pursuit of the alpine desert buck

Dad drew a tag this year and I was his sherpa. Early on, we had our sights set on descending into and surviving a particular canyon for 5 days. A location that keeps not only bubba-hunters away, but well-equipped hunters too.

The mountain got pummeled by snow right before our arrival and we could do nothing but glass our canyon and cringe. A descent without cramp-ons would have risked life and limb.

We've mountaineered a lot and even thought we were equipped for those conditions. But forecasted 60mph winds and rain/snow made it a tough choice, so we opted for a different area - one we had not scouted and knew very little about.

We hiked a couple thousand feet above most hunters and set a base camp. Ended up glassing BIG country for four days straight and spotted TWO deer - a doe and a fawn. Depressing, yes, but I can watch fall's quaking aspen all day long.

Water was nowhere near us so it was all filtered out of holes in big rocks.

A little discouraged, but still committed, on day 4 of 5 we decided to change up the game plan and hike to the top of the canyon. No easy task. We cut some big tracks in the melting snow, still with sharp edges. Within ten minutes we tracked down our buck and dad made an 80 yard moving shot through the heart. 

Alpine buck down!

We boned the meat out quickly and hiked out - up and over a gnarly alpine bowl and down a long ridge. That spec in the bottom/middle of this photo is dad coming up the headwall with a hefty pack.

Then back down to camp - a several hour haul full of joy and pain.

Temps that night were ideal for hanging meat - cold and clear.

We made it out alive and took several 2 hour trips from camp to the truck to get meat and gear out. 

For those of you interested in this area - keep in mind we saw 3 deer total in 5 full days. Persistence pays off. And nothing beats father-son time in the wild. 

For those that enjoy easier and more plentiful quarry - this area has plenty of that, too.