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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Amazing things that you have seen........

Whitecloud Mountains, Idaho, 1976 `Death March' ...

My buddy and I were taking a shortcut across the spine running west of Castle Peak. It was early in a weeklong trip - we were carrying 50-lb packs. We crossed the ridge and were making our way down a chute on the other side when my buddy cried out for help. I was probably in 3 point contact with the rocks - I turned around to see my buddy bouncing down the ravine. I could not help him: 1) I could not get over to him; and 2) his momentum would probably be unstoppable even if I could. All I could do was watch - as he bounced his way down the rock chute - on his face/front side, then onto his back/pack side, back on his front, and so on ... with each bounce taking him closer to the edge of a 150-ft cliff. I thought I was watching his ... death unfold before me ...

Amazingly his last bounce (before what would be his big bounce) ... his pack got snagged at literally the edge of the cliff. I carefully descended and unstrapped him from his pack, righted him, and then ... got his pack. We addressed injuries - which were minor considering. We then silently collected various items left up and down the chute, broken eyeglasses, shattered fishing rod, etc.

Without a word we carefully descended the rock and talus ridge to a mountain lake below. At the lake we without words and though on cue dug through our packs and found pocket size Bibles, opened them, and started reading. We had not talked religion heretofore, nor did we now. But we were both quite aware we had just gone through some pretty serious stuff.

After a while I did what I normally do - I assembled my fishing rod and walked over to the lake. For reason noted above he could only watch. He followed me over to the lake.

I caught a nice trout early on - we watched as it thrashed about in the crystal clear water as I was reeling him in ... when, out of the deep - a much HUGER fish came up and bit the tail off the one I was reeling in. My buddy and I looked at each other; I reeled in my line, grabbed my gear, we walked over to what would be our camp - unrolled our sleeping bags, and still without a word got in our bags to go to sleep - apparently in effort to end a day which was just too much to take in.

To be continued.

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Location: South-central Montana
Joined: 08/10/2006
Posts: 83
Amazing things that you have seen........

Here's an old one you've already heard Jeff........

Years ago I was guiding a father and son for deer and elk. Neither one was very young, and neither one was in really good health so we were mostly hunting off the horses. We would ride and glass, and I would drop them off high in drainages and have them hunt downhill where I would be waiting with the horses. One morning as we were riding up one of my favorite mountains, I thought I heard a bugle. It was mid-November so it caught me off guard. After stopping the horses I did indeed hear another bugle. We rode a bit farther up the trail to a good glassing spot. There was a nice sized herd of elk and a few of the bulls were still bugling at each other. Bad blood left over from the rut I guess. Anyway, we let them feed into the timber before we went any farther. I dropped them off at the head of the drainage, and told them to hunt down very slowly, shoot thier bulls and then continue to the bottom. I fully expected to hear some shooting within 1/2 hour. About an hour later the father found me at the bottom. He said he never did see the elk again. About 1/2 after that I could faintly hear someone yelling and screaming. I hopped on my horse and rode as fast as I could to the sound. It was the son, kneeling on the ground, just yelling and mumbling. I thought he was having a heart attack. As I hopped off my horse I saw him motion over his shoulder, and there not 20 feet away was a mountain lion, ears laid back and crouched tight to the ground. One shot between the lookers and it was over. I asked the hunter if he was OK, it took him about 30 minutes to regain his composure enough to speak. Aparently that lion was stalking the elk too, and when it tried to kill a cow and failed, it saw my hunter and started stalking him instead. He was able to spook her off a few times, but the last time she wouldn't spook.
Fast forward 2 weeks- I had some other hunters in that same drainage, and while I was waiting for them near a creek in the bottom, I heard some brush noise behind me. That's pretty common there as deer were always using that creek to travel along. I heard it again and turned around to get a better look and there was another lion, this one a big tom, looking right at me. My whole body went ice-cold in an instant. My gun was still in the scabbard about 50 yards away. Thankfully as soon as we locked eyes he turned tail and was gone in a flash.

I really hate lions!!!!

Carl

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Amazing things that you have seen........

In 04 when I got into the rams on my sheep hunt - I apparently screwed up a stalk by a big tom. The rams busted and the cat took off after one of the rams ... but once in flight the tom's chase was futile (at least that's the way it looked). I eventually got one of the rams. I wonder if the cat ate that night - and I'm glad he didn't come after me for messing up his stalk.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Amazing things that you have seen........

Death March - continued ...

