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Author Topic: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017  (Read 5372 times)

Offline hirshey

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Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« on: March 31, 2018, 12:58:15 PM »
Yeah... this is really belated. Sorry for my absence; this fall/winter really got away from me!  :dunno: We will see how much of this adventure I can recount this long afterwards...  :chuckle: stick with me, as I'm trying to organize photos the same time I write.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Online h20hunter

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 12:58:36 PM »
I'm in.

Online Widgeondeke

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 01:01:49 PM »
All ears.           :fire.:

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 01:03:38 PM »
The season was fast approaching, and our group was riding the highs of our Washington adventures right into preparations for Idaho. The players were similar to years past, with only one new addition. The annual email was sent out months in advance, and went as follows:

"Hello Team Awesome!
 
The crew has been tentatively finalized for the season, with Michael as our only new addition this season.
 
A little about each of you, since some are not familiar with others:

Evie is my mom, and a mountain fiend! She tries to pretend she's the slow one of the group but we are all aware she can hike circles around us all. She's retired from the XXXXX School District as a cook, so she's accustomed to early mornings, and can spot those big bucks with the best of us. We're looking forward to spotting yet another big bull elk together for Michael, similar to Jeff's from this past season. If you're in the market for a bollo tie or a stunning bugling bull elk on a glass window, she's also your perfect contact. 😉

Derrick is a hulk of a man with legs powered by protein shakes and mango caffeine packets. He somehow puts up with my shenanigans and I'm fortunate enough to call him my partner. He's OCD when it comes to organization, and will build a backcountry camp to rival any setup a guided service might offer. Just give him some chocolate and some parachute chord and he'll make it happen. 😊 He's also carrying a hunting tag in his pocket for the first season! Let's make this happen!
 
Storm is a mountain man from Oregon that builds world class log homes for a living, but spends his spare time enjoying the outdoors. An ace fisherman, fixed-wing pilot, an intermediate survivalist (he has eaten more plants than I'm sure most of you would dare), and a father of two awesome boys, who can't come hunting with us or there'd be no more big bucks within a 10 mile radius. 😊.
 
 Jeff is one of the other veterans of this hunt... he harvested a really beautiful 4x5 with eyeguards on the first day and ended up being a professional pack mule by the end of the trip. He chases sea lions and seals across remote beaches ranging from Alaska to California and beyond for a living... perhaps sometime you'll have to ask him how the Galapagos Islands are! A semi-professional fisherman (he used to get paid to fish all day), avid hunter, and gear junkie, he's friendly enough to shake hands with a bear and knowledgeable enough to successfully stalk one and spank it on the behind. :)

Michael is a dental professional from Louisiana. His wife and little girl have been generous enough to share him with us for a week while he searches for the mighty wapiti. He may not be accustomed to hills, but this guy has harvested and eaten more creatures than most of us have probably witnessed... even Jeff while he stares beaches loaded with sea lions! An avid fisherman and diver, Michael is excited to try his hand at an elk... although he won't be holding his breath; he does that enough while spearing massive ocean critters. :)   

AND... me: Kari. The silly person that bothers you with emails annually about our pending adventure; wildland firefighter, helicopter medical professional with a passion for pounding the hillsides. 
 
Attached is still our "Don't Die in Idaho" list with haves/needs. Let's start up the conversation on what people can bring, or would like to bring.
 
The one thing I'll be purchasing for us this season that we didn't have last year is a few more dry sacks for spare gear. Jeff got us another tent like a crazy person, so I think we will be sitting pretty up at spike... (or ultra spike?)
 
Any other thoughts on wants/needs?
 
