last chance

Matt and I went out to reset my traps and try to get Matt a deer the last two days of the year, which is also the last 2 days of deer hunting season for us. On our second or third set, I was looking for a place to set when we saw a fiberglass cruiser off shore aways. We were looking for a good place that was deep right up to the beach so the tide wouldn’t go out too quickly if I was checking traps alone. Then we saw what we first thought was a punt being towed by the cruiser, then we saw someone paddling the punt. Matt finally saw a deer on the beach, and did we feel like dopes. Here they were trying to stalk a deer on the beach, and we probably sent the deer into the woods!

We then boated to the stern of the fiberglass boat and apologized to the skipper, who then realized we weren’t trying for their deer. He said there was a bigger deer than the one we saw that had already gone into the woods, and that was the deer the person in the punt was going after anyway.

We continued setting and saw a deer later on the same stretch of beach I’d seen 2 last time out. I put Matt in on the beach after the deer walked back into the woods, and left to make another marten set. When I came back, Matt said he crept into the woods and stood still for awhile trying to pick up the deer, and then he saw it running away and couldn’t catch up to it.

We finished setting traps, and had a couple hours of daylight, so tried to hunt a point. I went along the beach fringe and had Matt side hill about 100 yards up thinking the deer would likely be on the deer fringe, and any deer I moved would go to Matt. We didn’t see any deer, and started to circle back to the boat as the snow was coming down pretty hard, filling in all the older deer tracks. Then we cut a fresh track with no snow in it, and knew the deer must be near. We traveled through deep snow and brush trying to catch up, but never did see the deer. It did lead us back across the point to the beach, except when we came out we were pretty far from the boat. We humped it along the beach and glad the tide wasn’t higher or we’d have had to climb inland and over some cliffs had we been 30 minutes later.

We finally got back to the boat, and went to the cabin, sweaty and tired and feeling good about a some real exercise. We hunted north the next day but didn’t see any deer and came home. End of season. Not as good as last year for Matt, but never a “bad” one when you are out in the woods.

Another friend who went out earlier in the year was in his driveway when he heard a car slide and a thump. The car drove off as he came down to the highway, and there off the road lay a beautiful 3 point buck the vehicle had hit. The deer was still alive, so he grabbed his pistol and put the deer down, and was set for venison for awhile.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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