We made good progress across the Whitecloud range, and covered essentially all we wanted to several days early. Then weather set in. We were at Cove Lake (I think). Elev about 10,000 ft - which in that range puts us essentially above timberline except for patches of trees about 10 ft tall but probably 1000 years old. We camped in a patch of trees which gave at least some illusion of shelter. As it got dark the weather really set in ... so I put some extra wood on the fire - with some vain thought that it would help the fire survive the storm, and then we retired. We were in one of those plastic `tube tents' - barely room for two people if neither moved. The rain pounded from about 10 pm to midnight, and then lightened. About midnight I heard my buddy exclaim that the fire survived the storm ... (hmmmmm, that's cool, but surprising) ... AND IT'S BIGGER! (hmmmm - really interesting)

My buddy felt he needed to investigate - so I let him. I preferred not to move - as the agony of being soaked somehow was easier to ignore. My buddy got enough dressed to exit the tent ... but when he said "Oh, NO!" - I knew I better take a look.

To my fascination our fire was not only not extinguished by the torrent of rain - it had grown. Prior to the rain I had brought in a bunch more of wood - mostly in the form of log snags - which, at the elevation we were at - evidently only survived by being RICH with pitch. So while some of the wood was being soaked - the fire spread through our camp via the pitch-y logs. The fire had moved down the log against which we had parked our gear, consuming food, burnable utensils, and other stuff. Gladly stopping just before our packs.

Now all of our possessions fell into one or more of three categories: 1. broken by earlier fall; 2) soaked; 3) consumed by fire.

We were greeted by broken clouds the next morning - and we had a decision. Our vehicle was only 4.4 miles away as a crow might fly - but over two major ridges. Storms still pounded the ridges putting a direct exit out of the question. If the weather would break and allow us to dry out and continue - we would stay. If not - we would take the trails out - 5,000 vertical up, 6000 down, over 26 miles. 10 AM was our turnaround time - and with the weather not broken we donned our packs and marched out.

We only stopped once.

At evening, as more rains loomed, we took a shortcut to trade 1/2 mile cross country for avoiding about 1-1/2 miles of trail. Where we were to meet up with the trail it was nearly invisible due to regular avalanches ... and overshot. It was absolutely crucial we find the trail and get out. After some backtracking we found it.

The last mile or so was after midnight. Only one flashlight and no moon. I could see the path but my buddy couldn't ... every now and then I would hear thuds as he crashed on the trail - but we both understood and kept going.

It was our Death March.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
Amazing things that you have seen........

Good job! You guys and gals are great. Yes Keep them coming. Laugh sad Oops! Big smile This is fun.

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Location: Austin Colorado
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 52
Amazing things that you have seen........

Has anyone seen St. Elmo's Fire...not the movie but the real thing! It was when I was cowboying up near taylor park, co. We would summer about 2500 cow calf pairs in the high country and we would ride them on a daily basis to check for sickness or to move them to a new spot.

Well I was trailing about thirty head and the afternoon storms came up. I was intent on getting these cows moved to the next area so I kept right on riding. The storm really cranked up and the wind started blowing, raining so hard you could barely see past the horse's ears. I was pretty well soaked but not too worried until the lighting started, first pretty far off then getting nearer. All of a sudden the hair on my neck stood up and a bluish haze settled in over the cattle I was driving in front of me. Well that was all this cowpoke needed and I unseated myself by simply rolling off the saddle staying as low as possible. Splat in the mud...my horse still taking the cows somewhere?? Lightning never did strike and I had a heck of a time gathering up my horse about two hours later but at least he was easy to track in the mud. I've got a fun cow vrs bear story I'll share in a bit.

bitmasher's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Amazing things that you have seen........

Good stuff!

Some years back when I was living in AK a friend invited me to go fish a king salmon run in late may on the Little Susitna outside Anchorage. I fished hard, but didn't have much luck and turned in the first night around 10:00, but got up again around 3:00 AM to hit the fishing again. This time I tried some of the forks of the river and found one fork that had a deep hole of water, roughly 12+ feet deep. I could see the kings in the water and tried tossing various lures with no luck. The hole happen to have a log that extended across in such away that it was situated over the top of some of the fish in the hole.

I walked on the log to the middle of the hole and drop my line in and one of the fish swirled to the lure, I jerked the line to set the hook (which I missed) but managed to slip off the log. Comical turned to dangerous because my hip waiters, which were baggy, instantly filled with water. I went in well over my head, but managed to grab with one hand at the log as I was going under and pulled myself back out of the water. I'm not really sure what I was thinking, since if I had managed to even hook one of the kings, the shear fight would have made me slip off the log....

Since I've learned a good way to avoid the waiter filling with water situation is to use chest waiters then you some sort of strap at your chest to block water from flowing down into the waiters.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Amazing things that you have seen........

One time my buddy and I hiked into a `no-name' lake via no trail. We arrived not long after the ice was gone. Some nice sized fish were doing the spawning ritual thing near shore. These fish were long and snaky. But there were some other fish in the lake that were sterile (hybrids). Instead of being occupied with mating and what comes after - they cruised the shore for FOOD. Some of these fish looked like footballs for shape, but were bigger than footballs for size.

