No, not with this blog, even though I haven't done anything for the last week...just with some of the stuff that has been occupying the time I could have been using around here. It's not the holiday's, it's not Handel's Messiah, which has clicked for me much more than Brahm's did...it's the hunting.
Part of the 'being done' is based on the calendar...today is the last day of late muzzleloader season, but a big part of it(since I am here typing instead of you know...actually being out hunting) is mental. It's funny how you can roll into mid-September with such high hopes, and by the end of November, just feel done in. The last few days have especially burned me out, with a healthy dose of Murphy's Law following me.
After getting teased by a buck a week ago, the next day I got in position where I watched nice looking doe head into a draw and bed down. After giving her 30-minutes to relax, I headed in after her. I shucked my back pack, and got to within about 40-yards of where I thought she was before she jumped up, and gave me a shot as she started trotting away. All I heard when I pulled the trigger was a click...the percussion cap was dented, but hadn't fired...and by the time I cocked the rifle again, she had disappeared into the sage brush, and I couldn't get a second chance. My rifle is a Traditions Vortex NW Magnum...and when I got home that night I did some research, and found that I am not alone in having this issue. In the garage(working with just a cap, no poweder in the gun) I found that I am having roughly a 30% failure rate...meaning the cap does not fire when the trigger is pulled. According to the internet, there are a few things you can do...but none of them are a guarantee of success. In the middle of the season, the day before Thanksgiving, I didn't feel like totally disassembling the gun and trying any of them, so I just dealt with the increased chance that the gun might not fire the first time I pulled the trigger.
Turns out it didn't matte, because I wouldn't get another shot the next three times I went out hunting. Two days in a row, with goofy windy weather, I saw nothing, and then yesterday morning, to change my luck, I tried hunting a slightly different area...same farm, just walk in a little further, and pick a spot further up on the hill. It gave me a better chance to maybe see something in the distance, and repeat my stalk on a bedded animal.
It paid off early...at about 8:00, I saw a group of 9 does a few hundred yards away...and they were heading my direction, so I decided to stay put. The bummer is, they must have jumped the road from another property, because their path was going to take them past where I had been sitting the last few days...and then...I get mad still thinking about it. Another hunter popped up the ridgeline that the herd was working down...and spooked them away from me. I'm not sure he even saw them...but he did see me...and instead of giving me a wide berth, he walked right up to where I had been sitting for 2.5 hours, and tried to have a conversation with me! 'Hey, are you the maroon truck out there? Have you seen anything?' Nope...ain't seen nothing...and as soon as I could I headed off in the direction that the herd of does had gone, but I never did see them again.
What I did see were not one, not two, but THREE other rigs parked within 30-yards of my truck. I had been parked at this particular spot at 5:40 in the morning, all by myself. My preferred entry point to the farm was a very distinct set of tractor tracks...let me get in a good half-mile from the road before having to head off through the thigh high wheat/sage. So...three other groups of hunters(or one group with three rigs working together), showed up, saw my truck parked there...and didn't care. The farm I was on is private land, but it's posted 'Feel Free to Hunt', so it might as well be public land...but Who Does That? I know I don't...after I have identified a few areas I want to hunt...if someone beats me to that spot, I don't just park there anyway and crowd them...I have never once parked with a quarter of a mile of another car....and usually further away than that.
So, yeah...between a gun I couldn't trust, and other hunters I couldn't stand...I packed it in. I was not having a good time anymore, and there are other things I could be doing with my family.
As a hunting wrap up...bummer of a year...but, made some good memories with my daughter, and I spent a lot of time hunting by myself without getting hurt, or getting myself in a situation I couldn't gt out of.