Friday was the opening day for deer hunting season. And so after the dig ended on Friday I hiked up into the backcountry with Lisa and Gregg to hunt for deer. We brought along camping gear so that we could camp overnight and then get an early start on the deer Saturday morning. It's best to hunt deer in the early morning when they are most active and out and about. Later in the day they generally bed down for naps in the brush and can be very difficult to find.
So off we went. We started out in the heat and brilliant sunshine. Down low the salmonberries, alders and grass were a bit tall in places, and I joked with Lisa and Gregg that they are called 'Hellawe' bushes - as in they are so tall you can't see over them and everybody yells, 'where the Hell are we?'
|Lisa and Gregg negotiate the 'Hellawe' bushes|
But we persevered and reached the high country just as it clouded over and the fog rolled in. We set up our teepee and cooked dinner. On this trip rather than cook our usual rice and beans we tried dehydrated meals from 'Packit Gourmet'. I had heard they are great and far better than our usual fare from Zatarains. We decided we prefer the Zatarains, but we had a lot of fun figuring out the really complicated directions that involved a number of complicated steps.
We got up at 4:30 AM and initially it was clear but by 5 AM it was foggy and then it started to rain. So we sat tight and brewed more coffee - and then more coffee, and a second breakfast and then tea. We had run out of cooking water, but we found that by strategically placing our pots and cups under the drips coming off the side of the tent that we could build up our water supply remarkably quickly. We actually managed to collect over 4 liters of water this way! But as Gregg pointed out, 'yeah that's great but it also means it is raining really hard'.
Finally at around 9:30 it stopped raining and we headed out to try hunting. Miraculously the fog lifted and we could see things. But no deer. Finally after 3 hours of hiking about and glassing bowls we found a 'bachelor group' of male deer all hanging out together. I shot a mature 3 point and Lisa shot a behemoth. Her deer weighed on the order of 200 pounds plus. Whooo Hooo Success!
One interesting find was that the deer I shot had a small-game snare around its ankle. An irresponsible trapper had placed his snare where it could catch deer. This is the sort of thing that gives trappers a bad reputation. In any case, my deer had pulled the trap free and had been dragging along the wire behind him. The wound had largely healed, but he also had a deformed antler on the same side of his body. Could he have damaged his antler trying to get out of the snare? This deer also did not have a thick layer of fat under his skin. In contrast, Lisa's deer had an extremely thick layer of new summer fat. It is probably a good thing I culled the snared deer from the herd because he might have had a difficult time surviving next winter.
And then came the pack out. Two big deer and camping gear made for some heavy loads. By the time we got to the car we were all singing songs to boost moral.
But all is good and now we have lots of tasty summer deer meat! The best kind of food. Patrick
|You can do it! Packing out with less than an hour to go to the car|