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Thread: Threw in The Towel!

  1. #1
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Threw in The Towel!

    I thought it would be fun to get some stories when you said "OK, enuff! Climb is too risky, ice too thin, animal too far to pack, river to swift etc and you conceeded your hunt?
    Throughout the years I never thought twice about pulling the trigger if I wanted the game and figured I would find a way to get it out later! As I have aged, and put a couple surgeons kids through college's, my decision making process has changed!
    First "pass" I can rememeber was in N Dakota deer/pheasant hunt trip - 1993.. One of my friends shot a does lower jaw off, knocked her out temporarily only to have her get up and run across a very swift stream about waist deep - maybe 50 yards across. Temps in the teens. I looked at that river long and hard before saying -OK fool, not worth drowning for even though I figured deer was not far off and likely dead....
    Ended a black bear hunt midweek in Ont about a year later due to flooding as well! Whats your "Better Judgement Stories?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    In recent years a few of my "throw in the towel" moments have been driven by the fact that I love hunting with my wife and I know that keeping her comfortable and feeling safe are more important than coming home with an animal. On her goat hunt this year there were some goats that would have been pretty easy to get, but there was a river to cross that was pretty rowdy. If I were alone, I probably would have stripped down and figured out a way to get across. With her, though, we decided that we were happy to just have a shared experience in the mountains to to make plans to bring our packrafts next time around.

  3. #3
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Codename S&M

    "There I was..."

    In the military this is how we all knew we were in for a story.

    Hunting partner and I found an acceptable place to call a moose hunt. Glassed the area for a few days (because the wiser mentors told us this is the thing to do)... sure enough, bull. Nice bull. Only a mile, maybe two from the truck.

    Grab the packs (note the confidence), grab a lunch, grab the gun. Let's go for a walk.

    In the early morning light of an Alaskan fall (what's that about 9am?) we began our hike to an area that we though the bull would call a bed.

    Three hours later we were standing in roughly the area we wanted.

    Remember the one, maybe two miles previously estimated?

    Devils club, alders, muskeg, tall grass, raspberries and hills. That was the first 28 feet. Then it got thick.
    It literally took us about three hours to reach a tree that was on our 'plan' from the glassing site.

    We sat under that tree.

    We ate lunch - FYI, vacuum packing a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich makes what appears to be a bruised tortilla.

    We ate lunch, drank some water, and watched the nice bull graze and eventually bed down within 100 yards of our 'tree'.
    We didn't say anything, neither one of us even made a move for our rifle.

    After lunch, we hiked back to the glassing hill.

  4. #4

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    A couple of years ago I drew a late season bow sheep permit that my wife and I bailed early on. We hiked in about 8 miles and were camped at about 3500 feet the day before the season opened. After one of the best nights sleep that we've ever had in a tent we woke up to a thick layer of ice covered by about 4 or 5 inches of snow, so we decided to sleep in and wait for daylight and safer hiking conditions. We ended up getting up at the crack of 10 AM and I started boiling water to make breakfast. The weather had cleared and it was a glorious morning. Wifey was taking pictures of our camp and the scenery when I heard her say, "Hey, there's a bear". I casually looked expecting to see a black bear down in the valley or something but instead got a good surprise to see a large brownie digging for ground squirrels only 100 yards away. We later measured his front paws at almost 9", I don't know how big that makes him, but he looked huge. Anyways, this bear was weird because he would dig for awhile and then sit down like a dog and just stare at us, then dig for awhile and sit and stare again. Now keep in mind I am bowhunting and all that we brought for a gun was my wife's .357. I've never had a gun feel so small in my hands before.... We had our staredown with the bear for a good half hour or so when he started to work his way towards us, which put a small knob in between us and the bear so we couldn't see him anymore. At this point the bear was headed directly towards us and would come over the knob at about 30 yards, so I decided to run to the top of the knob so I could at least keep my eye on him. When I made the top of the knob he had taken a turn towards the valley and away from us and we watched him, thankfully, wander away.

    After discussing things for awhile we were a little unnerved and I decided it would likely be in our best interest to bail out, especially since my wife was 3 or 4 months pregnant at the time and with the snow/ice and bear in the area. I haven't regretted it since, but I sure would like another shot at that sheep tag!

    When we got home we were looking at the pictures that my wife had taken that morning and she has several pictures of our camp with the bear in the background, before we even knew the bear was there! Kind of crazy.

