Friday, September 24, 2010

It Isn't the Killing for Which We Come

The morning broke with a hard frost mixed with a thick blanket of fog in the low swamps.Below me was a big bull moose feeding in a meadow. He was flanked by a wary cow who already had us spotted. My partner split off to try to get closer for the shot, and I continued on down the trail in case they tried to slip up across the trail to their bedding grounds above us, on the brushy ridge.
I had been waiting for this old herd bull to come down from the high country. The cows had been gathering for several weeks for the rut. The small bulls move in with the cows in hope of some romance. The cows never pay much attention to the younger bulls. Instead they wait for Mr. Big to come down to take over and run the small boys off.
This fall the wait had been longer than usual. The weather had warmed up to 70 during the days and all but stopped the rut. It had been a long 3 weeks.
The fall colors on the Kenai Peninsula leaves the mountains splashed in reds, yellows, orange and green. Everywhere the splendor of fall had exploded in a super-natural display of breath-taking beauty unmatched by anything man could ever duplicate.The lights of Las Vegas has nothing to compare to the hand of the Creator.
This is a place that I wait all year to experience.
It isn't the harvesting of my winter's supply of meat for the freezer, although it is a necessity.
It isn't the challenge of the quarry, although it will test your skills to the limit.
It isn't being out there just to top some trophy of the passed years.I don't hunt just to kill an animal.
The whole month is getting out in the wilderness away from the traffic and hassle of life in the civilized world.Out here nature rules. Out here you must learn to flow with all the wild creatures, or you can end up mauled or dead. There were nine grizzlies around a mile of camp. They left big tracks just 50 feet from camp. The largest is a bear I called Old Treadwell. He sports a 17 inch long footprint by 12 inches wide. He is as big as a grizz can get, with an attitude to match. I spent an hour watching him feeding on a moose carcass. In 45 years in Alaska, I have never seen anything that awesome.
I was raised in the bush country. I fit in very well out there because I have a kindred spirit with the wild critters. It has been said that I never was very civilized. I suppose that there may be an element of truth in that. I certainly get along a lot better with the wild critters than with people.I could have shot three moose.
I let my Nephew, Frank take, the biggest bull I have ever seen. The 268 lbs. of hamburger and 240 lb. hind quarters was all the meat we needed.
The morning the big bull walked up on the trail, I could have easily dropped him with one easy shot. I chose for my partner to have the chance to bag him. It did not happen. The moose moved up into the brush and did not give him a clear shot. He chose to pass him up than make an iffy shot.
Most non hunters think we go out to just "kill" something. That isn't so. The camping, fellowship, stories, and hiking is what it is about. Most of all it puts me in tune with nature and the one who created it all. I feel very spiritually lifted after my month in nature every fall.
Can't wait until next year. It's only 12 more months away.
George"Bubba"Hunt, walking the "Wilderness Trail".

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