March 07, 2017
By Eddie Claypool
I've been through a lot of bowhunting buddies over the years, and my current partner far surpasses all the rest combined — my dog Lulu! Loyal to a fault, upbeat beyond measure and energetic far above the call of duty, Lulu is my constant companion in the field. Whether I'm bowhunting for bears, turkeys, elk or pronghorns, Lulu is a dedicated follower of my old philosophy — no arrows in the air, no arrows in the hair, bowhunt till you drop!
A more-than-willing participant in all my outdoor junkets, Lulu travels an average of 20,000 miles a year with my wife Peggie and I. Lulu is one redhead who is always ready for adventure, casting a sense of excitement over all our endeavors.
This month, I'd like to take a look at my myriad bowhunting adventures through the eyes of my number one fan and chief big-game guide — my best friend Lulu.
When my dad and mom came to get me, I was more than ready to get away from all those other commoners that surrounded me at that animal shelter — I don't know what I was doing there in the first place, as I'm clearly of a much higher calling/bloodline than that. Besides, my creative abilities were terribly muffled by all the other hoodlums that inhabited my former abode; it was sure good to get away from the inner city and head for wide-open spaces with mom and dad.
Ever since that great day of my liberation, I've been able to bloom into the perfect creation that I am, and I've never looked back. For me now, life is better than good, with adventures galore. Let me tell you a little about some of them€‰€¦
Pursuing Big Bird
Shortly after arriving at my new home, I heard dad talking to mom about going on a hunting trip for turkeys. Not sure what this was all about, I could nevertheless sense excitement in the air — count me all-in. Loading into dad's truck, mom and I smiled as the miles drifted behind on a warm, springtime day; I could hardly wait to see what was up.
Camping along a nice stream that evening, I was nearly overcome with the smells of all things new. As mom and dad went about their busy routine, I explored the nearby woods, finding all kinds of critters to chase. Taking a swim in the river, basking in the warm breeze, while watching squirrels skitter about, I was in heaven. Had I died? Wondering what dad and I would be chasing the next day, I returned to camp to find out.
It soon became quite apparent that dad had "other" plans for me the next day, as I would be assigned guard duty over camp, and mom. Not wanting to risk hazard to the world's greatest mom, I gladly embraced my chore, while at the same time cooking up a few plans of my own.
Over the next couple of days, dad went afield fruitlessly while I harvested a couple of real trophies within sight of camp — a packrat and a skunk! For some reason, mom wasn't really happy with my aroma after my skunk harvest, thus I was taken to the creek for numerous swims to settle the matter. Hey, if that was her idea of punishment, I was going to be getting into a lot trouble in the future!
Over the next few days, I learned a lot about rattlesnakes and porcupines, neither of which did I like. Dad almost never got all those porcupine stickers out of my face, and as for those rattlesnakes, well, they are demon-possessed little s@*^s! Dad was having no luck at catching anything, and I heard him complaining to mom about having to eat something called tag soup. It was at this point I knew dad needed help, and I was determined to be there for him.
With a few more trips under our belt, we all began to realize that our little outings were sheer utopia. Furthermore, dad soon began to take me afield with him on his scouting forays, finally trusting mom to her own means. We both agreed that she could probably keep herself from getting lost or snake-bit while we were gone, so to hill-and-dale we went!
On our first trip afield, I was confused at dad's aimless wandering, seemingly confused by all the various forms of vegetation and fauna. As for me, well, I was following my nose to all kinds of great ambush locations — field mice trail over here, coon crossing over there. And I nearly caught another porcupine, but better judgment got the best of me this time — I could tell that dad was glad about that. While I was busy flitting to-and-fro in my pursuits, dad was busy placing a tent in a meadow — maybe we were going camping out soon.
Early the next morning, dad and I hiked out to the spot where he'd placed the tent previously, and we climbed inside. Rather bored, I assumed a place in the back corner of our hide and took a nap. Later, I was awakened by the approaching sound of game, and dad's excitement level quickly rose. He gave me the stink-eye, and I knew I'd better play it cool, as something interesting was about to happen. Lying low, I watched as a curious set of events unfold over the next few minutes. Shortly, we were quickly exiting our hide so that I could take a pee. Or, so I thought. Actually, dad was chasing a large bird through the nearby brush. He soon caught that sucker, and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement. We finally had our first kill together, and when dad petted me on the head and told me how good I'd been, knew that I'd graduated into the big-time. I've been guiding him ever since.
Life Is Good
Just this past summer, Dad decided he'd like to make a trip back to the area in Colorado where he had hunted elk for the first time. I could tell he was feeling that he was getting old and needed some time alone to reflect on the good things of life. Since I'm his greatest helper, I strongly hinted that I'd like to go along as his therapist. So, off we went! And since we were going to spend a week climbing up and down 13,000-foot mountains, mom opted out of this trip.
When we arrived in the alpine country of southwestern Colorado, I immediately knew why dad loved this area so much. The air was clean and fresh, cold streams were everywhere and meadows full of flowers were in abundance — this was my kind of place! And I could tell that dad was at complete peace also, as his spirit was smiling. Setting our camp in a quiet and private spot, we headed for a trailhead to shake off our flatland filth.
With the passing of time, we climbed ever higher, soon breaking out into a land of marvel. We were on top of the world, and I loved this place; the peace and solitude were amazing. Dad sat down on a knoll overlooking a small lake, and we had some lunch together — he'd even brought me some Pup-Peroni! I lounged in the shade of a boulder as dad meditated on good times past. I could sense there was both joy and sadness in his heart as we rested there that day. I also could tell he wanted to come back here one day, to hunt again, and I let him know I was all for it. This place was paradise! As we prepared to leave, a herd of elk came out of the trees far below us, and dad smiled — this was a very good day for us.
By the time we made it back to the truck, it had been dark for a long time and I was very glad there was a bright moon in the sky to help dad find his way off that mountain. I could tell pop was at the end of his rope, as he'd certainly overdone it a little this day. But even though he was spent, I could tell that he was reflecting back on times when he was young and invincible, no mountain too high. And honestly, I was rather glad he wasn't like that anymore, because actually I was at the end of my rope also; I was dead-dog tired! As we climbed into the truck and headed back to camp, I was looking forward to climbing into my memory foam bed under the kitchen table and passing out. Imagine my surprise, however, when arriving back at camp, dad made a campfire, pulled up a chair and simply sat there enjoying the night. Not wanting to be a stick-in-the-mud, I curled up beside my master and simply provided support — we were at complete peace. This was my favorite trip ever.
Soon after our Colorado commune, dad and I threw mom in the truck and headed for Montana. Dad was going to chase elk, and mom and I were in charge of keeping base camp in order — a task at which we were now very proficient. And even without my help, dad finally caught an elk late one evening — well,
almost. It actually got away from him somehow. So, early the next morning, he took mom and I back with him to where the fight had occurred — he was determined to find his
Not wanting to seem too bold, I allowed them to search fruitlessly for a long time before I'd had all I could take. Finally, I led them to their quarry, which amazingly, was dead. I don't know how dad killed that thing, but he sure gained some of my respect that day — that was a big sucker! When we got back to camp that evening, dad gave me an extra-special dinner and petted me a lot. I could tell he was very thankful. This big dog had finally gotten off the porch!
All the way around, my family and I are blessed — we make life good for each other and are determined to make the most of our time together. When other humans meet me, I can tell that they are thinking, "What a lucky dog you are." And I'll go along with that, but the truth is, mom and dad are the lucky ones. After all, a dog like me only comes along once in a lifetime!