Archery Super Slam Completed by Jake Ensign

photos, data, and commentary compiled by bowsite.com

The archery Super Slam (all 29 species of North American Game Animals) has only been accomplished by a few bowhunters. Jake Ensign recently completed his 30 year quest for the archery Super Slam by taking a great Barren Ground Caribou. In bowsite.com’s feature on him, Jake comments on every animal taken. Including the price of each hunt, how many attempts were made for each species, how difficult each species was, and field photos.

Details of each species of Jake Ensign’s Archery Super Slam in order of harvest are listed below:


Rocky Mountain Elk

Jake Ensign with his rocky mountain elk.I took my first Rocky Mountain Elk in 1991, near Philipsburg, Montana. I got my shot opportunity with ten minutes remaining on the final day of the archery season. It was a twenty-eight yard shot that hit a little far back. We located the bull the next morning, about 300 yards away.”

Difficulty rating of 1.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $4,000
  $600
  2



Mountain Lion

Jake Ensign Mountain Lion“I hunted near Ovando, Montana [...] and treed this mountain lion on the first day of my hunt. Within a couple hours, we cut a fresh track and the cat was treed within two or three hours. It was an eleven yard shot which is rather anti-climatic, as the real excitement is in the chase, and the music of the dogs.”

Difficulty rating of 1.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $1,800
  $300
  1



Quebec Labrador Caribou

jake ensign Quebec Labrador CaribouQuebec Labrador Caribou migrations are a hit or miss proposition, and you have to adjust your hunting accordingly. My largest bull was taken before I had ever purchased a nice digital camera, but this bull seemed to be a nice representative of the species. I stalked to within 15 yards before taking this animal.”

Difficulty rating of 0.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $5,000
  $750
  1



Muskox

jake ensign muskox“This was one of my more memorable hunting experiences. On the second day of the hunt, Bob wounded a nice bull. As he stalked closer to finish the muskox, it had another bull standing guard over it…which I took with one arrow at 26 yards. The two animals collapsed within 60 yards of each other.”

Difficulty rating of 1.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $8,000
  $2,000
  1



Grizzly Bear

jake ensign Grizzly Bear“The grizzly bear was quartering towards us with that huge head just swaying back and forth. When I drew my bow, he paused for a moment, and that was when I released my arrow… and he was probably dead in less than a minute.”

Difficulty rating of 3 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $8,000
  $2,000
  1


I remember hearing the click of my guides safety on his .458 (beside my head), as he said ‘You wanted a 30 yard shot at a big bear, and you are about to get your wish!’… BTW, my grizzly bear tasted like anchovies.
~Jake Ensign


Pronghorn Antelope

Jake Ensign Pronghorn Antelope“I have hunted antelope with a decoy, and by spot and stalk. They can both be quite exciting. If you are going to hunt with a decoy, you had better be ready, because if they decide they don’t like that younger buck near their harem, you are going to have a buck in your lap…..right now!! My antelope was shot at twenty yards and covered about 500 paces in 16 seconds after the shot!”

Difficulty rating of 0 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $2,000
  $300
  1



Plains Bison

Jake Ensign Plains Bison“My plains bison hunt was in British Columbia just a few days before Christmas. They are an immense animal (though the Wood Bison is bigger, IMO), and they are much more alert than I originally expected them to be. My shot hit further back than I intended, so more than one arrow was required to put the animal down for good.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $6,000
  $1,500
  1



Black Bear

Jake Ensign Black Bear“I hunted for black bear in Alberta out of a tree stand that had a bait barrel within bow range of it, but it also happened to be in close proximity to the carcass of a bison. I had a nice bear cruise through to check on the bait, but once he caught wind of the bison carcass, he passed the barrel and started to head towards the carcass. I took him at 14 yards. He ran about 30 yards, and was dead within 10-15 seconds.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $0
  $0
  1


The death moan sent a chill up my spine. I later learned that the animal is probably dead when the sound is made, and the noise is actually air being expelled from the lungs as the diaphragm tightens due to rigor mortis. I will default to veterinarians and doctors as to whether that is true or not. What I do know, is that black bear tasted pretty darned good when it is prepared in a crock pot,….. mine tasted like pulled pork!!


