Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Polaris Sportsman 500 and hunting in Northern BC

http://DSCN0140British Columbia is divided into different hunting regions with their own rules of conservation.  Depending on the year some areas you can hunt deer in one area where you can't in another.  Within each region there are management units.  Again each unit has even more specific regulations about when and what you can hunt.  We had camped in M.U. 7.16 but had Limitted Entry tags for Management Unit 7.23.  Limited Entry is a 'draw' that occurs each year and hunters who win the draw are allowed to hunt a specific animal not allowed in that time or place.  All of this 'game management' is paid for by hunter licenses, each species cost $20 dollars a tag or more and the overall hunter license around $50.
The principle support for ecological conservation of wildlife and fishing and their environment comes from the fees paid by hunters and fishermen.  There are hundreds of thousands of us. Whenever I hear "activists' 'talking' ad infinitum about their contribution and their concern for 'wilderness', 'old growth forest', 'endangered species' etc I remember that the hard earned cash of hunter's and fisherman are the principle means of maintaining conservation officers and ensuring that accurate counts of game and intimate knowledge of habitat is maintained by our government.  We're the ones who have the real invested interest in ensuring that game survive and annually we can enjoy the outdoors and harvest. . I commonly  spend several hundred dollars a year on licenses and tags for hunting and fishing.  Almost as commonly I'll be lucky if I catch a fish and shoot a deer.  I pay for the priviledge of hunting. I don't get a refund for what I don't catch or shoot.
The Polarais was perfect for the logging roads and back country trails and off road terrain.  I had to travel about 17 km over rough active twisting logging roads to get from where I was camped on the Cuchinka Red Forest Service  to the Cuchinka Anzac Forest Service Road where we could hunt bull moose.  Because the bridge was out some days we'd load the ATV in the back of my Ford F350 and drive the north to the northern entrance of the Cuchinka Colbourne Forest Service Road where my friend Luke and I would ride on the Polaris..  We'd see bull moose in both places.
In the 17 km stretch I drove the Polaris ATV in 2wheel drive mode like a mad man. It was usually dark with just the beginning of light. I started at 30 miles an hour but soon was doing 50 miles an hour, the machine hugging the road and me feeling like a 1930's racing car driver.  Sometimes when I hit bumps and was airborne I felt like I was Snoopy racing through the air to take on the Red Barron. Gilbert, my daring cockapoo rode behind me with a leash to his dashing orange and black Harley Davidson vest keeping him from flying out.  Up to 30 miles an hour he was standing with his nose and face stretched out beside me taking in the wind and scents.  Around 40 he'd tuck in behind me for the shelter from the cold since the mornings were chilly.
When we got to our destination road I'd  switch to 4 wheel drive mode.  The machine did amazingly well over the over grown side roads bashing through willows and even riding over the churned up forest bed where recent logging had been. There and in the thick mud after a couple of nights rain I'd had to use the low gear 4 wd.  Mostly the low gear served me best coming down steep mountain slopes, just walking the machine safely down while I felt like we'd begin tumbling head over heels at any moment.
It had amazing power. 500 hp being more than one needs for hunting but at times I'd take my buddy Luke along and with the 2 of us I certainly appreciated the size of engine. I never did get the pleasure of carrying out a moose on the Polaris but it would do that job well indeed. Luke also drove the ATV about some days when I was off walking and absolutely loved it.
Gilbert and I had a whole lot of fun exploring on the Sportsman 500.  I'd drive to my hunting spot and sit waiting in ambush for an hour or so then I'd walk about stalking somewhere else for another hour. After that I'd be careening all over the countryside going whereever my hearts desire took me.  I startled moose on the road who ran across my path while I tried to get a gun loaded to take a shot.  I missed. The bear were faster though. One young black bear out ran me down a trail and was off in the woods before I even had time to stop.  I saw other bear on the spruce and pine lined ridges but they were often more than 300 yards off.  It was just a delight to be able to drive around the country side putting a hundred miles a day of off road ATV'ing  in seeing some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world.  I probably used around 5 gallons of gas a day so the saving compared to using my truck was extraordinary. Besides the paint job on my Harley Davidson edition Ford F350 wasn't meant to be bush burned.  In contrast I think that Polaris is using something NASA developed for it's paint job because despite all the beating the machine took it didn't loose it's pristine good looks.  DSCN0301DSCN0246DSCN0238DSCN0093DSCN0110DSCN0095DSCN0097DSCN0141DSCN0300DSCN0198DSCN0098DSCN0089DSCN0228DSCN0127

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