© 2019 Copyright by P. K. H. Groth, Denver, Colorado, USA All rights reserved - See contact page
Educational Stories - B
Elk Hunting with a Super El Nino in 2015 Before I planned elk hunting, I reviewed my hunting diary for 1998, which was the last great El Nino weather year. Then it was unseasonably warm and the elk were thin in my locality. The diary related the wildfires in California, the massive flooding in the Midwest, and the scorching southwest with some flash flooding summer storms. The super El Niño of 2015 was a repeat of these catastrophes, only to prove much worse in the fall after hunting seasons. So I realized it would be a hard hunt year. I am getting older, so I camped five days at a lower altitude to get my lungs adjusted. Then I ascended to my camp at nearly 11,000 feet for further acclimatization. The initial joy of seeing a lot of rut sign faded as I walked around at night to “hear” the terrain. I heard nothing. There were no sounds of any animals. The watering holes had no new cloudy water tracks, and the old footprints had begun to slump down. The pressure from early seasons archery and muzzle load hunters must have driven the main herd animals into the remoter back country. Book reading while propped against logs disclosed no daytime game movement of any kind. What was particularly aggravating was the very warm weather with rain, including one that lasted well into the night. I cut the bottom from a garage sale pup tent and hanged it over my stand, but the breezes blew in moisture. I decided to quit after two day of hunting without seeing neither game nor hearing rifle shots. I had a disabled vehicle to attend recover. Even more pressing was the gnawing guilt that I might miss a crucial Planning Board meeting. I fought four months against a proposal and would lose face if I, the instigator, was not there. How my spirit soared and my heart sank when the proposal was soundly defeated without me needing to again speak. I should have stayed at camp and and waited for colder weather and snow to drive animals from the deeply forested, cool backcountry. If Ya Don’t Get There, Ya Don’t Get to Hunt – at Least not Well Rested Enough to Do Optimum Hunting I’ve seen few hunting books or articles stress prehunt preparations. I cannot review all the points in my book, but will illustrate one here. Back-country roads can become blocked. Winds at high altitudes can generate spontaneously and be severe. Summer rains, wet soils and root rotting fungi make trees vulnerable to autumn gusts. A common location of tree fall is along roads where roots cannot grow out of road cuts to provide adequate support for the trees. Come well prepared to remove one or maybe a dozen deadfalls from the road. These photos illustrate healthy trees that snapped and fell over a Forest Service road. My prepared friend Dale and his wife encountered this “sapling” blocking access to their remote elk hunt area. It could be worse. Consider being injured and not able to exit your camp in an emergency. Bring a large bow saw or even a crosscut saw. Choose a stiff (new?) blade with large SHARP teeth. Keep the saw blade covered with a tooth guard, garden hose or wood slip. Do not believe that nifty light-weight backpack hatchet in the catalog will hew more than “doghair” timber. Your arm and shoulder will be exhausted for days and holding a gun steady unlikely. Aspen trees are very heavy because they have high water content. Lifting or dragging cumbersome, branched trees off a road by hand is asking for a sprained back. Have a long heavy duty rope in your vehicle, and stand back when you use it; when a stretched rope breaks it can recoil back to you. Why isn’t a chainsaw recommended? They can saturate your clothing, hair and vehicle with exhaust fumes and petrol vapors. That is not going to help hunting. Bring a jumpsuit and an extra wool hat to use if you have to chain saw. Hunting Disasters Not to be Revisited: Some of my colleagues took a new proudly volunteered hunting car on a Kansas pheasant hunt. They were bird-luckless and about to be more unlucky. They decided to move to another farm. The guy with the center back seat bumped his gun on the tunnel hump and then was reminded by angels that he had failed to unload his shotgun. The shot peeled back the car roof, there were near heart attacks (and I suspect some wet trousers), and there certainly was an irate vehicle owner – should anybody have been able to hear his explosive adjectives. Losing a Son: I recall pathetic news of an elk hunter who retrieved a gun from the back of his pickup shell, only to witness his teenage son thrust backward and crumple with a fatal face shot. Always check to make sure your gun is unloaded before it enters a vehicle. Keep gun chambers empty around camp, and unload before taking guns into tents. There is always potential for fiddlers. It just is not worth the risk! Guilt and remorse last a lifetime - and maybe longer. Killers Organize in the Colorado High Country ​I am guessing it was in the late seventies that we had to come out of the San Juan mountains backcountry for supplies. We annually went family backpacking for ten days in this heavenly, then quiet, southwest part of Colorado. We were in the Silverton general store trying to find light- weight foods that our ravenous young children could help carry .I overheard a man at the counter talk to a customer. “Hey, let’s organize a ‘sweep’ for this weekend. We will divide into teams at sunrise and drive on all the back roads. We’ll shoot anything that is alive. Hawks and eagles get the highest points, and slow curious marmots get the least. We’ll figure out a sliding point scale for other animals and birds. At the end of the day we will meet, count points and have a beer party, with the loser buying the beer. We’ll invite sheriff _____. He might not come, but he will tell us where he will be so we can keep out of his sight, and tell us if and where there is a game warden in the area. It’ll be a heck of a day! What do you think?!” The discussion fell to a whisper when the local customer pointed out we were in the store. Killing for the joy of it is not a sport, and never should be. Never extinguish life for recreational enjoyment or to see if you are able to do it. I regret to this day I did not try to put a stop to this shooting idea to pillage nature. But where do you start with this kind of low IQ mentality, and when the law officer(s) may be involved? The photo shows a summoned Wyoming Game Officer scanning a dead antelope for bullets. I found it next to one of my game lures during a research project. I thought someone shot it out of season, left it lay, and that I might be implicated. It turned out that hemorrhagic disease caused by mites internally bled it it to death as it lingered by the lure.
