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The steady drop is expected to accelerate in coming years, threatening the much-lauded model through which the U.S. has paid for conservation.
— Read on www.npr.org/2018/03/20/593001800/decline-in-hunters-threatens-how-u-s-pays-for-conservation
We were all tired today. It was bitterly cold and it was warm in the truck. We decided to mostly stay in the truck and glass since and save our energy for when it mattered. Logan was exhausted as well from being up at the hospital with his sick son all night. After we had lunch and Logan was still working to earn his fire starting merit badge we started to perk up a little. We had seen a few animals on a distant mountain side but nothing we could go after. We were starting to wonder if we would ever find anything to fill the tags. The roads were pretty icy and slick in the narrow roads.
When we woke up in the morning we heard from one of the other campers that there were bear tracks outside our door in the fresh snow. The weather was in the low teens so it was pretty cold. As we were eating breakfast in the main building our guide Logan walked in out of breath. He said there were fresh bear and wolf tracks on the drive way and that was the good news. The bad news was a tree had fallen on drive way two miles back and he had to run there to get a chain saw. In the morning we drove around the mountain side looking for tracks in the snow. We only had a few inches of snow so we wanted to focus our efforts on tracking so we wouldn’t have to walk another 5 miles like we did the day before with all of our heavy clothes. In the mountains were we were hunting we had almost 8.
In the afternoon my wife was able to get a good size 8 point mule deer or 4×4 or 4 point for the people that live in Montana. She had to walk a mile back to get to a different trail to get close enough to shoot. After she and Logan got to the other trail they had to walk another mile or mile and half with a step incline. We had to pick up another hunter to come with us since his guide was having car trouble and his name was Ryan. So Ryan and I watched them hike up the trail from the ridge we were at and watched the snow come in over the mountains. Eventually after we heard the gun shots, my wife and guide went behind some trees and we lost site of them for about an hour. After an hour my wife climbed out of the timber that was on side of the slope. She started walking down the walking path but we couldn’t see Logan. Ryan and I packed our gear and walked to the trail head to meet up with my wife. She told us Logan was back with the deer caping it out and cleaning it. Ryan went to help Logan bring it up to the trail since it was hard to get through the timber. Thirty minutes later, after it started snowing pretty hard, Logan and Ryan came down the trail with the deer in two halves pulling it by small pieces of rope. Granite they were already pretty tired pulling it out of the timber. So we began the last mile walk to the truck in the snow. Our tracks from walking into the trail head had almost been covered up already by the new snow. From the time my wife had got her deer and we walked to the truck with it it was about 4 hours.
The first day was the best weather we had the whole trip. Today we hiked up one slop on one of the mountains. It was only one mile up but when you have three layers of pants, two shirts and heavy rubber boots with back packs you get a work out especially since it was raining. At that location we did not see anything but we had a great vantage point where we could see for miles. We went to a different location that had a pretty good incline of course it was a struggle with our gear but we managed to find a deer but we were going to have to go back for it the next day if it was still there since we were running out of day light. So by the time we hiked back to the truck with our guide we were exhausted. Logan (our guide) was running circles around us because this was just a warm up for him and he was only 20 years old and does this on a regular bases. Of course we were at a higher elevation with like 3 layers of pants and heavy rubber boots. We had not completely acclimated to the altitude yet either so that didn’t help with the adjustment.
View from one of the walking paths on a mountain classing for mule deer and bull elk. In a few of the pictures you can see snow clouds moving in over the mountains in the background.
Part of the path that forked one spot to go glassing and another to hike. Both were a step hike.
Today we finished driving in to camp tonight. During the last part of the drive we crossed the continental divide. We are staying at the Silver Bow Outfitters which is about 30 miles south of Libby, Montana. It is in the northwest corner of the state. We were maybe 100 miles from the Canadian border. They were a little disorganized when we got there. A few people showed up that were not scheduled to be there and a few people were not suppose to be there tell next week. The camp does not have electricity but lights all the rooms with propane lights and heaters. The trapper cabin has a wood stove to heat the cabin. For 15 people there is one bathroom and one shower so who ever is the last to shower might as well shower in the stream because it might be warmer. In order to ensure people’s safety you should not walk around at night since or at least without a gun since they have Mountain Lions, Wolfs, Bears.
A view of a mountain outside from our camp.
Horse and Mule stable.
3.5 mile drive way or at least a segment of it.
Outside the “apartments” that could hold about 10 people.
Main house where the owner and his sons and hired hands lived. This is where we are all our meals.
Another view if a mountain with the stables.
Day one we spent the day driving from Kansas City to Ghillet, Wyoming. A whopping 875 miles through Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and into Wyoming for the night after 12 hours. The day was cloudy, a few sprinkles and lots of wind. It was knocking around the truck and trailer which made for a bumpy ride and ate up more gas. Much of the scenery was flat and farm land as far as the eye could see until we hit a small part of the bad lands in South Dakota. That area reminded me of the flint hills in Kansas almost. It was almost enough to put me to sleep or maybe it was being up for 24 hours straight. We waived to the bikers at Sturgis as we drove through in the dark. I am not sure they saw us though. Even said waived to the past presidents at Mt. Rushmore. We ate crackers, cheese and buffalo summer sausage for lunch as we were driving. Perkins for dinner at 8pm.