Every year

Every year I take the skiff out after the first real freeze, forget to check the fuel/water separator, get a good ways from the dock, and then the outboard dies.  Then I try to start it and see the cup below the filter is ice.  This time, I got about 1/3 of the way to Admiralty before it happened.  I saw the problem right off.  I got the motor going and idled back towards the dock in Fritz Cove.  Then the big motor quit and I could not get it restarted.  I figured I’d just come back on the little trolling motor (aka, kicker), and it was a bluebird day.  Two humbbacks were feeding in the Cove, and several cars were parked on the road watching them.  I figured those in the cars would send for help for me if I got in trouble.   The kicker was held up out of the water by a bolt that I’d used when the post that came with the outboard fell off.  The bolt was tapered, and so when I put it in the holes, it now would not come back out – probably from the change in temperature.  I’d try to get the bolt out, then work pump the bulb in the big motor and get it to fire.  It would run for a short time and quit again.  This went on for probably an hour.  Finally, I thought I had to bypass the filter as it seemed it was now full of ice.  I had no union in my toolbox.  I did find an old connector where the hose went in on one end and the other end connected to the kicker.  I cut off the little hose nipple with the saw part of my deer knife, then pulled the hoses off on either side of the filter, pumped fuel through to the outboard, and away we went.  The outboard still didn’t want to run on step, but I was able to idle back to the dock.   When I got home, I went to the store straight away and got new filters and a union for the tool box.  The next day, I took off the fuel hoses and found them full of slush.  I put them in plastic baggies, sealed them to keep the odor down, and brought them in the house to melt by the woodstove.  I loaded both fuel tanks with isopropyl alcohol to keep the fuel from freezing.  When the hoses were thawed, I replumbed the fuel system.    On Sunday, I took it for a test run and hopefully some hunting.  The boat started right up and ran fine.  I went to our honey hole for deer this year.  Plenty of tracks, but didn’t see a deer.  Saw some marten or mink tracks, so might have to set a few traps in there, too.    

