Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lintz Lake Recreational Site, Northern BC

No moose but a great time off the grid.  I'd driven up a couple of weeks before leaving my Rockwood Mini Lite RV in storage at Southbend RV and Mini Storage.  (Good people. Safe inexpensive place.)
Now I drove my truck  up with the Honda 250 off road on road motorcycle in the back.
We'd actually shot  grouse on the way up, bagging two with one shot near Clinton. Gilbert would never forgive me if I let one go.  He's really a grouse hound.  Runs in great circles after jumping on the one bird and making sure it's down.  These grouse were intereting.  In the past they flew into the trees but these all seemed to fly a little and then run. Maybe genetic selection. Most got away.
After the long drive I arrived at 10 pm, too late to get the RV so  stayed at the nearby Caravan Motel in Quesnel . (Good people, clean, friendly, safe place).  I'd listened to Paterson's exciting thriller Private London on the way up.  Love Patterson. Love audio books on a long drive.
After a night in the motel I picked up my RV heading out on Blackwater logging road.  It's an easy gravel road drive with no surprises.  There are a number of off road Recreational sites all through the Omineca hunting zone where spike fork moose were open along with mule deer bucks.  These recreational sites are usually just a clearing, some have a picnic table and there may or may no be an outhouse.  I have the Northern BC off road map and the sites were as marked there.
Only one other camper in the area.  I talked to other hunters and they'd said that the good weather was allowing the game to go to bed early. Not a great omen but one other fellow I talked to had shot a young buck. No one had seen moose.  They may not have migrated down south that early but I didn't have the time to drive further north either.  It's also a lot to do with fate, luck or God's blessing.  Hunting isn't just about getting game either. It's the journey as much as anything.
I drove Blackwater trail to Pelican trail and then to the Lintz Lake.  I off loaded the motorcycle.
I liked setting up camp.  Sunny day.  Lovely lake.  Blue sky.  Beautiful view.
I used an electric pump with hose to the lake  to resupply the  RV water tank. I love my Honda 2500 generator.  With an adaptor I had it hooked into the RV  charging the batteries and running everything.   The propane supplied the fridge, heater and stove. I had hot water, electricity, lights and showers.  Roughing it.  I like the 'roughing it' part.  I really was off the grid, no cell service, no internet, but I had my Satellite Phone and kept in touch with my assistant Hannah.
That first night  I explored   in the truck and walked some.  With dark I continued out to Berkley beyond West Lake to  the outskirts of Prince George. I'd come about 80 km from the camp. I wanted to fill up with diesel for more truck driving about and to  have some more gas for the generator.  I'd planned on passing through Vanderhoof before getting to the wilderness but taking the Blackwater Road never got back to civilization.  Finding the Lintz Lake RV site I stopped. I'd never been in this area. That's what hunting is about. A lot of exploring.  And this was truly fabulous country.  Gorgeous lakes, pines, spruce, rolling hills.  Canada's north at its finest.
On the ride back to camp at night I saw a couple of wild cats in the head lights, chased a bear a bit, and had some deer cross. (I thought they were bobcats but I just looked up pictures and they had to be young cougars by appearance.  Bobcats had short tails and these two critters had long tails but must have been young cougars by their size, about half that of a full grown adult cougar. Similar face and ears though. Actually matched a cougar with winter fur with what I saw so expect that's what they were, with winter fur coming in - pretty exciting to see)   During the day all the game would be sleeping after frolicking away the night.
It rained through the night. Riding the motorcycle with Gilbert on back the next day was precarious.  Slippery so couldn't go fast.   Hard to look up though with the slick mud roads.  Seeing a grouse I had to stop.  Let Gilbert out of his box.  Load the 20 gauge Bolito shot gun and then hope to shoot.  We missed several grouse with the motorcycle because of the timing. There were rabbits too but I never even got the shot gun loaded before they were off. The deer and rabbits I saw never stopped moving.
On Sunday morning at dawn I was sitting for an hour in a blind on a hillside before stalking about.  Still nothing.  More grouse.
