards from the small herd, but it was pretty cool to see a decent bull and a spike along with some cows. A great way to start the hunt!

These trees looked like they were on fire
After dinner I took Atley out for a longer than anticipated hike where we saw some does and heard some elk but that was about it. Walking back to camp under the super moon was pretty cool (how often do you have a clear shadow at night?) but the hard work made Atley too tired for the next morning hunt so he elected to go with his aunt and uncle where he wouldn't have to hike so much. So my Dad and I set out just before light into an area that we knew the elk had been hanging throughout the archery hunt (full details here) by way of an old road that has been closed for years.

Not long after first light we spotted our first elk of the morning, a spike and a 5 point bull about 50 yards ahead of us, but no cows. The bull walked off pretty quickly but the spike was pretty curious about my cow call and hung around looking at us for about 15 minutes. We waited him out so that he didn't spook any other elk that might be around, once he lost interest and wandered off we continued down our path as quietly as we could. Up ahead it sounded like a whole herd of elk were crashing through the trees so we hurried forward to try and get a look at what was making all that noise. Turns out, it wasn't a whole herd of elk. It was one huge six point bull that was ramming into a tree. Just about the craziest thing I've ever seen. This bull would slam into the tree two or three times, stop, look around, then scream to any challengers and return to take frustrations out on the tree. We couldn't believe it and watched this awesome bull continue with his tree hating for a half an hour. It never knew we were there and only wandered off once it had successfully knocked the tree down! 

This was taken with my little point and shoot. Nothing like being 65 yards from a big bull.
 I know the video isn't very impressive, but it at least has a good scream at the end.

Elk road in gold
It was an amazing morning to be out in nature and seeing all these bulls was beyond cool, but I had a cow tag and was starting to think our morning couldn't last too much longer when another elk stepped out into the road in front of us. Another bull! A five point bull with no worries in the world came out into the opening about 80 yards in front of us then walked straight away from us up the road. Thinking we were probably running out of time, we decided to drop into an opening to see if we could find the herd. Walking along in the aspens was pretty loud, but we spotted a cow about 200 yards away down the steep hill. Too far to shoot with the muzzleloader, but we sat down and gave her a call to see if we could get her to come any closer. She quickly darted into the trees and I thought it was all over, but a second later she came back into the opening and was looking for us. I gave her another call and she trotted up the hill to within 30 yards and I shot her in the neck. About as quick of a death as anyone can hope for and it saved us a good deal of effort by keeping her up near the top of the canyon and closer to our vehicle. Didn't take long for us to quarter it up and pack it back to the truck. 

Couldn't have been happier with this cow
What a great weekend to be out in nature with my family enjoying everything the great outdoors has to offer. With all this hunting showing up on my blog I'm thinking a name change might be in order, but I'm not sure what that would do to the domain. Kidder Outdoors seems to have a ring to it that would encompass all of what this blog is about. Just an idea. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

I know some people will be offended by story and pictures but I'm not about to apologize. This was a perfectly legal hunt the proceeds of which pay to keep our wildlife populations abundant and healthy, and the meat from this elk will help to feed my family for months to come. If that offends you, don't read my blog. Trust me, I won't be offended. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I love hunting season. The weather begins to cool, the leaves begin to change, the elk are calling, and I usually get to be out in nature. Coincidentally, the fishing also picks up this time of year but for the most part I try to ignore that. Otherwise, I wouldn't do much hunting...

Always great to be up at dawn!
This year I decided to do the Dedicated Hunter program so that I could hunt all three hunts and enjoy more time on the mountain with my family. It's been great for my boys to get to camp with their cousins and make memories that they'll never forget.

Sure is fun to hang out with the cousins!

So for the past month I've been trying to get away as often as possible to participate in the archery deer hunt. I've also got a cow elk control permit, so my focus was to try and get an elk before chasing deer. That of course means that lots of little bucks were out in force tempting me to end my hunt early (once I get a deer, I'll have to wait until the official elk hunt starts to try and fill my control permit). Atley didn't help me to fight this temptation, every time we saw a buck (no matter the size) he was telling me to shoot it.

