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Author Topic: A DAY IN THE LIFE ... - Doug Campbell  (Read 455 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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A DAY IN THE LIFE ... - Doug Campbell
« on: November 04, 2003, 06:57:00 AM »
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MONTANA BOWHUNTER/COWBOY
by Doug Campbell

 Just after daylight I spooked a couple gobblers and a hen at the edge
of the road. I expect they were headed out to pick gravel. These
Mariams sure don’t seem as spooky as the Easterns in Missouri. Can’t
hunt them in this county yet but they seem pretty plentiful, maybe in a
year or two.

Didn’t make it another hundred yards and saw movement ahead. Slipped up
to the edge of a nice sized park and two spike bulls, (they hadn’t
dropped their antlers yet) are feeding 40 yards away with their butts
to me. I sat and watched till they fed into the timber. Didn’t want to
spook them and anything else that might be in the area. I saw four big
bulls here last weekend, a couple even had branched velvet antlers
already.

This is the last day of spring bear season. The Fish and Game Dept.
posted a notice at the end of our road that the quota of five sows had
been filled thus the season closes within 48 hours. What a bummer, I’ve
only seen one bear although I had found a fair amount of sign. One
track I followed for 300 yards measured 6” across the front pad.

It is another beautiful day, there’s a skim of ice on the beaver ponds
just below where I parked. Every few minutes you hear the thumping
whirr of drumming grouse. I managed to sneak to within eight feet of
one doing his thing. There seems to be a good crop, hopefully they’ll
have good nesting conditions this year. Should be fun and good eating
this fall.

Well it’s 8:30 time to get back and feed the cows, no bears this
morning. On the way back to the house I look out in our neighbors
field. Mixed in among his buffalo herd is a good herd of antelope. I
can’t help humming “Oh Home On The Range”. After feeding the cattle one
of the fishing guides who leases our stretch of the West Boulder shows
up and we visit for a while. I need to go fishing with these guys one
of these days. Maybe I can learn some of their secrets.

Time to catch my pony and go ride a couple miles of fence. The elk and
deer are really hard on fence around here. I tied my horse and climbed
a rim rock area too steep for him. As I stepped around a big rock I
hear an odd buzzing sound. It takes a second for it to sink in then I’m
trying to look everywhere at once. I spot the rattler just as he comes
out of the coil and darts under the rock I just stepped off of. He
wasn’t four feet away, that’ll get your blood pumping. I spent the next
half hour digging him out of his hole. I know some people will slam me
for it but I didn’t want to meet this guy again up there. I finally got
to where I could see him and flipped him out from under the rock. He
headed down the steep slope and I slid down after him. I thumped him on
the head with a stick and took a step back. Buzzzz again, no it wasn’t
him this time. I looked over my shoulder and three feet away lays
another one. It was definitely getting too crowded around there. I
still had my stick and put it to use. A careful look around didn’t
reveal any more surprises.

I think these are praire rattlers, going to have to research that. One
snake was 45” and the other was 39” not huge but pretty big for living
at 6000 feet. The skins will look cool and we’ll have fried rattler
tomorrow. The rest of the of the way around wasn’t as exciting except
for finding a nice shed from a four point muley and tons of fantastic
scenery since we were 600 feet above the river bottom.

The wind is carrying the calls of the Canadian geese and Sandhill
cranes up to me, sounds cool. Ol’ Dunny, my horse, and I were both
pretty beat after that climb. He’s from the same low country I am.
Turns out Adam the fishing guide only caught a few smaller fish. The
river is up and colored a little, the 20 mph south wind probably didn’t
help and either.

Time to clean up and hit the bear woods again. Headed out to a small
patch of quakies, (aspen) with a nice spring at the upper end. I saw
lots of bear tracks there last year when  moving cattle. It’s only an
hour and a half till dark and the grouse are going stronger than ever.
I took my time easing thru the quakie patch and got a big thrill when
the spring came into view. I could just make out a big animal with lots
of silvery tipped hair and a hump on it’s back thru the trees. My first
thought was one of the few grizzlies we have in the area. I really went
into the cautious mode then. The wind was in my favor so I eased on up
closer. I was within 20 yards when it’s head raised up and the big ears
and snout of a cow moose materialized. Wow, my imagination was really
getting a workout there for a while. I watched her for a while till she
got her fill of water and moved off into the timber. She should have a
calf before long then she will be as dangerous as the grizzlies. Made a
three hundred yard circle back to the truck several deer out roaming
but no bears. Guess my tag will just have to wait till the fall season
to be used and I’ll have to practice my stalking on the huge gopher
crop this summer. Man what a day, I’m completely worn out but feel
great. Life in Montana is good.

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