2nd Deer Hunt

My brother in law called a week ago last Tuesday and said the bucks were rutting.  I would have left on Wednesday but I was needed at work on Friday as everyone else would be gone.  Good thing I stayed, too, as a teacher needed a last minute permit for her class.   I headed down on Saturday.  When I got to town, I got my gun, tightened all the scope mounting bolts, and went to the range.  The gun had been off when we left a week earlier, and although I’d sighted it in then, I thought I’d better check the mount fasteners for tightness.  I do alot of falling, stumbling and climbing and tough on my guns.  Sure enough, many of the fasteners were somewhat loose.  When I sighted in, the first few shots were well off – likely from the fastener tightening, I figured.  After 3 or 4 shots, I dialed the gun into the bullseye.   We headed out hunting on Sunday.  We saw a buck, a doe and what looked like a yearling right away on the beach.  They let me off the boat on a point about 100 yards from the deer.  The doe and yearling approached each other, and both reared up on their hind legs and tried to hoof each other with their front legs.  I was in the woods watching the action, waiting for a chance to move closer.  Then the doe headed into the woods and the buck was quickly following.  I found the nearest tree for a rest, got the buck in the cross hairs, and fired.  He took a few steps towards the  woods then turned towards the beach and went down right next to the water. We weren’t going to starve for deer this winter. And good thing I’d sighted in the day before. I dressed the deer on the beach and loaded it in the boat. Brian asked my sister in law and I if we wanted to hunt in the woods or from the boat.  We both thought boat hunting looked pretty good so we stayed on board.  As the tide worked through high tide, we saw no deer and the wind was howling and the rain pouring down.  We were having second thoughts mid-day on not going into the woods as we were cold and trying to keep our extremeties warm on the boat in the cold and wet.   We finally started seeing deer as the tide receded.  The weather broke, too. We saw a lone deer in the far corner of a little beach.  We could not tell it was a buck until we were right up to it, and it walked into the woods.  We got off and tried to call it back but no luck.  We saw another deer a short while later.  I was looking through the binoculars at the doe I thought they’d seen when they said “it’s a buck”.  I said “that deer?  looks like a doe to me”.  Then I pulled my eyes away from the binocs to see a nice buck coming out on the beach near the doe.  We got that deer, and as it was a rocky beach, they left me off with a little boat to dress the deer and then bring it back out in the punt.  As I dressed the deer, they continued to work the bay for more deer.   On the other side of the bay, I heard the boat stop.  Then a short while later, here comes the boat back to me.  A few seconds later, I hear a shot.  I didn’t put it altogether until I realized Brian had left his wife off, and she found the deer in the woods they’d seen on the beach and shot as Brian was coming over to get me.  He thought she’d missed getting them on the beach so was glad to hear I’d heard a shot when he got to me as he had not heard it with the loud 2 stroke engine running the boat.  I rowed out to him with the deer, then we went where his wife was on the beach with her deer.  She’d missed a bigger deer on the beach, but got this one in the woods when she called the doe back.  She said there was a second buck in there, too, but she couldn’t get a shot at it.  So, we got four beach bucks that afternoon.  And two of the three we didn’t get looked to be bigger than the four we got, but they always do.  We now had plenty of for our freezer and for Paul.   We got home near dark, got the deer hung, and the hides off.  The next day, Ellen had to work.   Brian had taken some moose they’d got earlier in the fall out of the freezer to grind for burger.  He also had a deer already hanging in the shop.  So he and I went to work and butchered all 5 deer on Monday.  When Ellen got home, she started in on grinding burger from moose and deer.  I was happily satisfied to vacuum pack the last of the deer, label it, and get it into the freezer. On Wednesday, Brian wanted to take his four wheeler down to his trapping location to be ready for opening day on Dec 1.  He called his brother and another friend, who wanted to get dropped off on the way down to deer hunt, and we’d picked them up later in the day, as it was a couple hour boat run to his trapping spot.  Of course Brian and I beach hunted on the way down after dropping off the other two.  It was high tide – and a high high tide at that, and we didn’t see any deer on the way down.  We droppped the four wheeler off, talked to the watchman tending a dormant floating logging camp, and then headed back. The tide was beginning to fall.  We sighted some deer.  A doe and a yearling.  As we drifted to the beach, both of them turned their backs to us, seemingly oblivious to our presence.  Sometimes I think the deer just don’t sense that danger can come from the water when they are on the beach.  Both deer were standing with their backs with us looking into the woods with us not 20 yards off shore.  I saw some movement behind the yearling in the woods.  And here comes Mr. Buck.  As he took chase to the doe, we thought he’d follow her back into the woods before we could get out and get a shot.  Brian whistled a few times and the buck finally stopped and looked back.  Brian dropped him neatly with a neck shot.  Since it was cool outside and getting dark, we loaded the deer whole in the boat to dress later and continued hunting.  The next deer we saw was a doe.  And there was Mr. Buck between a couple logs, tending her.  I slung my rifle over my shoulder and as I climbed around to get onto the bow to get off, I banged my muzzle into the aluminum  roof overhang of the wheelhouse.  The deer did not like that, and went into the woods and did not come back.  Again, this buck looked bigger than the one on the boat, but they always do.  We worked along the beaches again, and saw one more pair of deer.  This buck I got.  These deer seemed to be very large bodied for the size of their racks and Brian said the island on which we’d harvested them were larger than the islands further north.  We loaded this deer whole, too, as sunlight was really failing now. We picked up Brian’s brother, who’d run into a canyon and had to do lots of back tracking and not much hunting.  Plus we were late and he was cold and about ready to start a fire.  We’d got my deer just before coming around a point to get him and he had not heard my shot.  Funny how sound can travel like that. We still had a good run to pick up the other hunter.  When we got to him, he did not have a deer but had a story to tell.  He said he’d heard at least 4 wolves howling not far from the landing where we were picking him up on his four wheeler.  He said if it got dark and we didn’t come he was going to point his fourwheeler with his back to the water and shoot any pairs of eyes in his headlights if the wolves came down for him.  We loaded him and his fourwheeler onto the boat and headed home.  We dressed the two deer on the way home and tossed the entrails over the side.   The guy on the four wheeler had not got any deer in yet for the season and the season was getting late.  We gave him both the deer and boy howdy was he happy to get them.  He, too, now knew he and his wife would have meat in the freezer this fall and you could see his contentment. Sara came in on Wednesday evening, and she helped here sister butcher some deer back bones, ribs and a neck.  On Thursday, Ellen and I went to a spot she wanted to try from the road.  We hunted the morning along a river flat that abutted a big hill.  They’d seen deer there a few weeks earlier, but now it had a layer of crunchy snow and it was cold that morning.  We hiked around for a few hours without calling in any deer.  We were both cold and it just didn’t look like any deer were around so we headed home.   Brian and I  started work on our lot down the road from their house when I got back.  We bought a container home from Wisconsin, and so needed to level a spot on our lot for it to go.  I told Sara where I thought it should go, and she agreed.  Brian had suggestions for considering other places on the 2 adjoining lots we owned, but in the end, we put it where I thought would work best.  Brian is a master constructor.  With all the necessary tools, including an excavator and dump truck.  We got started by excavating for a couple hours and piling up dirt until dark, then had a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner with the two we’d hunted with on Tue and their families, plus many others.  On Friday, we worked all day, with Brian running the excavator, filling the dump truck, and me dumping the loads to fill another spot on our lot.  Brian had to give me lots and lots of instruction.  First, on how to run the truck, and then on where and how to dump it.  He was very patient with me.  On Friday night, it started to rain.  And blow.  We returned to the site and Brian said it was a no go as if he tried to work it now it would turn to muck.  The forecast was for rain for at least a week.  Sara was leaving later in the day.  As trapping season opened on December 1, I decided to leave with her so Brian could get ready for trapping and we likely wouldn’t be able to do much for awhile until the site drained out and firmed up.  I hustled up to lube and put away my gun and clothes at their house, and pack up my tools and get them in the box and into the truck.  I drilled a couple holes in the truck bed so it would not continue to collect water.  By 130 I was about ready and we left at 2 for the airport.  I’ll head down again after trapping is over to get the lot the rest of the way ready.  Hopefully, I can help Brian skin marten then, too. I also found a .243 Savage youth rifle on sale at Dicks Sporting Goods so called the store in my brother’s town in Virginia to see if they had any left.  They did!  But only for 3 more minutes when the sale ended at 2 pm their time.  The clerk said they could honor the sale as I called before it ended and my brother picked it up a few hours later.  It should be a good gun for my nephew John and any other of them that want to come up to deer hunt. 

