Many of us use digital cameras to photograph our favorite hunting memories. What do we need to do to preserve those memories and fix problems with these devices in the field?
This came to my mind earlier today when going through some of my pictures and seeing a failed attempt at preserving one of my favorite memories. It all started one spring bear hunt on the Oregon coast in 2010. My first coastal bear hunt, what an exciting trip. My hunting partner and I worked very hard to spot a bear, but it seemed like we just couldn't do it. I did succeed in nearly getting mauled to death by a mountain lion, however.
As I sat next to a log on a hillside glassing a clearcut, I put my hood up to catch the cold spring rain drops. Through the spitting of the rain against my hood, I heard a very small noise coming from immediately behind me. When I turned, nearly face to face with me, sat a 110 pound female mountain lion. Sitting there in a perfect stillness, her eyes burned like fire into my soul. I will remember that sight for the rest of my days. You could see hunger on her face, in the way she sat, ready to pounce and bury her sharp teeth into my skull.
In one swift motion I stood and reached for my knife as I flung my boot towards the feline's face. It turned and dodged my attempt and walked steadily in a circle around me. I didn't dare to lower my head to reach for my rifle. I stood my ground enough to reationalize my plan of attack. I charged several steps towards the cat and shouted at the tops of my lungs. My rouse worked as the huntress turned in ambiguous defeat. She stepped behind a bush, and there she waited.
I regained my composure.
On the same road, after regrouping with my hunting partner (who carried a resident mountain lion permit) we came upon the cat. We marched at her and she walked at us. Side by side I stood with my partner as the clear sound of his rifle resonated across the clearcut. The cat kicked lightly and then was still immediately.
This story represents one of my fondest adventures in North America, and yet I was unable to preserve this memory to my liking. Because of batteries, nonetheless. A low battery caused me to lose the only picture we took of me with that cat. But we do have pictures of my hunting partner Paul with his trophy.
Because of this, before going on an excursion, I've found it increasingly important not only to carry extra batteries (which I'm sure almost all of us do), but to change out all of the batteries in my devices and not keep aging batteries in my pack. I had spare batteries, but, sophomorically, I asumed it would be okay. This lesson holds true for all of our devices, GPS units, cameras, rangefinders, electronic red dot scopes.
I was wrong. Let this be a lesson to all of us so we don't lose the memories we love the most.