A 2009 Youth Hunt

While we have been meeting via e mail the hunting mentors for the PBS Doug Kerr Memorial Hunt met at the Camp sight June 27, 2009 for a sunrise breakfast to discuss the hunt. A couple were unable to attend.

Richard has his back to you. Jason Saltern is left standing against the truck. Jay Constantino, Craig Burris, Jerry Woodland, The Basset Boys, and Coby Saltern feeding his face. But he can't help it look at those hot cakes.

There are a couple ways I like to scout. One is horse back and the other one is on foot. The horse back does the general finding and the foot work does the specifics. The horse photo's is looking toward the South end of Bear Lake from the West. Camp is south of where we are standing or to your left as you look at the photo over the timbered ridge about 4 miles as the crow flies.

This photo is where we are about to start the ground work. You can see the five mile enthusiasm on Rileys face (rambo on the left) cause I took his horse away. Looking over Rich's shoulder you are looking North up Logan Canyon towards Bear Lake. Porter is Riches 5 year old that only had to be carried part way. And Mason is turning twelve this month. He is the lad carrying the bow which we used to check clearance in the blinds. Check in the next couple days for more photo's and comments of things going on preparing for the youth hunt.

It's all good if she'll just move that stinking leg forward! This photo was taken from the blind on _______ - sorry but you have to be blindfolded to go in there so I'm not saying anything on the internet - you'll know it when you take the blind fold off. A couple of elk have made the mistake she is about to and boy were they tasty.

It takes a bunch of elk movement to powder it this bad.

While they waiting in line at the elk intersection to do whatever it is they were doing one got bored and tasted a little aspen. And you can see, it wasn't the first year they had been to the tree.

Just a nip hear and a tie back there and this should work.

Now we just need the elk to come back along the trail.

Aug 4 - I felt it this a.m. There is something in the air. I feel it every year about this time give or take a few days. It is that hint that fall is thinking about coming. you can smell it in the air. The morning sky begins to take on a cooled look. The eastern sky began to lighten and I trained the binos to the west facing slope. Would I see them today? I could only work with anticipation. This particular area used to be a ton of fun to hunt elk in. The 27 water sources made catching them at water almost impossible but the still hunting and stalking was always a hoot. With all the chasing of elk that has taken place on that hill over the years. I know of only two elk ever taken with archery tackle. I don't know why I alway glass this area. I have rarely hunted it in the past ten years. I guess it is the walk of memories that exists.

After an hour of glassing I'd seen all I needed to see. Once again my hopes were dashed by the reality that the Shoshone Trail for motorized service to the recreational motorized crowd had upset this area of elk hunting during the archery season. When the cattle are gathered on the easte

rn slope of the Canyon the gathering push often shoves a few elk across the highway and the opening morning of the general elk rifle hunt someone will get a crack at them before they either run back across the highway or leave the area all together. "Sad", was all I could think. It would been a great place to teach the youth still hunting elk.

I'd been looking behind me ever so often and had picked up some elk slipping through the quakies 1/4 mile off. They were were they needed to be. They have been there for at least a month and if everything goes as usual...they will be there when it is time. I took down the spotting scope and headed for work.

Aug 6 - Neither Rich nor I could get our days to aline for an earlier departure. At 6:30 PM we left for camp pulling our trailers for the weekend. We would both have to return to work Friday. A major wind storm had been raising havoc with most of Utah but the stiff breeze helped push us over the canyon towards Bear Lake. "Where is all the traffic coming" was about all I was thinking as Riley rambled on about the movie "300" and how that somehow could apply to our hunt. When Riley finally gave out. Mark Baker and his bowhunting CD took over the wine of the tires.

The lake was about as populated as I expected as we made our way through the seasonal boom town of Garden City. Ten minutes later we hit the gravel and started our climb to the flat.

The cell phone went off and I had enough coverage to speak with PBS member Chris Smith of Mooresville Indiana as he finalized his travel plans. We rolled into "the flat" ten minutes later. I was relieved to see no campers in "the spot" But the cattle were there....and they had been there. They have the whole forest to travel and they like to camp here too. The weekend will be a manure racking. Sometime between Craig Burris's scouting trip last weekend and today the slob campers had been there. It will take a while to clean up that mess as well. This photo of my trailer is the same place a month and a half ago in this journal where Coby sat eating pancakes. Mother nature can recover to some extent but she continues to loose ground.

We were successful "killing" three things on the way home. You can see the shakes are really good, the red goes right to your eyes. I forgot to turn on my red eye block. I'm not much of a photographer.

