I have been in relentless pursuit of 'hard skills'. You know, the kind you need when the world runs out of oil and interrupts our food supply. I am not a fatalist but spend quiet moments prepping for the inevitable. With this, I got my hunting license, gun licence, bought a 1978 Remington 30-06 and learned how to shoot it. Then, to make it real, I entered a draw for limited entry tag to hunt a moose. Some hunters start small; grouse, duck, deer. I decided that a 1000 pound animal was the right first step.
I went to Quesnel, BC to meet up with my unofficial hunting mentor, Davin. He's the bushiest bush man I know and the right man to make sure I fill my freezer with ethically harvested, organic meat. Besides owning a forestry company he is also an avid hunter and trapper. Pine martin, lynx, wolf you name it, if it has fur and lives in the bush, he'll trap it.
Went loaded the quads, guns, ammo, food, frozen beavers, traps, beer into his truck and set off for a place called Batannuni Lake, deep in the Cariboo bush. This is where his trap line and cabins are and where I conveniently got my moose tag. This is how each day would go: hunt for bull moose by a swamp in the early AM, set pine martin traps all day, hunt for bull moose by a swamp in the late PM. Decorating the front of my quad was a frozen beaver I called Justin Beaver (see photo above). Justin was used as bait in the pine martin traps and my job was to use a hatchet and cut pieces off. In doing this work, I found and made friends with, Man-drea, my inner red neck. We spent 5 days in this routine and ended up trapping three martin and a weasel but there was no bull moose to be found. We did see a few cows (females) but not the stud who has hopefully impregnated each of them.
We pack up camp and headed back to Davin's farm in Quesnel, and decided that hunting a mule deer would be the next best thing. The only issue with this plan was that it was 4-point or better season, and those are a rare find. We spent a few early mornings and evenings looking for the elusive 4 point ungulate and finally in the last hour that I could hunt before calling it quits, we spotted it. I lifted my gun, put a bullet in the chamber and tried to control my breathing while running through all the things I had learned in the last two years. While in my mental checklist, Davin shouted at me 'pull the trigger Winger!' The next thing I know is that my face was in pain and bleeding from the scope smashing into my nose and forehead (rookie move) and the buck was down. What flooded in, mingling with the adrenaline was excitement and disbelief. As the beautiful animal took its last breaths, I went up the road to get the quad. As I was driving back down, the tears came, streaming down my face, mixing with the blood from my nose. I was incredibly happy to have accomplished a goal yet deeply moved and saddened by the act of taking an animals life.
My freezer is full of meat, my girlfriend is happy, my friends eat well and I learned a valuable lesson about being an omnivore. Nor will I ever take eating a piece of meat for granted again. If you want to come over for dinner, hit me up!