Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rabbit Hunting near Kamloops

Another incredible weekend in the woods.  I finished work Friday afternoon and met up with Tom at my place.
Gilbert, my cockapoo, just loves Tom.  Tom has gained his affection by being his designated ball thrower. Whenever he sees Tom he begins barking and running about his legs in circles till he suddenly rushes off to find a ball, returns, drops it at Tom's feet, then does this little mincing dance until Tom throws the ball as far as he can.  Gilbert retrieves it and Tom doesn't lose patience with Gilbert's favourite of favourite games.
Meanwhile we loaded the Ford F350 truck.  I had a new Coleman Weathermaster tent I was looking forward to trying out. I'd bought in sale, regular $350, for $250 at Canadian Tire.  It sleeps six, and has a netted section at the front.
We had the Honda 500 side by side Pioneer in the back of the truck, rifles, sleeping bags, tents, fishing rods, fly rods, pots and pans and cooking geer and the propane Coleman campstove, all piled in the crew cab of the truck.  Gilbert sat on the centre console but had room to curl up on my jacket and computer case in the back which he did.
We were off.  The highway was slow but moving so we were thankful for that.
In Chilliwack we stopped at Tom's to pick up his bolt action single shot  22 rifle and fishing rod with mitchell 300 spincaster.  I'd brought my Ruger Semi Auto breakdown 22 rifle and the Ruger semi auto .223 Min 14.  We remembered the gas cans for the generator and work lamps but made the bad decision to leave the boat and outboard. The fish would be jumping all weekend laughing at us just beyond the reeds and rushes outside the reach of our casts which fowled repeatedly.
"We should have brought the boat," was heard said by one or the other of us more than one that weekend.
We got burgers and Gilbert was happy to get his little paddy along with us.  He's one of the crew and one of the hunt.  Such a great companion.  Enthusiastic about everything when the gang gets together.
At Canadian Tire we picked up Ammo and dog food.  Then at Superstore we stopped for steaks, zuchini, lunch meat, eggs, yogurt, bread, milk, honey and coffee.  The melon was a nice touch.
Tom drove up the Coquahala.  We got to Kamloops after midnight.
We filled up the thermos at Tim Hortons and got a dozen donuts for the last stretch.
Tom found a tiny one lane bridge on the map and saved us an hour driving. Still we didn't get to the lakes until about 2 am, the night drive up a mountain logging road not something to be hurried.
We gave praise to God and thanked Jesus that no one had arrived at the first of our hoped for campsites.  Alot of times I've arrived in wee hours like this after hours on the road only to find other campers or hunters had beaten us to the wilderness sites.  It really is God's country and we know very well we're not the only ones who love the BC backwoods experience.
We got the generator and trouble light and work light going. Then it was the first time putting up the tent.  It was a puzzle. Thankfully it was colour coded and not too difficult. Admittedly Tom is an engineer and I would not have been able to figure out the door poles myself. The door on this tent is genius, one of the greatest camping design advances. I blew up the new air mattresses too.
It was a cool night. Marvellous view of the lake with the almost full moon in a clear sky.  Really the stuff of Canadian dreams.  3 am and we were all snug as bugs. I'd remembered Gilbert's sweater.  He slept most of the night with Tom but visitted me a couple of times.
In the morning, 6 am Gilbert began barking to defend us from the onslaught of an evil squirrel. A squirrel, upset at our presence under his tree had begun bombing the tent with twigs and such. Gilbert was delighted to be up. I was less than excited.  We went back in the tent. Tom hadn't even woken.
Around 9 30 we both got up. Tom was first to get the coffee going.  Then he was kind enough to make delicious bacon and eggs.  The sun was shining. The lake was tranquil. Fish were jumping.  We tried some casting. I was reading a Tom Clancy Net Force novel on my iPhone. Life was good. I'm so glad I brought my recliner.
After a very slow start and much needed relaxation and a second or third cup of coffee we got the Honda Pioneer off the back of the truck so Gilbert and I could go for a drive and reconnaissance.  What fun.  I love the 4x4 Honda. Tom had installed the new windshield and while it wasn't needed in the heat it really did make the cab cozy. I can see using this machine with snow on the ground. The windshield blocks out the wind but also for summer as it was it has the capacity to open and let in a refreshing breeze.
The dust was terrible and less without the windshield so next trip out we took it off.
That evening there were rabbits everywhere again.  I had the Ruger Mini 14 and shot 4.  Gilbert's just fine when I shoot the rabbit. He rushes over to make sure they are down. Then I collect them. The trouble is when I miss the rabbit. Gilbert sees his job as chasing them.  Well, 10 minutes later one very tired dog comes running back across the trail chasing a mighty tired rabbit. I am not going to shoot a rabbit an inch  in front of my dog's nose so the rabbit gets away and Gilbert wonders whats wrong with me.  But boy can that dog run.  I don't know where he gets his energy.  He drinks up a lot of water when he gets back though.
Four rabbits, not bad for a night.  I got us back before dark and Tom went out and shot another one with his single shot 22. The next day he'd get a couple more.
We cleaned them and threw the guts in the lack to feed the fish and crabs.
We had steak and onions for dinner that night.
The air mattresses didn't work.  It was a hell laying on the cold ground. Tom and I had traded places because he'd not liked the slope.  But I'd depended on my air mattress holding figuring his alone was a problem. But no. Mine leaked too.  In the morning I awoke to something scratching at my face beside the tent wall and Gilbert starting to growl.  I looked out and there was the telltale black and white. A skunk
"Tom, hold Gilbert."  Tom, woke up still asleep and held Gilbert. I went outside to face a tough little skunk with tail lifted giving me the dirty eye.  I quickly found a rock and chucked it at the the sassy little creature. That got him to scoot under the wood pile. He ventured out again to face more rocks from me till he decided heading back into the woods was the better part of valour.
I didn't let Gilbert out and we went back to sleep for another hour.
Another great morning of coffee and reading.
We tried fishing and cursed not having the boat.  The fish were jumping in spite.  With the reeds along the shore we couldn't cast far enough.  No fish.
Tom headed out on the Honda Pioneer we tried called 'chuck' then settled on 'Charles'.  He brought back a couple more rabbits.
Time to take down camp.  We were visited by a family with kids and all on 4 ATV's .  Gilbert had a ball barking up a storm.  Another fisherman came by with a little dog and Gilbert and he peed on every tree together.
Tom and I got packed up and began the drive home.  We could have stayed a week or two. It was such an idyllic spot. Coming down the mountain the views were incredible.  Canadian wilderness at it's finest.  We crossed the river at the little bridge.  People were swimming and fishing along the banks.  At Merrit we stopped for burghers. The traffic wasn't too bad till about Abbotsford when it slowed right down. Still we were back and had the truck unloaded by evening.
Gilbert was sorry to see Tom his ball thrower go but then went right off to sleep. Tom took the truck to drop off at the diesel shop because it had had the power glyph coming climbing the Coquahalla stretch.  It would turn out to be a turbo problem solved with the replacement of a worn part.  Next time out we'll be bow hunting deer. The deer season is just about on and we're pretty confident that all the equipment is ready first for bow hunting weekend then for the opening rifle hunting weekend. I'm really looking forward to having venison for the winter, not that I'm unhappy about rabbit.  Already I'm planning another rabbit stew in the pressure cooker.  Rabbit makes a great stew, just like venison. Gilbert is going to sleep the week.
Thank you God for your grace and abundance.

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