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Author Topic: I miss the old way of deer hunting.  (Read 7014 times)

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2019, 05:28:28 PM »
Another old way of deer hunting I miss is the "mystery of the hunt" (I guess you could call it). Back in the 70,s my dad had a lot of his Ironworker buddies in camp and a couple of those guys (including my dad) were what you would find in the dictionary if you looked up "TOUGH". Back in the 60,s and 70,s my dad and about 3 other relatives and a handful of friends were pretty much the cats meow when it came to building stuff out of iron, they worked from coast to coast, Alaska, and a few foreign countries, the pipeline, the Columbia center, dams, skyscrapers you name it, if something big was to be erected, more times than not my dad and his buddies used a spud wrench or had a weld on it during that time period, around the west especially. Well my dad was the last to survive, all friends and family(except one other that I know of) in this trade eventually died on the job and to this day are missed. They produced some of the most "colorful" memories of hunting camp for me, they all had each others back while hunting as they did while on the job. One night we were around the fire and it was cold(early 70,s if I remember right :dunno:), the temps never got above freezing for 2 weeks, in fact most of the time it never went above 10 degrees, in fact we had to keep milk, eggs etc close to the fire to keep them from freezing. We had around 20 folks left in camp total(about 10 others had left a few days earlier) and we all had nice bucks hanging except for 1 guy. Well, Paul(not the Paul that I told stories of earlier) was hardcore to say the least, he was lean, mean and in the prime of his life. A small snowstorm hit a couple days earlier and my dad told Paul of a spot about 6 miles to the east  that deer would be pouring through, my dad including a couple others offered to go in with him, he declined the help and I remember him saying "I,ll be back in 2 days with a big boy, if I,m not, then come look,in for me". Paul grabbed his sleeping bag, rifle, some jerky, candy bars and some canned chile along with a jug of water and headed out, 2 days went by and I remember my dad getting a few of us together to go get him, about the time we were getting ready to head out here came Paul. No buck and a look on his face I have never seen before or since. He proceeded to load his truck very calmly told everyone goodbye and pulled out, it was something I will never forget, he never came hunting again. After the season my dad talked with him and everything was ok, I remember my dad telling me "oh he just seen something" but I never did get the whole story. Paul was killed in an accident on the job a few years later. A few years after that I asked my dad what happened on that trip, did Paul ever tell you "what he saw", my dad never said anything about it, in fact up until my dad passed a couple years ago the story was never told to anyone, it was between Paul and my dad.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 05:34:28 PM by bigmacc »

Offline Mtnwalker

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #61 on: July 12, 2019, 06:25:43 PM »
Paul didn’t even give a “hey guys, don’t go over there” or anything before he left? Hmm..

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2019, 06:46:08 PM »
Paul didn’t even give a “hey guys, don’t go over there” or anything before he left? Hmm..

Absolutely not, just a strange look on his face while he loaded up to leave. To this day my dad was the only one who knew what happened or what Paul seen on that 2 day trip 6 miles from camp, my dad took it to his grave.

Offline hardrichard

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #63 on: July 12, 2019, 09:18:17 PM »
Hey Bigmacc I still remember that story about Paul I always looked forward to it being told around the campfire......always gave me chills especially when I was younger ;) your brother and I always had our theory on what he might have encountered but like you said we never ever got told by your dad. kind of spooky :yike:

Offline elksnout

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #64 on: July 14, 2019, 11:06:18 PM »
I appricate the old stories and the old timers who tell them. It's dawned on me that now I'm now a sixty something... :chuckle: :chuckle:  Does that make me an old timer?  :yike: Thank you bigmac for your stories of the history of your families hunting heritage and local history of the great mule deer herds that once roamed our state. I have nothing close to compare but do have fifty years of hunting deer and elk on the west side. Specifically the SW section of the state. I keep telling my son who's become a great hunter in his own right (and my bestest hunting partner) what I've lost in those fifty years....

I'm going to ramble a bit with my thoughts.

