Oklahoma Ducks and Deer
Oklahoma Ducks and Deer - 12/01/1997
Barry Bob Posthole

Ah, hunting! Man do I ever feel rejuvenated. Nothing like four straight days of getting up at 4:30 and going at it hard till dark to make you feel like a new person. This is going to be rather long, and probably boring to most. But I'm going to tell it anyway.

The set-up:
After battling the flu for about six straight days and missing the weekend opener of deer season, I have to admit I was pretty gloomy about our chances of having a successful hunt. I hadn't scouted, much less even seen most of our 4000 acre lease. I still had the remnants of a nasty bout with the flu, and was coughing my head off. But this was to be the first "real" deer hunt for both my stepson, Chris who is 17, and my son Daniel, who's 13. I've taken Daniel deer scouting with me several times, and have had him along on a few short one day hunts, but this was the first time he'd sit on his own stand and carry his own gun. Chris, who is an avid fisherman, really hadn't shown much interest in hunting and had declined my invites to go until this year. It was also the first opportunity for both boys to hunt ducks. So, in short, I was obligated and even thought I was pessimistic I was still looking forward to teaching the boys a few things. My best friend, Dick (who you will eventually know as Mallard Fillmore) graciously gave up two of the last four days of the first half of our duck season to help me educate these two knuckleheads about gun safety, proper etiquette in the blind, and the basic fundaments of calling, keeping still while ducks are working the decoys, and shooting ducks. For that I'm eternally grateful, since the last thing he probably wanted to do was lost two precious days in his pursuit of 100 ducks in the first half of the season and his long vacation. (He made it. 101 ducks was his count on the last day) Our plans were to duck hunt in the early morning and deer hunt the rest of the day. Believe me, after spending the mornings retrieving ducks and then picking up 40 or so decoys, then hauling everything back to the truck, old pop had his work cut out for him when we finally would hit the deer woods.

Duck Hunting:
The first morning, Thanksgiving Day, we woke to cloudy and very windy skies. Add to the mix 70 degree weather, and you really have some iffy conditions for duck hunting. After a 4:30 wake-up and my constant grousing and haranguing, the boys finally got all of their gear assembled and clothes on and we made it to the blind by about 6:L15, only 20 minutes before legal shooting time. Dick and his son Steve already had the decoys out, and we got some big time sideways looks from my buddy about being late. With Dick, you're late unless you beat him there, even if he can see your headlights behind him. We got the boys situated and discussed basic rules in the blind with them, most of them about gun safety and the inevitable "Keep your f------ head down" from Dick. He still yells at me all the time about that, so I knew what those boys were in for. Chris, the reluctant hunter and constant complainer, dropped a gadwall on his very first shot. It was his only duck of our two day hunt, but he got plenty of shots and got to see and experience a lot of ducks and duck hunting. Daniel, who was a little under armed for duck hunting with his 20 gauge, didn't drop one but also got several shots, and never gave up or got discouraged. I think we dropped a total of seven that morning before we (or I should say I, since I was the only one in chest waders) started collecting decoys about 9:30. About the time I was in the middle of our decoy set, every mallard in North America decided to pay us a visit, but we were all in the open and there were no shots. The next day was a repeat of the first, but the boys did better in the blind and even earned a few positive comments from the Master Himself about their behavior. We took home a mixed back of widgeons and gadwalls and a lone greenhead, and Dick even popped a nice mature widgeon drake that he's going to have mounted. A really spectacular looking bird, with a beautiful green stripe across his head, if you've never seen one.

Deer Hunting
I was on my own with the boys for the deer hunt, as Dick retired each day to rest up and calm his shattered nerves for the afternoon duck hunt and a try to fill his his daily limits. I had decided to hunt the lower end of the lease, which consists of huge fields, bordered by stands of giant mature hardwoods and giant thickets
spectacular g bird, with a beautiful green stripe across his head, if you've never seen

