Sometimes you go back to what worked in the past. It was 35 degrees in obscure light on a cold October morning as I silently moved down a shaded canyon with Ponderosa pines on both sides towering up like sky scrapers. I was moving only about 300 yards every hour or so, glassing both sides of the ridges and cliffs above me. Looking through the trees for that black or brown shadow I had seen so often in this Arizona canyon that was part of the Apache National Forrest.
Already satisfied with my hunt even though my quarry was not yet found or taken. It was the place in all it's beauty that captured my imagination as I moved alone in anticipation of bagging a certain black bear that left his mark all over that place. Around every bolder or turn in that canyon I expected that day to see him.
Four and a half hours I moved getting further away from the mouth of the canyon. The wind changed 180 degrees and I had to turn back. I thought to myself "man what luck, I was so sure that the conditions were right and now this". As I turned to go back I said to myself, "don't just walk out hunt every step of the way back and don't rush it."
After an hour and a half working my way back I stopped to glass an open place in the trees above me and there he was about 90 yards away. The wind was in my favor and the bear had not seen me. I lifted my 30-06 with a 165gr Sierra HPBT and put the cross hairs right on a perfect broad side shot and pulled the trigger. He leaped in the air, hit the ground and slid about 30 yards down the side of the canyon and laid there dead.
Now at this time in my life I had moved to my fast Weatherby cartridges and tough bullets like the TSX and A-Frames. So why I picked up my 06 that day with my deer load and left my 300Wby I really don't know. I guess my reason was out of nostalgia and affection for a cartridge that I had hunted most of my life with and have a soft spot for in my heart. I had not hunted big game with my 06 for three years. To my surprise the 165gr Sierra Game King HPBT took the heart and lungs out the other side and left a tennis ball size hole.
Even though I really like my fast hard hitting cartridges I still have a place in my hunting life for the 30-06 and that is why I have bought another one lately to replace the three I sold. I guess that is why men like Whelen, Page, Swank, Waters, Pittenger and even O'Connor liked to use the 30-06.
In closing, I found some concluding remarks in an article that I wrote 20yrs ago and it reminded me why I feel the way I do about the 30-06. Here is the quote from the article: "For those who buy the 30-06, surely are not doing so out of a lack of knowledge. The 30-06 is like a good horse that you ride because he won't supprise you or let you down. So just like a good horse that one would trust, I take my 30-06 in to unexpected terrain and circumstances where it is good to have something you know will work."
Was it the best bullet to use? NO!! Was the whole day a lot of fun? YOU BET!! Will I use the 30-06 again? WITHOUT A DOUBT!! Why? BECAUSE IT WORKS!!