Thanks,
-Kari"
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 01:09:42 PM »
The crew was set, as was the totes full of adventure gear and food. I had just finished buying some frivolities (mini pies for everyone to enjoy with some spiked cocoa for one evening) when I received a phone call that altered our hunt: Storm had been very busy building another masterpiece of a home in Eastern Oregon while his wife was keeping the home fires burning. While performing chores around their property, she injured her back and was completely immobile... he wouldn't be able to meet up with us in 3 days for the hunt. We talked a little more, and agreed we would still take his share of food and camp gear and leave it at our vehicle in a tote; if he came, he just needed to grab the items from our car using our hide-a-key and get himself to base camp. We were all sorely hoping his wife had a quick recovery... not only for her sake, but for Team Awesome's as well. 
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 01:20:30 PM »
The day arrived when the four of us traveling from Washington convened at my parent's home. Jeff's truck was loaded to the gills with all his new gadgets, and I quietly mused as to how we were to fit any deer in that thing on our trip home. My mother was taking her own vehicle, as she planned on coming out a little earlier than us "kids". Jeff had burned a "Big Buck" mix for each vehicle, and we took off from central Washington ready for whatever Idaho could throw at us. Michael was planning on flying into Boise and renting a car to meet us later that night, and we confirmed he made his flight. Team Awesome, minus Storm, was on the move! As we enjoyed lunch in a town about halfway to our destination for the evening, we received a phone call from Michael: he had arrived in Boise and was at a Fish and Game tag purchasing kiosk... he asked Jeff why the general season non-resident elk tags weren't showing up as an option for purchase. After some further digging, we had discovered that for the first time in a decade, a non-resident elk tag cap had been reached... Michael hadn't yet purchased an elk tag (due to family reasons dictating this as the best move for him) and now that option was off the table. He had no interest in meeting up with us simply to tag along, so after a few hours of discussing options and considering the situation, he decided to book a return flight back to Louisiana. Jeff was sick with disappointment, feeling that he had let down his friend (although as we reassured him, none of us were Idaho experts, and in all our time hunting there it had been a non-issue to pick up a tag even after the season had started). With heavy hearts, we scrambled that evening to downgrade gear and food for the next day's trek and tried to realign our attitudes for the fun adventures yet to come. What a way to start 12 days in the wilds!!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 08:31:42 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 01:31:58 PM »
The morning of departure arrived, and we enjoyed breakfast at our usual cafe prior to departure. The steps of the establishment were armored with minuscule spikes of frost lit up by the welcoming glow from inside. The town wasn't quite awake yet, aside from this favorite establishment of hunters and locals alike. As the morning sun climbed over the surrounding peaks and battled through the eerie layers of fog and clouds, we parked our vehicles and commenced our adventure. By noon, we had base camp set up in our normal haunt with firewood, water, and bedding set up for the four of us. We used the InReach to message Storm and let him know we left his spot open as we packed up our spike camp setup and hit the hills. By nightfall, we had the titanium stove in spike camp burning red hot and had spotted a few "last few days" bucks in the surrounding basins. We had found one career 3x3 that my mom was pretty excited about... using my dad's famous line she had quickly claimed "I'd shoot it!". If we didn't find something else she was excited about in the next few days, that buck was definitely on her hit list. There was more snow this year than in the past few seasons; the game plan we had created in our heads prior to arrival MIGHT be off the table, but we were still planning on attempting it at first light. We all rested our heads, finally releasing the stresses of our absent comrades and allowing the anticipation of the adventures to come fill those voids.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2018, 01:38:14 PM »
"I'd shoot it!"
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 01:50:37 PM »
The morning hum of alarms started a flurry of activity: the fire was rekindled, JetBoils heralded the aroma of fresh coffee, and morning meals were consumed. We all geared up in various stages of quickness... which generally meant I had 10-20 minutes of glassing the surrounding basins before our big push for the day was to start.  :chuckle: The same bucks revealed themselves on the steep slopes, milling around small groups of does waiting to get lucky. With no big boys in sight and everyone loaded with the daily essentials, we took off up the main drainage with the intention of completing around a 14 mile, 9,000 (gain/loss) foot elevation day. In snow. Deep snow.  :o .

We hiked around the next bend, revealing another drainage to glass. After finding more small bucks and large groups of unattended does, we continued our trek. We were now in shin/knee deep snow in the drainage and had only made it a fraction of the planned distance for the day. The four of us continued around the corner, revealing the next drainage. Tracks high on the ridgelines revealed evidence of our intended targets, but no animals. We continued up and on. Eventually, I realized I was hiking, and I wasn't having fun. I looked behind me and saw the same emotions etched into my mother's face. I made a command decision.

"Jeff, Derrick... my mom and I are going to go back to the last drainage and gain that ridgeline. I just don't see many animals wanting to be up this high right now."

The discussion continued, and we all agreed: Derrick and Jeff were hell-bent on completing the Google-Earth route we had planned from the comfort of our desks, but my mom and I were heading back to where I knew we could find some animals. We parted ways, and my mom and I worked back around the corner to gain the drainage with some tracks but no visible animals.

The hike was tough: knee deep snow gave way to shin deep slush as we gained enough elevation to trek the sun-kissed slopes.

I looked at my mom and smiled: "We're already 1/4 of the way to the top! We only have to do that effort 3 more times!" ...she was not impressed :chuckle:
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 12:06:37 AM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2018, 01:54:03 PM »
((stopping here waiting for photos to load to the right folder... will write more when photos can accompany the storyline))  :dunno:
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2018, 01:57:38 PM »
Great read so far,I would buy the book.  :tup:
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(this is in reference to the biggie not me).

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2018, 02:01:23 PM »
sounds great! Good read already

Offline jstone

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2018, 02:05:36 PM »
Love hunting Mule Deer in the snow. Great read

Offline Timberstalker

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2018, 02:10:03 PM »
Tagging along. Thanks for sharing, Hirshey.
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Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2018, 02:22:42 PM »
Video of that day's conditions: (don't scroll through my Instagram profile if you haven't... or else some of the story's particulars will be spoiled.  :chuckle: )

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbyGiEDDRsA/


(Couldn't figure out how to embed video from Instagram, so link is best I can do...  :dunno: )
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.