I remember.....
When you could leave I5 and either go up the Coweeman or Kamala River and come out at Cougar. We'd spend the day doing that. Now you need a $300 trespass fee. Go figure. I loved driving thru Camp Kalama and seeing all the yellow and green log trucks and equipment and the smell of cut old growth doug fir. Man that's a great memory for me with my dad. I remember all the elk camps at the old Camp Coweeman site too. You still could find some of the old railroad trestle's from the old logging days out across some of the canyons. I remember during elk season driving out of Cougar and there being a stream of log trucks heading up in the dark. Seeing their marker lights in the rearview was cool. They would be lined up in front of the restaurant left running and ready to go. When I was in grade school that highway turned to gravel not far east out of Cougar. We would be flying up that road in the dark on Friday nights packed into the tiny standard cab of my dad's 1960 Chevy pickup dodging pot holes to get to elk camp up on Clear Creek. I'd be left behind at camp to protect my mom wity BB gun and maybe get a bull :chuckle: :chuckle:
One time I walked across a downed tree which fell over Clear Creek. Then I froze and wouldn't come back. My mom freaked. Our family friend Lorraine who grew up with my mom in North Dakota and who's husband was my dad's hunting partner crawled across with a stick to get me. Still can see that. On one trip there was a lost hunter. Everyone gathered around a big fire and fired signal shots during the night. Then there was the night we all heard a cat just inside the trees wailing and scaring all. And one morning we woke up to elk tracks all around both pickups and campers. Anyone remember when elk meat was hung in front of the camps under clear or black visqueen instead of either being hid or placed under blue hillbilly tarps? Sometimes it was fun to just drive around during the day checking out all the camps. In the national forest there used to be logging. When we drove up the 90 road you better have  your CB on to monitor where the log trucks were and also radio out your location based on the milepost lest you get ran off the road. Those loaded logging trucks can get mighty scary on a blind corner! Up until the mid 90's hunting deer in the national forest was great hunting. Elk hunting lasted just a bit longer. Now roads are  bermed off or torn up. The cuts are now a sea of reprod you can barely walk thru let alone see into. The deer are all but gone. There's still some of the traditional camps going up each year. Pretty much for tradition if you look at the harvest stats for those units. Campgrounds used to stay open too thru the fall. Now almost all close shortly after Labor Day. You never saw tourists up there until St. Helens blew. That ruined that country in my opinion over and above the lives lost and the devastation left behind. Any bull was legal. Spikes made up the bulk of the harvest. Hell a raghorn was a big deal then. Anybody remember Hoo Hoo Lake? We used to set up the coldest military wall tent camp in history there each fall until the mountain blew. We have pictures of us hunting up on the Plains of Abraham in short sleeves in fall before the mountain erupted. There was an old pack trial we used that went up a spine of a ridge just north of Ape Canyon. In the bottom of that unnamed canyon the country looked like a scene out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It's all gone now when the flows came out that side of the mountain. Muddy River, Pine Creek, Bean Creek, Smith Creek, Clear Creek, Clearwater Creek. Smith Butte. There was the nicest forest service campground on the Clearwater near where it dumped into the Muddy. All gone. But I persist. I still go although the last couple years I haven't hunted elk in Washington instead making my "big hunts" out of state. Rather I just camp in that country mostly these days. I do have a still somewhat decent deer hunting spot entirely in the old growth in the Wind River unit. Not a lot of deer but the last week of October has been good to me there. Good luck to all this fall.

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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #65 on: July 15, 2019, 06:11:57 AM »
Good memories and good times

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #66 on: July 17, 2019, 08:01:02 PM »
Hey Bigmacc I still remember that story about Paul I always looked forward to it being told around the campfire......always gave me chills especially when I was younger ;) your brother and I always had our theory on what he might have encountered but like you said we never ever got told by your dad. kind of spooky :yike:

Yes it was spooky, I got "chills" typing the dang story on here, I will never forget the look on his face as he loaded his truck in record time, said goodbye and was gone in a heartbeat, I,m afraid it will remain a mystery, like you, I have my theory(I think he seen something that scared the crap out of him), but the guy was hardcore and spent countless days in the wilderness by himself for years from Alaska to Wyoming and everything in between, he seen a lot in his day, if it was something he seen it threw him for a loop, and thats a fact.

