Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hunting



Hunting season has passed and now we're in a nasty cold stint.  Hunting season in Montana is somewhere around the last part of October through the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It's good we had that long, too, because it proved to be a tough hunting season.


Long story short, a favorite place where we hunted is now closed to vehicle traffic.  It just made hunting ten times harder, plus the lack of road traffic has allowed noxious weeds to flourish like never before.  We didn't see many hunters out there and the weird weather made hunting challenging.  Last year with El Nino, we had tons of snow.  This year, the National Weather Service called for "equal chances," meaning we were between El Nino and La Nina, and a mixed bag would ensue.  That meant for this season, we had a mix of cold and warm days, some with rain or snow, but with very little accumulation.

For the hunter, that sucks.  Tracking animals is a nightmare, and finding the ones you shot stupidly difficult.  The roads accumulated ice to the point where we couldn't go hunt everywhere we wanted to.  In the end, I filled my antlerless tag with a small buck and my husband got a spiker with his regular deer tag.  My regular deer tag, both elk tags, and bear tags remained unfilled.  Still, I suspect we were luckier than others.

The last day of the season was nasty.  Snow and freezing rain pelleted us as we looked for signs of animals.  The only sign we saw was tracks from a buck who went onto private land and tracks from a mountain lion that were as big as my fist.  Both tracks were made within the hour.

We have interesting stories: how my husband had a moose and calf get curious, missing good shots, the taunting grouse, among others.  We would've liked more meat in the freezer, but this will have to do, along with butchering goat wethers this winter.

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