/    /  March

This past year I was able to test out the Kuiu Tiburon pant in the field, on what would be my most demanding early archery season ever. I wore these pants for 23 days straight in Oregon and Washington. From the opening day of my Oregon antelope hunt in the desert and temperatures in the 90-100 degree range, to chasing elk and mule deer in another unit I drew my out of state tags for in Oregon and climate ranging from more hot weather to cold winds and driving rains.

It is very common to hear grumblings and restlessness from avid big game hunters during the winter months. The countdown to fall never quite goes fast enough. Many will utilize the off season to evaluate their supplies, purchase new gear, practice shooting skills, and hit the gym for physical preparation. Those activities alone might be enough to pull through the snowy months that keep us in a constant state of anticipation. For others, like me, it is necessary to continue hitting the outdoors to fill the time with activities only the snow-filled months can offer. There are many popular hunting opportunities during winter that provide not only time in the sun for much needed vitamin D, but also the time with nature that we all crave. Aside from the more obvious winter interests like coyote, rabbit, and mountain lion hunting, I also intensely enjoy bobcat trapping. The art of learning a bobcat’s territory and habits intrigues me almost as much as the craft of the trap set up.

Usually, when bowhunters dream of early season archery hunting in remote, above-timberline basins, most immediately envision the mule deer high on their summer range of the Rocky Mountain West. While I’ve often viewed this same mental portrait over the years, I’ve also discovered a different species of deer that reside in similar terrain type features that also offer the bowhunter a true wilderness adventure. While not as large as the mule deer, this species’ ability to adapt and survive in these remote areas of the far West is truly remarkable and will definitely challenge the sanity of any bowhunter who pursues them.

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I picked up the water bottles and left the fragile security of our camp, to retrieve some much needed fresh water. I followed the winding path down through the alders to the small stream which emptied into the secluded ocean bay. The air was crisp and cold, and you could smell the heavy fragrance of the bear tracked beach below.  I waded into the small stream, which spilled off  the mountain. As I bent down to fill the water bottles, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.  I suddenly felt clammy.  I was on full alert.  I could feel the presence of something watching me in the darkness. Was it just my imagination?  Then I realized I had left my gun over on a boulder thirty feet away.