Thanks everyone. This hunt really did mean alot to me. Back in 1998 or 1999 I made a promise to myself that one day I would go on a 100% Wilderness hunt for elk. It was supposed to be in Alaska or Canada, but New Mexico will have to do for now. I was 24 years old when I made that bucket list, single, no kids, making good money.
This hunt was also very bittersweet for me. The afternoon before I left to head up to the mountains I received a phone call from the Vice President of Nissan's Central Region ( he hired me in Sept 14) with an offer to move back to Missouri and take over the St. Louis market. The market is on a downward trend and with the progress I have made out here in such a short time, they want me there instead of hiring someone in Missouri already. That is such a huge compliment as they are relocating me on the company dime and even buying our house in 60 days if it doesn't sell. As much as I love the mountains and all they have to offer ( hunting, fishing, camping, exploring, shed hunting, 4 wheeling, etc...) I have to think of my wife and children. We have decided to move back to Missouri.
Now for the backstory.
In Sept 14 when I was hired my territory was basically Albuquerque and El Paso Tx. My farthest dealer was 3.5 hours away in El Paso and I went there every two or three weeks. In April of 15 Nissan had a huge reorganization and my territory was sliced and diced. Now I have the entire state of NM, plus the western slope Colorado up to Grand Junction. My drive time increased to 8 hour hours north to Grand Junction ( driving through Red Mountain Pass) down to Hobbs NM, 5 hours away. My traveling away from home doubled. My "windshield time" tripled. Even though geographically the territory tripled, the volume of business was cut in half. For someone with 16 years experience ( me) that is not good. Crime is everywhere in ABQ. Two policemen have been killed in 3 months and a 4 year old girl was murdered in a road rage incident just two weeks ago. Back in Ohio and Missouri Kasey would give me the business about carrying a concealed weapon when we went out... Now she makes sure I am carrying. That is sad. Three women have been held up at gunpoint in broad daylight and purse snatched or car jacked, all within a 1.5 miles from the house.
We added a 4th baby girl ( Piper) in July. Piper has yet to meet her great grandparents , maternal grandpa, or my parents. Heck she has only met my niece and mother in law as they came out in August to visit. Being this far away from family has been tough on us. My wife is one of the strongest women I know. She is a killer in the business world. I have seen her break down more in the last 6 months than I care to admit, and knowing that I would be leaving for work for days on end was not good on my mental state as well. We found ourselves snapping at the kiddos for no real reason, we fought more, etc... I was missing things in the kids life, both school and recreational that hurt more than anything I can explain.
So the move to St Louis 180 degree opposite. I will have ZERO overnight travel except for meetings in Dallas or Nashville. All my dealers will be within 1.5- 2 hours of the house. It is a true metro market and business volume is 4 times that of NM/CO. Our families will be 7-9 hours drive away. I will be home to share in parenting duties as I should and want to be.
As much as I love the west and the mountains, I must think of my wife and kids and us as a family unit. It was a hard decision and those days I spent in the wilderness helped me to clear my mind. When I walked up on that bull laying there in the dark timber I knew what I had to do. The elk will still be here even if I leave. No one will ever see the boot tracks I left, nor will they know what it meant to me to be there. What people will see is how happy my family will once again be. I will be back on the trail of elk again. My boots will tear up the dark timber and I will again cuss under my breath of all the blowdowns I must navigate. It will happen. The fire in my soul will never be extinguished for all things Rocky Mountain.
As you can see this trip meant more to me than any other trip I have been on to date in my life. I accepted the job officially on Tuesday. Our house will be on the market tomorrow, and we are heading to MO in two weeks to find a house ( our 6th house in 10 years!!!!!).
Good news is MO has some big chunks of State Forest (1.5 million acres in just the Mark Twain) and some really big wilderness areas as well. I am sure I can find some big bucks roaming 2-3 miles from the road and get myself into some trouble.
The kids are excited to play in snow again ( Kasey not so much). I am excited for 4 months of bow hunting, mushroom hunting etc.. Not looking forward to dealing with Ticks.... Better go stock up on Permitherin.
Tough as it is to give up our perks, you're making the right move. Hunting isn't everything (though it is darn close to being everything! :grin: ). We are indeed all pulling for you and for your family. Glad you were able to make this one great hunt.
Pat, I feel sorry for you as you are leaving a great area for true outdoor adventures but I totally understand your reasoning!! You have made the right decision as family is everything!!!
I am sure everything is going to workout for you!! You will have some great Whitetail stories for us as well!!