I crawled out of my sleeping bag at 4 AM today to arrive outside a bedding area of a pretty white-tailed buck I saw a couple days ago. I wanted to get there before he returned to bed down for the morning. I was following a schedule. I would get dressed, eat breakfast, and pack up camp by 4:30. I would drive to the beginning of the forest road that passed through the valley where I saw the buck and heard some elk bugling a couple days ago. I would walk up the forest road with my bow and a quiver full of arrows and be in the valley by 5:30, which would allow time to set up before daylight and, hopefully, before the buck returned to his bed.
Everything worked according to plan until I entered the valley. First a deer snorted. That probably was the buck I was looking for and indicated that he busted me and would not be available for my freezer today. The snorting deer woke a bear up the hill who responded with five minutes of grumpy growls. As soon as the bear quieted down another ruckus started in the valley. I could not tell what was breaking branches and making a mess of things until I heard the bull moose grunt. By then there was just enough light that I could begin to see his huge body and antlers.
I decided to walk to the other end of the valley to avoid the two intimidating beasts that surrounded me. However, 15 minutes later a moose cow and calf were in my path. Fortunately, they decided they were going in the other direction anyway and let me pass.
So started a beautiful day in the mountains!
I returned home without the organic meat I was hoping for, but grateful to live so close to accessible mountain forests. I am also grateful for the strength to be able to climb the mountains, for my old Toyota Tacoma that reliably gets me to the mountains and back, and for my flexible schedule. I love spending time in the mountains!