Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021

The morning welcomed me with frost on my windshield for the firs time this fall. I wondered when we would finally get a frost, but I don’t have to wonder anymore. It felt brisk outside, and I couldn’t wait to get into the woods. I always overdress early in the season because I can never tell what the day will bring or if it will warm up steadily throughout the day. As usual, I carried way too much junk in my pack and I regretted it later in the day.

On my journey through the darkness, I got turned around a few times and ended up losing time while bushwhacking through foreign territory. I have to laugh about it because it happens every year, at least a few times a year. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not paying attention or if it’s just from unfamiliarity with the direction of my travels.

As I nestled into the big yellow birch tree to get ready for the sun to come up, I didn’t know what to think. Although I was just looking at the ground with my headlamp, I didn’t see too many tracks in the area. I know that doesn’t mean much, but I usually see a fair number of tracks in the leaves in this area.

As one hour rolled into the next, I felt myself nodding off. Mentally, I was shot. I’ve had so much on my mind lately that hunting seems to be the furthest thing from needing my attention. My mother’s illness has kept me staring at the ceiling on more than one night, and I don’t see an end in sight. My mother has always been my sounding board. I can sit and talk to her for hours, and she just patiently listens to me and gives me feedback. She’s my biggest fan, but she also tells me what I need to be told at times. I appreciate that the most. She has always gone out of her way to help me and everyone around me. She has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and it’s in Stage 4. It’s awful to see her when she’s getting beat on from the disease. It drains her energy and takes all the color from her skin. I find it almost impossible to concentrate on hunting, even though that has always been my release. I’ve lost my edge when I’m in the woods, and I’m not sure it will return this year. I’m basically just going through the motions to escape reality. My heart isn’t into hunting.

After sitting until about 11, I decided to do a loop and check a few places out. As I continued over hills and through valleys, I realized I wasn’t seeing any sign at all. Usually a few of the places I went are torn up but not this year. It appears there isn’t going to be much action in that area this year. I’m assuming it’s because of the feed. When I reached my truck at 2:30, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was disappointed.

To end the day, I met up with Josh, and we went exploring. I pushed off an area to him but nothing went past him. Then, we wandered around for a bit. We saw some sign to get excited about, but it’s still early. I had a good day today and a good weekend. The temperatures finally dropped enough to make me aware that hunting season has arrived — and I welcomed the sensation. Here are a few photos from my weekend.

Brian wandered back into camp about an hour after dark. We learned that he shot a nice bear. He made good work of it and quartered it out and got the entire thing in one trip. There’s nothing like a real-life Paul Bunyan, and that is Brian. It also says a lot for Kiui backpacks. The only thing that stayed behind was some of the shoulder that was too fart shot up to save any meat.

A bear climbed this beech at some point in the past.
The moon and stars breathed life into me as I made my way though the woods in the morning.
Josh and I found a big rub with the shavings still in th leaves

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