It has been only two weeks since I got back from our Alaskan hunt and my knee is still giving me problems. I had x-rays taken and it seems to only be bruised but it is affecting the way I walk which in turn is causing me problems in my other leg and it has caused my back to go out of whack.
After having a short period of rain on the Olympic Peninsula, I had planned to hunt/learn a new unit this weekend, but with the above-mentioned problems I decided not to go at the last minute. That evening I called my brother to see what he was doing the following morning. He and his 4-year-old son were going to take a drive to learn some country that I had shown him on a map. He had an archery deer tag as well as a second bear tag (first bear story here http://bearseast.proboards34.com/index.cgi?board=tales&action=display&thread=1158201540) and was hoping to stalk some deer with his son. I told him to meet me at my house at 6am and I would drive/glass for him.
The plan was to stalk some deer, any deer, for the benefit of my nephew, as this was his first “hunt” and hopefully arrow a buck. We loaded up our packs and my rifle case in the back of the truck, and the snacks and bows in the front and off we went. It was only 20 minutes to our first destination, a point across a valley that we could glass. It was still too early to see very well all the way across, so after a quick look we drove to an area that we could glass from a closer distance.
I have a spot that I see a few deer in almost every time I go there, and I knew that we could at least show my nephew a few does, so we drive in and park at the beginning of the road. I told my brother where we were going and what to look for and that when he got there he would wonder “why did he send me here?” The piece that I wanted him to look at is only 200 yards long and 90 yards wide off the end of a landing.
As we were walking I spotted a doe above and behind us, or should I say she spotted us. After showing her to my nephew, and spotting another doe, we decided that I should watch these deer as my brother continued down the grade.
While my nephew and I are watching the deer, he gets antsy and says out loud, “Uncle, you want to see my tattoo?” I was almost shocked by the volume, not the question. I told him we needed to stay quiet so we “could get on these deer” later. So he asks, “are we going to ride them?” Of course now I am laughing out loud as I explain myself better.
Once we calm down, something makes me turn around in the direction my brother went. Must have been his whistling, or maybe the jumping up and down with his arms in the air. Thinking he must have arrowed a big buck, it took me a minute to understand, “get your gun, two bears, get your gun!” I tell my nephew to stay put as I drop my binoculars and run the two hundred yards, uphill, to the truck. At one hundred yards I start to slow and at about 180 yards I am telling myself…who cares, not worth it, BREATH! I grab my rifle and jog back to my nephew. We start to walk fairly fast to the end of the landing and again I get the question, “want to see my tattoo?” “Not right now, we are going to look at a bear” was my reply.
We get down to the end of the landing and my brother tells me what he saw as I continued to try to catch my breath. He says, “It went in that clump of brush…there it is”. I saw it for only a second as it went into another thick patch. With my brother kneeling, my nephew in his arms, I move off to the right about 10 yards. They can see the bear’s body and I can only see its head. The bear is on the edge of the cut, only steps away from disappearing. It is getting nervous and looking up in our direction. The bear turns it’s head away from us and starts to continue towards the timber and BOOM! That bear took off like a rocket. The first thing I noticed was it didn’t seem to be hit; the second was that it didn’t seem to be too big, and the third was that I could still get another shot. BOOM. Bear is still running. It starts to go over the hill and when it reaches another large brush pile I thought I saw it drop. When we heard the death moans we knew it was over and I knew that my first shot went where I wanted it too.
On the way up to the truck we notice that the deer have not moved. Thinking how cool it would be for his son to be involved with a bear and deer in the same day, we debate him taking a doe with his bow. We came up with a plan and again, we watched the deer while my brother went up the grade to get closer.
The first doe continued to feed and watch us as the second deer bolted. I heard the shot and watched the deer jump, but it was too far for my to tell if it was hit. The deer continued feeding when I heard a second shot and the impact. The shot was ranged at 50 yards and the deer was at a slight angle. This time the deer jumped and took off. It ran about forty yards before falling down, and then it got up and wobbled off.
And as they say, “Now the work begins”!
After a few minutes of looking for the first arrow my brother met us at the truck and we drove to the landing to get the bear and at the same time give the deer some time to bed down. The bear was right where we thought it would be. The .270 through the lungs did its job. After a few pictures we loaded it on a pack frame for the walk out. My brother and I both shared packing duties and once back to the truck it was time to look for a deer.
We drove back up the grade and took another road to get above the area we were going to look over. The deer was about 30 yards beyond the spot that it originally fell. Again, more pictures. Then the drag to the truck. It died about 20 yards from the road and made for an easy drag.
The deer was a healthy doe, with the beginnings of her winter coat and the ending of her summer coat.
The bear was a 5 ft. sow with an aging and scared up face. She field dressed at 130. In her stomach I found the remains of a fawn, including lots of hair and even a few hooves.
Even though these were small animals and the hunt was neither hard nor long, I will always remember this day. My brother and I had not hunted together in over 5 years and my nephew (who is probably spoiled/ruined for life) had never been on a hunt.