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Battered but not beaten
Author: Luke Johnson
Groups: Tribe Stories
Categories: Hunts | Miscellaneous
Aug 9, 2010
I will never forget the second day of my first Archery season. I was hunting a track of land near an old friend's house and stalking along an old logging road that bordered a clear cut. There was a screen of trees, heavy with snow that obscured my view of the clear cut; but I could hear what I thought was several deer chasing each other.

Not knowing what to do with this intel, I was content to just continue still-hunting along the road....until the call of nature could no longer be ignored, that is.

I finally gave in and leaned my recurve against a small pine tree and did my business. I had barely zipped up and picked up my bow, when an approaching sound made me pause and look over my shoulder. As I turned, a section of the pine tree-screen seemed to rupture and with an explosion of snow; a deer "popped" out and screeched to a halt no more than 10 yards from me. I made eye contact with the young buck, who resembled a small goat more than the buck he was. Just then a fast approach was heard as another buck slammed into his rear end. This time it was a little spike with Martian like antennae sprouting from his forehead.

I almost laughed out loud at this point but the rush of adrenalin that soon followed seemed to take the humour out of the situation. Before I could come to grips with what I was observing; the sound of another approaching deer was followed by a nice little 4 point buck who stopped only 15 steps or so parallel to me. And then the hyperventilating began.

It's funny how adrenalin seems to speed up your thought process while slowing down time; I seemed to have a million thoughts smacking into the front of my skull and the whole scene seemed to take hours, when in fact probably only seconds had transpired. I had already deemed that the first two bucks were too young to shoot and  the angle was wrong, but the largest buck was almost parallel to me.

Soon after I had set my sights on the largest buck , the smaller bucks got bored and trotted up the road. After that a 10 minute stare down ensued (or what seemed like 10 minutes!) with the buck posturing and trying to get me to move. At one point he turned broadside and I began to draw and pick my spot, only to freeze when the buck whipped his head around and looked at me. I held at 3/4 draw until my arms started quaking. The buck relaxed again and then I began to hyperventilate again! This time so badly that I shut my eyes and tried to think of anything but the buck standing only steps from me. When I opened my eyes; the buck was looking at me with a quizzical expression. I swear that buck was making fun of me!

This whole scenario continued on for several minutes; with me hyperventilating and then relaxing, me trying to draw only to be busted. Eventually the buck casually walked behind a large slash pile. "Finally!" I thought, "now he'll walk out from around the slash pile and give me a perfect broadside shot!" Well, that was not to be. I listened to him pick his way through the snow and after several minutes he never appeared where he was supposed to, but instead just wandered off in a straight line and out of my life at that point.

Now to jump ahead five years: about a year ago I received a hand-me-down 3D target from my best friend. Him and his Eight year old step-son had been shooting the stuffing out of it for about a year before he upgraded to a Glendel Buck. Heck, I'll take a hand-me-down 3D target anyday, especially when at the time I was shooting bales of straw!

I was excited to practice on something other then the square bales of straw and the more I shot at "Corky", (my new 3D target) the more he began to remind me of that buck who stared me down and then walked away laughing those five or so years prior.

I try to practice at least three times a week but usually step it up to four or five times a week during spring and summer to prepare for the upcoming season. Well, I've come to have a love/hate relationship with ol' Corky. I love him because he gives me a small deer shaped target to hone my shooting skills on and I hate him because he reminds me of that blasted buck that mocked me and lived to tell about it!

Well, lately Corky seems a little "peaked" and he doesn't stop arrows quite like he used to. I caught myself wondering "is it time for me to put ol' Corky down and buy a replacement?"  Naw, I think I'll just trot on down to Cabela's and buy a new vital area and maybe use a little spray foam to touch up the rest of him. After all he's a good ol' boy who's worthy of a second chance.

Corky may be battered but he's far from beaten!

Corky looks a little peaked lately.

Corky looks a little peaked lately.



Not only is Corky looking peaked; but he's having a hard time stopping arrows like he used to!

Not only is Corky looking peaked; but he's having a hard time stopping arrows like he used to!



Dang! Dude, you need to see a doctor for that!

Dang! Dude, you need to see a doctor for that!

Read On


Choosing to see the positive side of things.
Author: Luke Johnson
Groups: Tribe Stories
Categories: Hunts | Miscellaneous
Jul 29, 2010
Next to a sucker punch to the gut; there is only one other thing I can think of that will slam you down to the street top of reality then coming home after a stressful day of work and finding your back door kicked in.

That was the icing on my day a couple of Thursdays ago.  After finding my back door smashed in; my wife and I discovered that "only a few things had been taken"....but come on! Of course; the things they stole were either things we used everyday or they were irreplaceable family heirlooms.

And again, of course what they stole from me really hit home; because they stole my Diamond Iceman and complete hunting setup. Since it's only 5 or so weeks away from my first back country hunt, I would have rather had the entire Seattle Seahawks football team, lineup and kick me in the junk!

I knew right away the thief (or thieves) were either "not to bright" or not outdoorsmen because they left behind quite a bit of gear and "thank God" that they didn't take my Sitka Gear! LOL.

