“Are you hit, mate?” Those were the first in-the-field words legendary Australian bowman Adam Greentree spoke to me. My response was a panicked, “No, I don’t think so.” To which he responded, “Are you sure you aren’t hit, mate? That was bloody close.” To which I responded, more panicked and out of breath now, “Not sure, but I don’t think so.”
It was 3 a.m. and I was driving the Greentrees to their campsite on the Colorado plains. On the way, the headlights of my truck detected a stumbling, staggering yearling pronghorn. Figuring it had been hit by a truck, I got out to investigate.
The goat let me walk right up on it, and simply seemed drunk. Odd! I felt up and down its legs and checked its hips. It didn’t struggle or try to get away, and it was obvious that the injured animal hadn’t been hit by a passing vehicle. That’s when I heard it.
The buzz of a rattlesnake is never a good sound, and when you look down to find one coiled between your feet it’s even worse. I jumped. The snake struck. I saw it hit my pants, but didn’t feel the pain of a bite. Lord, was I lucky. The snake-bit pronghorn, however, died later that morning. The young doe had sustained multiple bites. And that’s how my five-day adventure with the Greentree crew started. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As for my first bit of Australian slang, it was, “Bloody oath!” I had no idea what legendary bowman Adam Greentree was trying to tell me, but it sure sounded cool.
We had just finished a tough 500-yard crawl after a bedded pronghorn buck, which thanks to a panicky doe, ended with a bunch of diaper butts bounding away over a ridge. Our knees and hands were riddled with cactus spines, and the blazing midday heat had drained our bodies of liquid.
Finding relief under a large cedar, I asked Adam if he wanted some more water. He had just polished off the remaining liquid in his YETI bottle, and was still looking a bit parched. I had a Badlands bladder full of cool water, and asked Adam if he wanted some. His response, while wearing an ear-to-ear smile, was “Bloody oath.” He must have picked up on my confusion, because he laughed and then said, “Hell ya I do, mate.”
That, in a nutshell, is how my five days on the Colorado plains were spent with Adam and his wife, Kimmi — long, hot and hardcore days of bowhunting filled with jokes and laughter.
Just a Few More Steps
Day No. 2 was coming to a close, and except for a few busted stalks and decoying attempts, the 13-hour-long day had produced little action. Waterhole hunting, due to recent monsoon weather in my neck of the plains, sucked. Every pothole and pond on the prairie was full, and time spent over a tank or a once-well-used pond waiting for a speed goat to slake his thirst was a waste. Decoying was equally as tough. Buck testosterone levels were rising, but most were still in the flee rather than fight stage. As for the spot-and-stalk conditions, well, to say they were difficult would be putting it mildly. Yes, the moisture grew the prairie grasses, but the rains had come so late in the summer that the sunflowers didn’t grow, which made most any approach difficult.
We had actually called it a day, and were driving the trucks back to the house for a warm meal. Lightning was cracking in the distance and a number of low-hanging clouds began to sprawl across the landscape. Adam and Kimmi had stopped to grab a few photos of the storm when the buck dashed across the road. The pronghorn saw the trucks, but due to the low light wasn’t alarmed, and he simply fed over a small ridge. I snagged the decoy, Kimmi grabbed her bow and Adam stayed back to snap a few photos.
The lesser-sized buck, once he saw the imposter, began walking toward it, but soon bolted in the opposite direction. Odd behavior to be sure. Peering up over the decoy’s back, I spied a larger buck approaching the decoy for the opposite side of the ridge. Not wanting a confrontation, the smaller buck sprinted into the distance, only to stop and watch the show unfold.
The newcomer was closing the distance to our decoy, but he was doing it at a painfully slow pace, typical early rut behavior. He wasn’t looking for a fight, but rather wanted to simply get a look at the newbie buck in the territory. At 56 yards, he decided something wasn’t right, and sprinted away. Kimmi, an ultra-ethical bowhunter, knew her distance limitations and simply wasn’t comfortable with the shot. The close encounter was, however, very encouraging.
The next two days were, as archery pronghorn hunting often is, a serious grind. Those days can simply be summed up like this: Glass, spot a buck, walk miles to get into good positon, fail, return to the truck and repeat the process over and over again. The coolest thing, though, is Adam and Kimmi did it with a smile each time. They weren’t mad or upset. They didn’t expect instant success. In fact, Adam told me on a long walk back to the truck, “I need a few more of those failures. They will only make it all the sweeter when I get one.”
In addition to keeping an ultra-positive attitude, we managed to kill time by catching tarantulas, filming those tarantulas and then posting them on Instagram for Mr. Joe Rogan. Adam had a blast with that. We also collected meteorites, looked around for fossils and discovered a few Turtle Back Geodes. Adam’s love and respect for nature is overwhelming, and he seemed equally as interested with these activities as he did with bowhunting pronghorn. Kimmi often picked flowers and wore a constant smile. I loved it.
As it often does in life and bowhunting, hard work and 100 percent dedication to a task tends to pay off. It was the last evening of the Greentree’s Colorado pronghorn adventure, and I was in front of my computer praying for a text. Due to work obligations, I wasn’t able to finish out the day with them, but I wasn’t worried. Adam had learned the country and had quickly picked up on the habits of these plains-dwelling speedsters. All I could do was hope and pray he would get his opportunity. What I did know, after hunting with him for a number of days, was that he would push right up to the very end.
At 6:45 p.m. my phone rang. It was Adam. All he said, in a very excited voice, was, “We got a buck down, mate. It was so cool. I need you out here for photos.”
The rest of the evening was spent packing meat, feasting like kings back at my Colorado home and planning hunts to come. It was the perfect end to a perfect hunt, and like Adam and Kimmi, I wouldn’t have wanted it to happen any other way. Bowhunting isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be hard. And the hardest bowhunts are the ones that our bowhunting mind calls on the most often. Always embrace the grind, stay the course, and success, in one form or another, will often find you.
Over the years I’ve shared camp with a number of “celebrity” bowhunters. Some have been awesome, while others still reside at the top of my throat punch list. A certain country singer, in fact, was the worst human being I’ve ever been around. Not sure anyone could steal that title from him.
So, what about the Greentrees — a couple that have a combined 307K Instagram followers and a number of top-end bowhunting sponsors? Both Adam and Kimmi, along with their ultra-awesome kids Hunter, Noah and Aaliyah, are amazing. I know that’s an adjective that gets tossed around a lot, but there is simply no better one for describing this five-person crew.
Adam and Kimmi are just regular bowhunters. They simply work tirelessly at their craft and do it with a smile. Most days, my bride Amy kept the Greentree kiddos, and I even hauled them to a football scrimmage. We all dined together at night and stayed up way later than we should have. Their trio of kids bonded with our trio of rug-rats, and a family friendship was formed. I’m certain my clan and I will be headed to Australia in July, and I’m positive the Greentree/Bauserman pronghorn hunt will become a yearly tradition.
Man, I sure do love this sport called bowhunting!