John and me, 2015 Deer Hunt

John arrived and met me in Ketchikan Oct 23. We were able to catch a flight to Craig and get in a day earlier than expected. We stopped for John’s license. John’s license was $85 and a deer tag $150. John first gave me $80, which I told him wasn’t enough. Then he gave me a check for $250 that his mom sent. We tried paying with a credit card, but could not so went to the bank to cash the check. The $80 was subsequently lost. John said I never gave it back to him and that I lost it. That went on for the rest of the trip. I guess it dropped out of my pocket.

On the first day out, we went to a cove I’d hunted last year and saw many deer but no bucks, while the rest of the party went to a road and hunted from 4-wheelers.  We saw no bucks, but had a nice hike further up than I’d ever gone. When the boat returned for us on the beach, I tried to jump up on the bow, didn’t make it, and was sliding back down for another try. When my leg hit the ground, it came down awkwardly on a rock and I wrenched my knee.  Really wrenched it. I knew I was injured pretty good, and hoped nothing was torn inside. I knew at minimum I’d be out of commission for a few days. Luckily, it turned out to just be a sprain.

The next day John went halibut fishing with the men while I nursed my knee. My truck brakes were leaking somewhere, and we found the leak before John left. The leak was along a length of brakeline going to the back brakes that had a union on either end. Easy fix. I worked the line loose, then loosened both unions, removed the brakeline piece, and made several trips to the store for parts and brake fluid until it was finally fixed.  The next day John went to shoot his gun with Ed. I was still hobbled, and so repaired the broken window in the rear of the truck cab. Brian gave me a piece of scrap plexiglass. I cut it to fit on his bandsaw, then screwed it in place and liberally caulked the crap out of the edges. It held out the water. Then, the wipers went. All of a sudden, the driver’s side wiper just quit. I got on YouTube and found it was a simply fix. I took out the grate under the wipers, unscrewed the three bolts holding in the wiper motor, and saw that the plastic bushings were worn out on the wiper motor arms. Back to NAPA, who said they didn’t have them, then realized they were actually in the store from that day’s shipment but not yet in stock. So, I returned later and retrieved them. I put the wipers back together and good as new. All told, the brake and wiper parts were less than $100, so not bad as I could do all the work myself. The $1,500 “deal” we got the truck from Charlie for is now with new windshield and repaired brainbox and so we have close to $3,000 into it now. But if that’s it for awhile, it will still be okay.

