Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grunt, Scratch, Grunt

Yesterday was a he-man outdoor day.  I started my day by getting up and going out on Lake Coeur d'Alene fishing for Kokanee with Kevin Reed. We fished from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and caught 30 fish. The limit is 15 per license and as soon as we hit that we headed home.

At home Linda mixed up the brine mix for the fish as I commenced to cleaning the batch.  Linda was going to a play with some friends, Loretta Sutherland and Julie Green, in Spokane.  When they arrived Loretta informed us that John, her husband, had shot a bull elk somewhere above their place.  She said he would be working on that into the night.

I finished up my fish work and looked at the clock.  It was about 3:00 PM so I loaded up old Stinky Jeep with a pack, some food, flash light, a knife and things to drink.  Once I felt I was ready I drove out to try to find John.  My plan was to leave him a phone message and hope that he got it.  If not I would go to the shop and wait until he came down with a load.  I have never helped with this sort of thing so I had no clue if I would connect or not.  I figured that I had nothing to do for the evening and even if I missed John, being out was better then sitting and watching TV all evening.

I got to their large shop at 3:30 PM and as soon as I turned the corner John drove up on the tractor.  He was gathering the provisions he needed to cut up the elk and bring it out.  My arrival could not have worked out better.  Within an hour we were on the tractor driving up to the edge of their property where we would leave the rig.

We hiked about a mile and a half along the closed road with all our gear on John's game cart.  Once we found the ribbon marking the game trail, we split up the gear and hiked up the ridge to another old over grown road about a half mile into the woods. Once on the second road we headed east about five hundred yards to where the elk had been shot.

John had gutted the spike prior to his trip down so we started the task of getting the carcass into manageable sized loads for the trip down.  Our first task was to cut it in to two so we could pull the halves up onto the road. We accomplished this using John's knife and his saws-all. I have to admit that it was a very interesting experiance.

Once the elk was in two halves we pulled the hind half up on the road.  We cut of all the unnecessary parts to lessen weight.  We then wrapped the half up in a bed sheet and tarp using straps.  This gave us hand holds and also protected the animal allowing us to drag it along the road, down the hill to the game cart.

We accomplished this in peaty good time, it was getting dark and that would make the process harder.

With the hind half at the cart, we headed back up the hill.  The next phase consisted of dragging the front half up to the road, skin the carcass and cut the meat off.  All this had to be accomplished using a lantern for light and one knife.  Oh, I didn't mention that the knives John had set out to bring with us were still on the bench back at the shop.

We managed all this and ended the process by wrapping the meat and packing it into the back pack and a big meat bag. The elk and all the gear fit either in the pack or on our bodies.  I have to admit we were very loaded down.  It was dark but the trail was well marked so we worked our way down the hill to the cart.

Everything fit on the cart so we took turns pushing it back to where we left the tractor.  All the gear and the meat went into the loader on the tractor and we motored back down to the shop.

We were back at the shop by 9:30 PM.  It took us six hours and a lot of work getting the elk back down to the place.  I have to admit that I had a great time but I was exhausted. I felt bad that I couldn't help John with the rest of the work, but I felt I would just be in the way as he worked.

My he-man outdoor day was a long one. I don't think I have ever done so much huntin' and fishin' in one day in my life.  Grunt, Scratch, Grunt... I feel so macho.

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