LTWL Hunter Online LTWL Hunter Online 2016 - Page 19

Hunting Traditions: The Learning Years Part 2 During our little dinner party I breached the subject of possibly going hunting next season, and to my disappointment, Gary and Mike did not have any plans to hunt moose the following year, but they were gracious enough to give me permission to plan and hunt their location on my own. Joining in on a hunt as a guest and planning your own remote wilderness float hunt are two different things, and I would soon find out that there is a lot more to one of these hunts than most people would ever imagine. My first challenge is figuring out whom to go with. I wanted to take someone that had good wilderness skills and someone that I could count on to honor my commitment to Gary and Mike. This turned out to be the easiest part of the whole shebang, as Steve Sanders and his son Jeramiah, a Captain in the Air Force, readily accepted the invitation to join me. From the start, we hit problems with timing and transporters. In fact, our transporter closed up shop, which delayed our hunt the following season. So it was 2004 before I officially started planning my own trip into this area, and thus begins what I call THE LEARNING YEARS. I can tell you that looking back on these years today, I didn’t know squat back then and I am grateful for the help I received along the way. I had come to learn the importance of having a good gear list to guarantee a successful trip like this, especially when considering the logistics including the shipment of heavy items like rafts. Preparation for transport of hazardous substances like raft repair glue (believe it or not), propane and Coleman fuel via air cargo is very important. In fact, many items cannot be shipped on passenger flights and must be either purchased locally or shipped via air cargo. I’ve learned that shipping my gear well in advance and ensuring it has arrived prior to my departure, can make your hunt go a whole lot smoother. Many transporters will pickup your gear from air cargo carriers on your behalf. The next step was to find a transporter, preferably one with both float and wheel planes. This turned out to be the hardest part, and for the next several years I would end-up using two separate transporters to get me and my party in and out of the field, but by God it worked! The first year I hunted this area, I packed Mike Thorne’s 130 lb. raft a mile to the river and I thought I could avoid that little party again by using a lighter raft with a standard floor, which would be much easier to pack. This was prior to the days of the super lightweight rafts we use today, but later I found out that the raft I purchased for this hunt simply would not cut it. Steve and I could not get our schedules aligned to hunt during the prime rut and we flew into the field with Gary’s words still ringing in my ear, You’re going too early Boudreaux, it won’t be the same hunt. 19