319 Inches of Bone: A Blessing from Above
Missouri State Pass 2010
By Josh Clinard
Testimonial Article from IMB Client
The 2010 whitetail season was my third season in a row hunting with IMB Outfitters, and this year I decided to purchase a single state pass in Missouri instead of a five-day hunt as I had in previous years. I was looking forward to utilizing the state pass and all the benefits that come with it. First and foremost, I knew the pass would allow me to be picky about the caliber of whitetail I wanted to harvest and give me the chance to hunt through each phase of the whitetail season. The pass would also enable me to develop strong, long lasting friendships that a five-day hunt may not have allowed due to time restraints. Little did I know this decision would result in my most blessed hunting season to date and one that I will always remember.
My favorite thing about purchasing the pass was the new friendships I was able to develop with the guides, the Bush’s, and, of course, Darrin. Many times throughout the season, evenings were spent sitting on the porch or looking at aerials getting to know more about the individuals who have made IMB such a great success. Darrin Bradley is an extremely educated individual when it comes to whitetails, and hearing the story of his life and how IMB Outfitters came to be what it is today is truly inspiring. He is also a very friendly and funny man. He knows how to have fun with his clients and makes sure they enjoy every aspect of their hunt. Doug is one of the guides as well as the manager of the lodge. He is extremely knowledgeable about whitetails and it was a pleasure getting to know him. Becky and the girls are amazing cooks and a lot of fun to be around. Darrin and the Bush’s treated me like family, and I am very thankful to have met such wonderful people. The guides are knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely passionate about whitetails. Each has his own way of getting to know the hunters and making sure the hunters are comfortable and happy during their time in camp. The goal for these guys is making the hunters successful. Each guide wants to be able to say that their hunter shot the biggest deer of that season. I can honestly say that once my hunting season had ended and it was time to head back to my family, I truly felt like I was leaving a family behind. To me, that’s what separates IMB Outfitters from the rest. Not only is the hunting phenomenal, but, more importantly, the people who make it happen each and every day are an incredible bunch and make up the magnificent backbone of IMB Outfitters.
If you have the opportunity and are looking for a hunting season that you’ll never forget, you need to take advantage of the state pass that is offered by IMB Outfitters. It is the way to go! It gives the hunter unlimited access to IMB properties and allows the hunter to remain in constant contact with Darrin and the guides throughout the season. I was constantly getting updates on deer movement and whether or not the big boys were on their feet. If I wasn’t planning on coming to camp and the deer movement was good, they were quick to call and let me know that I should try and make it into camp if possible. I always spoke with one of the guides a day or two prior to arriving in camp to see what was happening and how other hunters were doing. Although the ongoing communication with the guides is important, the unlimited access to IMB properties that the state pass offers was the most important aspect of all. I was able to be more picky than normal when deciding whether or not a buck is a shooter. Coming into the season, I had decided that I was not going to shoot a whitetail that would score under 150 inches. If a deer of that caliber never crossed my path, I was willing to eat a tag sandwich. But after my very first morning on stand in September, I realized that keeping my cool and staying true to my “150 rule” was going to be tough. I had a very nice 135-140 inch 8 point walk by within bow range. Throughout the season, I had many encounters with whitetails like this one, and had I been on a five-day hunt, I would have been happy to harvest any one of them. However, I had all of 2010 to find that one (or two) special deer that would meet my “150 rule.”
At this point, whether or not I harvested a whitetail, I was extremely happy with my decision to purchase the state pass with IMB Outfitters. My experience with IMB at the Bush Lodge was nothing short of amazing. The relationships that were created and the knowledge I gained from these people I now call friends was priceless. Fortunately, I ended up harvesting two bruisers within 8 days in November. I harvested a 156-inch 14 pointer with my Hoyt on November 5th and a 163-inch 12 pointer with my Savage 7mm on November13th. I had harvested a total of 319 inches of bone during one of the most tragic weeks of my life; truly a blessing from above.
IMB Outfitters is a first class, top of the line whitetail hunting operation. If you are looking for a great hunt and an all-around great experience, look no further.
Written in memory of my grandfather, Merlin Gunn. He passed away just three days prior to me connecting on the first of two world-class whitetails. I cannot thank him enough for introducing me to the passionate sport of whitetail hunting. My success in 2010 would not have happened without his blessings.
Thank you Becky Bush and TJ Lawrence for the special conversations you shared with me concerning death and celebration.