Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Camping and Bow Hunting Labour Day Weekend, BC

The long weekend is the opening of bow hunting in British Columbia. It's also for me the weekend I sight rifles and check out my equipment.

The logistics of keeping multiple adventure activities stored and sorted is a challenge for sure. Offshore sailing, scuba diving and wilderness camping are all activities where if you forget anything or anything goes wrong you can't easily stop by the corner store or ask the pizza guy.

First stop after leaving work was to visit the gun locker and collect ammunition, knives, sharpeners, rifles, bow, arrows, stringer, binoculars, compasses. I'd forgot my radio but had my satellite phone for emergency communication.

I couldn't find the keys to the Honda 250 on road off road motorcycle which resulted in a minor delay while I searched everywhere in the truck and bags but didn't find them. I eventually hoped they'd be in the Motorhome where they finally turned up. Locks are my bane. Thieves are a terror. Taking countermeasures against the ubiquitous theivery accounts for a half hour at least of everyday. I've got keys and locks everywhere but one can't live without them.

The traffic driving out to Chilliwack was already backed up for the long weekend despite my leaving work early. I imagine it got worse. I was glad to hook up my RV (recreational vehicle) and haul it over to the Husky where I filled the truck with diesel, the gas tank for generator and motorcycle, the propane tanks as well as filling the RV with water. Gilbert, the cockapoo, was excited by all of this and glad I'd brought his tennis ball, snacks and treats. Compared to me, he travels light.

I had this great audio tape of a 'Sensitive New Age Spy" and began listening to it as I headed up the coquahala. Great for night driving. Story line of terrorists parking an old tanker in Sidney Harbour, Australia. I was tired by the time I got to the Coquahala Lakes so just pulled off the road at the rest area where I found a place I could park for the night. What a beautiful night it was too. Gilbert cavorted about the RV under the moon and starlit sky and the two of us were out in wilderness. I had brought curried venison I'd made that week which with bread made a marvellous late night meal. Before going to bed I sat up a bit reading the Christian thriller 'Harbingers'. The idea is that 9/11 was a message from God to get back on track. I slept beautifully with Gilbert curled up beside me.

Next day we'd start off again up the Coquhala. I could have just as easily stayed where I was but figured since bow hunting opened the next day, Sept 1, on the Sunday I might as well drive north on the Saturday with the plan to store my trailer somewhere in the north for when I came back for rifle hunting moose. I studied the regulations and found out that bow hunting was open for deer and bear in the lower mainland but in Thompson and Caribou more things opened including rifle hunting for bear. If I reached the Omineca, which is where Prince George is I could even bowhunt moose and elk and not only bear but grouse as well was open for rifle. Now that seemed a plan or at least a heading since I could stop anywhere along the way if I wanted.

My friends who are retired just returned from Yukon and northern BC with each of them having shot a moose. I envied them their retirement because they had no real time restriction on their hunt. In contrast I was going to have to be back at work and was only going to have a week during the season for rifle hunting moose. Here was a great day for driving and listening to an audiobook. The country side is spectacular with the coastal mountains to pass then the ranchlands with tumble weed before the great grain fields further north.

I drove up to Merritt then left the Coquahala, a regular freeway, for the normal two lane highway that took me to Quesnel. At rest areas Gilbert had pee breaks and slept when he didn't have his head out the window. Not a bad life for a dog especially with a regular supply of little dog milk bones.

At 100 Mile House I got my Migratory Bird license from the Post Office. It's federal for ducks and geese. I learned then that ducks and geese opened in the north Sept 1 too. I'd not brought my shot gun. At Exeter Sport Goods I got more arrow bolts with the broad head for turkeys and grouse. I had enough razor blade heads for big game. I also got a clip for my 22 only to find I had one in the rifle which I'd thought I'd removed when I had it clean. I now have two. I got my my tags for mule deer and moose. I love 100 mile house and this gun store. It's got everything. I bought my bushnell ranger finder binoculars I love for bow hunting there a few years back too. The girls at the store are hunters and with the guys they make the whole business lively.

At Chicotin Guns in Williams Lake I couldn't resist, I could, but didn't, a combination 12 guage/20 guage over under Brazilian shot gun. The barrels are interchangeable and while I've a side by side 12 guage with long barrel I've not got a 20 guage which is better for upland birds. I'd bought a single shot 4/10 here years ago. It was argentinian and almost a boot gun. I'd carried it bow hunting with a slug in it for back up in grizzly bear country.
I was introduced to this gun store by my old friend Bill nearly 20 years ago when we were heading up north for a moose hunt near Vanderhoof. Great store and great knowledgeable folk there. I like stopping in for a break on a long drive and seeing what new stuff they have. I'd not planned to go this far north and didn't know duck and geese would be open. My reasoning though is that when I don't have the tools or the tags that's when I'll have the animals walk up at tap me on the shoulder so like a good Boy Scout I like to be prepared. The principle cost of hunting is the time off work and the cost of fuel for travelling so it's better to be equipped.

Chicotin had sold out of 12 guage buckshot so I stopped at the Walmart in Quesnel where I was able to get an elk tag and 12 guage buckshot. I also got Gilbert a Macdonalds Hamburger paddy. I had the quarter pounder. MacDonalds is a mainstay of hunting for Gilbert and I. He loves the drive throughs especially and gets excited just seeing the Golden Arches.

I drove on through Quesnel and past Hixon was finally in the Caribou hunting zone with all the possibilities of game open. Hixon is a favourite place of mine as I was staying in a motel there about 18 years ago listening to morning tv when I got watching this Hinkley Street show and thought my life was a little of course. I remember that day vowing I really ought to re think my life and get back on course as I called myself a Christian but wasn't too proud of the life I was living. Something about the wholesome folk on the Hinkley Street broadcast caught my attention and I had what later I'd call a 'moment of clarity'. Not knowing it at the time my whole life would take a rather huge turn around in the next couple of years and I'd find myself really only interested in spiritual matters. I even went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Bethlehem and would never have thought of that before that morning in Hixon.

Well, just past that I found the Stone Creek Forest Road and turned off. Pulling a trailer as night was falling heading off on a logging road with all the difficulties of turning around or getting stuck called for prayer and eventually I found myself able to pull off the road and park the trailer so I could spend the night and be able to walk out on a hunt in the morning. Again the wilderness was wonderful and the stars were glorious in the night sky

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