© 2016 -2017 Copyright by P. K. H. Groth, Denver, Colorado, USA All rights reserved - See contact page.
Educational Stories - B
Elk Hunting with a Super El Nino in 2015 Before I planned elk hunting, I reviewed my hunting diary for 1998, which was the last great El Nino weather year. Then it was unseasonably warm and the elk were thin in my locality. The diary related the wildfires in California, the massive flooding in the Midwest, and the scorching southwest with some flash flooding summer storms. The super El Niño of 2015 was a repeat of these catastrophes, only to prove much worse in the fall after hunting seasons. So I realized it would be a hard hunt year. I am getting older, so I camped five days at a lower altitude to get my lungs adjusted. Then I ascended to my camp at nearly 11,000 feet for further acclimatization. The initial joy of seeing a lot of rut sign faded as I walked around at night to “hear” the terrain. I heard nothing. There were no sounds of any animals. The watering holes had no new cloudy water tracks, and the old footprints had begun to slump down. The pressure from early seasons archery and muzzle load hunters must have driven the main herd animals into the remoter back country. Book reading while propped against logs disclosed no daytime game movement of any kind. What was particularly aggravating was the very warm weather with rain, including one that lasted well into the night. I cut the bottom from a garage sale pup tent and hanged it over my stand, but the breezes blew in moisture. I decided to quit after two day of hunting without seeing neither game nor hearing rifle shots. I had a disabled vehicle to attend recover. Even more pressing was the gnawing guilt that I might miss a crucial Planning Board meeting. I fought four months against a proposal and would lose face if I, the instigator, was not there. How my spirit soared and my heart sank when the proposal was soundly defeated without me needing to again speak. I should have stayed at camp and and waited for colder weather and snow to drive animals from the deeply forested, cool backcountry. If Ya Don’t Get There, Ya Don’t Get to Hunt – at Least not Well Rested Enough to Do Optimum Hunting I’ve seen few hunting books or articles stress prehunt preparations. I cannot review all the points in my book, but will illustrate one here. Back- country roads can become blocked. Winds at high altitudes can generate spontaneously and be severe. Summer rains, wet soils and root rotting fungi make trees vulnerable to autumn gusts. A common location of tree fall is along roads where roots cannot grow out of road cuts to provide adequate support for the trees. Come well prepared to remove one or maybe a dozen deadfalls from the road. These photos illustrate healthy trees that snapped and fell over a Forest Service road. My prepared friend Dale and his wife encountered this “sapling” blocking access to their remote elk hunt area. It could be worse. Consider being injured and not able to exit your camp in an emergency. Bring a large bow saw or even a crosscut saw. Choose a stiff (new?) blade with large SHARP teeth. Keep the saw blade covered with a tooth guard, garden hose or wood slip. Do not believe that nifty light-weight backpack hatchet in the catalog will hew more than “doghair” timber. Your arm and shoulder will be exhausted for days and holding a gun steady unlikely. Aspen trees are very heavy because they have high water content. Lifting or dragging cumbersome, branched trees off a road by hand is asking for a sprained back. Have a long heavy duty rope in your vehicle, and stand back when you use it; when a stretched rope breaks it can recoil back to you. Why isn’t a chainsaw recommended? They can saturate your clothing, hair and vehicle with exhaust fumes and petrol vapors. That is not going to help hunting. Bring a jumpsuit and an extra wool hat to use if you have to chain saw. Hunting Disasters Not to be Revisited: Some of my colleagues took a new proudly volunteered hunting car on a Kansas pheasant hunt. They were bird-luckless and about to be more unlucky. They decided to move to another farm. The guy with the center back seat bumped his gun on the tunnel hump and then was reminded by angels that he had failed to unload his shotgun. The shot peeled back the car roof, there were near heart attacks (and I suspect some wet trousers), and there certainly was an irate vehicle owner – should anybody have been able to hear his explosive adjectives. Losing a Son: I recall pathetic news of an elk hunter who retrieved a gun from the back of his pickup shell, only to witness his teenage son thrust backward and crumple with a fatal face shot. Always check to make sure your gun is unloaded before it enters a vehicle. Keep gun chambers empty around camp, and unload before taking guns into tents. There is always potential for fiddlers. It just is not worth the risk! Guilt and remorse last a lifetime - and maybe longer. Killers Organize in the Colorado High Country ​I am guessing it was in the late seventies that we had to come out of the San Juan mountains backcountry for supplies. We annually went family backpacking for ten days in this heavenly, then quiet, southwest part of Colorado. We were in the Silverton general store trying to find light- weight foods that our ravenous young children could help carry .I overheard a man at the counter talk to a customer. “Hey, let’s organize a ‘sweep’ for this weekend. We will divide into teams at sunrise and drive on all the back roads. We’ll shoot anything that is alive. Hawks and eagles get the highest points, and slow curious marmots get the least. We’ll figure out a sliding point scale for other animals and birds. At the end of the day we will meet, count points and have a beer party, with the loser buying the beer. We’ll invite sheriff _____. He might not come, but he will tell us where he will be so we can keep out of his sight, and tell us if and where there is a game warden in the area. It’ll be a heck of a day! What do you think?!” The discussion fell to a whisper when the local customer pointed out we were in the store. Killing for the joy of it is not a sport, and never should be. Never extinguish life for recreational enjoyment or to see if you are able to do it. I regret to this day I did not try to put a stop to this shooting idea to pillage nature. But where do you start with this kind of low IQ mentality, and when the law officer(s) may be involved? The photo shows a summoned Wyoming Game Officer scanning a dead antelope for bullets. I found it next to one of my game lures during a research project. I thought someone shot it out of season, left it lay, and that I might be implicated. It turned out that hemorrhagic disease caused by mites internally bled it it to death as it lingered by the lure.
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