Hooters everywhere

Went to our cabin yesterday.  Pulled all the crab pots.  A few juvenile king crab but nothing to keep.  Got up first light this morning and planned to run about 12 miles north to a place I’ve deer hunted.  There was a boat anchored at the cabin last night I assumed was hooter hunting so thought they’d picked it over for the short term. When I got to the beach to pull in my boat, I could hear hooters over on Admiralty- enough to know it would not likely be better north of here so better just go right here.  Apparently, the boat last night didn’t get them all. I idled over to Admiralty, and as I got to my  anchoring site – I saw a deer on the beach.  As I got the anchor and line ready, I saw 3 or 4 other deer on another part of the beach. I would seee another deer in the woods and lots of sign all day. I anchored the boat, rowed in in the punt, and headed up the hill.   I got the first one not very far up the hill right away.  Didn’t take any time to find him in a short tree and in the open.  Easy shot.  When I put him in my pack, I could hear 2 or 3 other hooters so figured it would be a good day.   The next 2 birds I saw right away again.  Both I shot but could not find.  I hate that.  The birds were high up in the tree.  The first I shot at twice with for 2 and 3/4 low brass skeet load, which didn’t work, I guess.  Then I put in a high brass – 6 shot? – and the bird went down.  I saw a trail of feathers but never found the bird.  I spent a long time looking above and below the feathers, but didn’t find more feathers or the bird.  When there is still snow it’s a lot easier to track because you can see blood, too.  The second one  I shot and never even saw feathers.  Maybe it was too high.   Now, I only had one shell left for grouse, plus the double OO buck shot and slug I carried in the side by side.  I pulled out the VHF and listened to the weather.  I was thinking I’d just take Monday off work and come back.  The weather robot said rain the rest of the week.  And, 15 kt N winds coming up today.  So, I figured I better stay on the hill and try for one or two more with the ammo I had left. The birds were “thick”, for hooters, anyway.  It was not much more than a 10 to 30 minute hike from one bird to the next.   The next bird I saw way up. I could just see the tail bob when he hooted.   After not getting the other 2, I said this one was too high, so I moved on.  And that’s a rare thing.  Not very often are there this many birds in ear shot. The next 2 or 3 birds I could not see.  Trees weren’t really in tough spots.  Just that the birds were high and I could not find them. I finally staggered out about 230 pm.  I’d anchored off the skiff and paddled in the little punt. I was worried about trying to paddle out in the punt since I was about the max load for it and I could definitely  see me rolling it.  When I got to the beach, the skiff was just barely floating, even as far out as I’d anchored it, so it must be right around low tide.  The punt was high and dry by the little creek I’d left it tied off up near the woods with a line.  I dragged the punt down the tiny tidal creek until I got to where it met the saltwater.  I tried getting into the punt to paddle out the short distance to the skiff and thought – you are gonna roll this in the waves trying to get there.  The skiff was only out about 15 yards, and I already had wet feet, so I just waded out to the skiff, towing the punt by a line.   The surf was about up to my thighs when I got to the skiff.  I climbed over the transom, lowered the outboard into the water and started it, then walked out onto the bow and pulled the boat out to deeper water towards the anchor.  I pulled the anchor, and then quickly put the outboard in gear and idled out to deeper water, when I pulled the punt alongside, put my pack and gun aboard, then pulled the punt onboard.   I beat into 2 footers most of the way home, but just took my time. It must have been near 60 today.  People were out and about all along the Douglas beaches. Only 1 bird, but a great day.