Monday, September 07, 2009
Friday evening Mike P motored Ray and I off of the 'Road System' to camp and hunt deer. He left us at an isolated beach and we said goodbye and then hiked from there up into the trees to camp (top photo). I was excited to try my new tent - a Kifaru Paratipi that came with a tiny woodstove. Tent and stove weigh less than 6 pounds and we were excited to discover it is also very roomy. I think that 4 people could share it quite easily. We set up camp and lit the woodstove (second photo). Good lord how did I ever survive camping without a wood stove?
Saturday morning we woke up in the dark and lit the woodstove. Rather than a glum breakfast in the dark we enjoyed a cheerful meal by the glow of the woodstove. Ray even heated his cup of coffee water on the stove. Plenty of heavy whipping cream for the coffee set us up for the long hike in the dark to the alpine. We arrived up in the alpine tundra at dawn, and immediately saw does and fawns everywhere. We caught a small buck watching us from a short distance away and he ran into the alders. I took chase and caught him through a hole in the alders. Now we knew we were not going to go home without at least some meat! (third photo).
By the time we had finished cleaning up and packing our first deer into our packs it was mid morning and all the deer had bedded down. It did not look good for getting Ray his deer. I was glassing the high steep slopes that looked devoid of anything when I noticed a deer head sticking up above the rocks. I put the scope on him and a big 4X3 buck with eyeguards jumped into view. He was bedded down and chewing his cud. Later I took a 'sasquatch like' photo of him from almost a kilometer away through the spotting scope with my little point and shoot camera (fourth photo). Ray and I scanned the slope and made a plan to go and get him. A little looking revealed an entire bachelor group of bucks was up there on the slope with him. The bucks were all far too high up the slope to approach them from below.
Ray took off to climb the mountain up behind them and to, hopefully, get a good shot down at them from above. I sat with the spotting scope and watched the deer. Two hours later I had really gotten to know the deer. I hate to admit it, but I had even begun to root a bit for the big 4X3 buck. All this time Ray was high above having some death defying adventures while trying to get to a good spot for a shot. He finally did find such a spot, but could only see the other deer. He shot a big boy (bottom photo), but the big 4X3 lives on. Judging by where we were hunting, I bet he dies of old age.
After Ray shot the deer the real work began. We cut him up on top of a big flat 'alter-like' rock, and then headed for home with very full packs. They got even fuller after we packed up our camp on the way to the beach. Three and a half hours later we reached the beach and Mike P was there to pick us up. Thank You Mike! Ray made it back to Kodiak in time to catch the evening ferry back to Seward. What a hunt! Patrick