Let me disclose right off the bat that I didn’t successfully harvest anything this year (again). However, I have four degrees of hunting success, and I achieved two of them. The first degree of success is just getting out there and hunting. Enjoying nature, being distraction free, and hiking around the wilderness is ALWAYS a win in my book. The second degree of success is seeing the game I’m hunting. I saw elk on two different occasions this time around but wasn’t able to get a shot off…which brings me to my third degree of success: shooting at an animal (notice I say shooting at, not shooting). I feel you’re pretty lucky if you can get close enough to shoot at something. Of course the fourth and final degree of success is harvesting game. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit that fourth degree, but I try to look at the bright side of things and not get discouraged (hence the four degrees of success).
The first order of business was to set up camp. I think we had it all put together in about an hour which is pretty good in my opinion. I mean check it out, Camp Langille was pretty posh. We had the tent, front vestibule, and then my dad’s 12’x12’ canopy which was a lifesaver. It rained the first four or five days of and on…sometimes coming down in a deafening deluge.
The next close encounter I had was a couple of days later in elk paradise (more on this location below). I was with two other hunters, and we were stalking through the forest. One of the other hunters let out a cow call and got a response from something nearby. He put the stalk on to move closer. Meanwhile, behind us less than 30 yards something started moving. We could hear it stepping, and I am pretty sure I heard antlers knocking on tree limbs. Every time my friend would hit his cow call, it would move. It paced back and forth in the tree line for about ten minutes before disappearing. I guess it caught on and realized that, in the words of Admiral Ackbar:
However, the most exciting thing was the bear encounter! That’s right…bear encounter. We’re not talking looking at a bear from behind a fence or driving through a bear sanctuary; we’re talking Yogi Bear from Jellystone rifling through our goodies kind of bear. One evening everyone was out hunting, and my dad had decided to rest and relax back at camp. At one point he looked over and saw a large black shape digging through one of my friend’s coolers. He did what we were told to do, which was make a lot of noise and make yourself bigger to scare it off. This bear must have run out of fucks because he didn’t have any to give. At one point my dad even fired a shot over the bear to the try and scare it away—still, no fucks were given. That bear stole some food and ate it all the while staring at my dad, kind of a universal language of, come at me bro and see what happens. It wasn’t until two others had finished their hunt and came back that the bear ran off. It took three adults yelling at it to get it to move away.
All in all, it was a great trip, and I can’t wait until next year. I feel like I learn more about the area each time I get out there and that my chances of success increase slightly each time. I’ve already got plans to scout out a couple of new areas for next season.