Daddy Dan on Deer Camp
This is a guest post from Dan, snapshots from his recent deer hunt. This story is what happened before the deer showed up at our house; my story is here.
The day before opening season, driving in, a storm approaching.
I arrive at camp and hustle to get tarp up as snow obliterates the mountains.
As dusk falls, the snow comes in heavy.
Night arrives. First fire at camp. Damn glad I’ve got dry wood and a tarp. Full of anticipation.
Day 1. Up with the fading stars. My mantra is: follow the gold. The deer can’t resist the yellow and especially still-green aspen leaves.
I blunder out of the aspens, following 3 does and 2 bucks up to treeline. 18-20 inches new snow.
The snow is good for keeping the cooler chilled.
Day 2. More snow.
This area is lousy with deer sign but no big buck tracks. They’ve been eating the aspen leaves. The wind is my friend, blowing aspen leaves down:
Promising buck rubs (where the bucks have rubbed the summer velvet off their antlers).
Back to the fire to dry out. A cozy base is half the fun of deer camp and a necessity with this weather.
The road gets taken out by snow and a fallen aspen tree.
Day 3. Disappointingly few, if any, buck tracks seen. Storm passes out and temperatures drop. Still following the gold.
Day 4. Driving out towards home. New views of snow-plastered peaks are inspiring, despite leaving without a buck.
But what’s this? Tracks of 2 large deer crossing the road. I park and follow for a couple last ditch hours until they become lost amid the smaller doe and younger deer tracks. Dejected, I head back to the truck to really depart. Almost there, I decide to lift my binoculars to view the opposite side of the canyon. Bucks! At 1pm, browsing up the far snowy ridgeline I’d had my back to for three days. Forty minutes of glassing shows me where they have gone for an afternoon nap, and a few hours later I am underneath with buck sign all around. I slow down, heed the wind, peep over the ridge. In knee deep snow it is easier to find a solid rest for the rifle and scope. Finally solved my deer season.
The next day Carsten volunteers to help pack out the deer and we meet sunrise on the aspen ridge. One trip out with half a deer each, but its all downhill from there.
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