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15th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Perseverance

I was lucky enough to spend most of September with my pap in a unit he waited 13 years to hunt. To avoid the possibility of running into another hunter, we rode mountain bikes on old cattle trails deep into the Uncompahgre National Forest. That’s where we set up basecamp and would stay 4-5 days at a time. This hunt proved to be one of the most challenging endeavors I’ve ever participated in. The weather was hotter than it should be that time of year and accordingly, the elk were quiet most of the season. With a week to go, violent winds made a tough hunt even more difficult. The old man kept at it and never got discouraged. On the last day of archery season, 12 o’clock in the afternoon, things finally fell into place. Pap was rewarded with a beautiful old Uncompahgre bull. I’m so grateful for the time we were able to spend together and the lessons I learned this past September. There was no one in that unit that deserved a bull more than him. September 2017 produced some memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2017
Date Uploaded: 11.2017
Photo Location: Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado, United States of America
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Copyright: © Morgan Pihl