Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hunting with Luke in Northern British Columbia

DSCN0219"If you're going to take pictures of me and put me in your blog remember to tell them that I'm single. And put in lots of action pictures because girls like those."
Luke and I began hunting together a few years ago. I met him through his aunt. He'd gone hunting with his cousins in Australia before taking up hunting in BC.  I like that he's a carpenter and handy. This trip he helped me when my winch broke and also was great about chopping the wood and getting more with the chain saw.  I can trust him with machinery and also my dog. Gilbert loves him.  Laura thinks he's a gentleman.  In the truck hunting he tells great 'politically incorrect' jokes and definitely has his father's sense of humor. His father and I have been friends for years as well.  His dad rode  motorcycles in his younger days.
On this hunt we shot spruce grouse.  Both of us had good shots at black bear but missed. Luke was sure he hit his but when he went to see two other  bigger bears surprised him.  He figured he'd search for his 'wounded' bear in the morning.  So with Gilbert and me we did just that but didn't find any blood and figure his bear got well away.  Mine stood up behind a big stump. I saw the head and put a precise hole in the heart of the stump.  Canada is known for making the best body armour in the world.  Probably the designers watched the sneaky behavour of the Canadian black bear. This one ran away laughing at me.
When we were together in Luke's truck just pulling off the highway an immature moose with two forks graciously offered himself to us.  I screamed 'moose'.  Luke hit the brakes. I had my gun but fumbled with the ammunition while Luke was fumbling for his rifle.  Gilbert got fed up with both of us. The moose grew impatient and Gilbert ran after the moose figuring to show us what we're supposed to do.  It was gone in the woods leaving me to pick up shells by the side of the road.
The next bull moose ran across the road into the swamp. I was on the ATV. Luke was behind me in his truck with Gilbert who'd left my cold open air vehicle for the comfort and companionship of Luke's truck.  I was only afforded a head shot on the move, took it and nicked the moose's neck most likely. There was some blood but quickly it clotted and the bleeding stopped so neither Luke, whose a fine tracker or Gilbert could follow it. It had bounded away without even slowing so we figured there's a bear and moose out there that will live long lives hopefully wise to the ways of game hungry men.  Tracking the moose had taken us deep into the swamp and we were lucky to have compasses to find our way back to our vehicles. What a slog that hump was.
Luke and I had only the day before been target practicing with our rifles shooting bull s eyes with close patterns at 100 yards.  But neither of us had rests for our guns and moving targets are a lot more difficult to hit than stationary ones.  This was my first miss and reminded me of my guide friend who missed once when I was with him.  It brings out alot of self loathing and second guessing. If only I'd waited an extra second or if only I'd shot sooner.  Meanwhile we pray for the game.
I've lost ducks and know that this just feeds the foxes and wolves.  Everything is eaten in the wild.  First come the crows and then everything else is there for the feast. I'd rather have come home with bear and moose though.  We're game hunters and not trophy hunters loving the food most and happy to shoot younger animals than the old crones and elders the trophy hunters prefer.  Trophy hunters are the geriatric euthanasia service.
Luke was certainly good fun as a hunting companion.  We were sorry that Sonny couldn't get away from work for more of the hunt but the two of us made the best of it. We were up each day at 4 or 5 am. When I slept in Luke woke me and when he slept in I woke him. We'd come back mid day for a break and then be out for 4 or 5 pm coming in for 8 pm dinner. Laura had hot feasts prepared. We'd barbecued steaks, smokies, pasta and even ice cream for desert.  Luke made up porridge in the morning and I made up the coffee for thermos pluss the boiled eggs to carry with a protein bar and sardines in a jacket pocket.  The hunt started hot with full moon at night then got cold. The early morning cold brought on the moose rut which just started when Laura and I had to return to Vancouver for work.  Luke had a couple more days before he had to return so even now I'm hoping he gets a moose.DSCN0136
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