LTWL Hunter Online LTWL Hunter Online 2016 - Page 27

Hunting Traditions: The Learning Years Part 2 I laugh every time I think about this, since Gary is actually one of the hardest working members of the party. He’s the first one up every morning and the last one down every night. I was looking forward to our early morning coffee time! I was also looking forward to a little payback. You see, Gary and Mike never let me pay them one cent for the cost for shipping our gear to the field or for the food on our first trip. This one was on me, and I was also looking forward to showing them how much I had learned. Jeff and I flew out a few days in front of Gary’s party, encountering a really good bull moose on the first day we could hunt, but he managed to put the slip on us. We’d see him again! The weather was cooperating and the grayling were biting as though they hadn’t eaten since we left last year. Jeff and I took advantage of the fishing and spent the first couple of days hunting, packing and floating into our first base camp. We started hunting from a place we call “Wolf Point”, which is nothing more than a rock outcropping where Gary had ambushed a couple of wolves on a previous hunt. From Wolf Point, we could see our drop off location and we got a big kick out of watching Gary and Mike pack their gear to the river. We were both happy that it was them instead of us, after having just gone through that marathon event a couple days earlier. Getting gear to the river can be more than half the battle. Most hunters would rather land on a bar beside the river and not deal with the packing, which helps avoid overcrowding the area. when Mike looked over at my raft and said, “Hey Guys, we can’t pass this opportunity up”. Mike’s idea was to let all of the air out of two tubes on my raft and to set it up to look like the bear It wasn’t long before the whole gang was in base camp, and we had a grand old time. We caught up on our hunts, shared meals and campfires and did our best to pull a few pranks on one another. One particular prank they pulled on me happened when Mike’s son Shawn shot a grizzly right next to our rafts. He had been glassing most of the morning and was taking a bit of a mid-day siesta when he woke up looking at a grizzly that was less than 17 yards away! Shawn didn’t hesitate to shoot, taking his very first barren ground grizzly. Mike, Gary and Shawn were taking pictures and skinning Shawn’s bear, 27