Deer Hunting
I was on my own with the boys for the deer hunt, as Dick retired each d including the monster 8 point that one of the partners had been scouting and had even video taped. But it's a big area and I was hopeful. In the early afternoon, I had picked a couple of spots and decided to try the boys out on a stand. I situated them about 100 yards apart and left them on their own for their first "all alone" deer hunt, even though unbeknownst to them, I was watching both of them the whole time from a tree a ways behind both of them. I let them sit an hour the first time and they both stayed put and were even relatively still. Niether saw anything but a basketful of squirrels. Then I collected them and moved them to a different spot and set them up for another hour hunt. My goal was to just get them used to being alone in the woods and to see how they would do sitting a stand. This time, I creeped in a large circle (about 3/4 mile or so) around to their front hoping to jump something over them. I collected them again and we proceeded to lesson number two, which was a slow drive through a narrow strip of woods where I'd seen some buck sign. I spread them out about 50 yards apart and we did a slow walk through the strip. They did fine and by this time it was getting on to late afternoon, so we headed back to Grandma's for a fine Thanksgiving dinner. On Friday, I decided it was time for a test, so we drove in to the same area, this time from the backside, to a place we call Texas Bend, where the river makes a huge bend around a giant meadow. The wind was almost due south, so I wanted to come in the back way so we'd have our scent blowing down the fence row instead of into the woods we'd be hunting. I postioned both boys a little farther apart and took up a station myself about 200 yards behind them in a beaver dammed slash that ran across the field. I figured with my big gun I could cover the field, and the boys could take the closer in shots from the woods. I could just barely see their orange but had both in site. They wiggled a bit too much, but didn't do too bad. This time I let them sit for two hours before I went to each and told them to hold tight while I made another large circle. This time I must have cut a mile of brush and thick woods to try to push something over them, but I only jumped one old doe. she ran straight to the boys, and had to have ran over one of them, but chris was asleep when I got to him, and Daniel hadn't seen or heard anything. We sat in a steady rain for a couple of more hours while I cooled out from my walk and they got some toughening experience from handle sitting out in the cold rain. I guess my mood at that time was improving, because I got to thinking about how great it was just to be hunting with these two boys. We were creating lasting memories for those two of their first hunt. So far, they'd done great and I was proud, but dadgum it, we hadn't seen any deer and I really wanted at least one of them to get a shot. Right then and there I decided on a new strategy. I decided to go against all advice and hunt the north end of the lease, where no one, except for the duck hunters, had even set foot. After all, it was open fields bordered by a narrow band of trees where the river and the slough meet and one extremely dense area of brush and blackjack oak that we call the island, because it's surrounded by flooded slashes, thanks to the work of one extremely busy bunch of beavers. As we loaded up that evening, I told the boys about my plan. They were all for it. I'd also decided to give Dick a break on Saturday and just deer hunt, so he could get in some decent duck hunting as the weekend was his last two days of vacation. I let the boys sleep in until 5:30, made a big pot of coffee and went outside for a smoke and promptly locked myself out of the house. I had to beat on the door for a half hour before my youngest brother finally got up and let me in. Then, my brother in law called and my parents cattle were out. An hour later, all of the cows were back in, and I headed back to the house, frustrated and disappointed that the precious few hours we had left to hunt were dwindling away. When I got home, my Mom was up fixing a giant breakfast for the two young hunters, and of course we had to stay for her biscuits, gravy, eggs, and fried ham. We finally made it to the lease at 9:30 and ran into Jerry, a great hunter and good friend. Jerry convinced us to try Texas Bend one more time so we sat the remainder of the morning out there again, and saw nothing. I collected the boys at lunch, and we headed to the new spot I'd decided on. After a long lunch, we parked the truck at a corral, and headed across an open field to the edge of some woods that bordered a smaller field. As we neared the edge of nothing. I collected the boys at lunch, and we headed to the new spot I'd decided on. After a long lunch, we parked the truck at a corral, and headed across an open field to the edge of some woods that bordered a smaller field. As we neared the edge of that old dad's plan had come to bear fruit so soon. We scouted the area thoroughly and found that the lake we had been duck hunting was actually about 2 1/2 times larger behind the island then we had realized. We saw maybe 100 or so ducks on it and in the middle in a big old dead tree was an eagle's nest. I selected the boy's stands were they'd have the only place the deer could transition through the area bracketed, and about dark, I found myself a tree overlooking a big field and the edge of the river. I'd cover the flank while the boys would be in the prime spots. We only had a half day of hunting left, but I was more optimistic than ever. We were on our stands before daylight Sunday and at legal shooting time, I heard dick and Forrest open up overt the lake. I would hear Dick's duck call start to work, then BOOM, BA-BOOM, BOOM. About thirty minutes after daylight, three does ran out right where Chris's stand was, followed by that huge buck, and I waited for a shot. None came. I had my scope on them, but at the rate they were running I know a shot would be a one in a million change and decided to see if they'd hit the river and circle back to me. I found out later that Chris was up walking around trying to stay awake and he'd never even seen the deer even though they had to have ran right smack over him. Oh well. About another half hour later I watched two coyotes work the same area, obviously following the trail of those deer (Chris didn't see them either). I watched them for about ten minutes or so, and then spotted eleven turkeys working their way up the tree line. I watched them through my scope off and on for at least on hour. As it approached noon, I know we had to go, so I decided to give it another try. I positioned the boys looking over my big field and walked another circle, this time at least a mile, and managed to jump a three point and a doe, but they crossed the river and I never got a shot. We loaded up and headed home happy and tired. We hadn't killed any deer, but I am proud of the way this hunt came out. Chris and Daniel are already talking about next year. Most importantly, as we were loading the truck, I noticed how much they'd changed. They double checked their guns to make sure they were unloaded before they put them in the truck, and checked the safety, and did it like it was becoming a habit. They looked natural in their camo instead of like the two dufusses that I'd taken out just a few days earlier.