So the next couple of days following the break-in were very stressful for us and I know for myself,  I walked around in a "dark fog". The first step up the mountain and out of the "valley of despair" came in the form of a plain brown box, bound with Sitka packing tape. I had completely forgot about the order I had placed the following week for some solid colored 90% pants. (I love 90% pants!) You can imagine my "frown turned upside down" at this point, I just couldn't wait to go test them out!

Before  the break-in had occurred, I had standing plans to get up early that Saturday morning and make the  three hour drive  to my favorite back country place; of which I plan to hunt over Labor Day weekend and put some serious boot leather down. I was not going to let some dirt bag  ruin my plans and interrupt my life any more than he already had. Since I didn't want to leave my wife home alone all day,  I decided to let her sleep in a bit (I had planned on leaving at 4:00 am) and scrap my day of scouting. Instead, I decided to drag her along so she could share in the beauty of one of my most favorite back country spots and let nature clear our minds.

Somehow I had forgotten how beautiful this place is, but soon remembered why I planned to make the 7 mile hike into the trail head once more this season (they shut the access gate mid August. This makes for about a 9 mile pack in but also for uncrowded hunting).

The mosquitoes were horrible and the elevation was really getting to my wife, but it didn't take long and we both had completely forgot about any previous woes and were content just to soak up some "positive vibes" from the mountain. It never ceases to amaze me how a few trees and a  high perch has a way of completely erasing any tension you may be feeling at that moment....even if you are being devoured by mosquitoes!

Like I said before, my wife wasn't doing well with the elevation; we live at right around 1,900 feet and our little foray took us to around 6,000 feet. So we decided to stop and just chill for a bit. Since the Mosquitoes were just going to town and taking chunks out of us, I decided to build a small fire in the hopes it would keep them at bay a bit. What a perfect time to try out new gear! I've been carrying a "Swedish Steel" fire starter in my pack for quite awhile but had yet to try it out since I usually "cheat" and use vaseline soaked cotton balls and a lighter...hey, it works and I don't claim to be some kind of  Grizzly Adams! (actually my legal name is: Jeremiah Johnson, but that's another story)

Anyhow, with one square of TP, some dry cedar and a few strikes from the fire starter and WHOOSH! We had us a nice little bit of respite from the blood suckers. After my wife felt a bit better and I had sufficently put out our fire, we continued on and had a nice little surprise. We hadn't gone far when we were about to clear the last bit of timber and got a good look at the ridge we needed to climb to be "on top of the world". I turned to look at my wife to see if she was "still with me"; just then some movement on the rock slide, a couple hundred of yards from us caught my attention. At first I thought it was a young Bighorn Sheep crossing the rock slide but after I hit em' with some glass I was thrilled to see that it was in fact a young wolf ! Now being a "predator" myself and hearing all the negative stories and seeing firsthand what these "reintroduced" wolves have done to our Elk herds...I won't lie, at first my thoughts weren't all that "warm and fuzzy". But after a few seconds I became mesmerized by the whole scene. I quickly forgot about this "nuisance" and soon felt a strong connection to this seeker  of  "the high and lonesome". I was in his domain and it was beautiful to behold.

Shortly after, as we were making our way up the last, almost vertical 500 feet or so, my wife said "no mas" so we turned around and started our descent.  Even though  I didn't complete my scouting goal that day, I chalked it up as a successful outing. Just getting to spend some time in the thin and clean mountain air, seeing a beautiful wolf in "his" territory and earlier in the day seeing the largest Black Bear I'd ever seen (he could have easily gone 400 lbs.) suited me just fine and went a long way in excercising our "break-in demons".

 Now things are slowly getting back to what passes for normality in our world, it looks like the insurance claim should be getting wrapped up pretty soon and we don't get as many butterflies in our stomaches when we think about leaving the house.

Since I haven't had my compound around and I have NO idea if and when I'll be able to get a new setup; I've been shooting my longbow almost every night and I swear this is the best I've ever shot it! I've always been "Trad" at heart so it's not hard to fall back into the old groove. Of course my range has fallen back under 15 yards or so, but my confidence is coming back. Still trying to be positive and not "let a dirt bag" disrupt my life; I'm determined to be in the mountains come Labor Day.

Life must go on...!

Rockin' Sitka solids and starting fires!

Rockin' Sitka solids and starting fires!



Along this stretch of trail you experince a little vertigo...!
Along this stretch of trail you experince a little vertigo...!


My wife; trying to pretend that "mosquitoes and high elevation" don't bother her one bit.

My wife; trying to pretend that "mosquitoes and high elevation" don't bother her one bit.



My dog "saxton" ticked at me for tying him to a tree.....hey! There's Wolves and Grizzly bears in these parts!

My dog "saxton" ticked at me for tying him to a tree.....hey! There's Wolves and Grizzly bears in these parts!



 

If you notice the rock slide in the center of the pic; you'll see where the wolf crossed. Of course I was too "stuck on stupid" to remember that I had a camera and was too busy gawking through my binos...!LOL.

If you notice the rock slide in the center of the pic; you'll see where the wolf crossed. Of course I was too "stuck on stupid" to remember that I had a camera and was too busy gawking through my binos...!LOL.



Local "cuisine".

Local "cuisine".


 
 

Read On


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