Monday, August 18, 2014

An Exciting Weekend

So this past weekend marked not only the opener of the archery deer hunt here in Utah, but also my wedding anniversary. Twelve years ago I tricked one awesome girl into marrying me and couldn't have imagined she'd get better with time. There isn't anyone I'd rather have as a mother to my children, or as a spouse.

So, to 'celebrate' we took the boys and went hunting. (and now you know why I had to trick her!)

It's kinda pretty up here

The first morning didn't provide much excitement by way of deer, though I did have a small spike stare at me about 25 yards out. Just too small to justify letting an arrow fly, so we ended up taking in some of the more spectacular views.

Not completely sure what this building is, but Del wanted a pic or two

My sister's name in a tree by camp. Estimating she carved it about 25-30 years ago

There were a lot of mushrooms around camp

Lots of does

And fawns
For the evening hunt I was going to walk to a pond slightly off the beaten path and sit for a while. I decided to take Atley with me. As we were walking, as quietly as we could, I heard some sounds off to our left. Couldn't quite place what they were, but I wrote it off seeing as how there are a lot of sounds I don't know out there. Then we heard a little bit of crashing, kinda sounded like a tree lost a big branch or something. There wasn't any wind, so I thought maybe an animal was moving around back there. Nothing to worry about, but I knocked an arrow just in case there was an opportunity and told Atley to stay close. Another 50 yards up the trail or so and we heard something big moving through the brush just behind us on our left. I turned to face it, put Atley behind me and got ready. Out steps a black bear at about 30 yards from us. Immediately I started yelling at it, "HEY BEAR! NO BEAR! GET OUTTA HERE!" and waving my arms and the bear stopped. I'm not sure that it could see me, I was in all camo and it was a pretty dark patch of trees near dusk, because it stopped and stood up for a better vantage point. First thought at this point was, "wow, it's about as tall as me!" second thought, "oh shit, her cubs just climbed that tree behind her!" I keep up with the yelling, waving my arms while I can feel Atley's hands shaking while he is grabbing my shirt. The bear then drops down to all fours and stands broadside to us, looking back toward her cubs. The cubs climb out of the tree and she looks back at us one more time before moving about 10 feet back into the underbrush. We can still see her, so I don't take off just yet but try to yell a little louder. She then moves about 20 yards back into the forest. We can't see her now so we head out the opposite direction even though that means fighting our way through the underbrush. I have Atley join in the hollering now, every once in a while throwing in a, "NO YOGI" or "HEY BOO-BOO" just to try and relax him a bit as we circumvent where I think the bear is by about 100 yards. I figured we'd keep the noise level up so she knew where we were and could keep avoiding us. It's at this point I realize that Del must've heard us yelling and is laying on the horn of the truck. Glad she didn't rush up the trail to try and help! By the time we got back to the truck Atley was still a little shaken, but we were both glad that we'd just seen a bear without a serious conflict.

Sleeping in our tent wasn't the easiest thing to do that night, especially with a deer that one of my family got hanging in a tree behind camp, but we managed it. Glad I didn't kick the bucket the night before our twelfth anniversary! 

Not sure that I did exactly the right thing, but I feel good about the results. Planning on heading out again this weekend to see if I can find a deer. I haven't shot one in a few years, so it'd be nice to. Though that's not really the point. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

Felt good to see this sun-rise the next morning!

Some good lookin' boys and me

Del enjoyed taking some pics

I didn't know she took this one

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