  5. #5
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Great Sories guys!

    Those brought a smile to my mug - keep em coming guys and girls!
    Stogey, why is it we can hit a wall of @#%*and keep marching forward knowing we would have to come back through it later???

  6. #6
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Archery Elk

    WA, Archery Elk, Alpine lakes wilderness.........

    I hiked in way too far solo with a bow, exausted set up a ground blind on a watering hole. Just at sun set, expecting action, I just realized it was too far back in there, by my self, to be killing anything!

    Hung up the bow, took up the camera.

  7. #7
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    Nothing worse than being sick on a solo sheep hunt. 1 miserable night w/ a fever and nausea sent me packing. Unfortunately I ended up stumbling literally all day. Made the 10 or so miles to the campground then another 5 mile road march before the cell worked and I could call to be "rescued" by the wife. Probably would have been easier to just wait it out on the hill!! I went back with a buddy after a day of rest and we didn't connect on a sheep but he did knock down his first blackie.

  8. #8
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    Default Full Draw Moose

    One of my first moose hunting trips proved to be one of the most exciting. Went and camped out solo with the jetsled and got camp set up...I had a third of a moose in the freezer from packing out a buddy's the week before but wanted to see some myself and call a few up and take one with a bow if I could as it was closer to the rut now. I went for a quick evening hike but the weather turned sour an hour into it....raining dimes and howling wind. Despite this I called in a spike and fork on my first set but they never got within range...but close and it was pretty exciting. Walked another three quarters of a mile and set up again...this time a nice moose in the mid 50's came strutting in lookin to whoop my butt. He finally got within range (40 yards...downhill...no twigs...broadside with his head behind a tree)...I mean it was perfect...except for the 25 mile an hour winds and driving rain...15 minutes of daylight left...1.5 miles to camp...I was solo...and the stream was too low to get a boat up to get him out so I had nine or 10 trips 1.5 miles long....hmmmm. Done lots of bowhunting but had no idea what the response of a moose would be...would he walk forever...or what if I didn't get him well enough in all this rain and dark...so I was mostly worried about tracking, and then getting him out in a safe and sane manner. This didn't stop me from drawing...but after about 20 seconds of some real soul searching...I let down and watched him for about 5 minutes until he cantered back to where he came from.

    I'm glad I passed but would love to be in that situation again. I did get one the next morning, but used the boomstick as the rain etc. was still pretty brutal and my fletching was a wreck (used to use feathers)...and, all the rain overnight raised the river so I could get the boat up to him in the end for only a quarter mile packjob...it was my first moose and a great hunt.

  9. #9
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Solo's

    Looks like solo hunts seem to get us in more trouble for sure!
    Bighorse, my first bow hunt for elk was in New Mexico - I was 25 and thought I could carry a jeep on my back! I had studied a topo map for months and had 2 likely waterholes marked miles from our camp. So, first day I hit the trail full of way too much energy. Walked up and down hills for hours. Got to "the Spot" and found it full of fresh wallows and sign everywhere!
    Trees were down within 15 yards of rut pits and wind was right. Had a couple young bulls come in within the first hour. This was my first close up look at an elk and I thought "my God, they are huge"! Reality set in and I packed up and headed back towards camp before a shooter came in and I made a very bad decision. That night I had two feet full of blisters because I had moved way to fast, should have changed socks and spent 2 days getting my feet back in shape.
    I did shoot a nice young bull on 5th day MUCH closer to camp!

  10. #10
    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    Default float hunt

    me and a buddy were on a float hunt that was going to take about 17 days. Well due to upriver winds every day, rowing everyday just to keep moving, 2 weeks later we were half way. Had a moose and bear on board already and my partner wanted to call it quits. I wanted to keep going, we had enough food and i was having a blast, but he was not. So I asked him if your desire to go home out weighed his desire to hunt and he said yes. So picked up the sat phone and got pulled out. I guess it is time to stop when you quit having fun.

  11. #11
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    Default Good Point

    Quote Originally Posted by akguy454 View Post
    me and a buddy were on a float hunt that was going to take about 17 days. Well due to upriver winds every day, rowing everyday just to keep moving, 2 weeks later we were half way. Had a moose and bear on board already and my partner wanted to call it quits. I wanted to keep going, we had enough food and i was having a blast, but he was not. So I asked him if your desire to go home out weighed his desire to hunt and he said yes. So picked up the sat phone and got pulled out. I guess it is time to stop when you quit having fun.