I found a rock outcropping that stuck into the lake and fished for these `bombers'. But they were pretty picky. During their rounds they would be at times nearly right below me - quite visible in the crystal clear water. I really wanted one monstrous fish in particular. When he wouldn't take conventional methods - I put on a spoon with a big treble hook and decide to try and ________ (you fill in the blank). Just as I was about to execute my plan I realized that I would never be able to truthfully tell the story as it was about to unfold, so I abandoned my plan, and decided to reel in. To my wonder the monster saw the fleeing spoon and took it. THE FIGHT WAS ON! Immediately I knew whatever pound test I had on was insufficient, and in a few seconds of fight he was off. I watched him retreat with my spoon in his mouth.

I went back to camp sick.

The next day I decide to resume fishing. It was incredible. The outlet stream was fantastic. I was catching nice fish and releasing them - as I assumed we were reaching our weight limit (not very common in Idaho streams). After putting a number of seemingly small fish back, I decided to measure one first, then release. It was 15 inches small ... W.T.!!! Whoa ... (15 inches normally isn't considered small in the relatively sterile waters of Idaho).

Then, with confidence high, I decided the unthinkable. I went back to my rock, put on a lure, and cast out for the bomber that took my lure the day before. AND HE TOOK IT - I CAUGHT HIM. AND THE FIGHT WAS ON AGAIN. I had put new line on - and though the `test' was the same - the new line wasn't frayed, damaged, whatever. Oh I treated him just right ... letting him run when he wanted to run, but always keeping some tension, and slowly but surely but not too fastly ... tiring him out.

I knew I would really need to drain him because I never take a net. I would have to take him by hand on the steep / near sheer banks.

In the perfectly clear water I could see BOTH lures in his mouth.

After a long, long fight I had him to shore tired as a baby. On my belly downward on the bank I inserted my fingers into and through his gills and hoisted him to shore. I had done the unthinkable ... (at least in my mind).

Aftermath: we gloried in our success all the next week ... and when the next weekend came - assembled a return. One thing in particular lured me back. I saw a fish that appeared only for a short period of time - but dwarfed the biggies we had to date.

But when we returned a week later - it was like a different lake. The weather and water were different. Some OTHER PEOPLE had also found the lake. We were defeated before we started, and caught not a fish. And went back home.

Idaho lakes have some HUGE FISHES ... but they are all but nonexistent except for the first week or so after the ice is off.

Ssp
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Location: North Idaho, Steve
Joined: 07/14/2006
Posts: 48
Amazing things that you have seen........

In 2005, I was elk hunting with my nieghbor near one of our usual spots. We found a bunch of wallows along a creak in the bottom of an Idaho hell whole. The sides of the hill were extremely steep and provided us with a birds eye view of the wallows. After looking around we found a spot where a fallen tree had created a perfect little bench for us to set up behind. we set up some fresh braches to create a blind and got comfortable, my nieghbor nestled him self against the bank started napping(I would have loved a nap but couldn't sleep). I sat there figiting for a while and went though my pack, ate most of my food, played with the gps, and daydreamed. I had just finished carving myself a rest to lean my bow against when I saw movement down the creek. As I leaned to take a look I could make out a bird flying up the creek through the trees, I thought crow and went back to my bow, then saw it flying closer, not a crow, as I'm watching it and trying to figure out what it was I didn't notice that it was getting so close. It was on path to fly in front of us from left to right probably ten feet in from us. As it flew into an opening in the trees I realized it was a grouse and just as it flew in front of us it decided it like the same bench we liked and set it wings turned and bea-lined right at my head. At the last second I tried to grab it out of the air with my right hand but the trigger release stapped to my wrist got in the way and I just smacked the s@#t out of him and nocked it to the ground. As it hit the ground,obviously confused and scared, it was trying to fly, run and jump all at the same time. When they try this they end up doing summersaults (is that a word?) while flapping their wings. This is all, of course alot of comotion, remember the guy sleeping lol , as this bird through it's fit it rolled onto my nieghbors lap and face. Man, you talk about a rude awakening Laugh I swear he jumped out of his skin, he swatted, swiped and scrambled to get away from the narley beast that was trying to eat him. Laugh Every time he nocked the bird off of him it just bounced right back on, he finally got away from this killer and it finally got air born and took off. The whole time he was swatting at it I was half laughing and half yelling, "grab it", "get him" and man I started to let him have it after he let it get away. I mean shoot, I put it right in his lap, litterally. Apparently in his spleepy daze he still hadn't realized what it was, cat, bear, moose lol he'll still swear it was a golded eagle or a turkey vulture. Oops! That was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen while hunting. Yea no elk came to the wallow that day, five does was it and we held off.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Amazing things that you have seen........

That's funny!!!

I am new at turkey hunting - but last year I found a spot under a tree and laid down ... I was somewhat exposed so I knew I had to be the perfect log, or be detected for what I was. No gobblers came by - but I was amuzed that a tweedy bird came by, and was enough convinced that I was a log that he landed and walked around on my waist for a while.

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