We had gotten to see two baldies bust into a flock of ducks that were working our decoys. We'd seen the prettiest rainbow at sunset on Saturday that I think I've ever seen. We found an eagle's nest, and we made a plan that came darned close to coming together. Dick, the ever-lazy man with no chest waders, uses a spinning rig and a top water bait to retrieve ducks when he doesn't have a human dog to retrieve for him. While retrieving ducks on Saturday, he caught a two-pound and a three and a half pound largemouth. Yep, it was a successful hunt. I can't wait till next year.


Cliffie's Deer Hunt
Cliff Claven
Cliffie's Deer Hunt - 12/03/1997
Cliff Claven

Well, I have a ton of work I should be doing, but I'm still in hunting mode. After bear camp (more on that later), I went to my parents' house for thanksgiving, went grouse hunting Sat. morning (7 flushes, 2 shots, no birds), made it home in time to catch the Penn State game (bite me), and by then I was ready to get deer hunting.

My dad and I were hunting my grandfather's land in Snydertown, PA. Calling it a town might be a bit of a misnomer, with less than 100 residents, scattered throughout a fairly wide area. There is one main street and you can still shoot anywhere in the borough.

My maternal grandfather grew up there, and has lived there his entire life. He dreamed of owning some woodlands there for hunting, and eventually he was able to do just that. In fact, there is a big old tree on his land on which he carved his initials at age 7 (he's now 73).

When he was a kid, a deer sighting warranted a front page story in the newspaper. But soon they cam back, and it's been a reliable hunting area for quite a long time. When I started hunting, nobody believed my dad and I when we reported turkeys. Now, they're everywhere.

There's the history, a family tradition to this place, that makes it great fun to hunt. My parents grew up across the street from each other, and both my grandfathers hunted this land. Where I shot my first buck is less than 50 yards away from where my dad shot his first buck.

I know the land better than any, and I have truckloads of memories of our various hunts on that land. It is very steep, lung burning land and some people initially complain about the tough walking. But you nearly always find something... plus, it feels like home.

On Monday, my dad was going to push through the lower land while I hunted near the top. I started up the trail to the "Little Hollow". About half way up I kicked out a deer. It was heading toward my dad, so I didn't worry too much about it. By the time I got to the Little Hollow, I saw three more deer milling about in thick stuff. I couldn't tell what they were, or even see them very well. I stood still hoping they would step in a clearing. They didn't, and I couldn't tell where they went.

About that time, about 50 turkeys came crashing down out of the sky. Someone had scattered them and they were going every which direction. If you've never seen 50 turkeys in a panic, it is a sight to behold. Turkeys are not quiet birds. They crash into tree branches, rumble around like an army of drunken elephants, and call like crazy. I had 5 birds land within 30 yards. They were calling back and forth, and it was a bit distracting, because I was still trying to find those deer in the brush.

In minutes, most of the turkeys had regrouped. I heard a rustling. I looked into the brush and saw a deer. It moved into thicker stuff and I couldn't see it with the scope. But I did see an antler sticking out of the brush.

My heart was hammering. I just didn't have a shot, and so I decided to wait. He stood there ten minutes or so, moving a few steps but generally staying quite still.

Finally, he started trotting. He picked up speed but there was still too much brush. Then finally... an opening. As he cleared the opening, I squeezed off a shot. It felt good and he bucked into the air. He ran into more thick stuff and disappeared. I waited a minute or so, and then have to admin the self-doubt set in. I started thinking it was not a good shot. Not thinking, I took off for "Big Hollow", where he was headed, hoping to get another shot. Big where the deer was when I shot. I felt like an idiot.

