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Reflections on Montanaotherala

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  • #16
    Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
    Random thoughts.

    I knew going in this wasn't going to be easy, but still wasn't quite prepared mentally. Having the boy along compounded this, parents worry about their kids more than themselves. As I mentioned earlier last year's accident loomed large as well. Kudos to my wife for her support. At home I don't use a headlamp, I know my way around well enough I don't generally need one. However after using one for a week I'll probably start as my eyes aren't what they used to be. My concern with coming out in the dark was that one of us was going to twist/break an ankle or leg, or get impaled somehow. Going in you know you'll have all day to deal with an issue but the stakes seem higher on the way out. It never occurred to me until Thursday that if something had happened to the boy or I the guide could have carried either of us out. Of course if he was injured we would have been stuck.

    That Wednesday morning I can't explain at all, other than to say if any of the circumstances from noon Tuesday until that morning had been different we wouldn't have been sitting over that knob with a properly sighted in rifle. I've always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason and this experience only reinforces it in stone.

    As parents we always want our kids to have better and be better than ourselves. If nothing else it appears I'm well on my way to being a successful dad. Credit also to my wife of course. No doubt this trip helped the boy to push through adversity to an end goal. I don't talk about my daughter near as much but be rest assured she follows in her brother's footsteps.

    Our guide and the guy from NY both assured me that no one else there were pushing as hard as us and him, even though I felt like I wasn't always giving it my all. The other guy was going pretty hard himself, but they lost the second day getting stuck, and did one horseback trip that was an adventure unto itself. Most of the others were staying low hoping to stumble onto younger animals. You read all the time how getting on mature critters means getting back in to where they are, where most people aren't willing. Our guide explained it a little more, saying these trophy animals live mostly solitary lives only allowing themselves to be vulnerable during breeding or when deep snow keeps them out in the open on feed. The boy killed the only animal there all week.

    The first couple days I couldn't get a read on the guide. He has an over the top personality that had me questioning if he was for real. Turned out not only is he the real deal, but much more dedicated, hard core and professional than I could have ever imagined anyone being. It was an absolute pleasure being paired with him, especially because he connected with my son so well. Of the two of us I'm sure he'd rather hunt with the boy and that's not a complaint in any way.

    So the big question. Would I do it all again?

    Maybe.

    Thing is having done it I now know what I'd be up against and would be much better prepared going in. Physically I can still do the climbs, coming down is the hard part. Muscles recover faster than my back and joints. I absolutely can't see me doing this as a DIY trip without several good partners or at least having packers lined up. Definately not solo. OHH has my deepest respect.

    The other problem is simply means, I'm not in a position to pull this off financially on a regular basis. At least not and staying married😎. Considering that there are other experiences I'd like to try there really isn't much point in doing this again just to prove something to myself. However that could easily change. The other possibility is going back but doing it the easier way. That's the least likely scenario as there are other places to do that.

    Bottom line, the kid killed what could be the buck of his life and I was there. Given that that deer or me killing a raghorn elk he wins hands down everytime. I'll get to enjoy looking at it hanging on my wall somewhere for the next several years while he'll have his entire lifetime to look at it, always remembering what we did together.
    Hope I didn't convey the wrong message. I respect you and your decisions absolutely. I was not there and therefore in no position to pass judgement or be critical. Only giving my personal views of what I personally choose to do. My life in the woods alone may seem to be strange and living on the edge for most folks. I understand where they are coming from. It is harder I guess to understand where I come from. It was not always this way. I learned the tricks of hunting alone gradually. And I had no mentor. Lived to tell the tale in the end. Maybe that required something special ... or a lot of luck ... or both. I would NOT recommend it for everyone. Certainly not without gradual orientation and adaptation. It can be quite literally a shock to the system, especially after darkness settles in. Humans are social creatures who live in the light. It is quite natural that we should be apprehensive about being in situations where we are alone and can't see what's going on around us. Overcoming that apprehension requires modifying natural instincts for survival that have evolved over millions of years.

    Perhaps the biggest reason why I evolved into the solo hunter is quite frankly I'm hard on my friends. Dogs are more forgiving and tolerant. We can hunt till their feet bleed and they don't care. Never complain. Never want to stop. Strange how teaching and public relations was my business in the Park Service and I was very good at it but off the job I was always a different person. An enigma. I guess that's better than being a sheep in the herd.

    I am so glad you got to share your son's accomplishment. Dad would have loved to be with me when I made my marks. But his job didn't allow it and after retirement his health broke down. So he just lived vicariously through my stories and was happy enough with that. Wish my daughter could find the time and effort to join me for even the odd day of goose hunting. But she has her own family now and needs to concentrate on building memories with them (so put down the phone and do it, Jessie!). We had our time.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post

      Hope I didn't convey the wrong message. I respect you and your decisions absolutely. I was not there and therefore in no position to pass judgement or be critical. Only giving my personal views of what I personally choose to do. My life in the woods alone may seem to be strange and living on the edge for most folks. I understand where they are coming from. It is harder I guess to understand where I come from. It was not always this way. I learned the tricks of hunting alone gradually. And I had no mentor. Lived to tell the tale in the end. Maybe that required something special ... or a lot of luck ... or both. I would NOT recommend it for everyone. Certainly not without gradual orientation and adaptation. It can be quite literally a shock to the system, especially after darkness settles in. Humans are social creatures who live in the light. It is quite natural that we should be apprehensive about being in situations where we are alone and can't see what's going on around us. Overcoming that apprehension requires modifying natural instincts for survival that have evolved over millions of years.

      Perhaps the biggest reason why I evolved into the solo hunter is quite frankly I'm hard on my friends. Dogs are more forgiving and tolerant. We can hunt till their feet bleed and they don't care. Never complain. Never want to stop. Strange how teaching and public relations was my business in the Park Service and I was very good at it but off the job I was always a different person. An enigma. I guess that's better than being a sheep in the herd.

      I am so glad you got to share your son's accomplishment. Dad would have loved to be with me when I made my marks. But his job didn't allow it and after retirement his health broke down. So he just lived vicariously through my stories and was happy enough with that. Wish my daughter could find the time and effort to join me for even the odd day of goose hunting. But she has her own family now and needs to concentrate on building memories with them (so put down the phone and do it, Jessie!). We had our time.
      Totally understood sir. There is no doubt that growing up in different environments allows people to develop different survival strategies and awareness to their surroundings. I’d take a month of what we just did over having to live and commute in a city for a week. Adjusting is key, and the older you are the harder to adapt. Our first day didn’t really push us, the second did right off the bat and the kid struggled early but overcame quickly pushing through his discomfort. I kinda rode it out in waves, mentally getting better but grinding down physically.

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      • #18
        After reading all your posts, I searched hard for something deep, profound or pithy to say.
        All I can come up with is just, "WOW! Awesome!"

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        • #19
          Great story. Simply a great read.

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