Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thick fog and icy rain equals spoiled hunting

© By Othmar Vohringer

On Friday evening my hunting buddies Ernie and Henry arrived in Merritt from the coast and we quickly loaded my gear into the truck and then headed out confidently to our hunting area. The weather forecast was perfect as reported on the Whitetail Deer Passion Blog and we had high expectations for this long weekend hunt.

All across North America a cold weather front had moved in that promised perfect hunting for rut crazed bucks but on the first morning we woke up to a thick fog, which knocked back visibility to not much more than 30 yards.
Still, since I hunt by the motto of: “You can’t kill a buck by sitting in camp or at home” I ventured out optimistically in the hopes of stumbling upon a buck that was equally limited by the fog to see as I was.

With the aid of the GPS, I headed out to my usual spot where I had seen many good bucks before. All around me unseen I heard deer running and blowing.
I should have given up the idea of hunting that morning and gone back to camp to wait for the fog to lift but the urge to shoot a deer got the better of me and so I pressed on in my quest of finding a big mature mule deer buck.

By mid afternoon the fog hadn’t lifted and the temperatures dropped to below zero turning the fog into ice droplets. I still couldn’t see much further than perhaps thirty yards. I lost patience – what good is it to hear deer moving around but not being able to see them – at least my prediction of prime deer movement had been right on. I returned to the camp and was glad to sit near the warming fire and sipping hot coffee.

There was still hope that the next day would have better weather conditions. With the temperature still dropping the bucks would surely be on the move again in search of does. Long before daylight I woke up to the beautiful smell of fresh coffee. It’s nice to have good hunting partners like Ernie- he’s the first one up and is usually the one who gets the stove going and the coffee made.

Stepping out of the warm wall tent I was disappointed to see that while the fog had gone and visibility was perfect, an overnight ice rain had turned the soft snow from the previous day into a sheet of crackling glass. Again the hunting urge – stubbornness may be a better description – led me to wander out to another hunting spot. Crunch, crunch. Each step I took made more noise in the still of the night than a bulldozer. Again I could hear deer in the dark and their vocal protests to my presence but it didn’t bother me because where I was heading there would be no frozen snow and it was about a mile away from camp. I walked along the creek bed to avoid crunching on the frozen snow but as I came upon my chosen spot I saw that it too was now covered in an icy sheet of white. There was no winning for me today so I went back to camp.

The next morning my partners had to go back home to spend Remembrance Day with their families which was just fine by me too. After two days of struggling with the weather I had had about as much as I was prepared to put up with. What good are the perfect hunting conditions if fog and ice make a mockery of it? On the way out I saw several grouse huddled together under a tree and thought I might bring at least something home. I aimed a .22 at the fattest of the birds and that was a good end to an otherwise disappointing hunting trip that started with high expectations. The good news is that the hunting season is still open until December 10 and the bucks are still in the area. To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I’ll be back!” Maybe as soon as this weekend.


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10 comments:

Marian Love Phillips said...

Well, at least you tried...Mother Nature has her own way after all...maybe next weekend. GOODHUTNING to you Othmar! :)

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you Marian. You know what they say. “Never give up.” I think that is nowhere as true as in hunting. It looks like that this coming weekend we get another weather front that will stir the deer up. Maybe I get lucky.

-ov-

Mel said...

Othmar, you are as tough as nails. I probably would have given up sooner than you, my friend. Good luck next time out!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks Mel. I guess you can look at it from different angles. You say “tough as nails” and my wife calls it “stubborn like a mule.” (lol)

-ov-

NorCal Cazadora said...

Well, if you don't try, you never know, do you? I'm not a deer hunter so I haven't been through this. But I have been known to stay insanely long in a duckblind on a bluebird day hoping that one misguided bird might fly my way...

bushman said...

Don't forget all them times ya hear bout the guy who stayed out when all the other fellers went in and bagged that giant buck...I'da done the same thing!

Tom Sorenson said...

Glad to hear you aren't about to give it up! Far as I can tell, I've never shot a buck unless I went huntin'! Better luck on the weather next time - hope it all comes together...it's bound to one of these times!

Rick Kratzke said...

Mother Nature has a way of messing up our plans occasionally, I know how you feel.

CDGardens said...

It is better to give hunting a try, or you never know whether or not you could have had some success. Still time to try everything over again.

I remember last year our shotgun deer seasons were wiped out by freezing rain and frigid winds...Sure hope we get some better weather this year.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you all for your encouraging words. I am back out on Friday and Saturday. Another cold weather front is forecast minus flog and ice rain. Maybe that will be the ticket.

-ov-

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