American Hunter - October 2019 - 60

"Where you guys headed?" I tried to
keep my voice cordial.
"Up there." One of them pointed at
the slope our rifles were trained on.
How do you respond to that? It's public
land, they can go anywhere they want.
"Well, uh, we're hoping to shoot a buck
that's been hanging over there. It's probably not safe to walk right where we're
planning to shoot. I mean, we're not
going to shoot with you there, but ... " I
was hoping they'd get the point.
"Well, where we gonna go?" The question was issued with gruff impertinence.
I wish my wits had inspired me to
say, "Try exercising good hunter ethics
and go someplace others aren't already

our spotting scopes and scoured the distant canyons and yellow-grass slopes for
deer. A good scattering of does showed
themselves, along with a couple forkhorn bucks. Hunters appeared here and
there, impressively high on rugged ridges
and points. It was clear there were folks
hunting the area who aren't afraid of
hard work.
Not finding any bucks that inspired
us, we headed back to check on some of
the winter range we'd looked at before the
hunt. Day after day of cold, snowy weather
was bound to move the deer toward their
winter range. But no luck-it was still
barren and devoid of life. Darkness fell,
and we plotted round five with Ol' Gimpy.

Photo: Randsom Owens

area with fewer hunters and more deer.
Midafternoon found us once again
climbing the mountain trail, a shrieking
wind icing our beards with snow as we
climbed. Passing several outbound hunters along the way, we finally reached our
little point, stumbled into a thick brush
patch just below and hunkered down.
Two hours later the storm still drove
heavy snow into every seam and gap
in our clothing. We finally conceded,
turned our backs to the storm and
stumbled our way back off the mountain
through the falling darkness. The score:
Gimpy 3, hunters 0.
Morning three found us once again
climbing the steep trail toward the high
basin. Opening weekend was behind us,
and we hoped that meant we would be
alone on the mountain. This time we
made the trailhead early. But we had only
a 400-yard head start when headlights
pulled up to the trailhead below. And then
there was another pair, and more. Soon
there were eight headlamps bobbing up
the trail behind us.
"No way in hell," said Randsom. The
race was on.
Feeling like a couple fat, middle-aged
raccoons with a pack of hounds in close
pursuit, we scampered up that trail as
fast as we could go. The gap between our
heels and the pursuing lights closed dishearteningly fast. But just short of the top
the hounds lost steam, stopping to heave
for breath almost as often as we did.
At the top of the hill is a four-way trailintersection. Two go right and left atop
big benches, a third reaches toward the
depths of a distant canyon. The fourth
leads to the high basin where we'd seen
Gimpy. That was what we wanted, and
with only a few yards between us and our
pursuers we crossed the intersection and
pointed our frosty noses toward the high
basin. The first pair of hunters stopped,
stared at our retreating heels, and turned
left on the bluff-top trail.
The next two hunters were not as
polite. They stopped at the intersection, looked at the other trails and came
straight up our tracks toward the high
basin. They didn't catch us until we had
set up to cover the steep slope, rifles on
a big flat rock that made an admirable
bench rest. I finally spoke right before
they walked in front of our muzzles,
headed straight downrange, as it were.

Amid a lack of prospects among the local fauna and biting cold, the author and his
partner had to dodge numerous hunters to find mule deer on public land.

hunting!" But alas, I was too shocked by
their behavior for my wits to function,
so I just turned my binocular toward the
dim slope above. The hunters hiked right
on ahead. We had to turn our rifles aside
so the muzzles didn't point at their backs
as they hiked away. Swallowing our disgust, we sat and watched shooting light
arrive over the slope, now deer-less. So
much for round four.
Disheartened from the morning's
events, we pointed the Jeep toward
another mountain range. The area is a
hard, several-mile hike to access, but
easy to glass from a distance. We set up
october 2019 [

Going, Going ...
Chilled fingers and frozen leather make
saddling horses a tough job in darkness.
But saddle we did, the horses' frosty breath
gleaming in the glare of our headlamps.
Gray was coloring the east when we pulled
onto the highway and pointed the headlights toward Gimpy's trailhead.
A half-mile of steep gravel road leads
from the highway to the trailhead, bordered by an embankment on one side and
a deep ravine on the other. A haunting
old cabin stands beside the two-track, its
handmade rock chimney reaching a lone
finger skyward, its roof collapsed and

60 [ americanhunter.org


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American Hunter - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - October 2019

Contents
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover1
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover2
American Hunter - October 2019 - 1
American Hunter - October 2019 - Contents
American Hunter - October 2019 - 3
American Hunter - October 2019 - 4
American Hunter - October 2019 - 5
American Hunter - October 2019 - 6
American Hunter - October 2019 - 7
American Hunter - October 2019 - 8
American Hunter - October 2019 - 9
American Hunter - October 2019 - 10
American Hunter - October 2019 - 11
American Hunter - October 2019 - 12
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American Hunter - October 2019 - 14
American Hunter - October 2019 - 15
American Hunter - October 2019 - 16
American Hunter - October 2019 - 17
American Hunter - October 2019 - 18
American Hunter - October 2019 - 19
American Hunter - October 2019 - 20
American Hunter - October 2019 - 21
American Hunter - October 2019 - 22
American Hunter - October 2019 - 23
American Hunter - October 2019 - 24
American Hunter - October 2019 - 25
American Hunter - October 2019 - 26
American Hunter - October 2019 - 27
American Hunter - October 2019 - 28
American Hunter - October 2019 - 29
American Hunter - October 2019 - 30
American Hunter - October 2019 - 31
American Hunter - October 2019 - 32
American Hunter - October 2019 - 33
American Hunter - October 2019 - 34
American Hunter - October 2019 - 35
American Hunter - October 2019 - 36
American Hunter - October 2019 - 37
American Hunter - October 2019 - 38
American Hunter - October 2019 - 39
American Hunter - October 2019 - 40
American Hunter - October 2019 - 41
American Hunter - October 2019 - 42
American Hunter - October 2019 - 43
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American Hunter - October 2019 - 47
American Hunter - October 2019 - 48
American Hunter - October 2019 - 49
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American Hunter - October 2019 - 60
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American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover3
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover4
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