Aug 7 - Turned 50 sometime this a.m. no time for a birthday party. Never been fond of em anyway. Last night was what I call a "blood moon". The camera doesn't really do it justice. We will take it! Any edge we can get coming into this event we welcome. If I stop long enough to think about the magnitude of this under taking I get a little ill feeling. So we just keep moving forward. Now if all the stars will aline. Every member of the PBS has contributed to this in some manner, thank you. It may just be your membership renewal but that is a contribution. I can't say enough about council and the grind they have endured as we ask for one request after another to plow different ground.

There is no way that just Rich and I could do justice to the ten youth hunters without the help of the travel/camp mentors helping to make the arrangements to get the youth here. Their willingness to participate in camp with anything we've thrown at them or have offer to have thrown at them shows the caliber of this membership. I can't say enough about the "hunt only" mentors handling that portion of the hunt. Only one of these mentors less than a year ago knew anything about PBS. But they lept anyway. We only ask them for their hunting spots (think about that for a minute). To step aside there would be enough. But it has become bigger than that. At our last organizational meeting you could see that they had embraced the hunt. Actually I saw it coming earlier in the hunt development, but last Tuesday...they owned it!

With the knowledge gained from past youth hunts, and with trying this off the wall design, I believe that the PBS will be able to develop a solid, duplicative, event that will help insure the infusion of active leaders into PBS and particularly bowhunting circles around the nation. You and I, wildlife and wild places, and society n general, can ill afford the continued loss of the traditional values of hunting, not just bowhunting. But we can start here because we get it, bowhunting helps us get it. I know it will happen because the Off Year Gatherings were a stretch of imagination and look where we are now.

This journal may get a little blank during the week of the hunt (Aug 14-22). The schedule could get tight and crazy and since I'll be an hour and a half from this computer (thank goodness in some ways, not in others) I may not be able to pass the info as I'd like. It will only take one elk on the ground and the schedule may be completely played by ear.

Need to stop the philosophying and get busy. I need to purchase the park pass, pick up the water barrels, finish up at work, endure some birthday bashin, grab more gear and head to camp. More later.

Aug 8 - The cows came around and we spent most of the day shoveling and hauling cow pooh our of camp.

Hauled in some wood, left it a bit long so the youth can practice wood skill with a bucksaw.

Good meal that night. Rich's Zuccini thing and My Frito Pie.

The elk nuts working on a limited entry bull tag stopped in to eat and spend a little fire time.

Aug 9th - I smelled it coming....woke up to frost this a.m. At about 7200 feet.

Good breakfast. Mt man surprise. See how surprised Riley looks.

Aug 10 - This map is the "Travel Plan" in our area. It has almost no where you can get a mile from a road on what we are hunting called the south side. The elk have learned to live with it. I and other hunters still struggle with it. The Upper left hand corner of the map is some wilderness, mostly high country rock with little elk habitat on what we call the North. There are only a couple roads in on this side as you can see. The Red line on the left upper portion of the map is to the wilderness trailhead and on weekends it looks like an REI parking lot sale. The Grey on the right is private lands.

Forest Service contacted me today and they are leaving the roads open while they do work in there but we may experience some delays up to two hours between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. Will only challenge us going out in some areas in the late afternoon.

Aug 14 - Got everyone scraped together at the airport. Headed North. On Schedule. Stopped at points of interest. Over look at Bear Lake

Orientation and shot selection, laws on antler legality!

Aug 15 - Food is unbelievable, thanks to chef "boy" R D Larry". Fourteen year old Adam Ahlblad was heard to say after the cow blew out at 5 yards, " THEY ARE BIG"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aug 16 - training day - Orienteering course taught by Dave Doran. Arm guard crafting Tim Roberts.

Aug 17 - No photos because I had to run to town last night on camp errands. Cell phone went off from Spike camp1 and David Moldenhauer from Wisconsin is now the proud owner of 170 of prime cow elk meat!!!!!!! Maybe more details in the middle of the week. We'll see how it goes. Running!

Aug 18 - Day at Bear Lake. The youth spent time re-grouping. Shore lunch by the Camp Chef while a member of the Utah Wildlife Board spoke about the challenges of setting hunting policy and managing hunting in Utah.

Other speakers were:

A special investigator for the Utah Division of Wildlife who's focus is the career poaching criminal. He spoke about how he got into the work.

Steve McGrath is our Marketing Director at Camp Chef. Steve is a hiker and an avid fly fisherman; what I call a "hunting fringer". By that I mean he is a non-hunter but exposed to the out of doors enough that he should be easier than most non-hunters to pull into hunting. Steve spoke about what turns him off about hunting and why he has a hard time getting involved with big game hunting. When Steve first came to work with us. He attended the Western Big Game Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City. In his words, "What was conserving that? It was all about killing big animals".

