Day 5: As soon as the sun comes up, we’re going to go check out the tracks I cut yesterday. We need to determine if the elk went up or down, and then decide what we want to do from there. Somebody was target practicing last night just below our camp. Which means we have to take that into consideration too.
The “weekend warrior hunters” are starting to move in. They tend to leave starting Monday so by Tuesday, everything settles down.
“Gary, bring your rifle!” I yell from our cat-hole latrine. Yep, here I sit on our homemade camp toilet and a stinking deer runs though the brush. It’s way too dark to see anything much less legally shoot. But what are the odds of this happening much less ever again? Nature will surprise you every time.
Woot! Elk on Day 5!!
A nice big branch antler bull. He had just crossed the road and was standing in the brush. He saw us and took off towards the top of the ridge. Gary snuck up one direction and me on the opposite side just to get a better look. We don’t want to spook him. Gary caught a glimpse of the white tips of his antlers as the bull turned his head listening to us. Tucked him away nicely, cleared all of the tracks in the road and banks. So far, we have been the only ones to see hair. (That we know of.)
We’ve finished running the roads so back at camp for brunch and chores. The one thing you should always be on the lookout for is firewood. You will want a lot of it for warmth, to dry out your gear, light, cooking, and just plain pleasure.
A quick, short hunt to see if we can find where my latrine visiting deer went. Gary put me on shooting point while he went through the reprod. The goal is that he is loud enough to chase something out. I position myself to where I can see everything down the tree line. Then… I don’t make a single move for 20 or more minutes. I can hear Gary now and then. The only thing that I move are my eyes scanning left, right, up, down and back again.
Every once in a while I remember to breathe. I find myself taking tiny, shallow breaths and sometimes, like when I hear brush breaking, I can feel my palms start to sweat. I’m finally at a point in my training (having done this routine so many times) that I know what a man, a deer, and an elk sounds like pushing through the brush. Having that knowledge makes me, and I’m sure Gary, comfortable splitting up and conducting these types of hunts. Anyway, no latrine deer in that thicket.
We found them! We finally found the herd. They moved through the area where we jumped the bull this morning. We just walked to one side to make sure we know where they are not. We are confident that we know where we are putting them to bed tonight. Tomorrow will be critical. We can’t bump them. We need to try to keep them corralled. They can move quite a distance in a short amount of time. We stopped and brushed out all of the tracks so others won’t know the direction they went. I’ve learned to spread fir needles and lichen over my stomp-outs. I’ve even poured water over the area on damp days to hide or confuse others. It’s like a chess game.
OMG! Now at day 5, my legs, hips, and feet hurt. Being behind a desk all year long is ruining me. I need more activity like this all year long, not just when I can. How much longer until retirement? I will be up here every chance I can get. I love that other old-time hunters are now stopping in at our camp to chat. Time to clean up and head towards bed. We have certainly put in the miles again today. I love hunting with my husband. He’s my best friend.
Good Lord! It’s a freaking highway up here. They have all started to move in for opening day. It’s 6:15pm and most city folk are just sitting down for dinner. Gary and I have 45 minutes to get everything done, ready for tomorrow, and ourselves ready for bed. The forecast is pitch black by 7pm, with sunup by 7am this time of year. Good night boys and girls. That concludes day 5.