All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Bullwinkle Part 2, Where is Bullwinkle?

When I learned I drew a much coveted moose tag I immediately asked for every minute of time off I could get for hunting season.  I promised to return to work early if I shot my moose early as I didn't expect to use all of my vacation time to hunt.
The brown bushes in the middle of the picture are willows.  There should be moose here.  There weren't. 
Preseason scouting reveled lots of good moosey areas.  The first morning I spent scouting it took me less than 2 minutes to find my first moose.  The area was simply full of moose.  Mostly cow moose, but come rutting season, if you can find the girls, you can bet the boys won't be far behind.
The first day of hunting season I headed right to the area where I observed the highest concentration of moose earlier in the year.  There were tons of moose tracks and droppings as well as rubs.  What there was, was a rancher who was in the process of driving his cows off his forest service grazing lease.  He had started moving cows a day or so before and was still bunching and moving bovines 4 days into the hunting season.
The place where the above photo was taken had been full of moose just a day or so before season started.

So we relocated to a different spot and tried again.  The next day we did the same.  As we did the next day and the day after that.  Again and again I was encountering areas that had held moose all summer long but they had moved on.  My biggest fear was that the moose were bunched onto bottom land along the major river drainages.  These areas had a mixture of public and private land, none of which was marked.
I met the game warden, Allen at the gas station one night.  I wanted to ask him about some Access Yes land that I had seen that had a species restriction on it.  Access Yes land is private land that is enrolled in a state program that allows hunters to hunt or fish the land as long as they abide by some basic rules.  He recommended that I hunt the bottom lands mixed in with the private ranches.  I asked about access.  He told me I'd be ok with a good GPS.  I told him I was using maps and that I didn't want to trespass, even accidently. 
These are buffalo, while interesting, still aren't moose.

Day five.  My father, aka Dad, USMC 3rd Mar Div.; the man who told my mother that despite 2 failing kidneys (cause unknown) diabetes and a bad ticker, was in better shape than me, had to head back to the cabin in town after the morning hunt/hike.  Apparently the combination of altitude an occasional stroll in the mountains and bouncing around in a pickup is causing him problems with his blood pressure, his kidneys are hurting and he is experiencing headaches and light headedness.  He is considering having mom evac him to a lower elevation.

Disgusted I gas up the truck and head back up the mountain to locate an area that I've seen on the map but haven't set eyes on yet.  I had wanted to check this area the second day of the hunt, but my father thought the truck ride over would be too painful for him to endure. 
Heading out to check 9 ponds and a creek drainage.

As the afternoon wears on I park the truck at a USFS trail head that is closed to motorized traffic.  I get out and start up the trail.  A beaver dam is blocking up a small creek and flooding the old trailhead.  I decide not to get wet and follow the stream bed into a small meadow. 

The grass here is chest high.  There is no sign that cows have been pastured in the area this year.  I discover a freshly beaten down trail through the high grass.  Elk will do that sometimes when moving as a herd.  As the trail approaches the creek bed I notice elk droppings.  That would seem to confirm my theory.  Then I notice moose tracks in the mud.  They seem newer.  A little while on the moose tracks are on top of elk droppings. 

I had suspected that the elk trail was very recent, given the rain we had the last couple of days.  I thought the trail was less than a day old at best.  Having moose tracks over top of the elk scat was encouraging.  I did my best to imitate a cow moose call.  I stood still for several minutes.  Nothing.

The elk trail crossed the creek.  Despite the cold and wet I decided to wade over to the other side and work my way up the USFS trail.  I sense rather than see some movement in the willows to my left.  since I want to go up the trail anyway I head that direction.  When I get out of the brush I head to where I think the trail should be.  I start walking east towards the mountain.

On the trail there are moose tracks.  Fresh moose tracks with little clumps of dirt flung along the path.  These can't be more than a few hours old.  I follow with my head down, focused on the trail.  Is that a slight mist rising off the trail?  It could be, its been wet.  Maybe its the start of an evening fog.  That would be rare but not unheard of.  I see old wolf scat on the trail.  It's very old having turned white with age.  The hair of some long digested kill plainly visible.  Wolf sign and its well past 7:00 pm.  I should start thinking about calling it a day.  It will be past dark soon.

What is the source of the little wisps of vapor ahead?  I move forward and drop to my knee.  Moose droppings on top of the moose tracks.  Steaming moose droppings!  Fresh tracks!  These tracks aren't hours old, they're minutes old! 

