Monday, September 17, 2012

Hunting with Gilbert - Merritt, BC

We still haven't made it out before dawn. That's coming yet. Gilbert got me up by 7 am , our normal work day, and after coffee and a shower, the two of us had bid Laura good bye and were off in the truck for 9 am executive hunting work day.

I'd filled up with diesel the night before but got a hankering for a thermos of coffee and some diet coke so stopped at the gas station downtown Merritt before deciding to hunt up Aberdeen Road. The famed Chattaway Lodge is up there but I wanted to hunt in the region before that. I was headed for a lake ?tyner or tyson. My map page got a little smeared when a wet dog bum sat on it.

We drove way back in that region. Grouse are usually out around 10 but no grouse. Then it was 11 am and I'd parked and we hiked an atv trail up in the high country. The weather was so warm and the sun so hot I was just happy to be hiking, albeit carrying my Mossberg Lever action 30:30 over my shoulder. With dry old burnt out hills and a forest and marsh near by I thought we might come across a big black bear. Gilbert had a heck of a good time. He runs and sniffs about 10 times as far as I go with all his circling and exploring.

We actually saw a black bear a few minutes after we started down in the truck. He watched me load the 30:30 then disappeared as I brought the rifle up to bare. Gilbert liked the excitement nonetheless.

Back in the truck we drove onto another logging road and ended up in some forest where again I parked the truck and headed out on foot on an overgrown logging road. We hiked this trail for nearly an hour and a half in and almost that much out. It was up and down but took me deep into the terrain where I thought I might find a 4 point mule deer sleeping in the tall grass on the sunny side hills. I scoped alot of territory with my Bushnell Fusion 1600 Arc Laser Range Finder Binoculars. They really are something. Last year's buy they're as pleasing as ever.

Back at the truck I put a tartan rug on the tail gate. I was physically beat. Poured out some water for Gilbert and he lapped it right up. Then we settled down to having the sandwiches salami and cheese Laura had made the night before. Gilbert had some salami and cheese and even ate a Little Cesar wet dog food. I had a couple of cups of coffee and sure enjoyed being out in the woods in the sun wearing only shorts and t shirt. What magnificent range and logging country this is northwest of Merritt.

We drove back to Stumbles where I phoned Laura to let her know we were on a different logging road than Aberdeen and Piraeus. The Iridium satellite phone hooks up to her cell immediately. There's the slight delay which comes with talking on Satellite. A bit like a radio. But good to have a sense that someone knows where I am. After last year's scare rolling the Polaris ATV and being trapped under it I'm thankful to at least have Laura know my last whereabouts. I figure then if I don't get back a rescue party would at least know which logging road I'd last been on. It was good to tell her how great lunch was for Gilbert and I. He barked when he heard her voice too.

Stumbles Lake is about two or three housing lots with lots of reeds and lilly pads. I had the canoe on the truck so figured I should use it. It's the Clipper ultra light kevlar sportsman but the Ford F350 is high so it's a bit of a struggle getting it down and worse getting it up. Naturally I got my feet muddied and wet getting it through the marsh to the lake. I had my 12 guage shot gun along and fishing rod. I fished a bit then pot shotted at a couple of ducks that flew by. Gilbert's not a duck dog and didn't like having the shot gun shoot over his head. He left the front of the canoe and curled up instead at my feet. I 've never been much of a skeet shooter and I've only shot ducks when there were so many in the sky it was hard to miss. The ducks were probably out of range too. They were travelling fast and I doubt I lead them enough. It still was fun to take the shot and have the excitement.

The sun was setting so I paddled back to shore, got my feet wet and then with effort got the canoe on top of the cab. Meanwhile Gilbert was running circles around the shoreline of marsh and trees till damned if he didn't raise a grouse that landed on the tree over the back of the truck. I used the 12 guage and missed the head with the first shot of bb load. The grouse stayed for the second round and Gilbert was ecstatic to catch the flapping headless chicken.

So we had one grouse and a truly glorious day. When I filled up the diesel it had cost $35 in fuel. That's when I had a moment of irritation and missed the ATV which the playboy hadn't returned. The fuel cost for it would have been at most $5 to $10. I'll start using Laura's Honda Big Ruckus later this week but I couldn't have carried the canoe with anything other than truck. I really do want to catch some trout since everyone else is.

Back at Moonshadow RV Laura said she'd had a great relaxing day reading and just hanging out. "I love the quiet." She's waiting on her 5th grandchild to be born too. She says her daughter has served an eviction notice.

I'd word from Ron that 94 year old Dad had a bad day but nephew Graeme emailed me that when he visitted Dad had perked up. Sent a great picture of Dad in bed looking happy.

Gilbert, the great cockapoo hunting dog, was asleep too after a light meal, not even waking to join in the Bavarian smokies Laura served up later. I wasn't moving at all fast and after a shower popped some aspirin having too much of a feel for my body. Bed was indeed glorious.

This morning we're packed and ready to head up to Kamloops and on to Clearwater. Hopefully Luke and Tom can join us this week for the opening of moose season. Gilbert likes when all his buds are around. He really loves them and personally I love moose. Luke's due to shoot his first so I'd love to be there to reap the benefit though I'm hoping I'll shoot my own. Tom's great for conversation, cutting up and hauling moose where every warm body counts and there's always lots to share.

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