Friday, July 27, 2012
Opening Day was a huge success for myself and buddy Isaac. Isaac and I have developed a tradition of hitting the mountains together for opening day. We started up the mountain the day prior hoping to glass up some good bucks for the opener. The way up proved more than we had bargained for with some scary steep slopes and numerous cliff faces that thwarted our upward progress. We finally topped out but fog was enveloping the mountain so there was nothing to do but find a camp site, put down a mountain house supper and hope for clear skies in the am. The forecast was promising with a NW wind which almost always means clear mountain tops on Prince of Wales. But at 3:45 am, clouds still socked the mountain. Back to sleep and wait for that forecast to come true. At 8am there was still no visibility and we were getting ancy so we just went hiking, hoping the skies would clear and maybe bump into a couple bucks in the fog. We did manage to find some bucks, but all were too small. We made our way to a good vantage point overlooking a very promising basin and decided to just wait and hope the fog would lift, instead of bumbling around spooking every deer out of the country. Finally about 1pm the skies cleared. Immediately we began picking out bedded deer on the surrounding slopes. Now we were having fun, but it was getting late in the day and we needed to be home that evening. Every minute that passed had us lowering our expectations. Around 2pm my buck stepped out of a small clump of trees for a mid-day stretch. 270 yards. Time to try out the new hand loads. One shot low behind the shoulder and he toppled over after a short sprint. Before heading over to my buck, Isaac and I peeked over an edge we hadn’t looked at before and I immediately spotted a wide heavy 2x2 that was up, probably from my shot. I held the bucks attention while Isaac crept to a good rest, 125 yards from the buck. At the shot the buck dropped hard to the ground. Two bucks down within minutes of each other and two families now with a good start on the winter's supply of meat. We were on the trail home by 5pm. The route up was too sketchy for safe travel with heavy packs so we had to hike the long way around back to the truck,8 miles total, arriving 4 hours later. Can’t wait to get back out and do it again. Plus, these early season deer hunts are great warm-ups for sheep season, just two weeks away.