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Hey Ontario Honker are you going to post those survival stories? No hurry.

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  • Hey Ontario Honker are you going to post those survival stories? No hurry.

    Hey Ontario Honker are you going to post those survival stories? No hurry.

  • #2
    Sorry to keep you waiting.

    Okay, this is not the hairiest of my survival stories but it is certainly the eeriest. 1998 was not a great year for the kind of hunting I enjoyed. I’m a tracker and I require good snow and we never got any of the white stuff till right at the tail end of the season. I had a bull moose tag and finally managed to get out the last day of hunting, December 15th. I went up to my old hunting camp, an area that I was quite familiar with. Early in the morning just after daybreak I hit tracks made by two relatively small animals. Figured they might be a pair of young bulls looking for some action in the late rut so I stuck with them. I was quite certain where they were taking me and knew I had to be super stealthy as I would have to catch them both sleeping to get a shot and with a pair together that was not likely. Sure enough, about three in the afternoon I kicked them up and got just a glimpse as two young bulls bolted through the brush. It was useless trying to run them down again but I stuck to their tracks hoping they would take me to some other animals. By then it was starting to snow fairly hard but I wasn’t too worried because, as I said, I was pretty sure I knew where I was located. Eventually, as it was getting towards the end of daylight, the tracks took me into a moose heaven! Tracks were everywhere and I could hear animals grunting and breaking brush all around me. Very exciting but I was not inclined to shoot at anything that late. Eventually I stepped out onto an abandoned logging road which was good news because by then it was snowing very hard. I followed the road, quite certain that it would take me back to where my truck was parked. At one point the road made a relatively sharp turn to the left and my eyes happened to look to the right in the waning light where I recognized something terribly familiar! It was a pine tree with a low hanging thick branch that stuck out horizontally about three yards and then hooked upwards vertically. It looked like the perfect branch to hang a kid’s swing on. I had seen this tree before and my heart sank right into my boots because I knew it was a good ten miles cross country to my truck and that road was only taking me further away from where I needed to be. By now it was nearly dark and my own tracks were filling with snow almost as fast as I was making them. I hustled back down the road to the spot where I knew I had to start bushwhacking to the trailhead that would lead to my truck. On the third attempt I fumbled around in a circle in the brush for almost an hour before stumbling back to the road. It was futile trying that again. I remembered a large upward sloping flat rock formation back down the road a half mile that could lead me to the divide above the Posh River. The trail to my truck lay on the west side of a large old cutting unit adjacent to that river. The loggers had cut a bit too close to the river at one point and the trees in the buffer had blown over some years before. I figured if I went up the rock face and then straight down to the river I could follow it until I came to the blowdown, then head west for the trail. I wasn’t dressed for the kind of weather I was into by then. I was wearing wool pants over my jeans, a light flannel shirt under a wool shirt, and an unlined polar fleece zip-front jacket. I was wearing a corduroy ball cap with a polar fleece parrot hood over that. In my pack I had the usual half sandwich left plus maybe a half dozen Halloween-size Snickers bars. That was not enough to get me through the night so I made the decision to shoot for the river route. It was easy enough finding the Posh but not so easy following it. The bank was a series of rock cliffs full of hidden crevasses. I had a flashlight but I had to be as conservative with it as possible. It was nasty going and I almost broke my leg once. But at least down along the river I was out of the wind which was picking up quite a bit. At one point I made the totally reckless decision to cross the ice on a beaver pond rather than negotiate the cliffs surrounding it. By then things were starting to get desperate. Shortly afterwards I came to the blowdown, crawled through it, and recognized that an opening lay before me, even though I could barely see fifteen yards in the darkness and blowing blizzard. I was shivering a bit and checked my speech: “Well, should I give it a go? Guess if I can’t make it, I can always turn around and come back to the river bottom, scavenge some dead cedar and start a fire.” I had trouble talking so I knew hypothermia was setting in. Nevertheless, I decided to go for it. Ate a couple of candy bars, changed the batteries in my flashlight, cross-slung my rifle, and headed off. As soon as I was away from the trees I was in a total whiteout. At one point I stopped and looked back. My tracks were already gone! And I could no longer hear the river. I was nothing but a mass of moving snow moving in no definitive direction. My speech didn’t make sense and I was shivering very hard. At that point I knew I was beyond the point of returning to the river. Even if I could find it, I did not have the energy left to build a fire and keep it going. The only option was to continue on and find the flagging marking the trailhead at the far side of the cutting unit. But I had absolutely no idea where I was going. Though I knew where I was, I was totally lost. I remembered from the night before that a healthy moon was out and that it set just after midnight. At that point I did something I almost never do. I prayed. I asked to just see the moon long enough get my bearings west. Now, here’s the eerie part. No sooner asked than granted! In that blizzard a hole opened in the clouds just large enough for me to see the moon. And that hole stayed there until the moment I hit the gully on the far side of the cut ... where I just happened to stumble directly into the flagging tape marking the trail to my truck. I was in tough shape when I got to the vehicle but it had food and pop (semi-frozen) to recharge me. Still, it was a long seventy miles home. I had to stop several times to wake myself up. Didn’t crawl in bed till nearly four in the morning. My wife mumbled, “Good grief, you’re late ... and you’re so cold!” I didn’t tell her the story for several years, afraid she’d make me stop hunting.

    Comment


    • #3
      Now that could of been the start of a really bad situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Now that could of been the start of a really bad situation. And thanks for the story.

        Comment

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