Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Backpack hunting

So there I was, no shit, just looking for the perfect backpack. Scouring the internet in search of the a backpack that would fit my every need. Are you still reading this? Crickets? Anyway I'm just kidding. I have been seriously domesticated, but I'm not that bad yet. Really I'm not.

I'm talking about a bad ass elk hunt with nothing but a backpack. Five glorious nights camped with nothing but what your legs & back could bring in. We had done an early season rifle hunt the 2 years prior, with one year having a successful harvest and the second year no so much.

Our hunting plans festered all winter long. Then finally my hunting partner and I hatched them this late October. Much planning preceeded the trip as usual. Interestingly I seem to enjoy the logistical side of the extended hunts much more than I used to (see old and lame). As a result of the busy family schedule, work and life in general, I literally started packing for this hunt 2 weeks in advance.

I spread out the known necessities on the bed in the basement and then filled in the gaps with all too many trips to the sporting goods and grocery stores. Between a solid list and just one more double check, I only managed to forget 2 things: the gourmet salami and cheese in the fridge & dental floss.

We put up a respectable distance and set up camp at about 8000 feet. The valley floor still had the brilliant yellows clinging to the trees. The high country was ripe for some snow. One day prior to the opener we glassed our quarry. We hoped to find them in the right spots in the morning.

Hunting grounds all fogged in

We split up opening morning and as luck would usually have it, one of had more than the other. RS had the opportunity to pass on two bulls. I saw lot of squirrels and also snuck in to 20 yards of a decent mule deer buck. I watched as he lounged in his bed chewing grass, nonchalantly looking at me over his shoulder for a minute.

Through the rest of our hunt we shared much time around the campfire, telling half truths and discussing life in general. We heard wolves howl, but did not cut their tracks. We watched as our perfect setup on a mature bull was blown by sloppy ethics and bad shooting. Our freeze dried meals were complimented by Glenlivet, warming our bellies after our long days afield. The adjacent camps which were living high on the hog (with horses and wall tents), marveled at our dedication (or stupidity?). We watched 6 inches of October snow fall out of skies. A large grizzly bear followed us as we left the area.

The only things we brought out were memories, motivation and sore legs. Thanks for reading. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More mountain lions

Last year a particular area that I hunted seems to be overflowing with mountain lions. For those of you following along, you may remember the post here. It was also interesting that this summer, not too far from that very same area another mountain lion was seen stalking campers. It was later dispatched by MT FWP and most people were better off for it.

The big game opener also was no stranger to seemingly the same mountion population. A friend hunting in that area ran into a hunter who ended up shooting a mountain lion at "6 steps". My buddy described him as shaking and bone white. Below is the excerpt from the news clip:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Summer finally over?

Much of western Montana tied an unfortunate record at midnight Tuesday, when we tallied 42 consecutive days with no measurable precipitation.

The period ended with a gutter-rattling rain and snow flurry about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Missoula Valley. But a mark that’s stood for more than a century has now been equaled.

“We matched the all-time record that was recorded between September and October of 1896,” National Weather Service meteorologist Corby Dickerson said Wednesday morning. While an earlier records search cast doubt on measurements prior to 1948, a re-check found good data from weather stations at Fort Missoula and in the downtown area covering the city’s earliest days

We all know it's been dry and smoky. Today when I peered out the window onto the hills that surround Missoula, I could hardly believe me eyes. As usual the weather forecast had been wrong, stating that we wouldn't see a trace. Instead the surrounding hills picked up a couple inches of the white stuff. Unfortunately our Idaho brethren seem to have missed the boat on precip. 

It was a busy summer for me. Spending lots of time behind the driver's seat of a water tender both in Western Montana and also Idaho. I shared just about the same days out on fires at this rainless stretch here in Missoula. I've not been that busy on fires since I worked for the hotshots.Good to be home.