Mike brought over a device his wife used for her knee surgery for me to use. Basically a thing you wrap around your knee that circulates ice water from a little cooler it’s connected to. Pure heaven. I iced the knee daily and used the circulator each eve for the first 2 days, then just the circulator. With a steady diet of ibuprofen and PBR, the knee got better with each passing day. By the 3rd day after the injury, I was ready for a little hiking, so John and I tried to hunt near the road to Coffman Cove. We called in one doe, had a nice lunch at the Coffman Cove cafe, saw a huge elk antler shed a couple hunters returning from Etolin Island had, and I got some killer sunglasses from the Coffman Cove store for $1. We never got to where Brian told us to try due to poor communications on directions. The next day we went to the right spot, and saw several deer but no bucks. The following day, we decided to go in Brian’s small skiff to a little island near town where we saw our first and biggest buck last year, which we did not get. We had a good hike and saw two does near the end of the day. On the way to the boat, I found a spot light that I later saw was $68 at the sporting goods store in Craig. Hopefully it was not being used elsewhere for nefarious purposes. Best thing was it still worked. Our anchor hung up on the bottom and we had to leave it. We cut the line, tied a buoy to the line, and left it. The next day, we retrieved it at low tide. The line had run under a log and slipped right out when pulled from the anchor side.  The next day we went to our favorite island where we took most of our deer last year. We saw nothing on the way up, calling at each good spot. For the first time, we got up to a muskeg we’d always been heading for but did not reach because we’d gotten a deer before we’d get there. The muskeg was sort of on a table top, with a small rise to get to the flat top. As we worked our way uphill, I saw a deer, standing stone still, going downhill out the back door. I looked and saw it was a buck.  John told me to take it as he couldn’t see it. I sloughed my pack, chambered a round, walked forward a few feet to a tree for a good rest, took aim, and fired. The deer dropped in it’s tracks. While I aimed for the lower part of the neck, the bullet went through both shoulder blades. I chalked it up to buck fever. John and I butchered the deer. I had him go up and call in the muskeg until I got the deer skinned, but no more deer seen. It was nice being able to divide the deer into two packs for the hike down. We returned to the same spot the next day and did not see a single deer. It was the first day hunting on this island that John had not seen a buck. We tried another favorite spot the next day with Ellen and her friend Shelby. No one saw any bucks, and and both of us saw just one or two does. John and I got back to the boat first, and John wanted to go out in the kayak and bring the boat to the beach.