Offline PA BEN

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #67 on: July 18, 2019, 05:38:20 AM »
I live the good old days every year.  If you are missing out it's your fault.
:yeah:

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #68 on: July 18, 2019, 05:42:06 PM »
Another thing I miss back in the hay-days of Methow deer hunting was when the seasons ran up into November, sometimes to the 9th, 10th or 11th. Weather could change on a dime and be 60 degrees then one day the wind would start up and within an hour the temps would be in the teens and an hour after that you would be in a whiteout. I remember my dad getting us out of bed to drive to different spots at 9 or 10 o'clock at night after a storm had passed, we would walk into different draws or saddles and just sit under trees and listen to the deer move through, sometimes it sounded like literally thousands of head moving through the thickets, it was pitch dark but you could hear them moving, you could hear the antlers snapping off the limbs of jack pines and the movement and sounds sometimes lasted for an hour before it became quiet and still again. We would go back to camp and catch a couple hours more sleep(ya right :chuckle:) then be up at 2 A.M and head out, my dad knew right where those deer were headed and about 4 miles away from that draw or saddle we would hit a trailhead and hike in about 3 miles get set up in the dark and just wait. By shooting time the herd was working its way up the draw we were watching and headed for a saddle, we could make out deer moving in and out of the fog and trees, my dad said "sit tight and no moving or talking, the bucks are coming", my dad knew we heard antlers moving through those jack pines the night before and he knew they were pulling up the rear during their travels. Sure enough a couple big bucks came into view, then more does and a few more bucks, a couple of those were huge 4 by 4,s but my dad never even put his gun up, I couldn't figure out why he wasn't shooting, then after another 50 or so deer moved through, here came the one he had a feeling about, the buck he thought was a big boy when we heard it move through that dark thicket hours and hours ago, my dad slowly raised his rifle and dropped the big non-typical in his tracks, we got up to him and to this day it is the biggest bodied deer I have ever seen, with the guts out, hide off and legs cut off at the knees he weighed in at 327 lbs if I remember right, the Game guys came up to camp and weighed him and figured on the hoof he was probably right around 400 give or take, it was an 11 by 7 that was heavily palmated and HEAVY, a roman nose and a heavily scared up face along with numerous old scars and notches to both ears, just a monster. I remember my dad saying there was a "big deer" moving in the dark that night and we found out the next morning almost 7 miles away that he could not have been more right. I posted a pic on here years ago of it and pulled it down. Man I miss those times with my dad, the guy always amazed me, when deer were on the move he could spot a herd in one area and 6-8 hours later and 10 miles away could put you right on their doorstep and set you up for a 100 yard shot, he did it more times than I can count. He used to teach us "YOU need to know what they are gonna do before THEY know what they are gonna do", and he did.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 09:59:45 AM by bigmacc »

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #69 on: July 19, 2019, 05:21:28 PM »

