Last year I was lucky enough to travel to the infamous “Bow Zone” in Alberta with Brett Joy and Henry Moncrief, where I filmed Henry the first week of September. If you haven’t seen last year's trip, be sure to check it out on the channel! It was a trip of a lifetime with an amazing velvet filled story to go along with it. Justin and his family from Alberta Bound Adventures are some of the most genuine, friendly, and hospitable people I have had the pleasure of spending time with and I am really looking forward to more time up North with them!
What I really want to share about Alberta is a gut wrenching behind the scenes story from last year's trip that happened after the cameras got put away on our way home. Spoiler alert, last year Brett was able to tag an unbelievable white velveted, Alberta giant. After the kill we took our trophy photos, saved the velvet, and broke down the buck in time to leave for the airport not too long after midnight.
Justin had work that morning so we were rushing to be sure we got to our flight on time and Justin wasn’t late. We packed the truck up with everything from camera gear to meat and antlers, and hit the road between 2 or 3 in the morning.
Everything was going great, the four of us were telling stories talking about what happened and what the rest of the season might look like, on a highway with traffic that looked like what you’d expect for 3 in the morning. As we got 30 minutes or so from the airport, we hear a big sequence of thuds come from the night covered tailgate. Brett and Justin frantically asked what the noise was as Henry and I started to scan the back. It didn't take long to notice that a taped shut black tote with a yellow top was missing from the pile of gear and meat in the bed.
The energy in the vehicle immediately went into a mind blown panic when we realized Brett’s close to booner velvet buck that was skull capped and ready for the flight, fell out of the truck bed going over 70 mph down a 2 lane highway on a moonless early September morning. I hadn’t known Justin for much more than a week but I could tell that he had never had this happen before. I remember hearing how F’d up the situation was, dozens of times. This has to be one of the worst nightmare for any guide or hunter, post success.
Almost as quickly as realization and panic set in, Justin had his truck ripping a new path across the grass median and headed back towards the spill, as we frantically drove over the rumble strips of the left lane looking as hard as we could across the median for a yellow top on the side of the road. As we got closer to where we guessed it happened we started looking, and swearing, more intensely. I heard Brett mention something about never getting the antlers back, probably trying to make light of the probable outcome of what just happened.
Just as it starts to feel like there's no way we are ever going to spot a tote that's most likely smashed to pieces already, Brett screams out that he thinks he saw it. I’ll be honest at this point, I thought there was a very slim chance that what Brett thought he saw was actually his buck. But, Justin ripped a hard U-turn back across the glorified ditch to our original lane headed back towards the airport. We started slowing down as we approached the area Brett thought he saw the tote.
By nothing short of a miracle the tote was just off the left side of the road on the edge of the grass with nothing but a small chip in one of the corners of the tote, antlers still perfectly in-tact. It doesn’t get any luckier than that I’d imagine.
Brett and Justin said they both looked at the tote before we left and falsely determined that everything looked secure in the tailgate. Between being to worn out to think of it, and underestimating the weight of the tote, it didn't take very much for a gust of highway breeze to lift it right out of the truck.
Justin made it to work but Brett, Henry, and Myself missed our flight and ended up having one of the longest days of travel I’ve ever had before making it home.
I will never forget the collective feeling of the four of us losing our minds, screaming in disbelief as we went four wheeling in between highways to turn around and look for Brett’s buck multiple times. The time crunch, the lack of sleep, and the significance of what was lost made for one of the craziest 15-20 minutes I have ever had outside of the woods on a trip. I hope I never experience that much anxiety from an already harvested deer ever again.
This year it’s going to be Henry and I going up on a revenge tour from last season (watch last years episode)! We leave Tuesday, August 29 so be on the lookout for some world class Alberta velvet action coming to the channel soon!