Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 61

The vast country of the Salmon River region in central Idaho is steep and home to backcountry mule deer. Kyle Hurst with a mature mule deer from Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River. PLACE A Why I return to hunt mule deer in Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon, The River of No Return. By Jason Brooks FEW MILES FROM CAMP a large rock overhang stood prominent against the deep river can- yon walls. Upon closer inspection, the rocks are marked with primitive reddish orange paint depicting a scene where the sun was high and a hunter yielding a bow was chasing his prey. This camp was at an overlook where the Middle Fork of the Salmon River flowed through a large pool and broke into steep rapids. Often used as an early route through the Rocky Mountains the river was navigated by Native Amer- icans, homesteaders, gold miners and fur traders. But due to its steep rapids using the river as a corridor for travel it was a one-way trip and this region was to become known as “The River of No Return”. Once you made your passage down there was no way to go back up. Standing under the rock cut and admiring the Native artwork I felt as if time www.westernhuntingjournal.com 59