The DIY Hunter

In 1994 I wrecked while jumping a motorcycle. The wreck damaged my knee and tore my ACL. At the time I was a poor college student with no health insurance. I went almost a year after the injury trying to have an active lifestyle to no avail. I was unable to run, jog and even standing and walking would often result in my knee slipping out and cause me to catch my balance. To make a long story short I had my ACL replaced in 1995 and was told by the doctor that if I had not had the surgery I would have needed knee replacement as the bones were hitting each other when the knee was slipping out. This ACL surgery got me back walking and hiking pretty good but my knee never was solid enough for me to jog, run play basketball etc.

In 2004 I took my second mule deer buck in my second year of the dedicated hunter program so I was ineligible to hunt mule deer in 2005. I decided it was the year to try and get my knee fixed better. In June of 2005 I had a surgery to remove the screws and ACL and have cadaver bone inserted into the hollow areas of my leg bones. Then on the opening day of the archery elk season I had another surgery to take a tendon off the back of my leg and thread it through my knee at a more solid angle than the first ACL replacement.

The surgeries went well and I started rehab. With the back to back surgeries on my knee my right leg was in terrible shape not to mention my body. During this process the doctor told me that hunting was out of the question this fall. But sometimes I have a hard time listening. I was itching to hunt and I decided to try a muzzleloader elk in early November.

Spike elk taken with White muzzleloader in 2005. I was not happy with accuracy of my muzzleloader at the time so I borrowed my good friend Ryan's muzzleloader. It is nice looking White muzzleloader that he had the stock dipped in Mossy Oak Break-Up camo.

Opening day I hobbled around for a couple of hours trying to locate some elk. I started a little to high on the mountain and spotted a nice bull way below me. I worked my way down the maintain cow calling every once in a while. When I got the the general area where I saw the bull he was nowhere to be found. I started working my way around the mountain at this lower elevation and cow called at one point. Immediately something came crashing through the oak brush straight toward me. It was a spike elk, excellent tasting meat for the frying pan. He popped out of the brush at 20 yards and I gave him a face full of smoke and a hefty super slug to the chest.

I propped my camera on my pack and took a couple of photos. You can see in my photo that I'm heavily favoring my right leg. It was probably not the smartest thing to do on my leg and completely exhausted me doing so, but the experience and meat for the family was well worth it. Spike's make for tender and great tasting meat.