BLACKFOOT — It's a good thing that Dr. Dave Stanley doesn't equate a successful hunt with harvesting an animal every time.
Stanley, a local veterinarian who owns Blackfoot Animal Clinic, and his hunting companion spent seven long years trying to bring a wily wapiti home before succeeding in 2012. Stanley recounts their adventures and misadventures in the July/August 2013 edition of "Bugle," the national publication of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Stanley hunts with a traditional recurve bow. He has tried compound bows, too, but prefers the traditional weapon. His has a 52-pound pull.
"It didn't matter what we did, nothing ended successfully," Stanley said of the 7-Year Jinx, the title of his Bugle article. "But our hunt in 2012 ended all that.
"Despite the jinx all the hunts were fun," Stanley said. "We were happy to have the opportunity."
Pressed for his favorite hunting grounds, Stanley laughed and said, "I can't tell you that!"
Eventually he confessed to owning a second home in the Challis area and being able to spend time there with his wife, Brenda, and his hunting companions.
"I go out most Septembers; every opportunity I get," he said of the bow elk hunt. "I truly enjoy the process."
While he and his partner enjoyed the process during the 7-Year Jinx, Stanley admitted it was a relief to see the jinx end. "My hunting partner had never harvested an elk. He was like a 5-year-old he was so excited."
Stanley said he prefers hunting with a bow to using a rifle.
"I enjoy the challenge of it," he said. "It's a little more quiet and a little more intimate."
He noted that rifle hunters can reach hundreds of yards to harvest their animal. Bow hunters must approach to within 50-100 yards to get off a successful shot.
Hunting shouldn't be impersonal. You should be more connected to what you're doing."
This year, in addition to elk, Stanley will hunt sheep since he has drawn a tag for that species.
Stanley has lived and practiced in Blackfoot for the last 25 years. He is a member of the Blackfoot River Bowmen archery club.
A native of San Diego, Calif., he came to Idaho for college, learned to hunt and never left.
"I fell in love with the area and decided to stay," he said.