Gearing up in a small tent is always a challenge. Once dressed for hunting things progressed fairly quickly despite the assistance of a wet small dog.
The best hunting is nearest dawn. My friend Bill Mewhort always got us up in the dark so we'd be out on the trail taking a spot to sit and ambush game for the break of dawn. Following his advice I've spent many a morning watching the sun come up looking out over some pristine valley waiting for deer to leave the low lands.
The guys have seen a bull moose and a female moose with a couple of young. Quite the sighting. They also saw a large waddling animal with short tale that sounded just like a wolverine. We've all seen bear.
Next day - sunny and warm - not as good for hunting but great for spirits:
Laura is not impressed by sighting of bear. She stays in the camp with her great defender, Gilbert, the 6 month old cockapoo. She has the Budget Rent a Truck to hide in since I'm off on the Honda 230 motorcycle. The guys ATV transmission died the first day so they've been going out with the 1500 truck. Laura has a bear banger with her at all times. I've left her with a loaded 12 guage defender and shown her several times how to crank a buckshot shell into the chamber and fire. I've left her the 3030 too since with one lever action she can put a shell up the spot and shoot that. She has a fire and the generator going but despite all this she suspiciously thinks we brought her and Gilbert along for bait.
At night we sleep with big flashlights and 12 guages loaded with buckshot and slugs.
Before I left I got a 30 below rate top of the line sleeping bag from Mountain Coop. I'm still using the arctic down filled inferno sleeping bag I bought 30 years ago when I was flying up to Churchill medicine to do medicine. That said we're also using coleman catalytic heaters with propane to take the chill off especially in the morning.
When I got my day limit of 10 grouse I told the guys, Luke and Sunny it was there turn now to get a species limit, either a single moose,2 mule dear or a black bear. They're both keen to do that. They've been shooting grouse too and we've all been target practicing on empty cans so it's clear everyone is a fine shot. The problem is finding the big game to shoot at.
I got the canoe out paddling for evening hunt, looking for moose to come down to the lake. In the day time Luke had it out duck hunting. Neither of us was lucky.
We all keep saying though that we love doing all these activities, canoeing, hiking, motorcycling, 4x4ing, target shooting, bird hunting, camping and added to that is big game hunting. Laura is being a trooper providing camp security. Made fabulous steak and potatoes with sour cream one night too.
I ahd to come into Fort St. James because the clutch on my Honda 230 wasn't working. I called up Kit Loveseth the great guy I'd met and gone hunting with the last time I was up here in winter, giving Kumar Towing all the business getting stuck in the heavy snow. Kit's been working but we keep hoping to make contact. I told him his big dog would probably eat Little Gilbertt and he told me has three dogs now. He spoils his dogs just like I do Gilbert. Members of the family.
Kit recommended I contact Andre at his Small Engine Repair place on Robert Road. Andre was there at his place surrounded by ATV and outboards. I got the motorcycle out of the truck. He asked me what had happened, hopped on the motorcycle, road up and down his lane. Made some adjustments. Rode up and down his lane again, made some more adjustments and said. "The cable was loose and slipping but also the clutch itsefl was hitting the bottom of the engine stopping it going up. " 10 minutes and I'm back on the hunt.
Stopped here at Red Fox coffeeshop after stocking up on more propane bottles at the Tru Value Hardware. People at Tru Value were just great, so helpful, and now I'm drinking mocha coffee. It's a really friendly town. Met some fine First Nations folk swapping hunting stories at the gas station and everyone has just been so welcoming.
I love Fort St. James but it's time to get back to Cripple Lake Recreational site and see if the guys have got a moose or Laura has bagged the bear she keeps worrying about. Gilbert had a grouse wing and was in heaven but then he's ecstatic if he can chomp on a discarded plastic water bottle.
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