(208) 346-6648

September 18, 2014

Dear Rulon:

Let me begin by saying that Elk hunting has always been a dream of mine since I started hunting in 1965 in the Everglades with my dad and uncle. I was 15 at the time but somehow I knew this passion was going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Hunting got in my blood since the very first doe I shot in the swamps. As I grew older, got married and had children, the Elk kept popping up on my dreams once in a while. So after 49 years of hunting, I decided that it was now or never. I attended this year National SCI convention in Las Vegas hoping I could find the perfect place to get my Elk. I wanted to share my experience with my family and best friend, so they decided to also join me on the search and get a hunt of their own. Trust me when I say this, I researched every single Elk outfitter in the convention floor and actually created a questioner that I could fill out as I walked and ask questions. This way I could use it to make my final decision once I visited them in the 4 days I was there. I narrowed down to 3 outfitters, but the minute I met you, Jadan and Tate, I knew I had found the right place.

The anticipation is beyond explanation. I started planning the hunt as soon as I got to Miami. I was driving my wife crazy and probably even your staff with questions and emails for months. You or one of your staff would always get back to me. After many trips to the range and gathering equipment, September the 3rd arrived and we were on our way. My wife, friend Mike, his wife Adriana and I left from Miami early in the morning and my son Chris and his wife Christie where coming from California and met us in Idaho Falls on the 5th. We met Lynn at the hotel and followed her to the lodge. As we were approaching the lodge the scenery was spectacular, we were really deep in the mountains and things just got better the rest of the days we were there. I don’t want to write a book but I probably could. That night as I went to bed I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. I knew the dream was about to become a reality the next morning. Elk hunting in the mountains of Idaho.

We got on our horses before sunrise and each group went their separate ways. As we got higher in the mountain and the sun started to peek over the horizon, I heard what I had only heard before on the dozens of TV shows I have been watching over the years. The unique and beautiful sound of bugling Elk. I thought I had died and was in heaven. We spend the morning glassing the hills sides and went back to the lodge for lunch. I couldn’t wait for the afternoon to arrive. The services at the lodge were tremendous. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were always delicious and plentiful. The staff makes you feel right at home.

In the afternoon we found one bull that had potential to be what I wanted. But he was far on another hill and we couldn’t get there before dark. We heard bugling constantly throughout the mountains, it was just heavenly. We decided to come back in the morning and go after that bull, Tate my guide said that bull had some cows with him and would probably stick around.

What a wonderful time we all spend together that evening at the lodge, going over each individual experience and sharing the stories with family and new friends. Another night of anticipation was waiting for me thought. I couldn’t get that bull I had seen a few hours before on the spotting scope out of my mind.

As dawn approached, I was already downstairs with the chef having a cup of coffee. We headed back to the area where Tate thought we could find the bull. We heard bugling close; we made one of the most exciting stalks on game I have ever made. The great thing is that my son had already killed his elk the first morning (a beautiful 360 class bull) and he was following me with a video camera. As we sneaked in the woods he started bugling about 50 yards from us and I saw his antlers among the aspens. My heart started pounding as we got closer, but the elk wouldn’t wait. We broke out of the woods and made it up a hill where we spotted him again. Tate told me “put one on the chamber” and there went my heart again. As the bull came out about 250 yards away I was waiting for Tate’s signal to fire. Then I heard “Jose, I think we can do better than that.” I was a little disappointed but later on I found out we had made the right choice. What a stalk, one that I will never forget. Pulling the trigger would have been just the conclusion of the stalk, but the thrill will be with me always.

In the afternoon Tate heard on the radio from another guide that he had spotted a bull that I might be interest in. We headed down the mountain and as we got close to that area, I heard voices from inside the woods. It sounded like Mike’s voice; he was signaling me with his arms going up and down. Tate had spotted a large bull up ahead, so we continued our stalk ignoring my good friend. Mike then realized what was happening and he followed us. After several attempts to get close to the bull we finally spotted him on the other side of some aspens. Tate helped me set up quickly and I took my shot. The 180 gr Federal solid copper bullet hit its mark right on the shoulder. I looked amazed as the bull stood there for several seconds without moving; I quickly chambered another round and shot again. This time he took several steps and went down. I screamed with joy, what a feeling, only a hunter can appreciate. The hike up the hill seemed it took forever. As I got close to my bull and saw how beautiful it was I started hugging Tate, my son was right behind me, Christie and my wife arrived shortly thereafter. The emotions were just incredible. Mike and Adriana weren’t far behind and all of a sudden we were all hugging and kissing. It was just a dream come true for me. I was living my dream, this moment will be with me for the rest of my life and my family was there to share it with me. The bull scored 397.

Rulon, this place you have in the Blackfoot Mountains it’s unbelievable and indescribable. People must experience it to really know what it’s like. My wife says she wants to come back someday and get her own elk. We are also going to keep applying for the Moose license and there is also mule deer on our minds. I cannot say enough about Tate. He feels like part of the family now.

Thank you for having this special place where dreams come true.


Jose Caraballo