Since he’d learned to drive my boat this summer and Brian’s boat was essentially the same set-up, I approved. Then I disapproved when I realized there was no life jacket until I realized the jacket Ellen left in the kayak WAS a life jacket, so off John went. He paddled the 30 yards out to the boat in flat calm water. It was pretty wobbly for him getting in the boat, but he made it. He started the boat, put the boat in gear, and started in a circle to the beach. He wasn’t making much head way. I was frantically waving my arms for him to stop but it took awhile for him to finally see me. Then he said “what?” like I was yelling at him for doing something wrong. I said “did you pull the anchor?” ( I knew he had not) and he said yeah- oh no. He went forward,  pulled the anchor, and idled in as I laughed. We went back to our favorite island the next day, but to a different spot where Ellen had gone the year before. She laid out the trail up to a big muskeg and gave us some pointers. We started up through some helicopter logging, calling as we came to good spots. We called in a doe and a yearling at one spot, and they came right up to us. We got to the muskeg high up the mountain. We cautiously found comfortable spots to sit, and I started calling. On the second or third sequence of calls, a doe came in. She ran all around the muskeg and along the edges, snorting. A nice, live decoy. I kept calling. About 20 minutes later, I looked to my left, realized I’d seen an antler, and looked again. A big buck had come in behind me, about 20 yards away. It was broadside to John.  He said later he saw it as I rose to shoot, but I suspect he was either looking at his hands or his feet or kicking the dirt as I’d seen him do at the other places we’d call – anything but look out for deer coming in. Anyway, I stood up, turned around and fired quickly once, and missed. The deer started to turn and walk away when it stopped. I took better aim, fired, and the deer reared like a stallion and then toppled over. Wow, we just got a big buck. I walked over and saw it was still breathing. I walked up to about 10 feet from it, aimed just below his ear, and fired. The bullet went under his chin into the muskeg, and the buck looked up at me, sort of coming out of a daze. Then it got up and started wobbling away like it was drunk. I gave chase, but was out of bullets and yelling for John to bring my pack. The deer went down again, and I caught up to it, but still out of bullets. Then it got up again and wobbled away again. I got some bullets from John’s gun and took off after it, but never caught up to it. There was no hair or blood where I shot it or anywhere after. We looked for what John thought was 2 hours and never a sign. As I replayed it in my mind later that evening, I realized I may have just beaned it in the skull or the antler and knocked it out. When I moved in for the kill shot and missed, that woke him up. He knew this wasn’t a good situation, forced himself up, staggered and fell, got up again and made his getaway. Of course we had to go back the next day. I hoped to find it laying dead somewhere along the way. We worked our way up to the muskeg, not spending much time down low where we’d tried the day before.  The wind was blowing from the upper right corner of the muskeg to the lower left corner, so I thought we’d work our way up the brush on the right side of the muskeg and call from there, thinking a deer would work it’s way downwind of us and then come across the muskeg to check us out. When we got to a good spot, we found if we moved up into the muskeg a bit, we could see better. We slowly edged our way into the muskeg. I looked downhill. And there he was. Either yesterday’s buck or his twin brother. I bent down and retreated and told John the buck was there. John did not have time to load, remove his scope covers and get a shot off before the deer bounded away. John gave chase and tried calling him back but he would not come. We settled in in the pouring rain for as long as we could stand it and called. We did call a doe to us, but not another buck. We slogged it all the way back down the mountain and it was kind of a lumpy ride home. The next day was our last day and John agreed we’d not hunt but clean the house, wash our clothes and get ready to leave the following day. John asked to go to the range, and I thought that would be a good mid day break, so we went. That’s where I found my gun was way off – low and to the left by alot. It took most of a box of shells to get me around the bullseye at 50 yards before I was out of bullets. The scope adjustment covers were off the scope as I’d lost one and taken the other for sizing when I ordered new ones last year, and I forgot to take them with me so I’d just wrapped over them with electric tape. That must have thrown them off, or I fell and they moved or something. I shot all of my deer in the neck last year so knew the gun was good when I put it away last year. Anyway, lots of stories and lessons learned.

John and I flew out the next morning to Ketchikan, but we got fogged out of the airport and had to return to Klawock to wait on the weather.  When we got to Ketchikan, our jet was still on the ground but they were getting ready to push it out so we knew we were too late. No connecting flight was going to get us from Seattle to Chicago on time either. We flew on the next flight. John had been harassing me all week that I had lost $80 he’d given me for his license, which was not enough so we had to cash a check his mom had sent, instead. He said I didn’t give him back the money, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. John had not done much of any homework the whole week, so decided to catch up on the flight. He opened up his homework backpack and there was his money. I grabbed the scruff of his shirt and pulled his face right up to mine. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t talk. When we got to Seattle, John saw our connecting flight had been delayed!  I sent him ahead on the connecting train to try to make it for us. The jet was still on the ground but the door from the airport was closed and the agents down on the plane. We just missed it again. So we spent the evening in the Seattle McDonalds. We left the next morning at 630 am, and got to Chicago at noon. I got John to his connecting gate for Pittsburgh, then rented a car and drove up to Appleton, WI to meet Doug Larson at Mods International. He had a container home we’d put down a deposit on and I wanted to see if before we bought it and had it shipped to our land in Craig. It was everything he’d said and more and he could not have been more accommodating. He was the only one still at his office, having waited for me on a Friday evening. I was buying a demo unit so it was already discounted and yet he treated me like I was buying a 100 of them. I looked it over for about and hour, peppering Doug with questions, and was confident of the purchase. I slept till 4 am at a local hotel then headed back to Chicago. It took half and hour to an hour less on the return trip because it was the weekend, so I made it in good time. Everyone was nice in Wisconsin and Chicago. Even the highway drivers seemed to know I wasn’t from there and let me in as needed to make my exits or exchanges. Tons and tons of geese and cranes up through Wisconsin. Midwesterners are good people. So, only 1 deer so far and now will be scampering to get more to fill our freezer and get Paul some deer. too. Always good when you need to do more hunting.

