Thursday, 15 December 2016

Deer vs. Sleep in Pincher Creek

Late November. This can't serve as the definitive account of American Thanksgiving in Southern Alberta, but it is mine. 

It had been far too long since I attended a bourbon-soaked gathering of the U of A crew. The freezer had finally emptied of moose - save for an intact sirloin that I am inexplicably hoarding - and I had never hunted the storied land of Tigmore.  

Fact: it is illegal to fly YUL -> YYC with an empty cooler.

The Shafongs landed late, so the trip south from Calgary was made under the cover of darkness. 

Cabin arrival, 4am. 
Wake-up call, 7:30am. 

(A sleep-debt that would go unpaid for the remainder of the weekend)

Details from the first morning are a bit hazy because so was I. Those that had a full night’s sleep were already out and spotting deer, and Aaron had a tag to fill. Up to the house. Rifle. Ammunition. Vague directions. Feeling a bit worse for wear, but the beauty of the scene started to sink in. They have a good thing going down there.

Pretty much

Across the field just opposite the house we see the blaze orange of some combination of Jesse, Tom, Tyler, and Jess. They make for a distant field, and disappear. We make for the ridge. As we are half way up the slope we spot a few does, spooked, running our direction. We wait, hunker down. Maybe they'll come right for us. 

But they don't - they turn around and return to the field below. So we move that way, staying low. The deer slow down to a walking pace. 

"How far do you think they are" 
"Maybe 200 yards"
"Wait but what about those deer right in front of us, 150 yards closer?"

So at 8:22am - about 20 minutes after starting his Alberta hunt - Aaron takes a doe. 

"I stand on the wings and pull the legs, right?"
The gutless method. And Rebekkah's initiation to the ways of the west.
It is worth mentioning here that immediately before Aaron's shot we hear one from the next field over. Then another from somewhere up the ridge. Turns out those were Jesse and Tyler. We met up for some quartering.

We then moved on to the festive portion of the weekend. 

I eventually got my deer. But it was a real process, and one that involved me questioning everything from the bullet weight, to my vision, to my ability to estimate distance. 

Spoiler alert: I missed this shot

"... in conclusion I am pretty sure it was the cross-wind, bullet weight, scope-sighting, and divine intervention"

In the following days we found a rhythm of waking, walking, whiskey, and eating until we felt disgusting.

Now I'm just going out on a bunch of photos. 

Jesse contemplates going special forces into a bear den.

I call this filter "turkey steam"
Met up with this psych-jazzercise trio, out taking album cover photos. 
Missed these things - I

Missed these things - II

Missed these things - III

Thanks for having me back. 


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