I stand up and start scanning the willows and creek bottom.  Nothing.  Not. A. Darned. Thing.  I give a lonely cow moose call.  I hear it.  The first response to my calls all week.  It's just a short, Yhaawp but its a response to my call.  I can't be sure but it seems to be coming from the far side of the creek bottom along the far side near the timber going up the mountain.

I quit.  There is still enough light to make it back to the creek bed.  I find a shallow place to cross below the beaver dam.  I can't be sure the call was a moose so I drive the road looking for other hunters.  I see no other trucks or ATV's.  There is no one hunting between me and Utah, or along this entire road for at least 8 miles.

It has been six days.  Although I have not seen it, I have located my first moose.


Bullwinkle Part 1

My first hunting trip was with my granddad when I was a small boy.  There were some hunters running a dog on pheasant on his farm.  We tagged along behind them.  I remember them getting a rooster.  They may have got more than that.  I don't remember, it was long ago.  I had caught my first fish earlier that summer in his pond behind the barn.  I had landed it by myself.  He was proud beyond belief.

Granddad died the next spring.  I had one fishing and one hunting trip each with him, but I was hooked for life.  My father would sometimes take us fishing but he was never big on it.  I was allowed to go to hunters safety as a boy.  Dad took me out hunting a few times.  He was never into it so it wasn't a priority for him.  I dreamed of hunting and fishing but had to satisfy myself with reading Boy's Life and Field and Stream.
I was surprised when dad invited himself to go moose hunting with me.  Surprised doesn't quite cover it.  I never expected my father to do anything outdoors related again in his life.  Ever.  Him and mom have discovered cruising.  Floating hotels with little touristy shore excursions are a prefect fit for his white tennis shoe, black socks and Bermuda shorts style.
Dad said he had this great new camera and had taken a class on photography and I shouldn't hunt alone etc, etc.  I have to admit that his photo's are pretty good.


Hunting Update

Bullwinkle is in the bag.  More details to follow.

I'll be headed to the front range (Englewood) to have the hide tanned into leather.  My plan is to come down either Thursday or Friday.  Anyone want to get together for lunch or dinner?  Drop me an email with your cell phone # and I'll call back tonight.


Sign seen on a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."

 A 110-year-old man is having his annual checkup. The doctor asks him how he's feeling.

"I've never felt better," he replies. I've got an eighteen-year-old bride who's pregnant with my child.  What do you think about that?"

The doctor thinks for a moment and says, "Let me tell you a story.  I know a guy who's an avid hunter.  He never misses a season but one day he's in a bit of a hurry and accidentally grabs his umbrella instead of his gun. So, he's walking in the woods near a creek and suddenly spots a beaver in some brush in front of him.  He raises his umbrella, points it at the beaver, squeezes the handle, and BAM! the beaver drops dead in front of him."

That's impossible," said the old man in disbelief, "someone else must have shot that beaver!"

"Exactly", said the doctor.


BJW - Moose Hunting Eve

Two hunters decide to go moose hunting in Canada. They hire an airplane to drop them off in a remote region.  The pilot drops them off and tells them, "I`ll be back in one week. No more than one moose - got it?"

One week passes, and the pilot returns. The hunters have two moose. The pilot says, "Hey, I told you guys no more than one moose."  One of the hunters replies, "Look the pilot told us the same thing last year and we gave him a `big` tip to take both moose out."

The three of them argue for several minutes more. The pilot gives up and agrees to take both moose.

Well, they load up the moose and fire up the plane. The plane shudders and strains trying to take off. It finally gets the wheels off the ground 5 feet, 10 feet. Whoops! It runs out of runway and smashes into a tree.

The two hunters, dazed and confused make there way out of the wreckage. One hunter looks at the other and says, "Where the heck are we?"

The other looks around and replies, "About 200 yards further than we got last year!"

In Portland, Maine a 500 pound moose jumped off an overpass on route I-95, falling 20 feet to it's death.

Witnesses say they overheard the moose scream before jumping,  "Hey Rocky, watch me fly over this guardrail!"

Q: What has antlers and sucks blood? A: A moose-quito!

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

"You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!"

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?"

"Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer.

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!" "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said.

"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!"

Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?"

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!"

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now?"

Two Newfies are moose hunting all day, finally they shoot a moose. They start dragging it out of the bush but are having a hard time. Finally a fellow hunter comes up and says "Hey, you know if you drag the moose the other way with the grain of the fur it will be a lot easier. The two newfies say "Hey good idea! So they start dragging it the other way, well about 2 hours later one newfie looks at the other and say " Hey this was a good idea, it is easier this way. The other newfie say, "Yeah but we keep getting further away from the truck.