First Hunt

We got together around 3:00 in the hot afternoon to transport the freezer (the private hunt-bait/price), and Aaron says to me “Get your gun and gear on, I guarantee we’ll see deer and you may want to shoot one.” What? I thought we would have a sit-down meeting first, discuss impact points, catalog – shit, hurry-up! I guess it doesn’t work that way – still we weren’t burning daylight yet and I had time to go gear-up.
We returned to the Ranch and I got into my $14 WalMart MossyOak pants and $7 shirt. Got the rifle into a case, filled the water-bladder in the RealTree day-pack, threw in the box of ammo and first-aid kit, grabbed the binocs and the hunting tag, and away we went to the private 160-acres. Must have got up there about 4:00.
Turns out “hunting” is just walking around in the woods wearing funny-looking dye-sublimated forest-prints on a hot day carrying a rifle.
This drought and the current leaf-drop season has had the added benefit of making such walk in the woods like a walk through a giant bag of potato-chips. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH. Every step up the hillside through the trees to the ridgeline was amplified in my Peltor electronic muffs so much that they kept “clipping” the noise, as if shots were fired. So I took them off. The hell with it.
We observed good muzzle discipline. We saw several Does, bedded down (unusual – they were down in a hollow) and with last nights nearly full moon, The Rut should be coursing up good and hard in the Bucks. Or they took their Prozac. We saw and heard turkeys flying over, but saw no Bucks. We saw sign of bear and scat of coyote, but no Bucks. The quiet-cloth pants are excellent burr catchers, and the swish-swish of fabric pants were never such a problem compared to the outrageous and flamboyant noise of marching through a hillside of corn-flakes.
A bit of rain would help dampen the sound – and that’s forecast for Wednesday, so…maybe we’ll get luck in that weather-event. But now at least we’re on the same page, and given his enthusiasm to hunt I’m sure Aaron will want to get out there again – and I’ll go along learning.

Never say Never

Meeting my hunting guide tomorrow after work. His work. Whenever that is. He’s eager – I think, he says so anyhow. He’s also 30 so there may be some time-estimation variables askew in there somewhere. Maybe I’ll go take a drive up by the property tomorrow…
Meanwhile the A/C on the F-150 gave up the ghost after twenty years and is now mainly emitting Hot rather than Cold. So I need to get it over to Ponderosa or find a closer shop.

Bug-Out-Bag Revisited, viz Hunting

The Hunter Education class covered the issue of self-preservation and lost-hunter survival, so that brought to mind the Bug Out Bags and a need to re-visit their status, review the contents, and update their condition.
Also the bags seem to have grown overly heavy somehow. I want to figure out where and how the weight-gain has occurred. Since the whole purpose is to travel light and leave no footprint, how have I over-packed? I’m guessing it’s just me and my kitchen-sink approach.
Maybe I need to separate-out the 72-hour rescue-camping stuff from the rest. That means Shelter, Fire, and Water are one unit, and First-Aid is a separate entity. One area of Shelter is bedding, and maybe the cheap fluffy sleeping bag is heavy – for sure it takes up a lot of space. It’s not a four-season bag or anything like that either, and it doesn’t pack-down, so maybe some compression sacks are in order – and a smaller, more versatile unit.
“Two is one and one is none” is a great utilitarian philosophy, but it also begs the question of weight and sustainability. Three of everything adds up very quickly on the scale. This ain’t no Army with a deuce and a half to haul stuff. How much can you really carry, how much can SHE really carry, and how do we shrink the overall load? If we get separated, which is likely given two different houses – each needs what they need independent of the other – and we’re not even talking guns and ammo yet. So what is the minimum?
As far as First-Aid goes, snakebite up here is a real possibility and the main culprit is the Pacific Coast Rattler. Don’t even THINK to do the cut-and-suck thing, unless you’re over six-hours out from Medical – but especially not if you have anything “going on” in your mouth. But if you’re dealing with a chest-area gunshot wound you need TWO halo seals, one for entry and one exit. And tourniquet.
Finally for the hunt I need some binoculars, because the mounted scope makes a poor resolver of vision and identification issues and a spotting scope is a big-ass lug-item. I don’t know whether I’m gonna be snoozing in a blind or still-hunting, but definitely not reaching out across some canyon. Things here are vertical and close and bushy, so “canyon hopping” could mean a 1,000 foot descent followed by a 1,000 foot ascent – all in a 500-foot, as-the-crow flies distance. Down and Up. That’s not how I want this to proceed, not what I’m in shape-for, and also not how I figure it will work-out. I’m thinking a 70-yard shot from a blind at most. Probably a smelly-nasty blind with tattered windows too…