Woodland Caribou

Jake Ensign Woodland Caribou“What a cool animal to bowhunt! I hunted in Newfoundland for my Woodland Caribou. When I got a shot opportunity, I was a little winded, and I believe that I rushed my shot, The arrow hit him either high in the liver or the kidney. He ran with his does to about 80 yards, and my guide started to beat a tree with a branch. He stopped to turn around and check us out again. While I will not attempt a first shot at this distance, I would not hesitate to take an 80 yard shot if I have already hit an animal. The second arrow double lunged him and he went down within 10 yards.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $4,000
  $475
  1



Polar Bear

Jake Ensign Polar Bear“Murphy’s Law intervened on my polar bear hunt…. To make a long story short, I shot at my boar seven times (six arrow quiver), and in the end, despite some fairly significant frostbite, I was able to tag a great bear.”

Difficulty rating of 3 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $32,000
  $4,500
  2


Polar Bear meat tastes like roast beef, and if you aren’t used to it, it will give you the runs. The liver is toxic to humans. Inuits prefer to the eat the cartilage in the feet before the red meat. They won’t even let the dogs eat too much of the red meat at a time.


Columbia Blacktail Deer

“I took my Columbia Blacktail Deer about an hour west of Eureka, California. I had hunted from several treestands, and never had a shot opportunity. On the last day, I glassed two very nice bucks and stalked to 43 yards. I stayed as still as a statue for at least 30-40 minutes, finally the lead buck took a couple steps. My shot was high and I spined the buck….so I ran down to him and finished him off.”

Difficulty rating of 0 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $4,000
  $485
  1



Mule Deer

Jake Ensign Mule Deer“I hunted Mule Deer in the Sonora desert. I stalked to within 30 yards of a really nice buck on the first morning of my hunt, but he saw me about one second before I saw him, and he buggered with no shot being offered. Later that evening, I was able to get a shot at a nice, heavy 3X3 that was about 32 inches wide.”

Difficulty rating of 0.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $5,000
  $585
  1



Coues Deer

Jake Ensign Coues Deer“I hunted Coues deer in Mexico with Tom Edgington in early January while the rut was on. There is a tree with a large, white flower that has honey flavored, petals. The does love these blossums and constantly work a circuit from tree to tree. So you can guess where the bucks are… Tom and I each took two bucks in four days.”

Difficulty rating of 0 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $3,500
  $750
  1



Desert Bighorn Sheep

Jake Ensign Desert Bighorn Sheep“A last minute cancellation afforded me the opportunity for a Desert Bighorn Sheep. I assumed that most of my sheep bowhunts would require me to climb to the top of the mountain and then stalk the ram from above. Yet, on of the fourth day of my hunt, I was able to stalk uphill to within seventeen yards of my ram. I took a full frontal shot at the ram at that distance. “

Difficulty rating of 2 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $40,000
  $1,000
  1



Dall Sheep

Jake Ensign Dall Sheep“About four months after I tagged my desert bighorn, I was able to bowhunt for Dall sheep in the Northwest Territories. We were able to stalk within 40 yards on my ram and then we waited for him to feed and move into a position where I could get an even better shot. Once again, it was virtually a head-on shot, and the arrow completely passed through the animal lengthwise.”

Difficulty rating of 2 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $30,000
  $3,100
  2



Bighorn Sheep

Jake Ensign Bighorn Sheep“A couple months before my Dall Sheep was scheduled, I was notified that in my first year of eligibility, I had drawn the first season archery tag for Colorado’s Georgetown unit (S-32). After nine stalks in eight days, I was able to stalk within fifty yards of a band of seven rams. After the shot, I found no blood and was so focused on looking over the ledge where they seemed to be headed, that I actually tripped over my ram.”

Difficulty rating of 2.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $8,000
  $650
  1



Stones Sheep

Jake Ensign Stones Sheep“After arriving in British Columbia, I missed an easy forty yard shot at a Stone Sheep ram on the first day. I missed again at 47 yards on about the fifth day… and on the last day, I hit a ram that trotted by me at 28 yards. We caught up to the ram I killed him with a 66 yard heart shot.”

Difficulty rating of 2.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $30,000
  $2,000
  1



Mountain Goat

Jake Ensign Mountain Goat“I hunted mountain goats near Cordova, Alaska, and on the first day I was able to stalk within 12 yards of a nice billy. My shot was higher than it should have been, but the billy was down within 150 yards.”

Difficulty rating of 3 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $16,000
  $1,200
  1



Sitka Blacktail Deer

Jake Ensign Sitka Blacktail Deer“I bowhunted Sitka Blacktail Deer on Prince of Wales Island. It is an wonderful place to hunt. We actually used a fawn bleat predator call and it worked extremely well bringing in the protective does, and the bucks aren’t usually far behind. I took a nice 8 point (eastern count) or a 3X3 with eye guards (western count).”

