Sunday, March 9, 2014

The "S" words

Cruising the snow roads on the last day of bobcat season
I am ignoring all the signs and symptoms even though I know they are there. I see it get worse every day, I just refuse to admit what is inevitably occurring.  Much as a college student might choose to deny the existence of the piling up dishes or a full laundry hamper, I am choosing to deny the ever changing conditions.   My wife loves to remind me of the situation and she is constantly using the dreaded “S” words more and more of late.  Open windows in the living room during the day, motorcycle engines resounding through the neighborhood, and I hope in a very far off time the annoying drone of lawn mower engines.  I cannot hide from it any longer, there is a truth I must face, the “S” words are fast approaching, Spring and the hideous Summer are headed my way.

Sitting on one of the last call stands of the season
The little cats are done.  February 28th marked the close of the Colorado Bobcat season.  Last year I crossed their tracks on several occasions but choose to spend more time after the cougars than them.  This year I hunted both felines equally and learned volumes about cat behavior and the little secretive cousins of the wild cat world.  I walked many miles in the tracks of the Bobcats, I learned where they den, how they mark their territory, and how and what they hunt.  While this season did not see a bobcat loaded into the back of the truck, the lessons I learned were worth so much more than a harvested cat. Despite bad conditions,  I had to try one last time before the end of the season.  I was able to get away from work on the very last day.  I knew the weather report were for conditions that were less than perfect.  Strong winds and periods of light snow would make tracking hard if not impossible.  Calling would be a challenge, unless the cat was close, but you simply cannot shoot a bobcat from your couch.  I went to the mountains and found exactly what the forecasters had predicted.  Wind swept snow had completely covered the evening tracks and at times created a near white out conditions.  I made several call stands in areas where I had patterned a few bobcats, but nothing appeared.  I had to admit defeat for the 2013 season.

Bobcat tracks found near the end of the season
That afternoon found me in my basement regrouping for the last two months of lion and coyote hunting.  Sometimes I find it hard to keep motivated as the season comes to a close.  Fall is so full of promise and excitement of the hunts and things to come.  Winter is exhilarating and a season of adventure and doing  for me.  I know when it snows it is time to head for the hills and chase some predators. Spring and Summer make me tremble with the knowledge that all there is to tide me over is perhaps some fishing and scouting of hunting areas.  This year is different.  As lion season is wrapping up I must start preparations for a new adventure, one that has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.  At the end of July I am Alaska bound for a Caribou hunt in the very northern range of the state.  Next month will see the beginning of major preparations for the hunt.  As I look forward to this adventure, it is hard not to see a little glimmer of hope in the dreaded “S” words this year. 

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