I miss the old cowboys that would come to our camp, a few were real characters, but all were welcome at our camp, some I remember their names and most I don't because I was so young but I do remember listening to the stories swapped between them and my family around those little Bellingham fires. Later on in life I became close with one who to this day I still call him friend, he and his wife spent time at my home and my wife and I at his. He would come up to our camp 3-4 times during hunting seasons back in the 70,s, 80,s and 90,s, most of the time him and his wife would ride their horses up to camp with a pack mule carrying steaks, other food, a little beer and a little hooch, man those were some good memories. The guy was and is a real teller of stories but was NOT a BS,r, like a lot of cowboys he just had "a way" of tellin a story :tup:. He is the one who told me the story of "the Mule Deers graveyard" he found up near Spanish Camp in the Pasayten along with many, many more of his real life adventures. Sometimes they would come up to camp and we would have 10 or 11 bucks hanging, he would walk down the ridgepole looking at every buck like he was dissecting their life by the scars on their face and the nicks and scratches on their antlers. He loved how we hung our deer head up and he loved the story of why we did it, he would say "they sure look prettier hanging that way when you turn on the firelight". Him and his wife came up to camp one year during a draught time, we had seen some bucks but at that point none of us had pulled the trigger, most of what we were seeing were tiny to say the least, horns and body( some on here remember that time period) and pretty soon we had to get serious about putting meat in the freezer. My friend looked at the ridgepole and was astonished that nothing was hanging, at this point in time camp consisted of around 15-20 folks for that time period. He offered us to come to his property and shoot a "nuisance" whitetail that he had running around terrorizing his cattle, we said ok, none of us had ever shot a whitetail at that time and now we would  be doing a service to someone who had taken care of us through the years. Well we show up at 4 in the A.M, have coffee, eat flapjacks and draw straws for who is going to shoot this flagger. One of my partners is "the chosen one", we are all taken out to a spot on the ranch, its still dark, its cold, were dodging prize bulls on the way out and its about a confusing of an ordeal as I have ever been involved with. Its right at shooting time, we are all sitting in lawn chairs, facing towards the backside of a small coulee when all the sudden we see a flash, we all say "what the hell was that", he says "thats the alien deer I want ya to get". Well I was not "the shooter" I was a "spotter" so I put my binos on this "whitetail" and I said "SH#T ITS A DAM$ BARRICADE WITH BLINKING LIGHTS " . Well we didn't shoot that barricade that day but we had a good breakfast, good conversation and a "good hunt" and a great laugh during a slow year. We ended up with 5 of THE smallest bucks we have ever killed that year, but it was a hunt and a time I will never forget because of the "folks" that were there.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2019, 05:28:50 PM »

I may have a few others, I know there may be one or two on here that may have a story or 3 :chuckle:

Offline Alchase

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2019, 06:30:15 PM »
Yes sir, need to get Idabooner to open up his long list of awesome stories!
Only 2 defining forces sacrificed themselves for you:
The American Soldier and Jesus Christ. One died for your freedom, the other for your soul.

My rock,
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.
Psalm 144.1

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2019, 12:44:33 PM »
I miss the time of year that hunting seasons used to be. We used to actually have snow a lot of years and actually be hunting in cold temperatures :chuckle:. Back when seasons were two weeks you had people who loved to go over when the weather was usually warmer during the first week who were usually in RV,s and were basically hunting a very healthy "local" population of deer in the Methow, then they would pull out with their trailors and motorhomes etc. before the weather became a little more sketchy and the next wave of folks would come in for the second week(usually going in to the 1st week of November) to have a chance at hunting more of the migrating herd. Like I said before the little Bellingham camp was usually up for 2 weeks prior to the season (all wall tents, usually around 15-20 of them) and usually the last folks would pull out a week after the season ended. I remember back in the 80,s (I think)  there was about 20 of us left with about 4-5 big tents set up and it was 2-3 days left before the season ended. The temperatures had been in the teens and low 20,s for most of the second week of the season but no snow, just cold and clear. The temperature actually climbed about 10 degrees one day and a front blew in from the north and dropped about a foot and a half of wet snow on us during the night, we were up all night knocking snow off the tents to keep the whole camp from caving in. By morning the snow had stopped, the skies cleared and the temps plummeted into the single digits. My dad said we better "shut this down and get out of dodge", he had heard another front was coming in the next day and was bringing more snow and now all this wet heavy snow was froze solid with another round on its way to drop on top of all the ice. We all had our deer and were basically camping the last few days anyway so we started to breakdown camp and load up so we could just load the tents in the AM and take off. We got up at daybreak and here came the snow and I mean it was snowing harder than I have ever seen it snow only this time it stayed cold, the temperature was in the mid 20,s. We were breaking down tents and such for about an hour in this blizzard and it was getting to be touch and go wondering if we may be here till spring :chuckle:. The snow slowed and we had about an hour to go while we were chaining up the rigs we had chains for and getting everything buttoned down when deer started coming through camp, gods truth! A huge migration was in full swing and was probably triggered a couple days earlier when the 1st storm hit, there was a couple draws to the north of us that skirted a pretty good migration route and their was so many deer coming through they were just scattering into draws and moving through. We had deer running through camp all around us, dodging vehicles and US! One of our guys grabbed a camera he had in his truck and snapped a few pictures of a couple real dandy bucks that traveled through coming to within about 15 feet from him(I had permission to post the pics a few years ago but pulled them down), all total about 100 deer give or take came through our camp that morning, weaving in and out of us, our stuff and our vehicles, I will never see anything like it again. Well once we hit the road it took us close to 5 hours to make it down a dirt road out of camp that was about 5 miles long and usually took about 20minutes or so to travel. The road was solid ice underneath about 5-6 inches of fresh snow, we had to put the driver side tires in the ditch to keep us from sliding over the bank on the passenger side which 1 jeep and a truck/camper unfortunately did, the road was froze hard as an ice rink. We had guys out in front with axes and hatchets trying to chip ruts in front of the trucks, we had about 5 rigs in our group and there were probably about another 10 rigs behind us trying to get out also. Love it, you just don't get that anymore during the regular season anymore, I remember more years than not hunting in snow back in the day and I remember hunting in single digit temps many times during the regular season, just had to throw on an extra hickory shirt under the Black Bear :tup:

