- Mar 17, 2017
Awesome write up recurve.....I feel like a real pussy now. I would've said piss on it after the spray incident.
Great write up and pics! You stuck to it when it got tough. Looking forward to being up there next year.Well I thought I would give it a try this year and see if I could go spend some time with my rifle and make sure my gear is still waterproof. I headed in on the 8th of September. That would give me a couple of days to adjust to the elevation and make friends with the bears. I got up to my initial spot around 2 PM on the 8th. It started to spit some form of wetness from the sky so I set up my tent. Little did I know that it would be 5 days before my tent would be dry again. So, the next 4 days were really, really wet and most of the time I was trying to work on my fire starting skills. I thought I was pretty good at starting a fire.........Well try starting a fire in the rain and 20+MPH winds. That is a different type of skill that I did not have but now I do. Spent a large portion of my time not being able to see past 100-200 yards with very few opportunities to see more than 800 yards. I had no idea where I needed to go hike and couldn't see the country to figure out the best place to start. Basically I sat around a fire and kept drying off my gear.
So the second night I was ready for a good nights sleep.....maybe even cuddle up with a bear. It was about 2AM and I was rolling over in my quilt. At some point a sharp object won the battle with my air mattress. The noise of hearing the air come out of your sleeping pad in the middle of the night at a very rapid rate isn't the best of feelings. About 15 seconds later I could feel every hard object my pad was protecting my from. I reached over to my pack and took out some tenacious tape. Cut off a piece and found the hole. Patched it up and blew up my mattress in a matter of minutes. I was super happy with my NASCAR type air mattress repair skills.......unfortunately I got to repair my mattress 2 more times over the next week or so. Kind of bummed me out and it isn't something you can put off until the morning.
The weather finally broke on Thursday and I started taking some long hikes that included even more vertical feet. The country is beautiful and I really enjoyed the hiking.....most of the time. It was a TON of work and the elevation was kicking my butt in a big way. After 4 days of not doing much I was super excited to receive some punishment and the mountains did not disappoint. I tried to climb to the top of a few key hills and get my bearings on where I would want to hunt. The views were epic. Pictures will never do this area justice.
On the the 13th I got back to camp and was getting excited about the start of the hunt. It was almost dark and I wanted to get something to eat and head to bed. I took my pack and put it in my vestibule. I heard this weird noise and realized that my can of bear spray had activated. It started by shooting into the ground and then up through my tent. No idea how the white safety clip came off and then it got depressed. No idea but the white safety tab was on the ground next to my pack. This made for a very interesting hour and half. My pack cover was drenched by the spray and the ground was really covered with the spray. You couldn't put your head in the tent for more than 5 seconds without hacking and your eyes watering. It was now only 30 minutes before dark and I needed to figure out a plan for the evening. Walking out seemed like a good idea but that would mean a few hours of walking through the dark looking for bears.........Building a fire and sleeping in my tarp seemed like a viable option but didn't sound like much fun either. So, I decided to get my pack out of the area and then move my tent. It helped a bunch but the smell was still fairly obvious. After about 30 minutes I thought that I could maybe be OK in my tent but it was going to take another hour for it to clear up enough to make it work. I ended up putting my pack cover, bear spray and a few items in one of my food bags and put it up a tree. Then I wrapped my pack up in my tarp and put it under the vestibule. I decided to jump in the tent. My eyes watered for an hour or so and I did a little hacking but I finally made it to sleep. That wasn't exactly a high point for the trip.......but it was a test. The cool part was for the rest of the trip I would find little spots of bear spray oil and touch it with my hands. Then I would rub my nose or eyes and it would burn like mad..........Then think about taking a leak!!!!!!! It would also burn.
The weekend came and so did the people. I was amazed at how many people were out in the back country. I was expecting a few but the night before the opener there were 11 tents within 200-300 yards of my tent. Kind of felt more like a KOA (minus the crapper) than the back country. Over the next few days I saw a bunch of hunters that were more willing to wear out the bottoms of their boots than their glass. I thought that was a bit different. Who am I to judge how others hunt but I got the opportunity to watch them climb up and down hills all day for a few days. Don't think it helped the sheep hunting but I'm sure they got to burn some calories. As each day passed a few more hunters would either go deeper in or would head out. By Thursday not that many hunters remained and the weather was coming in for a good winter storm. I had been up in the high country for 12 days and I had about 3 days worth the food left. With a 3 day storm coming I knew I would basically have to head out and head home. I didn't have more time to dedicate to the mountains this trip. As I'm sure you have heard the units got hit with some good rain and snow. I didn't want to leave but I think it was the right time to depart........I will return next year.
I learned a few things. 1) Everything you own must dry fast. 2) Learn how to start a fire in horrible conditions....your life may depend on it. 3) You can't be in good enough shape. 4) This hunt isn't for everyone. Its hard. Really, really hard and will test you and your gear in every way. I saw many hunters make it less than a day. Heard of more than a few that just looked at the mountains and didn't even try. If you want to try this hunt please put in a large amount of time honing your skills. They will be put to the test. 5) eat and drink as much as you can. I lost a 1.5" on my waist. Eating and drinking when it is cold and windy is hard to do. 6) be ready for wind. It blows all day and all night. Most of the time it blew 15-30 MPH......except when it was foggy. Then it was calm but you could only see 50 yards. 7) take lots of pics and videos are even better. 8) enjoy the journey. Wrapping your tag around an animal is awesome. It is only a small part of the adventure. Make sure to enjoy the entire adventure. Even the pain because there will be pain. 9) Water comes out of a faucet much faster than my filter and the fridge is closer than my food bag. 10) merino wool really helps with odor for about 4 days.......after that nothing helps. 11) If you don't absolutely need it......leave it in the truck. 12) I took more food than I could eat.....if I would have eaten all my food I wouldn't have lost as much weight.
I've attached a few pics. It was a blast but the hardest hunt I've done in 40 years of chasing critters around this country. All the pics of snow were the week before the hunt.
Its so miserable that I'm looking forward to going next year. I'm actually watching the weather and seeing if I can make it up there again this year but I don't think that will happen. Its a great place but not an easy place to live in. Everything is work.Recurveman would you agree that is the most miserable fun a man could ever have I am so jealous that was you up there instead of me awesome pictures thanks for sharing
I hate you didn't get a sheep, but that is one of the coolest pictures Ive ever seen.
what a cool picLooking at the harvest records, from 1995 to 2015 it looks like no rams were taken in 300 for nine of those years. I took a couple of days off and went home in the middle of season, then went back out to a different area than I had initially hunted. I was planning to stay for the duration, but then it started raining and I was literally in the clouds so visibility was zilch. Saw plenty of sheep but nothing even close to a mature ram. But I lost a good 20 pounds up in that country and am now in pretty good shape for deer/elk bow and rifle season.
On one of my last mornings I was actually above the clouds.
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