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Daddy Dan on Deer Camp

2010 November 10
by Rachel Turiel

This is a guest post from Dan, snapshots from his recent deer hunt. This story is what happened before the deer showed up at our house; my story is here.

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The day before opening season, driving in, a storm approaching.

I arrive at camp and hustle to get tarp up as snow obliterates the mountains.

Snug camp.

As dusk falls, the snow comes in heavy.

Night arrives. First fire at camp. Damn glad I’ve got dry wood and a tarp. Full of anticipation.

Day 1. Up with the fading stars. My mantra is: follow the gold. The deer can’t resist the yellow and especially still-green aspen leaves.

I blunder out of the aspens, following 3 does and 2 bucks up to treeline. 18-20 inches new snow.

The snow is good for keeping the cooler chilled.

Day 2. More snow.

This area is lousy with deer sign but no big buck tracks. They’ve been eating the aspen leaves. The wind is my friend, blowing aspen leaves down:

Promising buck rubs (where the bucks have rubbed the summer velvet off their antlers).

Back to the fire to dry out. A cozy base is half the fun of deer camp and a necessity with this weather.

The road gets taken out by snow and a fallen aspen tree.

Day 3. Disappointingly few, if any, buck tracks seen. Storm passes out and temperatures drop. Still following the gold.

Day 4. Driving out towards home. New views of snow-plastered peaks are inspiring, despite leaving without a buck.

But what’s this? Tracks of 2 large deer crossing the road. I park and follow for a couple last ditch hours until they  become lost amid the smaller doe and younger deer tracks. Dejected, I head back to the truck to really depart. Almost there, I decide to lift my binoculars to view the opposite side of the canyon. Bucks! At 1pm, browsing up the far snowy ridgeline I’d had my back to for three days.  Forty minutes of glassing shows me where they have gone for an afternoon nap, and a few hours later I am underneath with buck sign all around. I slow down, heed the wind, peep over the ridge.  In knee deep snow it is easier to find a solid rest for the rifle and scope. Finally solved my deer season.

The next day Carsten volunteers to help pack out the deer and we meet sunrise on the aspen ridge. One trip out with half a deer each, but its all downhill from there.

PS: I’ve been nominated on a Top Mom Blogger List (it’s like the write-in nomination in an election). Go here and tell them you like me (click on alphabetical listings).

Related posts:

DIY Kitchen: dandelion pesto
go with the flow
Dan, quoted


12 Responses leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010

    Wow! It’s interesting to read what happens on a hunt. My Dad went hunting every year with the men for elk around Halloween. He never let me come (my brother went once and said he never wanted to go again.)

    It’s good to know you got out of there even with the snow on the road and the tree in the way. It would worry me a bit, but you obviously can handle it! :)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      November 11, 2010

      If I had written this I would have mentioned that circumstances around this deer season worried me a lot (all the snow, not hearing from Dan for 5 days…).

      And I hope Dan takes Col and Rose hunting someday.

  2. November 11, 2010

    oh yay! guest post from the elusive dan, what a total treat. way to get that meat for the fam, papa! hope to see more guest posts from you in the future.

  3. Kelly permalink
    November 11, 2010

    This morning Doug & I learned a little bit about hunting (thanks Dan!) & said, “Oh yea…..that’s what those marks are on trees!”. I’m sure we’ll learn a few more “new” things today, but we really enjoyed this for sure.

  4. November 11, 2010

    Awesome guest post! *Gorgeous* photos. I hardly ever stop to take photos while hunting. Maybe I should. Great post, thanks!

  5. November 11, 2010

    How funny you have a blog with your elevation in the title! My daughter and her hubby live in Montana and they have a blog titled “Life at 4810”!
    Beautiful photos!

  6. November 11, 2010

    How come while I’m looking at some of the photographs in the post, all I can think is “this reminds me of the movie ‘Jerimiah Johnbson’ with Robert Redford”. :) I use to backpack in the Rockies quite a bit, but never with that much snow!

    PS ~ I voted…good luck! :)

  7. Diane H permalink
    November 11, 2010

    What a fun post! I love the gold against the white of Fall in the high country. Also, the brilliant blue sky.

  8. November 12, 2010

    So wonderful to have the “right there” perspective from Dan. It was nice how he chronicled it all with the photos and his poetic, descriptive writing.

    I think Col and Rose will one day be very tuned in hunters if they choose to go! I love how he described reading the environment so well….my boys read along and loved learning a few things.

    PS… I answered your Q about eating our chickens some day (not sure if my responses came to you…)

    ~Erin

  9. November 12, 2010

    Yellow leaves and snow…heavy snow! Something we don’t see here regularly. It always amazes me how different the climate can be from place to place. Hope you are keeping warm and glad that Dan got home alright! What an adventure.

    :)Lisa

  10. November 14, 2010

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  11. November 15, 2010

    LOVED this so much! thank you!!!!

    ~erin

    ps ~ thought of you guys this weekend as i (the former vegetarian) helped to butcher a hog!

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