Part of being a leader is to send the right message about hunting.

Aug 19, Wed. - I'll get the dates wrong because my journal is still up in camp. I believe Wednesday was the blanket shoot. Being the arrow hungry, anxious to shoot young men that they were..... some how the only girl in camp ended up shooting last on the first round. Maybe they will let women go first next time. The picture speaks for itself!

Still seeing some elk. Even though the first part of the week was cold and the woods crowded, the heat is coming, and that makes thirsty elk. The lake event made Riley and his hunters a bit late for the North Camp. A hunter beat them to the blind by about a minute. While Riley tried to play the sympathy card of a youth hunt as he queried the guy about his hunting intentions for the rest of the week, the guy had beat them there fair and square, and wasn't about to share or move over. Since it is public lands we play first come first serve. Many hunters still can't seem to get their minds around this thinking. We have among us those who think hanging tree stands and now trail cams, early reserve the water hole. In this case the hunter had been told by someone else to go there. To add injury to insult the next morning the youth hunters found a gut pile on the water hole. I'll need to stop in there this week and bury the gut pile so the non-hunting public doesn't see it and the elk don't have to smell it. Rotting carcasses seem to turn this particular place off.

Aug 20 Thursday - I have not had myself scheduled as a hunt mentor so I could be free to fill holes. This A.M. I drew Jade Roskelley since we were short a hunt mentor. I told her she was going to learn how to "ground pound" elk. Ahead of us was a good feed area as we slipped as quietly as we could through the blow downed timber. The bull was bedded by 7:30 a.m. at the edge of the clear cut. I snapped a twig and he blew out. Man I'm rusty! But that got my juices running! We were supposed to be finding cows and spike bulls but I couldn't help myself.

We picked up a new set of tracks and dry tracked him along his rub line to his bed buried deep in the timbered pocket. I'd just discussed with Jade about peaking around blind spots. She didn't quite get the brakes on and stepped out into the clear. He sounded heavy when he left and Jades eye's poking from her head told the story. I asked how big because my view was blocked by spruce. She ran out of arm length and had to use her bow to fill in. We tracked him from his bed through his feed ground to his water source. Learning about him as we went.

Now my elk mojo was really up! It had been a long time since I'd hunted a mature bull elk. Even if it was for fun. Jade was a good sport as I picked the leaf from the ground that held the real scent deal and christened her the elk fairy "princess"! One of the most rewarding days afield I'd ever had.

Aug 20, Friday - Where has it gone? It seemed to be so long, coming and then it just blew through. Everyone felt it winding down. Even with Vince Molenhauer's spirit lifting good arrow Thursday morning. You could feel it coming to a close.

Did I mention the food...............4 star....no, maybe 5 star. The youth broke into groups and had an assignment to plan a hunt. I think they figured Chef Larry in as chef on all of them. I was a bit jealous until they announced I could be a speaker. I'm not sure it has all sunk in for any of us.

Friday night was a long camp fire. We wished we had Lucas Stange and his guitar back to heal us. The kid and him travel mentor Floyd wells can flat play!

Aug 21 & 22 - On the road by 7:00 am. Two runs to the airport and it was over. We split the travel groups to give Moldenhauer's elk time to freeze harder.

Lora and I got back to Logan at 7:00 pm and took our daughter to diner for her first night at college. Then I passed out around 11:00 pm. If I was toast...Riley was burnt toast. Riley, Brain Tessman, Gregg Szalewski and the Moldenhauer brothers had picked up the North spike camp on the way down the canyon. Riley came down with something and is still under the weather.

I was supposed to pick up Dale at 7:00 am and head to camp to tear down the remainder of the tents. It was 6:45 am when I called him to tell him I was a little behind the 8 ball. We rounded the corner just below camp and it started to rain. Luckily two tents had already been taken down and stored. But the big tent would have to wait till it dried about this Wednesday. I straightened out my tent that I planned to leave for more of the hunt. We got the horse trailer and other camp gear ready to head down the mountain. At noon the skies opened up! We sat under the blue tarp of Riches tent awning and let it pour! Vince's spike elk liver and onions was sizzling away in the dutch oven.

While we spoke of many things as we ate....often we fell silent and all broke into a blank stare while the rain pounded the tarp. Something had left. When the rain paused and the sun broke through. We headed down the road. I hope you will head down the road with us. They and we..... ARE THE PBS. So for now until the next youth camp. We'll just have to "build a fire and stare into it"!

2009 Youth Hunt blog author - Guy D. Perkins