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Old 11-22-2018, 03:51 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
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Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997
Post The Mentor

This is a BC Hunt, on the Island to be specific.
But I thought many that are introducing their Young Guns to our Obsession might relate...

Reminiscing over the near 50 years of my hunting career, I have found that many of the "goals" I set out to accomplish have been realized. Some multiple times. I still love it, and look forward to my time in the field most passionately. But through the last ten years or so, I have discovered something that brings a huge amount of excitement and satisfaction to The Game. That something is introducing new hunters to the right way of doing things, while hopefully collecting their "first" under my guidance. In fact, I have become so focused on this that at times my own hunts take a back burner to that desire.

Perhaps wrongfully titled, for the true focus should not really be on The Mentor, but rather on the Young Gun that is being coached.
Without further preamble, I am going to disclose the events that occurred this fall with one such undertaking. The report was drafted and written in a journal style, so bear with the daily happenings as they occurred.
.................................................. ..............................

At the direct request of a Rancher Buddy of mine, I have taken his young son in tow and am working hard to try and set him up to collect his very first Blacktail. The Young Gun is very proficient with firearms, having been well trained for years by both myself and his Pa. In fact, I gave him his first pellet rifle, then helped with shooting the 22 and scope that followed. Now he is up to a 12 gauge, and is very competent with it.

Although does are open in that area, he has noted he will not take one.
A lesson I try hard to instill in many over there - leave the breeders alone.
And further noted he is willing to go empty if he cannot take a buck.
There are six bucks I know of in the area.
Last night saw but a single old doe wander by, but his eyes were glistening with excitement even when we wandered back to the ranch house.

Guess a few of my Buddies are right in this regard calling me a vampire that feeds off the first timer's excitement. That bill fits!

Headed back out in a matter of an hour or two, and praying to the Goddess of The Hunt to reward this fine young man with a decent possibility to take his buck. If not tonight, hopefully soon...

All thoughts of taking another for myself are back-burnered until this is accomplished.
And if that means my tag hangs on the Christmas Tree so be it.
MUCH more important to me for this Young Gun to be brought properly into our fold!

So, like the title says, please send a little luck our way!!

Thanks and I'll letcha know as it goes...
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:54 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997

Day Two:

Well, the show last night was as close as it comes.

Sat in the natural blind we had built a few days previous, side by side.
About 50 minutes before dark, a single doe sauntered by - at ten feet!!
The Lad was as calm as could be, simply smiling and watching the show while she wandered out into the field to feed - at 25 - 30 yards.
Fifteen minutes later, another younger doe came along from a different direction.
They fed side by side for quite the spell.

Suddenly the younger one lifted her head and stared HARD into the adjacent timber opposite from us.
The larger doe confirmed "there is someone there", but was entirely nonchalant about the matter.
The younger one strode over to the bushline and held, staring into the timber.
Senses on Red Alert, both the Young Gun & I sensed what was about to happen.
With a subtle shift, the Lad positioned himself just as the area's large three point entered the scene.

The buck instantly made for the doe, who led him on a merry prance back out towards us.
One hand up to the Lad - hold... hold...
As they approached, the buck seemed to lose interest in the first doe, and sidled in behind the larger one.
There he paused allowing me to gently whisper when he steps clear of her he will present a good shot.
Almost as though he had heard that, his muzzle went to the ground and he began to feed.

The large doe paid him no mind, and they continued to feed side by side for over 15 minutes.
At 25 yards.
And the entire time the buck was well hidden directly behind that big doe.
Again the Lad showed incredible patience and fortitude for one so young.
The only give-away was the subtle tremble in his hands as his eyes glistened staring at what was going on before us.
Catching that, I could not help by smile internally, well remembering the RUSH of those early hunts so far back in the mists of time of my own life.
NOTHING makes one feel more alive than those moments in my mind!

As daylight began to fail quickly, I was about to call it off, as it seemed the positioning we required was not about to happen.
Then something spooked the antlered one, he jumped and began to trot out from behind the doe.
I stopped him quickly with the standard grunt (Thanks Wabi!!), and he froze broadside.
Take Him I mouthed.

As the gun came up, the Lad's gloves made contact with a tree limb that bolsters one side of the blind.
Damn ski gloves, the sound they made seemed like a YELL in the stillness of the eve!
The buck tensed to launch, and before I could say HOLD again the gun was up.

