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Author Topic: Late Archery Season  (Read 641 times)

IronNoggin

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Late Archery Season
« on: December 17, 2020, 12:30:22 PM »

Graphic Warning: This is a hunting tale. There will be pictures accompanying that are directly related. Don't proceed if such sights may bother you please.

As some here might recall, 2020 wasn't overly kind to me nor my family.
It very much appeared that Fate was conspiring directly against any possibility of hunting for me this fall.
As the days i should have been in pursuit of blacktails streamed by, the anxiety of not being out there increased, and in hindsight made dealing with the various situations I had to even more stressful.I did manage to get out Remembrance Day (a long standing tradition with me) and although the time out there was refreshing, no deer were to offer themselves up for the pot.

As December neared, the situation with the Covid Virus began to worsen in my home province as it did many places elsewhere. Deep consideration was given to the thought of travel under such circumstances, especially so in that I have been deemed "High Risk" & operating under Medical Isolation orders since roughly March. Several calls between my hunting partner & I ensued. each expressing increasing concern with the possibly hazards...

Then one morning I wake, and said To Hell With It All! I can & will take whatever precautions are necessary, and I am GOING! I NEED to LIVE Dammit, and this is how I do so... Within days the truck was packed, and I bid my sweet Lady adios for a spell as I wandered off to the ferry. There, they put me on the top deck as to accommodate my desire to not leave my vehicle. Short run later, and I was off to run the gauntlet of Vancouver and the lower mainland. Nice thing about traveling that early on a weekday is you face relatively little traffic. So it was that a couple hours later I stopped to fuel up in Hope - mask and gloves of course while paying at the pump. Then off again.

Although it had snowed the previous week, the highway was in fine winter driving conditions. The entire run from the ferry to my Partner's place in Kelowna took but four hours. There I was warmly welcomed, and we enjoyed a few hours' conversations regarding hunts of the past, and what this year might bring. An early drop into slumber, as the 4:00am departure was going to be early.

The next day we wandered down to the areas of Lumby & Cherryville. In position well before light, but to our dismay there was extremely little sign in the areas we had permission on. As the day marched forward, it became rather obvious that the lands we were working were basically devoid of wildlife. So, we decided to take a tour and explore the area although we pretty much know it well. Of course we then ran into several whitetails, all on posted land that the landowners do not give permission for. Tough to take! The evening produced much of the same, and we did not happen across any deer in any of the areas we could hunt.

A few calls that eve to other ranchers we knew suggested that this past rifle season had been "a war zone". It seems that with all the folks off work due to the bug, a great many decided that meant they should go hunting. We were informed of numerous complaints regarding poaching incidents, a lot of trespassing and otherwise piss poor behavior, and even a case of cattle rustling or two. To their credit, every single one of them went on to invite us to hunt should we want to, albeit noted "there are damn few left around here"...

Sleep was fleeting that night. It seemed all the worry, precautions and travel may well yield a dud. Damn.

We spent the next day exploring the entire length of the snow=draped Christian Valley. This was one of BC's "Hot Spots" for whitetails and more seasons past. But the trend initiated day one continued. Despite haunting some of our favorite back-country ranches we saw but three deer all day, and those well appeared to have bottle rockets up their behinds in their mad desperation to escape. Frustrating!

And on it went. By day four, the highlight of the trip was seeing 26 elk in an area we had never seen them before. It appears they at least are expanding their range. Beyond that, encounters with deer declined, and discouragement was settling in...

Continued...
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IronNoggin

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Re: Late Archery Season
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2020, 12:30:57 PM »

The second last day we had to turn back. Freezing rain and ice pellets turned the roads into curling rinks. Not worth the risk.
Kind of a good thing that, as I got an opportunity to check my bow again. I had taken a fall the previous day, and always wonder if that might effect it's performance. Within half an hour, it was back to bang on and ready for the next...

As we rolled out on what had to be my final day (scheduled brain scans must take precedence!) I attempted to bolster my courage, telling myself that even if we did not connect, at least I was getting out where I belong and spending quality time with a life long hunting partner. That morning we decided to try a different area in Region 4. Hadn't been back there in a few years, but what the hell, Plan A was obviously not being overly accommodating, so why not...

We slipped from the truck as the silver grey of dawn slowly approached. It had first rained a little, then topped that with a gentle frosting of snow. This meant that the snow underfoot was no longer crunchy, and that as a consequence one could stalk quietly with confidence. And in Slow Mode, away we went to explore this old stomping ground.