    There definitely comes a point sometimes when a good experience was had but rough conditions wear you down to the point that going home isn't quite as bittersweet. I've been out with some guys that just go diehard no matter what but I've got no problem pullin the plug if miserable conditions or unusual logistics present themselves. Alaska can certainly bring rough and dangerous conditions out of nowhere with no warning which makes it all that smarter to not continue when things are already going downhill.

  12. #12
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Threw in the towel on my

    goat hunt last year in the Wrangells. When we were dropped off, the pilot was behind schedule and we did not get our recce pass of the valley we were to hunt. No problem, scouting would be done on a quick 2-day trip up and back through the valley by foot. I am here to tell you that walking through a moraine is no picnic. We ended day one at 3 miles as the crow flies and 3 billion miles as the moraine lays. We quickly discovered that our 3 days of rations was not going to get us up the valley and back to camp.

    We spent the night there. Glassed a few goats and decided we would head back to base camp, stock for 5 days and go on the other side where the goats were. The moraine death march was not a complete loss--we found goats. We had watched a group of goats for a couple days now and they were hanging out in a, what we thought, was a climbable spot. Across the moraine we went and slept well that night. Fully stocked and our plan of attack down we headed up and up some more. Did I mention we went up?

    After 9 hours of climbing, we were about 400 yards from where the group of goats were hanging out. We wanted to come in on them from above. One more nail peeling climb and victory was ours. That last 100 yards was too much. Before I left my wife looked into eyes and said with a stern voice "Rodney, you had better come home and not fall off a cliff. No goat is worth me raising these kids by myself."

    As we clawed the last 100 yards, I slipped on scree and went sliding a 100 yards. I ripped both pockets off my pants. My partner could only watch and hope I would stop. I stopped on a lone alder bush. Then clawed my way back up to him. When I reached him, he asked if I was OK.

    At that moment, the words my wife said to me before I left, hit me like a train. I said to my partner "What the hell are we doing up here and how are we going to get a goat or two down this stretch. He stated he wondered the same thing and said "you kept going so I did." We went back down a little and went to route B which had us busting serious brush. Things were looking up now, we were 200 yards from where the goats bedded all day and we were clawing, but through brush, not up. Just when the sun is shining and all is good- we ran into a ridiculously deep gorge that was impassable. The vegetation was so thick we never saw the gorge from the bottom.

    We tried for hours to find another route with no luck. We noticed that even if we had made the last 100 yards up we still would have hit the gorge. No passable route to the goats, so we threw in the towel and said lets go down. As the sunlight was fading at 1,000 or so feet from the bottom we arrived at a choke point which was the only climbable spot for miles to get up or down this mountain. The choke point was only about 100 yards wide. Our guns were in our packs for faster moving at this point. For some reason I decide to stop and get one last drink of water before we make the last little bit of the trip. I looked out across the valley floor for miles to take one last awe inspiring view in and I caught movement 20 yards ahead of me in the brush.

    My eyes focus on the nearly dark brush and I can make out a tuft of fur moving. It moved a little more, and the outline grew clearer--a frickin grizzly. What does any guy with a gun in his pack do? I yelled to my partner, who is 100 feet up the mountain, "There is a bear standing here in front of me; you may want to get your gun out." That's right, I made no attempt to take my gun out. My partner raced down the mountain to me as I took my last sip of water and said "What did you say?" I told him a bear was standing right in front of us. I am not sure if I was not totally convinced a bear was up there our I was so tired I did not want to make the effort to grab my gun. He did not believe me so I yelled " HEY BEAR, THIS IS MY MOUNTAIN!" That bear tore down the mountain so fast I think he was rolling end over end.

    We made it back to base camp in the dark and looked for goats for two days and never saw another one. We threw in the towel and went home a couple days early.

    The best hunt I have ever been on, and we never shot a thing. Or was it a camping trip then? You decide.

    I am still waiting for the no back pocket fad to start.

    I hope you enjoy this read.

  13. #13
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    I did not throw in the towell because I could not back out....

    I was goat hunting, stalking a very large billy and was inching along a 6' wide ledge, hanging one by fingernails, it was icy as only goat ledges can be. It was Thanksgiving weekend. I was about 1500' above the ground on this ledge and.... I said out loud.."what the f**k are you doing? you have a wife and two kids and here you are risking your life for a stupid goat". The goat went on to score 51 and is the third largest goat killed in MT. So it ended well but sure was rethinking my decision for a while.

