New BHA Member Finds Community and ... Elk!

 

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My name is Curtis Williamson, and I am a member of the BHA Armed Forces Initiative.

I received orders to be stationed in Newport, Oregon, in December 2019, right before Covid became prevalent. Needless to say, I was lost as to what to do out here in Newport when things shut down as we were still very new to the area.

I had a friend, who is now my hunting partner, tell me about BHA and all that you have do across the nation and I just had to join! What you all do is absolutely amazing and inspires me to try and make a change in my local community. I am impressed with all the ways you stay in contact with your members and help to make them feel included through opportunities to socialize and work in the outdoors.

BHA gave me an opportunity to explore my new home and get involved with a new community, so thank you so much for having a profound influence on my life. I would like to let you know that I am moving on from the U.S. Coast Guard and becoming a forester/wildland firefighter partly due to your influence on wildlife and habitat management. I want to actually DO something about it!

I would love to share these photos with you from my most recent Oregon general elk archery hunt. I went out on Monday, August 30, and spent about 1.5 hours trying to find the herd of elk I had been scouting for months.

I found them and immediately dropped my pack to start the stalk on a young 3x3 bull on the outskirts of the herd. I proceeded to stalk and talk with this herd for more than six hours, walking over four miles with no boots on and actually drawing back on the bull once prior to shooting.

This herd was so fun to follow and interact with, with some of the most majestic bugles and chuckles that I’ve herd in a long time. With this being my only second Oregon elk season, I didn’t expect as much as I received on Monday. When I finally got my third attempt for the day at this bull, he presented himself at 28 yards. As I drew back, one of his sentry cows stepped in front, almost like she new something was up but had no idea I was there. I let down on my bow, crouched back down and waited another heart-pounding minute before she moved on and I had another opening. I stood up and drew back again as he took a small step away from me giving me the perfect quartering away shot. I let loose as I said a quick prayer to God asking for a straight and true shot and a quick death for this beautiful animal. As he ran away, I took a step back, watched the other 50-something elk around me disperse and waited for things to quiet down. Within minutes, I had found the gorgeous 5x6 Roosevelt elk less than 100 yards from where I shot. The pack out was two miles with my amazing wife and good friends, who came in to help. As we walked back to the car, arriving around midnight, I recounted the day and said a quick thank you to God for providing my family with meat for another year and for the amazing experience I had just had. Now it is Sunday and all the meat has been processed in the garage and is now vacuum sealed and frozen for the year. As I wait for my hunting partner to tag his bull, I can’t help but feel blessed and in awe of my short but great Oregon archery hunt.

I would also like to quickly thank BHA for all that you did for the Oregon chapter with the proposed new regulations for the 2022 archery elk season. As I am strictly an archery hunter, I appreciate all that BHA did with providing us with opportunities to give our wildlife managers and politicians the information to keep the seasons and regulations as are and educate that the proposal would have a dire impact on elk populations statewide.

As an organization, BHA consistently stands out amongst other conservation groups, and I am proud to sport my BHA apparel and stickers wherever I go. Keep up the good work and hope to see you all around.

 

-Curtis Williamson

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor

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