Then a fairly short distance away I heard 2 shots. I was sure this was my deer, that I had shot him badly and someone else was now killing him. I was muttering to myself, upset and just all around pissed off.

But I decided to cut into the brush just to make sure. And there, about 15 yards from where he was first hit, was the buck... stone dead. My initial feeling of "good shot" had been right after all.

It was 8 a.m. A lot of action in a short time.

The buck was a nice 8 point. A beautiful deer, actually. Not the biggest rack in the world, but still a great animal.

Went out yesterday on a "Deer Damage Area" to try and fill my doe tag, and saw not a deer. So it goes. It was a great week, and I wish I was still out there.


The GoodHunting Bear Hunt
Cliff Claven
The Goodhunting Bear Hunt - 04/12/1997
Cliff Claven

Well, Chesapeake and Melinda did such a thorough job of telling what happened at the bear camp, and their versions were at least partly true. I must clarify that in the now legendary thicket, I knew EXACTLY where I was. What I didn't tell them was that I PLANNED to exit on the same side of the thicket I entered. It was part of my master plan. Never mind what they'll tell you about me being totally, completely lost with a dazed and confused look on my face.

I don't want to give another play by play encounter, so a few things that stick out:

Yes, Melinda can shoot as well as you've heard.

She also made Chesapeake and I clean her guns for her. While she wateched.

The trip to the Bear Check Station was an interesting cultural phenomenon. We walked in and everyone had that "Who the f*** are these dorks?" This was due, mainly, to our full sets of teeth. Chesapeake's description of the girlfriends/wives was perfect.

I also enjoyed the man who drove the pick-up, and hopped out with this huge-assed proud grin. I mean, you could tell this guy got a big 'un. Or so we thought. When he revealed his "trophy", it was a massive 50 pounder. There was this very large, collective gasp as it cam out, and someone yelled "COME ON!" He then looked a bit sheepish. I wonder how the 32 pound bear-slayer acted.

As far as a poker, approximately 3 seconds after some idiot said "Looks like Matt's going home heavier this weekend", pointing at my growing pile of change, I was digging into my wallet to pull out ten dollar bills to pay off my debts. TicBoy's guts game was a real pain in the ass; at least 2 people proposed shooting him at some point in the game.

I really wanted someone to get a bear but it was not to be. I do think the cold weather kept them someone inactive the first two days, and it was really painful to see those bear tracks on Wednesday that headed right by our stands.

My dad fell again, making it three straight hunting seasons when he's had a nasty fall. Two years ago he cracked the stock on his .308. He was in a good deal of pain but still went hunting with me on Monday. But he didn't help drag the buck.

We had a number of interesting political discussions, but the most intriguing political fact is that we all agree on the abortion issue. To protect our reputations, I'll not elaborate, but suffice to say Helen would be proud.

All in all, it was a great hunting trip, and one I'll never forget. Both my dad and Andy were skeptical about internet friendships, but I think bear camp made believers out of both. My dad really liked both Steve and Melinda; after all, they listened to his sometimes lengthy tales. He said several times over Thanksgiving, "I hope they come up hunting again sometime".

I'm glad I was able to hunt with such good hunters, willing to hunt hard by day and laugh a lot in the evenings. It's what it's all about.


The GoodHunting Bear Hunt
The Goodhunting Bear Trip (the highlights)

After a good 5 hours on the road and a stop over at Cliff's parents place, we arrived at Cliff's cabin. A beautiful 3 acre lot, the cabin was heated by wood stoves, had a frozen pond and a nice little target range. It could house a small militia with all the bunks they had. Bubbles and I spent the ride up shooting the breeze and cracking a few jokes here and there. She made me drive that big ole truck for a good part of the trip.

Saturday evening and Sunday were spent scouting and getting to know each other. Cliff and his buddy Andy are quite a pair. I've never met two guys more in tune and with such appreciation for the finer aspects of the outdoors. The both are writers at heart and I suspect we'll be reading their stuff in some magazine some day. Anyway, we had some luck and found a set of tracks Sunday morning. They headed right where Cliff suspected and we made plans for the following morning hunt. Spooking a little four point as we approached our stands, we surrounded a patch of thickets and Cliff, Andy and I counted on a bit of hunting pressure to end a bear our way looking for cover. Meanwhile, Melinda had taken a spot atop a ridge with about a wide 300 yard view hoping to spy a passer by. It wasn't to be and by 1 PM, we were all cold enough and wanted to move. The temps were low and the winds howling while we sat on stand so we decided that Andy and I would set up on opposite corners of a large beaver meadow while Bubbles and Cliff drove through the area. Net nothing. No sightings, no sounds, nothing. The day was a shocking reality check and showed us how tough the remainder of the hunt would be.

