A Backcountry Bonding Experience

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with Ashley and Jesse Kurtenbach

Passions are passed down through generations. This is definitely true for Jesse Kurtenbach and his father Bill. Jesse started hunting with his father at a very young age and to this day, plans his trips and time around being in the great outdoors. Through these experiences, Jesse and Bill, father and son became the best of friends and hunting buddies.

There is something special about elk hunting. The experience itself creates a deep connection with those on the hunt. Before their last elk hunt a few years ago, Bill stated it would be his last, due to the physical and mental demands of a backcountry hunt. Even though Jesse didn’t fully believe his father was done, they both came to terms with the reality that time changes everything. Making the most of their time in the field, Jesse and Bill made memories by harvesting elk and soaking up every second of being in the backcountry together.

Maybe it was retirement, maybe it was the dwindling elk meat in the freezer or maybe it was lack of time spent with his only son that drove Bill to reconsider the 2016 backcountry elk hunt. Either way, Bill wanted “in” on this year’s trip and Jesse was elated to have his father back on board. They couldn’t wait for October to be here. Finally arriving, they headed to to the trailhead, put up their base camp and anxiously awaited for the morning to head into the mountains.

When morning came, they loaded up the horses and made their all-day trek to the elk basecamp. The two spent a full day prepping camp by chopping wood and making sure the horses were settled. They were up early for opening day, enjoying the brisk mountain air, a hearty breakfast and a few sips of coffee. What a perfect way to send mountain men on their way to chasing bugling bulls.

As they set out to hunt the ridgelines, Bill heard a bugle down the way. He quickly made his way toward the sound of a Colorado bull. He got set up in what he believed to be the perfect spot and waited for the herd of elk to cross a small opening.  Through this opening Bill settled his crosshairs on the golden tan and brown bodied bull. With a single shot from his Kimber Montana 270 WSM, he once again experienced success in the mountains.

Jesse made his way down to assist his father in quartering out the bull. The smiles were big as both were overjoyed to once again encounter another great accomplishment. To them it was more than just returning to the backcountry together, it’s a bonding experience between a father and son. It’s sharing in the passion of elk hunting side-by-side.

With the better part of the week left, Jesse still has a tag to claim his own bull. Nevertheless, this is a trip that Jesse will never forget, being grateful he could once again experience another backcountry hunt with his dad.