Let 'em grow
Opening morning me and my brother Weston were able to get within shooting distance of several cow elk, there were also a couple of spikes with them, and he didn't hesitate to fill his tag. After he shot, we walked down to sit on first blood and some different cows walked into us. It was a tough shot through the trees but I tried it anyway and sure enough, slammed my first aspen of the year. My nephew was hunting for the first time this year, and he had lots of opportunities too (he ended up having over 25 shots but didn't hit any)

This guy sure knows how to get into the elk

A horned toad I spotted on the way out. I haven't seen one of these since I was a kid and we used to catch them. I had to stop and snap a picture.
Later that same day I had two separate shots at cow elk but misjudged the yardage. One high, one low. So when I got back home I ordered a rangefinder. No more screwing around, it's time I got serious about this. Once I had a rangefinder in hand my opportunities seemed to disappear (typical) but I still felt better knowing that I'd be able to know the correct yardage the next time opportunity knocked. Really glad I didn't wound any animals that I couldn't recover. It happens to all of us, but I hate that feeling. When we got back to camp we found out that my brother Jeff had also filled his cow tag on opening day. 

Braxton, Jeff and Luke
 The next morning was mostly uneventful for me so we loaded up early and headed back home to try and get ready for the first day of school. Later I found out that my cousin had filled his tag with a great buck! Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Of course, once I head for home my cousin Porter brings this beast back to camp!

The first week of being back to school for reals was filled with lots of meetings and trying to get back into teaching mode. But really I was looking forward to the weekend and getting back on the mountain for some more hunting.  

I love it up here
I didn't see much by way of elk, just more small bucks, but my brother put the hurt on a nice buck with a really heavy rack. Once we successfully blood trailed it we found out that it also had some small atypical points that made for a really unique rack. 

Big brother Jeff put the hurt on this nice buck that had some really non-typical points. Braxton, my brother Bryan, and Kyra helped us get it out.
Atley agreed to go with me for the last weekend of the hunt as long as he could bring his dog with him. I made sure that Atley knew it was a lot of work to camp with a dog and that it would be his responsibility to take care of him. Atley assured me that he would take care of the dog, so Briggs was loaded up to go huntin'. Unfortunately, Weston also brought his dog Hank on the trip and he doesn't seem to get along with others very well. When Atley watered Briggs, Hank seemed to think it was all for him. Well, Atley didn't like that Hank was taking all of Briggs' water so he tried to take it away from him and Hank bit him on the hand. 

Pretty bad bite and his hand was pretty swollen from it, poor kid.
Atley's a good hunting partner and didn't cry too much about the bite, even though he probably had a right to, and kept on hunting hard. Typical of the archery season, it continued getting harder to find opportunities although there were a couple of really close calls. Including having some elk pass really close to us in some thick timber where we couldn't get a shot. 

I think he's excited for his turn next year
On the last morning of our hunt we were divided on which ridge we should walk out on. They both overlooked the same draw, but we had no way of knowing which side the elk would be on. We made our choice and quietly made out way through the trees. A spike deer stood staring at us 60 yards away, but other than that there was nothing between us and the opening. Apparently we zigged when we should have zagged. Once out in the open Weston blew his cow call and a bull, along with about a dozen cows, answered from the opposite ridge. Crap! We hauled back to the truck to try and catch up with them though we knew that between the truck ride and the hike out there the elk weren't likely to be waiting for us. We were right, the elk were gone when we got into position but there just happened to be a couple of nice bucks. Weston did his best to get an accurate yardage, but must've missed with his finder because my arrow flew well over the deer's back. Nothing quite worked out for me this hunt, but I had a great time and was happy for my family members that found success. Can't wait till this weekend and the muzzleloader hunt! Maybe I can find that buck again.... Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder