This hunting season has been postponed for us. The Carr Fire has resulted in the area we hunt being closed due to the fire danger. So we wait. I prepared this post months ago and this seems like a good time to post it. There are a couple pictures of some of the game we harvested, but mostly it’s images from our season.
When we hunt big game we immerse ourselves into the experience, always. We don’t just experience nature we participate in it. We hunt to for food. Each meal we prepare we reminisce over our experience and appreciate where that food came from. We observe things that time of year we don’t always see the same way during the rest of the year. As a result we take a lot of pictures. This gallery is a small sample of the sights and sounds we enjoy each season.
Our bow hunting season started mid August and rifle season ended in late October. It was grueling and difficult hunting in rugged country. The weather was hot much of the time and we had to contend with constant smoke from the wildfires during bow season. We cover a lot of ground on foot and spent hours in ground blinds. One of the benefits is we never know what might show up near our blinds. The cameras are always handy.
Phanny joined us for some pre-season scouting.
A painted lady landed on my arrow tip while we sat in the hunting blind.
The fence lizards cruise our hunting blinds searching for ants.
A Pacific fisher unknowingly visited us.
The fisher investigates our wildlife camera. Come on little buddy just a little farther. Darn, we didn’t get his picture.
The gray squirrels didn’t detect us most of the time, but when they did we heard all about it.
Yellow jackets and hornets are always a risk in the woods. This bald-faced hornet isn’t to be trifled with.
Tiny birds like this brown creeper were around nearly all the time.
Fungus growing on a black oak snag.
Big ferns grow in the stream zones.
Butterflies would land on us while we sat in our blind. They were drinking sweat from our skin.
Canyon live oak
A steller’s jay in for a drink.
Smoke was a constant nuisance in the early season.
This acorn woodpecker was panting because is was so hot.
You can’t beat the view when the smoke is gone.
Sugar pine cones
A doe in my bow sites. We don’t take does in California.
Doe close up.
A California Sisters butterfly.
This bigleaf maple is just beginning to change.
A large black bear cruises through.
Tanoak acorns blanket the road. Acorns are a very important food source for all manner of wildlife.
A bigleaf maple leaf gets more yellow. They are our reminder of the seasons passing.
My hunting partner.
The steller’s jays were like little bits of sky.
The red tail hawks were always cruising about. We weren’t the only hunters out there.
It’s rugged country. We work hard for everything we get.
Big sugar pine.
Our camp is a swarming ground for the local ladybugs. Did you know that ladybugs bite!
I was watching a bear down in the thicket of live oak trees.
Old growth sugar pine.
Fall color from the black oaks and bigleaf maples.
A golden bigleaf maple leaf has seen better days.
Calk boots in an oak tree?
Those are timber faller’s boots. There is a story wanting to be told here.
An early snow warns us that the season is winding down.
Leaves changing one at a time.
If you wait long enough someone’s trash becomes an artifact.
Mary worked hard for this fine buck. It was harvested on a high remote ridge. We had a long steep pack out.
A view from one of our blinds.
I love the change of the season.
Fall color and snow.
What a view!
The dogs love to investigate our bounty when we get home.
“I see you!”
No the camera isn’t tilted. We hunt some steep country.
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
The bear skull sitting on the running board of an older D6 Cat.
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
The Cat was parked in the landing for a few months. The skull is sitting on the floor in the entrance. Can you see it?
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
Fawns are often killed by black bears in the Spring. Right after birth, fawns know instinctively to lay perfectly still. They have almost no scent. If the fawn doesn’t move a muscle and the bear is up wind it my not see the little deer.
I have you folks to thank, or blame for this pen and ink. It’s the third version of this fawn. You can see the two previous versions in the post Wild Wednesday Fawn Redo. First was a sweet vignette, which Mary told me was lacking. So I added more detail and asked if you all preferred the simple vignette of the more complete fawn. I received lots of great feedback and the majority liked the additional detail. If more detail is good then a lot more should be great. Truth is, I kept adding more and more because I had a vision. That’s when the bear came along to add some drama. The first rendition was lackluster. Now it tells a story, so thank you Mary and all you folks who commented before. Listening to a good critique only makes us better artist and writers. Even if I grumbled about it at first.
On a side note, if I’d known it was going to morph into this final drawing, the composition would have been different. However, I think it works okay. What do you think?
Mary and I were driving into camp last summer and were approaching a little creek. As we rounded a bend in the road, this bear burst out of the blackberry bushes. It ran across the road in front of us and stopped in the blackberries about 30 feet away. I stopped the truck. It stared at us and we stared back. It appeared to be a young bear. It stayed there for a good 3 or 4 minutes while we took pictures. This bear was covered in burrs. unfortunately, that comes with this territory. Wild black bears usually run, but this one didn’t. Maybe, being a young bear it was curious. We’ve seen that before, “Curious Young Bear.” We also suspected that it might be a sow and she had a cub that was still below the road. Perhaps, she wasn’t leaving her baby.
Maybe, it was hoping we might stay and pick all those burrs out of it’s fur. After a few minutes of staring at each other, it ambled up the draw in search of a fresh patch of blackberries.
Two carnivores hunting in the woods. There’s something to be said about harvesting an animal that is perfectly capable of harvesting you. We encountered this beautiful beast while hunting Spring turkeys. With Autumn comes a different season.
Orange Glazed Bear
bear meat cut into thin strips
flour of your choice for dredging (wheat, cornstarch, rice, etc.)
barbecue sauce (homemade or one you like)
Marinade thin bear strips in a splash of soy sauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, with a pinch of ground mustard. Marinade over night or vacuum marinade for 30 minutes. The longer the better.
Place enough flour to coat the meat in a repurposed produce bag. Drain and save marinade juice from meat. Place meat in bag of flour, toss to coat.
Heat a splash almond oil with a dollop of coconut…
As we rounded the corner, we spooked this young bear. He ran up the hill a short distance and hid behind a large Douglas-fir tree. His curiosity got the best of him as he peeked around one side of the tree and his behind stuck out the other. I stopped the rig so we could watch him. He didn’t run away. We got out and started taking pictures.
His curiosity got the best of him. He had to get a better look at us.
He watched us for a while and we watched him. An older bear would never have stayed for a look. Soon his curiosity was satisfied and we went our separate ways.
California Black Bear, Ursus americanus
Monica was our pole plant/log clerk for many years and is a dear friend. She lives near Shasta Lake and has told me countless stories of her encounters with bears around her home. Of course she had to listen to my countless bear stories too. She just retired, so I gave her a signed and mounted print of this pen and ink. I think of her every time I look at it.
We originally set up hidden cams at various locations to catch claim jumpers. It’s a nice treat to capture the local critter population. Here is a sampling of what passed through the last 2 weeks. Of course, panning a little bling with my Tim is pure bliss.