    Alls well that ends well? J.

  14. #14
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Solo sheep hunt. DS140 tag.

    I hiked in 15-16 miles before I started climbing up into the valley I had decided to hunt. It was Oct 1st and the weather on the trip in was nice.

    Forecast called for increasing clouds and possible snow/rain. I made my camp in ankle deep snow in view of two nice rams on a nearby mountainside. I awoke to the hiss of snow on the tent. I got out of the tent to about a foot of new snow and vis down to about 50 feet...and my boots were frozen. It took a painful two hours of stomping, toe-wiggling, removing the boots, massaging burning cold feet and repeating every 20 minutes or so.

    New to winter hunting in the mountains I didn't bring a shovel so I pressed my cookpot into snow removal duty. I spent 4 more days of waiting, thawing out my boots and digging before calling it quits.

    When I broke camp I had a 4 foot wall of snow around my tent
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by akguy454 View Post
    I guess it is time to stop when you quit having fun.
    Either that or get a better hunting buddy.

  16. #16

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    I am 15 years old and hunting Elk in eastern Oregon, near Hells Canyon. It's the day before the season starts, so I hike 8 hours down a side canyon, to the bottom, where a medow I have been to before is waiting for me. I set up camp and wait for the morning hunt. I wake up to snow falling at a good rate. Shoot a spike at 0740. By the time it is gutted and quarted, snow is piling up fast. Broke camp and loaded up for the climb back up. With gear and 2 back quarters up I went. I made base camp the next day at 1730 with 3 feet of snow on the ground. We had to chain up the truck and bash thru 5 foot drifts while pulling a 25 foot trailer. I had to leave the rest of the meat at the bottom. Still feel guilty doing that.

  17. #17
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Great Stuff Guys!

    I never had the urge or opportunity to hunt sheep and goats but from the stories I think it ranks right up there with "you gotta be crazy" to want to do it!
    OldRgr, I was following two bull elk tracks in Montana in '89, they went straight up to about 9500 - 10,000 ft and crossed a saddle. I followed like a bird dog in about 6in - 12in of snow. Was a sunny day and adrenalin was pumping trying to imagine the racks these loaners may be sporting. I had to cross a HUGE shale slide and only thing that held my footing was the imprints of their tracks! I stopped finally from fear and realized there was NOTHING to stop me for well over 1000 plus feet on this near verticle slope if I slipped. Fear paralized me for quite awhile. I fianlly went on VERY slowly as it was easier to step up than down!
    A couple hours later I topped out in the middle of about 100 elk - in the excitement I slipped and dislocated my right shoulder! Story ended well after a hospital visit and I did bag a fat 3 x 4 next day!
    This was a good example of a hunter out of his elements for sure - I can only imagine a goat hunt being more risky for sure!

  18. #18
    Member waterbustn''s Avatar
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    Default

    This past duck season I was jumpshooting a creek I love hunting. Knowing its also a salmon stream I usually carry either slugs or my .44 as well. Well this particular day left the .44 at home KNOWING my slugs were in my glovebox, well I was in such a hurry to get down there after seeing 3 big flocks of mallards and some geese that I didn't even notice that the slugs weren't in the stock sleeve. After a cpl miles I had only seen some mergansers and only had a cpl more spots I liked to check, I walk up to the next spot and see some teal downstream. I was about 2 ft into the brush when my nose was filled with bear stench!! I stopped looked around and reached for the slugs, oh ***** were are they!! Didn't see the bear so maybe I just missed it, hahaha, moved back out and started to walk to where the ducks were and had the *** am I doing moment!! I turned around got out fast and loudly! I knew there was a sow and cub down there, seen the tracks, but what I forgot was the size of the tracks I found after a light snowfall one morning. My sze 11 boot didn't fit into the front track. Got out fast that morning too. I've had enough close calls fishing don't need one duck hunting!!

  19. #19
    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    Default never again

    I have that never again am I doing this feeling every time I walk out with a bou out side the corridor on the haul road, but I still go........is that crazy???

  20. #20
    Premium Member AZinAK's Avatar
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    Talking Hilarious!!!

    [QUOTE=Stogey;733092]

    We ate lunch - FYI, vacuum packing a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich makes what appears to be a bruised tortilla.


    I laughed my arse off at that!!! I'll have to remember that for future planning...

    AZinAK

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