Difficulty rating of 0.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $5,000
  $725
  1



Central Barren Ground Caribou

Jake Ensign Central Barren Ground Caribou“I had to hunt Central Barren Ground Caribou three times before I was lucky enough to take one. On my third hunt, I was near the NWT/Nunavut border, and we were lucky enough to see several hundred caribou over the five days that we were there. I actually had two tags and was able to take two bulls on that hunt. My first bull was at 46 yards, and my second was less than thirty yards.”

Difficulty rating of 0.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $13,500
  $1,800
  3



Mountain Caribou

jake ensign Mountain Caribou“I bowhunted Mountain Caribou twice. Both times, in the Northwest Territories. On my second hunt, I hunted out of ground blinds in an area that was known for its mineral licks. When the bull trotted by at less than thirty yards, I took my shot and watched him run across the mineral licks before expiring.”

Difficulty rating of 0.5 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $11,000
  $3,800
  2


In my opinion, [Mountain Caribou] are a considerably larger animal than the others species [of caribou]. What surprises me, is that the P&Y score required for them is less than that required for the Barren Ground Caribou…..and my Mountain Caribou was considerably larger (body wise) than my Barren Ground Caribou bull.


Canada Moose

Jake Ensign Canada Moose“I hunted Canadian Moose three times. Since the hunts in Newfoundland are much cheaper than out west, I hunted there two of the three times. I was able to tag my bull on the final day of my hunt. It was only one and one half years old, but it was a thrill for me….because it was my first bowkilled moose, and I got 304 pounds of meat….and I really like moose meat!!”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $16,900
  $1,400
  3



Shiras Moose

Jake Ensign Shiras Moose“We saw a couple small bulls on the first few days of the Shiras moose hunt, but the big one that had been in the area never materialized. We were able to locate another nice, respectable bull on about the fourth or fifth day, and we shot him at 41 yards, and he went less than 100 yards.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $8,000
  $500
  1



Roosevelt Elk

jake ensign Roosevelt Elk“I have taken Roosevelt elk on two occasions, but I was only able to bring the meat back once. I am amazed at how such a large, heavy animal can disappear into the canopy so quickly, and quietly….but when considering how heavy the vegetation is, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. They are a hoot to hunt!”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $4,500
  $500
  1



Tule Elk

jake ensign Tule Elk“I hunted about three hours north of Sacramento, for my Tule elk. I was amazed the hear bulls bugling even when the temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Despite blowing an opportunity early in the hunt, I was able to get a 46 yard shot on the fourth or fifth day of the hunt. The bull traveled less than 30 yards, and was down in 10-15 seconds.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $13,000
  $600
  1



Whitetail Deer

jake ensign Whitetail Deer“I cut my teeth on whitetail deer, [...but] one eventful day, Pat Lefemine mentioned Kansas to me, and I really can’t ever see me missing a season from now on. Not only is the camp camaraderie outstanding, but the number of trophy sized bucks out there is just mind numbing.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $0
  $0
  1



Brown Bear

jake ensign Brown Bear“The brown bear was my personal nemesis [on my archery Super Slam]. I hunted brown bear for 53 days [5 separate hunts] before I was able to get a shot opportunity.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $52,000
  $6,100
  5



Alaskan Yukon Moose

jake ensign Alaska Yukon Moose“Once I realized that I might be able to complete the North America archery Super Slam, I returned to the Yukon to try my luck on an Alaska Yukon Moose. It actually took me a couple attempts to get it done, but the experience and the memory were well worth the wait.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $16,000
  $2,000
  2



Barren Ground Caribou

Jake Ensign Barren Ground Caribou“I had hunted Barren Ground Caribou previously in Alaska, and I whiffed my shot on the last day of my hunt. What a long walk back to the tent THAT was. A couple years later, I had the chance to hunt them again, but this time it was in the northern Yukon. This hunt completed the archery Super Slam.”

Difficulty rating of 1 on a scale of 0 – 3 Hunt Cost:
Travel Cost:
Attempts:
  $8,000
  $1,800
  2


Thanks to a gun hunter in camp, named Thomas Martini, not only was I given a shot opportunity at a nice, mature bull….but unbeknownst to me, that dude even videoed the bowhunt for me. Imagine completing your NA29 and finding out that the shot which gives you closure, is recorded on video! Not only was it recorded on video, the footage was excellent!!


Jake Ensign is also answering questions about his archery Super Slam on this thread.