Kurt Hopewell, Deer Hunter

Kurt got a really big doe by a long (for us) shot.  We were standing 10 yards apart and I couldn’t see the deer on a big muskeg up near the top that came to the call.  He shot it out at about 75 yards as the deer had seen him and started to walk away.  Right after he shot, he said he didn’t know if he hit it.  I thought I heard a branch break right after he shot but that was it.  We went up to the sight and no blood or hair.  First I went off behind the deer, then Kurt said it was walking 90 degrees to where I was looking. away – why he didn’t tell me that first, I dunno!  Too excited.  I walked down along the edge of the muskeg the way he said it went then moved back about 10 yards and came back thorough some trees.  Did not think he hit it and that it was gone.  Then there it was.  Stone dead.    It had taken about 2 bounds, got into the trees, and went down. Kurt shot it right through the heart. We butchered it up there since we were pretty far from the beach and it was a glorious day, down to quarters, and each packed half back.  We then butchered and vac packed just now finishing here at dark.  No rain.  Sun and a beautiful day and no wind.  That was the only deer we saw. 

October Deer

Bob, Kurt and I were supposed to go to St James Bay moose hunting this weekend.  Kurt had to cancel as he runs the computer software for the legislature, and the governor had called a special session in Oct so Kurt had to be there for set up.  The remnants of a hurricane were moving across the Gulf of Alaska to southeast Alaska, and it looked like a big steaming pile of weather right in the middle of our hunt.  When I picked up Bob on Thursday, I told him the weather situation and asked if he had anything he “had” to be back for in case we got stuck due to weather.  He said he had to be in Boston on Tue.  So, I gave him the option to go to our cabin and go deer hunting instead of the moose hunt.  Our cabin is nearer to town and we could always come back if the forecast got worse.  We decided to go deer hunting instead. We took off for the cabin. I’d just bought a “porta bote” off a used classified website in Haines, and was eager to try it out.  Before we left town, we took a lot of gear off the boat since we wouldn’t need it.  I put the stove, lanterns, and sleeping bag back in the truck.  We ran over to our cabin in the skiff, then put the porta bote together on the beach and put on the little 2.5 hp motor.  It started right up, and was basically an idle machine that took us from our cabin’s island beach to Admiralty Island beach.  I love the boat but not sure the outboard could run against much waves or tide.  It was pouring rain.  All day.  Kind of a replay of Todd and Kieth’s trip here last year.  We hunted up the side of the mountain, calling in my usual spots, and no deer.  We got back to the beach drenched and not looking forward to the next day, which was supposed to be the big blow and rain.   We decided it was raining hard and the wind forecast such that we would not hunt on Friday.  We had a big breakfast of moose and eggs, then talked and lounged all day.  The big blow did come over night but I slept right through it.   Bob did hear it.  On Saturday, I decided we try an area my workmate had gotten a deer last weekend.  I’d seen this area while trolling offshore of it and was eager to try it.  We took the porta bote with us.  We got to our spot, offloaded our packs and guns, then I paddled out with the skiff and the porta boat, anchored the skiff, then rowed back in the porta bote, which we carried above the high tide line. We headed up the hill.  We worked our way uphill maybe 20 minutes, and came to a spot that looked like it adjoined a fairly open muskeg.  I blew the call.  Waited 5 minutes, and blew again.  Bob was about 30 yards away.  He signaled that deer were coming.  I then saw the head of a doe through the brush.  She looked at me, then back to Bob, then to me, then back to Bob.  The deer was broadside to Bob and I didn’t even think about shooting.  Then she snorted and turned back to where she came.   Bob then fired.   He said he missed.  And that there was a buck with the doe that I could not see.  The sun was coming right in the scope.  The sun and wind were coming from the same direction, so not much we could do.  It was exciting anyway to have seen deer on the very first spot we called. We hunted hard the rest of the day.  We called at some huge open muskeg areas.  We moved into the thicker brush along one of the muskegs, and I saw a deer that immediately took off into the brush and we never saw it again.  As the day wore on we gradually moved back to the same beach as the boat was on and started back to where we thought the boat was. We got into a fairly open area in pretty thick area of spruce and hemlock trees and blueberries.  I sent Bob down to a spot about 50 yards away, and I set up looking down the hill.  I blew the call and waited 5 minutes, then blew again.  Something caught my eye and here comes a deer from down the hill, up to me.  I drew my gun and it immediately stopped.  I could see it’s head and neck through the blueberry brush, but when I went to aim at it through my scope, I couldn’t see it.  