A couple hours in with but little in the way of sign and no encounters, I started to unconsciously let my guard down. Making just a little more noise than I should, I suddenly jumped two whitetails. As they trotted up the hill in front of them, I immediately recognized the location. I knew that if they followed the course they were on, they would most likely be taking an escape route on the other side of that hill I could perhaps beat them to. So I set off quickly with that thought in mind. Hadn't gone 50 yards when a young dry doe suddenly materialized in the timber - at 35 yards. Problem was she was butt on to me, presenting no possible shot. Nonplussed I raised the bow and waited. Make Your Break. Something inside me suggested when she did so, she would turn to the right. So when she did just that, my bow was already there waiting. The Luminok tipped Work of Art from Big John was on it's way. Through the scope I watched it it disappeared just where it should - just behind the last rib angled well forward.

As I watched, the doe ran less than 40 yards and tumbled. Down. For the count.
Still worked the trail as if I hadn't seen that. The Luminok was recognizable instantly from 30 yards out, the arrow buried 6 inches into the forest floor. Bright red lung blood covered it from stem to stern.
Easy path to follow, then time for a quick photo and cleaning:



The arrow's path took both lungs mid-center, exiting through the offside shoulder. No wonder she did not go far!

We managed to get the truck somewhat close, so the haul out was downhill and relatively easy.
Then, lunch and a chat. In BC you may only take a doe from singular Regions. As we had yet to see a buck, we decided it was perhaps in our best interest to do just that. So, in short order we were working our way towards another ranch / woodlot in the Rock Creek area (Region 8).
Along the way we were greeted by low lying fog in several locations, making it feel like we were transversing close to the shore of a huge lake:





Also ran across a couple mulie does who were totally uninterested in our presence:



Arriving at our destination a tad early, we halted to take in the beauty of the place, and contemplate just what the evening might bring...



Continued...
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IronNoggin

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Re: Late Archery Season
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2020, 12:31:34 PM »

As evening approached, I suggested we try a close area that we have enjoyed a fair amount of success in over the years.
On the way there, we suddenly realized that the fog which had looked so pretty previously was rapidly becoming our enemy:



Every minute seemed to increase it's intensity:



We had barely left the truck when a larger doe magically materialized just below a knoll some ways off.
In the fog, the rangefinders would not cooperate.
My mind struggled to make an estimate under those conditions.
I was seriously contemplating a pass when my Partner whispered 58 yards. His finder had somehow found a little window, but that was all I required.
Settled the 60 yard pin on the onside shoulder with the offside directly behind.
Once again the red streak marked the arrows perfect path, and a rather loud WHACK endued upon it's arrival.
The singular doe whirled and ran over the top of the knoll behind her.
Gave her about 1/2 an hour and went into search mode.
Where the hit occurred was the beginning of a wide blood trail! Good news!
What we didn't know was the opposite side of the hill she went over proceeded downhill = at a 75 degree angle - for 200 yards. DAMN!
The tale in the snow was obvious. She had barely made it over the hill when she went down.
Then rolled and tumbled almost 125 yards in the snow to her final resting place on a small patch of snow-less ground under some timber:



The power of these bows is downright amazing.
The 125 grain Spitfire broadhead broke the onside shoulder just below the ball joint, passed through ribs both on the way in, and out, then exited through the shoulder blade! Incredible performance!

This time the haul out was miserable. By the time the two 60 plus year old draft horses got her to where the truck could approach, they were puffing and blowing as if just finishing a marathon! But somehow we managed, and were on our way with a full two deer load! Heck of a fine way to finish after all the frustration!!

Continued...
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IronNoggin

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Re: Late Archery Season
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2020, 12:32:15 PM »

Hung the deer that night and readied for the journey home.
I have to say that the weather folks in that neck of the woods are somewhat stunned.
Every time they suggested snow, it was clear.
Every time they suggested clear, it would rain or snow.
And so it was that although I had picked a return date which was not supposed to see any precipitation, it snowed all the previous night and all the day of travel.
Needless to say, the Connector was traveled at 30 miles an hour at most, in four wheel drive every inch of the way.
The Coquihalla was only slightly better, but at least 4x4 was only required part time.
The balance of the homeward journey was without incident.

Of course it had to rain like hell for the next few days.
In order to skin and butcher the deer, a little ingenuity was called for:





If you look closely at the shoulder in the second picture, you can see the damage inflicted by the impact of the arrow on the second dry doe.

A closer look:





I often wonder how it is they don't simply drop in their tracks!

The Lady & I had them properly cut, wrapped and into the big cold box in quick order.
All the while giving sincere Thanks for the bounty that will nourish us over the coming months...

Continued...
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IronNoggin

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Re: Late Archery Season
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2020, 12:33:00 PM »

And of course no celebration of a successful hunt is complete without the first feast!

Bacon Wraps under The Alter:



Done to medium rare perfection:



Served up with spinach cheesy pasta and caramelized Brussels with bacon & pine nuts:



Meal fit for Royalty!



And that is a wrap Folks. Pleased & Thankful the non-stop 50 year streak of harvest continues...

Cheers,
Nog
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