Monday, October 8, 2018

Hunting BC - South Kootenay Boundary

Thanksgiving is usually the annual hunt. In previous years I’ve shot  deer, bear, turkey. It’s also usually autumn with the forest colours at the their finest. Yellows, oranges, reds and greens.  Sometimes the snow begins but usually it’s just chilly autumn. The air is so sweet too.
With so many forest fires this year it was a challenge to think where to hunt.  I reviewed the maps of the fire areas. We really like deer hunting Hundred Mile House and have had great years in Nakusp, enjoying the hunting and the famous hot springs. My friend Laura comes along, mostly staying in the motels. Gilbert, blind now, keeps her company.
I have a camper which we loved but thought there might be snow this year and decided to go with a motel, a bad mistake, I wrote Motels from Hell about our Midway and Greenwood experience. The scenery and terrain was terrific.
I love BC, God’s country.  We’d travelled on this Crownest Pass #3 highway back from Nakusp last year enjoying the towns along the way, Grandforks to Osooyos. I love the cowboy sage country and rugged douglas fir.
Because of the horrible motel situations we cut the 5 days trip short. It’s a 6 hour drive from Vancouver but that leaves 3 days of hunting with morning and evening hunts most profitable.  The mule deer were plentiful but I was to find they were hiding out in the sanctuary farms with so few in the backwoods.  It was four point buck season for black tail and any buck for white tail. I asked someone if that was reverse racism but they only frowned. .
While I did some stalking one day and another day at dawn waiting in ambush, mostly I drove around the back woods. I enjoyed the comfort and pleasure of exploring in my 2017 Lariat Edition Ford F350 pick up truck. The weather was overcast and chilly first day but I was saved from rain.
Saturday was sunny and warm and I rode my KTM 690 enduro.motorcycle. I’ve a rack on front to carry the 20 gauge shotgun for grouse and rabbits and carry my Winchester 300 win mag short rifle own a strap cross my back.
I’ve also got my favourite bolt action Ruger Stainless Steel 30:06 rifle but the strap is shorter and I can’t get it over my helmut like I can the Winchester. It’s that stupid a reason for my choice in rifle while I’m on the motorcycle. I also carry a semi auto Ruger Mini 14 which takes 223 in the truck. I didn’t see any 4 points at all on this trip. The bucks I saw were safe in farmers private property.
I did shoot a grouse though missed 4 other grouse. If Gilbert my grouse hunting cockapoo hadn’t gone blind and was with me I suspect I’d have got two more. He used to find and flush them for me.  I saw lots of quail but none where they were legal to shoot, too close to private property. I did see a bear that might have made great ham and sausage. It was sitting by the side of the road but there was a cabin behind it. I have to be certain of what is behind whatever I shoot. As it turned out the cabin was abandoned.
I had a great drive up to the top of Mount Dhu where they have all the cell tower and communication antennas. An old cabin is up there at the top and looked like it was still being used at times by work crews.  Someone would just need to sweep out the rat droppings.
I loved the folk at Jewel Lake. I’d just been driving about exploring.  I took my ocean inflatable kayak with me, having an idea that I might shoot ducks and geese and use it to retrieve them. I never did get to a lake suitable for that.  Jewel Lake had a great RV campground and was a significant fishing concern. The lake is stocked each year and they have pictures of big trout they’ve caught there. Lots of boats for rent and cabins with heat and electricity.  They invited me in and I had coffee in the clubhouse looking out on the fabulous lake view.  In addition to the $120 a night cabins they had some hunter cabins without amenities they rented for $55 a night.  The fishing lodge part closed by the end of October because they don’t have insulated water lines. The hunter cabins were rented well into November.  Nice people, nice place.  I’d love to go fishing there some summer day.
On the way to Jewel Lake a full grown moose at full gallop cut in front of me out of the bush. There is a spike fork immature moose season in November but no mature moose with great rack season at all.  I was driving behind the magnificent beast bouncing about trying to get my iPhone to believe I
wasn’t driving to take a picture.

ACE Hardware in Midway and McMinn’s family foods were great places.  I loved the Midway restaurant ukrainian meal there too.   6 am they also served eggs, hashbowns and sausage or bacon breakfasts.
Greenwood had the best coffee house and bakery.  I had delicious quiche and lemon and cranberry muffins.  They opened early morning too.
In my travels about I talked with a Guide from Kettle Guiding, a good looking outfit, offering 2 deier, 3 day meat hunts for $2500. Given the high costs of equipment, accommodation,   wear and tear on equipment and all the private land in the area, it really would be a good deal for a successful hunt. I”m as much out in the woods for 4x4ing, motorcycling, hiking and photography.  I want to shoot the big game and maybe one day will go to a guide like the Kettle folk as there is less public land for hunting and more restrictions.  My dad used to call guiding ‘pimping’ but I think the times have changed and guides could be a real asset today.  It’s a long time since I hunted with my dad in his old pick up truck with $100 guns we’d bought at Army Navy and none of the Liberal Government hysteria, scapegoating and taxing of rural folk and hunters. You didn't need a lawyer to hunt with back then either.
Not getting any deer I stumbled on Mulligan logging road.  Golfing with Dr. Gutowski we'd take a mulligan when we hit a ball into the woods. I was kind of hoping this trail would be my hunting Mulligan but no such luck. I did have a great time shooting off a $50 or so of ammunition at cans and targets in the backwoods.  I really liked Christian Valley as well as the further east Boundary and Wallace backwoods terrain.
I used the 4x4 to go up to the top of Mount Dhu almost getting stuck in the snow and rocks and tree falls near the top. Hard to turn a long box truck with a motorcycle on rack out the back on a logging road meant only for Smart Car turn arounds.
Given the motel problems we opted to head home a day early avoiding the anticipatedtraffic back up at Langley on the long weekend Monday.  We stopped at Parson’s in Keremeos and got a haul of fruit and jams and chutneys.  Laura wanted pumpkins for Halloween decorations too.  We got the best pepperoni in Keremeos and at Stemwinder near Princeton.
I shot a couple of rabbits on a logging road paralleling #3.  It was just at dusk and one kindly stopped right beside the road so I could shoot him close with the 20 gauge and #4 shot.  The other one was sitting at a far distance believing itself invisible until I got a head shot with my 223.  I field dressed them and now have them in the refrigerator with the grouse. I’ll clean them up later for the freezer. I might even make a stew with the fresh tomatoes and garlic I got at Parsons, Keremeos.
No deer so far this year.  I hope I’ll get out again.  I really do like having barbecue and venison stew in the winter months.  The main thing is the adventure and certainly the Motels from Hell were an adventure.
The landscape and towns were really quaint in their own way. Rock Creek is a going concern and Greenwood had a lot of tourist appeal with it’s colorful history. I could see coming back with the camper and enjoying one of the great recreational campsites along the rivers.

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