I then looked away from the scope at it again and it was still there staring at me.  I looked for it through the scope, and noticed it’s neck move ever so much, dialed in on that white neck patch, and fired my 30.06.  I saw no movement, stood up, and saw what I thought was the deer laying below.  I called to Bob that I thought I got it.  I walked down the 30 yards or so and saw the doe laying there, piled up.  An immediate kill shot through the neck.   Bob came over and we were glad to have finally got a deer between the two of us after so many tries.  Then we see a deer coming up the same trail the doe did.  First I thought it might be a buck following the doe.  But it was not.  It was the doe’s offspring.  The smallest deer I’d ever seen.  Even though it was October, this fawn was tiny for the size I’d seen any offspring this time of year.  It was not very wary of us.  It seemed to know it’s mother was gone, and hung around for quite awhile, keeping it’s distance at about 20 yards.  It finally wandered off.  It was too small to take that deer, too, but a quandary because we had to wonder if a deer that small could make it on it’s own. I showed Bob how to dress the deer.  The doe was clearly still lactating when we continued the process.  I tied a line up through the bottom jaw as the Bue brothers had shown me how they do it in Minnesota for a drag line.  Bob gave me his broken-down walking poles as a handle, which I tied the other end of the drag line, and we headed downhill to the boat dragging the deer.  It was further than it looked, as it always seems it is, till we got to the beach.  We came down to a creek that emptied into the ocean, so we lowered down the deer to the beach from the cliffy shore.  We then headed up the cliff line to find the skiff.  We’d walked further than we thought and it took awhile to get to the skiff.  But also as taught by a brother Bue, we’d left some beverages in the skiff, which gives you something to look forward to on the way to the boat.  We finally reached the boat.  We launched the porta bote, and I paddled out to the skiff, pulled anchor, and then brought it to the boat.  Bob handed in the packs and guns, and we motored down the beach till we came to where we’d lowered the deer down the cliff.  I dragged down the deer to the skiff and we headed for the cabin.  Both of us couldn’t wait to come back here the next day. When we got back to our haulout at the island, we saw that the offshore anchor had drug in the big winds the night before.  I tied off the boat, but it was beached in the shallows and I couldn’t get it any more offshore.  It was near low tide, and I figured I could come down before low tide in the morning and get it off. We had a dinner of chirizo, beans, left over mashed potatoes, and salad burritos.  The next day’s forecast looked perfect.  We could get up at daybreak, get to the spot and hunt till midday, then beat it back to the boat ramp before the north wind cranked up.    I woke up about 430 and at 5 am went to the boat to get it further offshore.  The boat was already beached by about a 1/2 hour, so I knew we couldn’t leave till mid morning, when the tide would be in enough to float it.  When we both got up about sunrise, we put on the weather station on the VHF and heard that the forecast had gone to a more severe forecast.  It was going to blow much harder than the night before.  Both of us knew we couldn’t hunt today and get back for sure so we didn’t hurry to do anything.  I made a breakfast of leftover chirizo, potatoes, salad greens, eggs and cheese with home made bread.  Then did the dishes.  We headed out about 11 am.  It was a little lumpy coming home, and we could see that indeed the weather was coming. I dropped Bob off on the way home and we planned to meet and butcher the deer as Bob had not done this before.  He’d always taken it to a processor.  I had the deer about half skinned when Bob arrived, and in no time, we had the deer butchered and in vac pack bags, then headed to the vac packer to finish.  So, we found a new spot that I think will become our primary spot to go, and the sad situation we created orphaning an offspring.    

Weekend Works

Kurt and I went hunting on South Douglas. Jeff dropped us off on the Stephens Passage side, and we hiked over the low ridge to the Gastineau Channel side. Jeff went fishing after he dropped us off and got a king salmon. Nice. Kurt and I didn’t see a deer. Most of the sign was on the top. Still leaves on the blueberry bushes but they are yellow and falling fast. When I got home, I continued getting ready for moose hunting. I was going to bake some pies and had been having trouble with the crust never really baking, so I tried to bake the bottom crust first. I baked it for about 25 minutes, and it baked up nice. I added blueberry filling to one and salmon berry filling to the other. Put on a raw crust top. Baked for another 50 minutes. Looked good. We’ll see how they taste at moose camp. My coworker told me about making a can call, so I’ll try to make one this week before we go. Punch a hole in the bottom of a coffee can, drill a hole in the bottom, then put in a string with a knot on the inside of the can. Then pull on the string to make a cow or bull call.