That night, the after hours fun began. A venison dinner, cooked by moue (sp), got us geared up to see some bears so we went to the check station. Boy it was like a family event. You could tell which guys brought their girlfriends and which their wives. The girlfriends had decent clothes on and their big hair all teased up and the wives were a bit more rounded and had XL camo jackets on. Boy it truly is a different world up there. When we returned, poker and drinking began. Boy, we had our list of games down and the quarters started flying. ** Note, get a couple glasses of wine in her and Bubbles becomes Giggles. Also, she thought Andy was quite "pretty". Hehehe! After a $30 hand of guts, we decided to call the game for the night and hit the sack.

The next day was a rather hard one. We started at sunrise (it was overcast) and began driving a ridge about 100 yards apart. We pushed and pushed and pushed some more, getting separated only twice for fairly short periods. Then it happened. Andy and I heard Bubbles whistle and found her standing with Cliff a short distance away. Cliff was all excited, he had found fresh tracks. We all went and looked at them and determined they were about a half day old. The tracks ran downstream along a little mountain drainage and having crossed the creek on a previous drive, we knew the bear turned away from the creek and was likely to still be on the ridge. We spread out and continued to push as the snow started to pour. Pushing the entire ridge, we never saw a bear and eventually made our way back to the road and decided to sit on stands for :30. I saw something move 150 years downhill to my right. It was moving uphill so I decided to stalk over and see what it was. I got to the point where I expected to intercept and saw nothing. So I moved downhill knowing it was still there. As I came to the edge of a cliff and looked down, there it stood. A stinking little one horned, fork horn. Damn, no bear. So back to the cabin we went for more drinking and cards. Surprisingly, we all stayed up 'til after midnight and had a ball. The jokes got brutal for a bit (mainly because of me) but we had fun.

Wednesday, Andy and I went out early and Cliff walked a trail later on. I stopped short and hunted very close to the cabin because all the other hunters had gone deep into the game lands and I thought something might be hanging on the edge. I was right! After sitting for about 1:30, I felt the ground start to rumble and heard a crashing through the woods. I turned to look around the tree I was leaning on and saw nothing, then WOW! My eyes focused on the head of a whitetail running full speed right at me! I was truly amazed and froze in awe at the whole event. I saw nothing but head, then the body, then the 6 point running hard as hell right behind her! The doe saw me and turned downhill 20 yards in front of me, but the buck kept coming! He turned no more than 10 feet in front of me, jumped through a deadfall and stopped 40 yards from me. The doe hung around for a few more minutes but the buck trotted off, stopping at 150 yards before continuing. It made my whole trip and I'll remember that scene for life.

We straightened the cabin and left at noon. On the way home I had to test Bubbles brakes. A PA state truck had a ladder blow off and hit the car in front of me. Note.. the brakes work but I didn't think Bubbles' heart would after that.

It was a great trip and one I'll never forget!

Personal Notes! Andy can cook some serious stew, Cliff's cabin is great and he does all his reading in the john (hehehe, gotcha) and Giggles cam shoot the light out with a Sig but keep her away from the vino!

The GoodHunting Bear Hunt
The GoodHunting Bear Hunt
Bubbles (Virginia)

Good morning everyone! I'm sure that Steve will be along soon with his version of the bear hunting trip report. Matt is off hunting deer and will be back on Wednesday.

I picked up Steve just after 9:00 last Saturday morning. He's probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. We stowed everything in the back of my pickup and headed north toward Northumberland, PA, where Matt's parents live. I even let him drive my truck, but that was before he told me about the accidents he'd had...

We only got lost once (my fault - navigator missed an exit), stopped for directions, pee-break, and lunch in Harrisburg. (Thanks to the buck I got last week, that'll be the last time I'll eat hamburger for a while. :-)) I took over the driving, and we were running late so I opened the truck up a bit. I don't think I scared Steve too badly.

We arrived safely at Matt's parents' house in time for a late lunch, and Matt showed off the mounted head of one of the animals (I forget what it's called) that he shot while in Africa. This thing was huge, with horns several feet long. We also met Andy, another friend of Matt's who joined us for the bear hunting.

