Monday, March 3, 2014


To begin with I have not been around the blog for three weeks now.  This post is a long time coming and was delayed by a random phenomenon called, life.  Unfortunately no matter how much I want to be wandering the mountains in search of predators or prey, sometimes I have to take a break and catch up on the business of living in the modern times.   These past three weeks I was able to hunt twice, but did not have any time for the blog itself.  I filled the time with several long weeks at work and a complete brake system rebuild of my beloved mountain truck, the suburban.  After replacing all the brake pads, hydraulic components and master cylinder, I still managed to repair a leaking front pinion seal and change the oil.  Possessing mechanic skills is not only a luxury but a necessary economic skill for a hunter who owns ancient vehicles. 
Now that I have established my reasons for my absence let us proceed to the topic if this post.  This story begins with sunglasses.  For the record I have a sunglasses problem.  I can never seem to own a pair of sunglasses longer than a month or two before they are lost, broken, or meet some other unfortunate premature demise.  I am certain that when I am selecting my new solar eye wear from the rack that the other sunglasses start chanting, “dead man walking,” to the poor set of glasses that I pull off the shelf. Needless to say I lost my current set of sunglasses. I noticed they had absconded while I was walking out the door at 5 AM to run snow roads looking for predator tracks.  I knew it was going to be a bright day, especially with the glare off the fresh snow.  Going with sunglasses would not be an option.  As such 515 AM found me trudging into the local Walgreen’s in full camouflage in search of my next poly carbonate victim. 
Coyote bounding through deep snow
Once I selected a sturdy yet fashionable set I went to the cash register and met the clerk.  Now I am sure I am quite the sight early in the morning to the bleary eyed attendant.  Naturally she asked the question that most people do when encountering me on my way to the mountains.  “What are you hunting?” It is an obvious question.  Despite the recent popularity of camouflage in modern fashion, I still stick out like sore thumb.  I simply replied that I was going to go hunt Mountain Lions.   She gave me a surprised look, as many do, and uttered one syllable.  It is a simple syllable, one the plagues many a parent of any younger child and even some older ones. Why?  It was an honest question and although I wish I could say I had some profound reply that completely explained the ethos and drive of my hunting, I cannot.  I instead responded poorly with, “why not?”  One would think that after 25 years of hunting, and 2 years specifically targeting Lions I would be able to do marginally better than this.  The clerk was gracious and let me off the hook with my lame reply. 
That morning I made several call stands and even tracked a coyote over several miles of rough snow.  I discovered where he had found a mouse, and later his bed.  Unfortunately this was after I jumped him and sent him running into the next county.  As I hunted I thought about the clerks question, why do I hunt and especially why do I hunt Mountain Lions? It was a valid question one that both I and the animals I hunt deserve an honest answer to.
This blog’s creation was a combined effort of both my wife and I.  The most difficult part of starting the blog was coming up with a name.  The common theme of many of the renditions of the name was, “an uncommon life.”  This idea was central to how I live and I felt conveyed many of my feelings about hunting.  However due to other blogs with this title and the vagueness it represented as to blog’s theme, it was not chosen.  Title or not, it is one of the very reasons I hunt.  I am not satisfied with a sedentary or common life.  The routine of work, TV, and general suburbia cannot hold my attention for long.  Hunting and the outdoors adds a much needed relief to everyday life in the modern times.  It is my proverbial spice of life.   While hunters are on the decrease in modern times, there are still many of us out there.  Hunting Mountain Lions separates me even further from the throng makes my style even more…uncommon.
I am also convinced there is a certain part of the DNA of hunters that is a link to the proverbial cave man.  My uncle often calls me a, “Throwback.”  While this is meant as a term of endearment from him, I cannot wonder if there is some basic truth in it.  When I am in the woods with an unfilled tag in my pocket and a rifle or bow in my hands; I am home.  There is no other place on earth where I feel I am truly meant to be.  The smell of the trees and earthy scent of the forest floor is intoxicating.  The crunch of the winter snow beneath my feet, and wind through the pines is the greatest music on earth.  The kiss of the cold wind and warmth of the sun is wonderful.
Friend and fellow hunter on a call stand with me
As for why I hunt Mountain Lions?  It comes down to mastery and respect.  I have been hunting for a long time now, much of that time has been with a bow, and this year I took my first elk with a long bow and wooden arrow.  I am not trying to bolster my own ego, but it is becoming a fact that I am beginning to master hunting the herbivores.  There are still many challenges and animals in the category, caribou, moose, mountain goat, and big horn sheep.  These animals are waiting for a coveted tag, or expensive expedition, and I am happy to say I have plans for each one of them, even if they are long term.  As for predators Bears and Coyotes are already off the list.   The skull collection of these critters is steadily growing and adorning the top of my computer desk.  Mountain Lions are the pinnacle of predator hunting in North America.  A master of stealth and secrecy, even the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission does not know how many of these elusive cats call Colorado Home.  To hunt the Lions without the aid of dogs brings a level of difficulty rarely matched in the hunting world.   The level of skill and learning needed to be successful in this venture is beyond compare, absent pure luck.  Mountain Lions are very challenging to me and represent I level of mastery I have not attained.
I know that there are many other reasons I take to the wild as often as possible, however I feel these are some of the main ones.  If the curious Walgreens clerk should one day find this post, please accept my apology for such a lackluster reply.  I hope you understand this reasoning as what should have been my answer that morning.  And in case you are wondering, I already broke that pair sunglasses.  
As the season is coming to a close soon I am still hunting and trying my best to stay focused.  I will leave you with this quote from one of my all-time favorite movies.  It is often a motivation for me to go hunting when sometimes I feel otherwise. 
Remember, if you don’t go when you want to go, when you do go you will find out your gone. “  -Burt Munroe from the “The World’s Fastest Indian”

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