Friday, September 20, 2013

Washington State High Buck Hunt 2013 Day 2

I heard Kevin's Alarm go off at 2:55 Am and again at 3, I asked him if it was time to get up even though I already knew the answer. We get dressed and I have some granola bars while Kevin has his cup of instant coffee.  We get our head lamps out and start our hike up the steep and nasty hillside. We had picked out a route the night before while it was day out and tried to start in that area as there is no trail heading up the mountain.

We found that our trail worked pretty good except when we would come to rock faces other wise known as cliffs. It just meant extra time finding our way around the rocks. We took a couple breaks while hiking up the monster. On one of breaks I told Kevin that I shoot my deer before 9 am so we should be getting back to camp before it gets hot. I was half joking, but I really do shoot most of my deer early in the morning.

 When we reached the summit everything was good. We had about 40 minutes until hunting hours so I broke out my camera and started taking some night time photos as the suns light was hinting over the far off mountains. We get our guns loaded and the contents of our bags situated for hunting. In front of us was a steep drop off that we didn't want to look over until shooting hours because there could be "The Big One" right below us.

We look at the clock and it was officially hunting hours. Kevin looks at me and asks me if I am ready to get my slay on, of course I was. We sneak up and look over the hillside and nothing was there. After sitting in our location for about 10 minutes Kevin says he is going to walk north up the ridge and I should walk south down the ridge and we will meet up back where we were in a few. I told him that sounded like a good plan and that I was not going to go past the next hill.

I start walking my way down the hill and dropped off the top of the ridge. Taking my time and looking around every few steps I took. I found a rock about 50 yards over the ridge and started watching all of the hill sides. I see Kevin about 500 yards away on the next point of land. After a few minutes of sitting there a grouse flush about 70 yards to my right and sailed around the hill, I said I was not going to go around. That grouse made me feel for whatever reason that I should go around that hill and follow it. After having a mental war with myself in my head I decided that Kevin could see that I was going around the hill.

So I walked down to where the grouse flushed from and started walking around the hillside. Right as I got to the apex of the hill into the next bowl I saw it. A big ol' white butt of a mule deer about 70 yards above me. I dive down prone behind a log and get my gun up into a good shooting position. I can tell it is a big bodied deer. It lifts it's head up and looks right at me. My heart starts to pound against my chest, I feel like every time it beats my body is jumping off of the ground. At this point I can tell it has wide, thick antlers, I just can't tell how many points it has. As I watch it though my scope for what seems to be hours it finally turns its head. I see the single tine behind a double tine so I know its a shooter. I take a deep breath put my crosshairs right behind the shoulder and squeeze the trigger. I didn't feel the gun go off, I didn't hear the gun go off but the deer just dropped.

Now the bottom of the canyon was about 2000 feet below us. The deer started to kick and roll down hill. All I could think about was I really hope it doesn't go down there. The deer came to a rest still kicking. I thought it was done at this point so I turned to where Kevin was and stared waving my hunter orange like he didn't already know what was happening. When I turned around the deer was gone. So I got up and started walking up the hill to where it was. I found it about 10 more yards down the hill. Again the first thing I saw was its butt up on a log. The bullet a 180 grain .30-06 entered right behind the left shoulder and exited just below the back on the left side in its mid sections. I assumed it was a lung shot as the blood coming out of the exit hole was bright pink.

Kevin got over to me and said that it was in the perfect position to bone it out. I have never done a butcher job in the field. We made a cut down the spine of the animal with our Havalon knives and skinned one side from the back to the belly and took all the meat off from one side of the deer placing it in plastic bags. We then flipped the deer over and did the same. I removed the head and we were done in a few minuts.

I took all of the equipment we had in my pack plus the head, Kevin took all of the meat. Kevin's bag was way heavier than mine and I owe him so much for his help. We take our time being safe walking back down the mountain. Every step we took was one closer to a nice nap. We get to camp sink the meat in the creek and eat some lunch. Our plan was to take a nap then pack up and get back down to the vehicles. I slept for about 3 hours which I really needed. We packed up camp, again with Kevin taking all the meat and I took most of the camping stuff and the antlers, which I cut off of the head to save about 8 pounds. Now the really hard work starts.

We figured the hardest part of the hike down would be the really steep first mile and  a half from camp. We took out breaks but made good time not feeling dead. We get down the mile and half to the main trail to take a break on a bridge. When Kevin takes his pack off the straps rip off of the bag. This is not good seeing as we still have a ways to go. after exploring the issues Kevin finds that his $400 pack was put together wrong. So Kevin put it back together the right way (We think) and we continue on.

We get to within a mile of the vehicles. My legs are shaking, my feet hurt and the shoulders are killing me and Kevin reports the same issues. Every time you kick a rock it feel like someone dropped a sledge hammer on your foot. O ya, it is now dark out and we are walking again with our head lights. When Kevin hiked in he found a "Short Cut" that knocked about a half mile and significant elevation from where my car was parked. So Kevin is looking for his short cut in the dark. He explains it as a slight up hill to the car and maybe having to walk around some down trees.  Finally Kevin finds the short cut and we are both dying.  As we start up this hill and get into the trees we end up crawling over and through numerous down trees it was awful. We finally made it to the road and to Kevin's car. When I took my pack off my legs shook from exhaustion. The whole hike was so bad we just couldn't stop laughing as he drove me to my car.

Now all I can think is "What A Trip".


  1. That sounds exhausting!.. . ..What an experience! ....It sounds peaceful out there!

  2. Was this in the methow?