A split second before the 12 gunge roared, that buck rocketed like his tail was on fire!
Perfectly centered where his chest has been a mere millisecond ago, the buckshot printed a lovely tight pattern on the ground.
Double Damn!!

Although I knew it to be a miss, I did not miss the opportunity to teach him about the follow-up requirements.
We gave it 15 minutes, then carefully investigated where he had been when the shot went off.
No hair, no blood.
Then we switched on our headlamps & worked the trail out well into the timber, and four of the adjoining trails thereafter.
Put in about an hour doing that, and the Lad was all over the task at hand.
Soon it was obvious - A Swing & a Miss.

Some of the most exciting moments of my life, and some of the most disappointing were his quiet words as we withdrew.
I gently explained that even the very best sometimes miss, and asked if he understood why the buck had acted like he did.
Stupid Gloves.
And today his Pa is taking him to Cabela's after school to get a good hunting pair (and likely a few other sundry items that will become "desperately needed" when they get there )

His mood well brightened by the time we reached the truck, and he was positively bubbly on the ride back home.
There he simply could not wait to excitedly explain all of the details to his Pa, culminating with "I will get him next time Dad!"
His Pa and I winked at each other, and reassured the Young Gun that things were indeed coming together as they should.
Only the second time out there, and had a possibility on one of the larger bucks in the area.
The pride in the Rancher's eyes was obvious, and he almost choked up as he shook my hand before I wandered off.

I left smiling for the drive home, already planning our next line of attack, and hoping that the next time the buck we encounter hangs up for another second or two...

More to come in this saga methinks...

I have to play catch-up for 2 days now, after hunting for 2 weeks straight there are some outstandings around the Hacienda that need addressing.
His Pa will take him out tomorrow, and I will return Thursday for our next foray...

Thanks for the well wishes Folks!
They not only are appreciated, it seems they helped in presenting us with the opportunity we encountered last night!
Keep them coming please, and just maybe this young fellow will realize his dream of taking a buck this fall!
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:55 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997

Well, the lad & his Pa got fogged out last night around 45 minutes before nightfall.
They only managed to make out one doe - at 15 feet. Could not see beyond that.

Supposed to head down tonight, but I am offering to come tomorrow and full day Saturday instead.
Still fixated on getting the fine young fellow onto one!
Guess in retrospect I perhaps should have started this quest much earlier in the season - when I was passing up multiple bucks a session in the other area...

Oh well, nose to the grindstone as it were, and in the words of old Chief Dan George We Shall Endeavor To Persevere...
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:57 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997

Well another evening rolled by.
The fog came in damn thick just as it did the other night I wasn't there - right about 45 minutes from nightfall.
But, we stuck it out, and occasionally it would lift just enough we could almost see 35 or so yards.

Just at dark it did just that, and there was a deer standing directly across from the blind, and staring hard in our direction.
An extremely slow lift of the binocs, and Yep, it's the three point!
At 25 yards!!
Ever so slowly I gave the Thumbs Up to the Lad.
He responded by moving in slow motion, not a single rustle to be heard, and the 12 gauge came to bear.
When settled, he then thumbed back the old hammer.
Unfortunately that resulted in an audible CLICK, and the buck instantly vanished into the fog like so much smoke!
So close and yet so far again.

I was up and called down there well before the sky even thought about greying up.
Fog so thick they could not even see ten feet.
Abandon the am.
The fog did not lift until after 10:30 am...
Right Call.

On the way out last night I encountered a HUGE 4 point I have not seen all season.
Big Boy for sure, and he really didn't like me slowing down for a boo even though it was well after dark.
Rocket time!
But now we know he is in the area, and spirits are running high once again!

Managed to drop my 50 year old scattergun on the asphalt when I got home.
Slipped part way up the drive, and the ol' Winchester single shot I was presented with at the ripe old age of nine plummeted from my arms, and smoked the asphalt drive with a sickening crunch.
50 years of looking after that one, gone in an instant!

I have taken ducks, geese, pheasants, sharptails, huns, and a pile of deer with that old gal.
Broke my heart to see what I had inflicted simply due to rushing and not thinking.

Today I put the wood back together with JB Wood Weld.
It has a close color match, and I know damn well just how strong it is.
Of course one will always be able to tell, but she will function again.

The Bakelite butt plate I kind of struggled with.
I could find no satisfactory reference on how to mend that. Too damn many mixed reviews & reports out there.
After some deliberation, I went with Gorilla Glue Two Part Epoxy.
Familiar with that stuff, and it usually binds most materials quite firmly.
The pieces are currently sitting above a heating duct, and I'll let them sit there until tomorrow before testing.

