2009 Hunting Diary—Days 4 to 6
It was time to get down to serious hunting—actually picking an area and walking it, spending time to get a feeling for what was going on. With no particular places in mind, we again split up, each pair heading in different directions.
As I have written before (e.g., “Zen and the Art of Hunting”), for me hunting is a process of immersion into the environment. It is where I slough off urban attitudes and practices, and slow my walking, change my thinking and hone my hunting skills—including sharpening my hearing, eyesight and my relationship to the wind, the sun, the woods and the trail.
Thus immersed, I soon find myself in sort of a “free-fall” of information I try not to process too much: the wet-dog scent of cranberry, the moulding of discarded leaves, the chattering of a red squirrel, the breaking of a branch not too far away. I adjust myself to the sun and the wind, to reduce my visibility and ensure my scent does not give me away.
Using these techniques my hunting partner, Keith Kivett, and I found where a herd of about a dozen cow and calf elk had made beds in an open area in the forest; but the beds were days old. However, as we moved through some particularly difficult bush and made more noise than we wanted, we heard something large crash through the bush not too far away and bark at us like a dog. At first, I thought it was a bear, as bears will bark when alarmed, but this animal was making too much noise as it ran from us to be a bear, busting apparently large branches and trees as it went. Keith used his cow-elk call to see if the animal would stop and maybe come back for a look (it ran upwind of us, and we figured we had disturbed it out of its bed). Although it appeared to be circling us, it did not come closer and eventually left the area. It was very possible this was a bull elk. When disturbed and alarmed, elk will bark like a dog.
If that was an elk it was the only one we got close to. The other pair of hunting partners, Wayne and Colin Wilson, also had their adventures. For example, Colin walked up on a large bull moose who refused to give up the trail. Unfortunately, none of us had been drawn for a moose licence this year, and Colin was forced to retreat.
All was not lost, however, as in total we shot four white-tailed deer, one a nice four-point buck taken by Keith. So, we now have meat in the freezer, and I can now look forward to a quality November deer hunt closer to home.
So, what’s wrong with that?