Offline bigmacc

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #73 on: July 23, 2019, 02:12:27 PM »

The old cowboy that I called friend,  one year took me up to a pond that used to have water in it ;) back when, man we used to catch some big trout in that stupid little pond, some were the size of footballs but their meat unfortunately was about the same color as a football :chuckle: real muddy, any way I was over there at his place one November, the weekend prior to Thanksgiving actually. He said lets go get on the horses and I,ll take you up and show you a couple of the "nicest looking bucks you'd ever want to see, just real pretty, almost could be twins". He had been watching them for a couple weeks after him and his wife had taken a ride one day up to the pond to have lunch, they spotted these 2 big bucks with a harem of about 40 does on the opposite side of the pond, one of the bucks was on one side of the herd and the other stayed to the other side, he said he had not seen them get closer than 50 yards of each other in the 6-7 times he had rode in to watch them. When he and I got up to the pond on horses(to much snow to drive) the deer were not there, they had been hanging out there for about 2 weeks he said. Then we spotted one of the big bucks along the shore line stuck brisket deep in mud, his tongue hanging out and breathing hard(no telling how long he had been there), my buddy rode up to around 20 feet of him, grabbed his lasso and dropped the loop around his rack on the 1st shot, the loop did not go over his head or neck but got tangled in his massive rack(a big, heavy horned bugger with about a 28-30 inch spread), he put his horse in reverse and slowly pulled the buck onto solid ground, the buck was not thrilled to say the least, it was thrashing and actually made a couple false charges towards my buddy and his horse. Now "how do I get my rope back" he said, he got as close as he could by guiding the buck into a thicket for cover and to put some trees between him and the buck and he slid down the rope and cut it with about a 2-3 foot tail of rope hanging off it with a big birds nest in the rack. As the buck just walked off he said "man, I,d like to see the look on the guys face that finds those sheds". I know Ive probably told this story before but don't think I ever told "the rest of the story", turns out he had seen the buck on and off through the winter, still with the rope tangled in his antlers. One day the following April he had some time to kill and rode up to an area above the pond, he spent about 4 hours just wandering around the south end of a big hill and found his rope, BOTH sides of antlers were still knotted up in the rope, he said "when one side dropped it never hit the ground until the other side came loose", he had that mess of rope and antler in an old wood apple crate and would pull it out when the conversation got slow :chuckle:

Offline hunthard

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Re: I miss the old way of deer hunting.
« Reply #74 on: July 23, 2019, 02:26:56 PM »
Love the stories bigmacc, keep em coming :tup:

 


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