Tonight I'll be packing the 12 gauge shorty, which only fires 2 3/4" shells.
Going to miss my Old Friend that throws 3 inchers into the tightest pattern you've ever seen at distance!
But then again, I am only back-up after all.
And I didn't manage to ruin the single the Lad is using...

Headed back down in an hour or so...

The Quest Continues...
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:58 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997

Only the Ladies showed last night.
Just at dark, several kept peeking back into the timber where methinks one of the bucks was lurking.

Nonplussed, my Young Gun is learning, and learning fast it seems.
When we got to his home, he said: "I think there is a possibility that ol' buck is patterning us Buddy. So, I'd like to suggest we rest the spot for a little while. Although I REALLY want to go tomorrow, I do think it might be better to let him think we gave up on him".

Not many first-timers are going to put that little gem together.
So, I strongly agreed, noting I have bear lard to process, and that we head out again tomorrow or the next...

Time is now running short.
I had forgotten they are going on holidays later this week.
Better get at it methinks...

Ol' Betsy got repaired.
So when we head out tonight, she will be riding my shoulder where she belongs again.

Here's Hoping!
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Old 11-22-2018, 04:01 PM
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IronNoggin IronNoggin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, BC
Posts: 997

I woke up yesterday morning with the feeling that something special was about to happen that day.
Put me in a right good mood to start things off with!
I busied myself cleaning up after the bear fat rendering project.
Couldn't help but notice the humid cold had that kind of bite that secrets it's way inside even layered clothing to gnaw at your very soul!
So, I sent the Young Gun's Pa a request to make damn sure the Lad got WELL bundled up for the coming eve's hunt.
Forecast says only down to 6 or 7 was his reply.
Don't believe it - layer up heavy...

As I went through the mental checklist of requirements for the hunt, I still had the strong feeling that tonight was going to be special.
Learned a hell of a long time ago not to ignore that intuition, and it has largely been right over the years.
Even so, I am always looking for something to help tip the odds in my favor, and it was with that thought I recalled a faded Talisman lurking in the far far depths of the chest of drawers. I will stray briefly from our tale here to explain this...

On my last foray to Africa, I was nine days in on quest for a particularly large and smart old Kudu Bull.
Decided to take a day down to freshen up and take stock.
A Buddy wandered by, and presented me with a T-Shirt which had been printed up in support of the Painted Dog Research going on in Zimbabwe at the time. It will bring you luck he suggested. Well... Why not?
The next day that old Kudu made a HUGE mistake, and crossed my path at 125 yards.
I was wearing the "magic" shirt, and that was it's first.
Over the years, I would wear it but occasionally - when I felt I needed a little something extra to get me where i needed to be.
And time after time, I claimed another success while it was on my back.
Eventually I became somewhat superstitious about the matter, and only spoke about it with my Lady.
She took this in stride of course, and supported my thoughts regarding it's magic.

Over time, in excess of 40 big game animals have been harvested while that shirt has been on me.
There's a reason I believe in it you see.
These days it is a tattered remnant of it's former self - as many holes as fabric, missing the lower seam, and basically ready to fall apart.
So worn in fact were it now to be washed, it would simply fall apart.
The Missuz only once toyed with the idea of getting shed of it. Once...

So, even though my gut was saying this was probably the day, I carefully unwrapped this Talisman from it's hiding place, and ever so carefully stretched it over my ever-blossoming frame. Still fit! LOL!!

Now armed with my own personal Good Luck Charm, and with fine feelings of impending success, I set off down Island while merrily singing along to the western tunes blaring from the truck's CD player...
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Old 12-25-2018, 01:25 PM
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Sitting Bull Sitting Bull is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 1,358

Just beautiful! heart warming.
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Old 12-25-2018, 02:59 PM
tony d tony d is online now
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 248

Love it
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:00 AM
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58thecat 58thecat is online now
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: At the end of the Thirsty Beaver Trail, Pinsky lake, Alberta.
Posts: 13,774
Thumbs up

Now that is what it is all about,

Be careful when you follow the masses, sometimes the "M" is silent...
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:11 AM
livinthedream livinthedream is offline
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Posts: 625

Great read! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Near Lac La Biche, Ab.
Posts: 272

Great story, and read, great job of passing on hunting traditions!
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