I hunt big game with my Ruger 30:06 stainless steel rifle using Federal Nozzler Partition 180 grain bullets. I have been shooting the grouse with my Boito 20 guage shot gun which has an interchangeable 12 guage barrel. The 20 guage has been perfect for the upland game, not harming the meat but still bringing down the bird.
That afternoon I took the Ford F350 Superduty Crew Cab Harley Davidson Edition truck for a drive and almost got stuck.  Going down hill turning I slowly  slid off the slick road into the ditch. Despite all my northern driving experience with ice and snow I still slid off the road with that horrible sinking inevitable feeling of several tons of  truck sliding over the side.  Thank God the ditch was shallow. I put the winch I have in the box  to a tree only to pull it out by the roots.  Nothing else to winch to.
So I couldn't winch myself out backwards.   I chopped down some trees in front of the truck to get some room forward. I put the truck in 4wd low gear slowly floored it heading uphill on a major slant, getting some traction amazingly, and made it out going forward. I was praying a lot. I had the satellite  phone with me so could have called a tow truck.
Once at Fort St. James when my truck in winter moose hunting got stuck I'd had to spend the night by a fire  till another hunter came by in the morning and took me off to get a tow truck. Half the adventure of hunting is surviving.  I was truly thankful to get out of that scrap safely and cheaply. Tow trucks are expensive. When I throttled the truck out of the ditch and up the side I thought for a moment I might actually flip the truck on it's side.  I tipped a van on it's side once and that resulted in considerable damage.  Not as bad though as the time out hunting my truck got carried away down stream in a flash flood waters.  Then there was the time I got stuck and getting unstuck tore the door off the 4x4.  It was a wonderful feeling to get unstuck and drive back to the gravel road.  
It makes for a lot of gratitude.
I shot  nine grouse altogether though saw another 20 or so.  They were in coveys.  A good year for grouse. Lots of berries.
 Gilbert had a great time. He runs in circles so fast and so far and happy as only a hunting dog can be.
We got out in the wilderness.  We camped We 4x4'd.  We motorcycled off road.  We hiked. We sat in ambush.  I got up close to some extraordinary wildlife, rabbits, voles, deer, bear, cougar.  I shot grouse.  I took pictures.  Hunting is about enjoying the outdoors and wilderness to the fullest.
Back at the RV I read Harlan Coban, great novelist, and ate canned food I cooked on the stove.  In the morning I just had coffee.  In the woods I carry sardines and Gilbert and I share that. I have an apple. He doesn't like apples but he likes Little Caesars I bring along for him..
This morning I was up at 5 am and didn't go out, just packed up and drove the truck and rv out on row the main logging roads, seeing does but no bucks on the way back in the morning.
 660 kilometers plus some one way. Nearly $300 in diesel just to get to Prince George with RV from Vancouver not to mention the return and  all the other fuel and equipment costs. 9 grouse.  Makes those little birds very expensive by the ounce.  If that was what hunting was all about which it isn't.  Among trophy hunters those grouse are the real trophies.
When I was a kid I learned taxidermy and stuffed a grouse I shot as a teen.  It was a lot of chemistry making a bird into a mummy.  Art and science too.  Now I just love cooking grouse.  I love eating grouse.  Grouse is partridge by another name. It's like the Christmas song, "partridge in a pear tree'.  All my partridge have been in pine, spruce and willow or along the side of the road getting gravel to help with digestion. I've yet to see a grouse in a pear tree.
 I especially love hunting grouse with Gilbert. His enthusiasm and joy is a wonder to behold.   A man and his dog.  Dad called Gilbert "monkey dog'.
It was a great weekend off the grid.  Great hunting though no moose. Now I'll be hunting lower mainland. I've got a tag for sheep and goat and while moose are rare in the south there's a whole lot of deer.  And grouse, of course.  Thank God for Gilbert and grouse!  IMG 1114
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IMG 3788file://localhost/var/folders/tq/3fss5p2x2qq0sd1gyxf3xlm80000gn/T//ImageWell/IMG_3789.jpgIMG 3786Gilbert and grouse

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