So the five of us - Matt, Matt's dad Larry, Andy, Steve, and me - made the trek up to the hunting lodge. Matt's dad didn't seem too upset that I was going along (whew!!!) since I was on the trip to hunt and not be a bored significant other. On the way Steve and I had to purchase our licenses (OUCH!!) and pick up some plinking ammo for my handguns.

As we drove into the mountains I noticed SNOW!!! First little patches of it in the shaded areas, then more, and by the time we reach the cabin there was several inches of it everywhere. Not enough to hamper our travel, but plenty for finding tracks left by our quarry. We arrived at the hunting lodge with just enough daylight left to do some scouting, then after returning Andy made us a delicious squirrel and pheasant stew. He added only a few drops of that hot sauce to the whole pot, and boy was it spicy!

After dinner until bedtime it was time for drinking and poker (a nightly occurrence). Larry opted out, but the rest of us had fun. I know I ended the trip a little lighter than when I started. Chessie did rather well. Whoever thought up the version "Guts" ought to be shot. Several times. Talk about a sphincter-tightening game!

Sunday we headed out to scout for bear tracks. We were out most of the day and covered a good bit of ground. The freshest bear tracks we found looked like they had been made sometime Friday. I also kicked up about 8 grouse along one trail, and found a set of fresh deer tracks that gave me a hard-on, and I'm not even equipped that way. Those tracks were as wide as my palm. We also found areas that we planned to sit, then returned to the lodge for some target practice. First Steve pulled out his bow, set up his 3D deer target against a tree, and started to shoot arrows at it from about 25, then 335 yards. I was impressed with the hits. I wanted to try his bow, but63 pounds is too much for me to draw. Oh well. Then we set up cans against a woodpile and Matt, Steve, and I shot the handguns. I hope I didn't embarrass them too badly. :-)Later we had a dinner of - MMMMMMMMMM - venison back straps, cooked to perfection by Steve. That was the first time I've ever had 'em. Was like eating candy. Much better than beef!

Monday the plan was to get up at 4:30, have breakfast, and be out in the woods by dawn. It didn't quite work that way - both Matt and I slept through or didn't hear our alarms. Oops. I woke up first at 6:00, thought "OH SH!T", ran to their room, and turned on the light. The four of them looked pretty pissed at being woken up so rudely, then even more pissed when they discovered how late it was. We packed breakfast, tore out of there, and were in place by 6:30. Didn't see a darn thing all morning, and the weather wasn't too bad until about 10:00 when a front started to come through and the wind kicked up. Brrrrrrrr! I was halfway back to sleep when that wind sliced across the back of my neck like a sharp knife. That was my second rude awakening of the day.

In the afternoon we met up and decided to start trying to do drives and look for other tracks. Matt and I circled along down one road, then cut into the woods toward where we'd left Steve and Andy. I found another set of bear tracks, but they also looked like they'd been made on Friday. We didn't kick anything up in front of us, not even deer. I saw lots of fresh small animal tracks, but all the deer and bear sign was old.

Monday night we piled into my truck and drove to the bear check station to see what the other hunters had gotten. About two dozen bears had been checked, with weights varying from 32 pounds to 390 pounds. We all agreed that we weren't shooting any cubs, or even sows with cubs.

Tuesday we hunted a different area and spent most of the time walking and doing drives to see what we could flush out. We spread out about 100 yards apart, just so we could barely stay in sight, and started walking in one direction through the woods. I discovered several things:
- Steve climbs like a mountain goat and walks *fast*.
- Matt's sense of direction needs work, especially in thickets.
- Horseback riding muscles are not the same ones used for hiking.
- Gore-Tex boots are wonderful, as are wool socks with Thinsulate liners.
- Sliding down hills on you butt doesn't hurt when you're wearing lots of layers of clothing.
- Even when it's only snowing lightly, my scope lenses get covered quickly.
- I am really glad that I have a stainless steel synthetic-stock rifle because it is easy to clean up after a day of crashing through the brush.

Wednesday morning I wimped and didn't go out hunting. The others went at dawn to try to get in a few hours hunting before we had to leave, and I slept in, then cleaned up the kitchen before they returned. Matt said that we should have gone back Tuesday to the same place we'd been on Monday - he'd seen fresh tracks. Arrrrrrgh! Oh well. Everyone was back by about 10:30, and we cleaned up the lodge and headed out.

I had an incredibly good time hunting with these guys, and I'm proud to call them my friends. Matt is one of the most laid-back people I know. Nothing bothered him. Steve's biting wit does make him a grade-A pain in the a** at times, especially while drinking and playing poker, but overall he's a great guy.