October 26, 2011
When you're spot and stalk hunting, you're bound to make mistakes, but on my recent trip to Alberta, I really blew it. Now that a few days have gone by, I can sit back and laugh at it. Frankly, it's just too funny not to share!
The morning started off with mule deer littering the stubble fields. We quickly spotted a giant buck leaving the group on his own and went in for the stalk. As we were getting close, I also spotted another buck that stood up for a split-second, then bedded back down in some high grass near some round bales. The buck we were originally after looked bigger, so we decided to pursue him. After a two-hour stalk, the big buck finally bedded down in a location where he was unapproachable. It's not that we couldn't have tried to get close, but there was only one way to him, and that was through a thick patch. Unfortunately for us, a grizzly bear had taken down a rancher's cow and appeared to be in the patch. Only days earlier we had seen him from a distance, and now coyotes were circling around. The smell was awful, and the birds were flocking around but wouldn't actually land. As much as I wanted this buck, it was not worth messing with a grizzly on the way to him, so we decided to back out and try our other option.
It had been almost three hours since I had seen the other buck stand up and bed back down, but we decided to try and checkout this possible bedding area. As we eased up, I had an arrow knocked as was in full stealth mode. Finally reaching the edge, there was still no sign of the buck I saw earlier, so we made our way to one of the bales.
I decided a buck could be hidden in there, so trying for a birds-eye view, I attempted to hop on one of the bales and look down into the grass. After one failed attempt, I decided I wasn't going to give up that easy. I took a bit of a running start this time, and once again slipped right off with nothing to grab onto. This time, I fell to the ground laughing, and we commented how obviously there is no buck here. Not one second, later the big buck jumped up less than 60-yards from us, and it was a mad dash to get around the side and grab my bow.
As the buck ran off, all I could do is watch and try to keep a good sense of humor. When I turned to the camera and discussed what just happened, you see my emotions starting to change by the second. I was still smiling, but you can see me start tapping my finger, and the smile was getting harder and harder to hold. We had put in six long days hunting and I hadn't been trying to mess around. It was just funny that I couldn't get on the bale -- we let our guard down for one minute and lost a great opportunity on a big mule deer. Guess that's part of hunting, but that's one way to blow a stalk that many people may not have experienced yet. Lucky for me, I've learned from this and will now either skip jumping onto bales or ask for help. Either way, hunting is supposed to be fun, and sometimes when things like this happen, you have to lighten up, sit back and just laugh.