Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bow Hunting--Day 2--morning

Tuesday started out a bit earlier for our long hike in to an old favorite spot of the lodge. It was probably only in the high 30s when we left the vehicle, and no matter how much hiking I'd done for fishing this summer, the cold air seemed like a 20 pound weight against my chest.

Fortunately the hike wasn't as steep as it was long, so it turned out not to be too bad once my body adjusted to the air. We spotted a doe on the way up, but it was looking straight at us by the time we saw it, and off it went.

It was a very quiet morning for me. I didn't see or hear anything. Jeff saw a few deer and an elk bull, but wasn't in shooting range. Sid turned out to be the closest to having a shot. He was sitting between Jeff and I, and was watching Jeff's bull when he felt some eyes on him. He turned and saw a spike elk that had nearly walked right up on him, straight up the trail that we'd used to get in.

He wasn't holding his bow, and when he shifted just slightly to turn to pick it up, the elk turned and walked out the same way it had entered.

Sid recalled the story as we were all walking out, and seemed generally perplexed that of all the routes the spike could have followed to get to where he was intending to go bed for the day, he walked right up the same path we'd just walked over. Jeff was in moderate disbelief as we were walking when Sid said, "Well, look, these are his tracks."

"How can you know that for sure?" Jeff asked.

"Well, there's an elk print right on top of that boot print. And that's your boot print, so that means it came in right behind us."

"Shit, that is my boot print. How can you know that?" Jeff responded.

"I know what my and Jeffrey's boots look like, which means that has to be yours, and since the elk print it inside it, that means it came after us."

And there you have it. Sid notices everything that's going on. It's really amazing to behold.

Sid sent Jeff and I on a "shortcut" back to the lodge while he went back to where he left the car. Jeff and I were cursing him most of the way. If that was a shortcut, he must have been going through some heavy shit. When we got back to the lodge, of course well after Sid, we told him that in the future, shortcuts shouldn't involve anywhere that us mere mortals might break an ankle.

After some breakfast and relaxation, I decided to head into the woods at about 1pm to see if I could find the GPS radio that I'd lost the day before. I had a decent idea where it might be, and one of the other GPS radios that hopefully I could use to track where the one I lost might be. I figured I could get in and out and be back by about 3 so that I could rest an hour before we went back out for the evening.

I decided that I'd carry my bow with me just in case I could scare a grouse or something up, and hopefully avoid any more encounters with bees. I worked my way up past where I'd thought that I'd lost the radio while running from the bees, but no luck.

As I got a bit further up, I followed the path that we'd taken down to the best of my ability, and of course, not exactly on track, ended up walking right into the water hole that we thought we were looking for the day before. We must have been within 30 yds of it, but just never saw it through all the thick timber.

Even to my novice eye, I could tell that the water hole had been trampled by all sorts of deer and elk. There were fresh muddy prints all around, and 4 or 5 well defined paths in and out towards all directions.

The last point on the GPS radio that I was carrying that showed the radio I'd lost was further up the mountain, so I continued on. I climbed about 20 more minutes, but when I arrived, realized it was essentially the spot where my last transmission was to Sid the day before, so it had locked on that point, and not the actual current location of that GPS radio. No luck.

I headed back down, made sure I came across the water hole one more time so I'd have a decent bearing on it, and then went back and reported the good and bad news. Oh, I did manage to scare up a grouse, but when I did, it actually scared me more than I scared it I think, and never had a chance at a shot.

When I got back, I told Sid the good and bad news, and his eyes lit up at the report of the water hole. He'd had a different spot picked out for that afternoon, but we'd definitely head back that direction the following afternoon, since I'd already trekked through there and had made a bunch of noise looking for the radio.

to be continued.....

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