It is a whole 8 days before I am sitting in Arizona looking for the ghost of the desert again. This year will be the 22nd year that we have driven down from Colorado to enjoy the summer like temperatures of the Arizona desert and chase these little buggers.
It started in 1994 with 3 of us going down and not knowing the slightest thing of what we were doing. We stopped at a restraunt for breakfast and to wait out a rain storm and talked to the cook who recommended a area. After 4 days of hunting we had to head home without seeing a thing.
The next year we were back at it. The second day myself and another hunter hiked up on top of a mountain (we call them hills here in Colorado) and took a nap only to wake up in the middle of a butterfly hatch. It was beatiful for a short period of time. On the 3rd day I went one way and the two others went another. I shot my first javelina out of a herd of 3 that I saw coming across a flat, I also met up with a old retired marine who was out looking for rattlesnakes and that was a start of a long friendship.
The next year found us hunting a new area with more javelina and this time there was 7 of us. I still remember the first day driving up a wash and spotting a herd of around 10 on the hill above us. Myself and two others took off after them. Well, we went up the first hill only to see them headed up and over the next one, so off we went. When we got to the top of this hill we spotted them going over the top of the next one but we were closing. When we neared the top of the third hill I told the other that we needed to catch our breath and that the javelina were proably just on the next hill. So we crept up and over the top only to see the javelina near the top of the next hill. We all took shots and I took a hike to see if we had hit anything but found nothing on that hill. We then tried to figure out just where we were and how many hills we had crossed. It was a long hike back to the 4 wheelers. 5 of the hunters had to head out early that year and 2 of us stuck around. I took my javelina at about 3pm on the final day and my hunting partner got his a couple of hours later. We were happy tired and sore hunters.
Since that time we have had good time and bad times, hiked more miles and glassed more terrine than any normal person will in a lifetime, but there is one thing about it. It is fun down there. We have explored old mines and diggings. Hiked to the top of more hills (they call them mountains in Arizona) and played more practical jokes on each other than any person has a right to do in a lifetime, and yet we continue to go down every year. The number of hunters the last dozen or so years has gone down to just 2 of us with both of us now in our 60's. Others have mentoned that they want to go but they never do. I gave up contacting them to let them know where the application need to be in a few years ago. I figure that they know where I am if they want any information.
So one week from today on Wednesday February 4 two of us will again load up our 4 whelers and boxes of hunting equipment and head out on the 800 mile drive to our friends home where we will spend the nights while hunting. Our friend is 20 or so years older and not as spry as he once was when we first met him in a dry wash but he sitll enjoys getting out with us on our hunts and will be joining us for moral support and lunches of burritos wrapped in tinfoil warmed over a open fire of mesquete wood and a few cold beers afterwards.
I know that there are a couple of others on the board here that will also be chasing those ghost during the HAM season (handguns, archery, muzzle loader) so to them I say Good Luck on your hunt, it is just a great time to be out in the wilds enjoying the best that Mother Nature can offer.