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trmichels 09-20-2011 11:52 PM

What are your scariest moments while hunting?
One of my scariest experiences was when I was guiding Alan Newcomb, one of the owners of Federal Cartridge Corporation, on an elk hunt in The Salmon River of No Return Wilderness Area of Idaho. I'd seen a grizzly bear scent post trree the day before. My hunters were tired, and slept in, so I thought I'd go out and do some early morning scouting. Realize that I am not allowed to hunt while I guide, so I do not carry a rifle, and I did not have a pistol. All I had was a 3 inch Buck knife.

Anyhow, I was walking through the woods when I heard branches breaking on the ground off to my left, but behind me. Knowing it could be a bear, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I got more than a little nervous. I never found out what it was (possibly a pine squirrel droping pine cones from the top of a tree), but I learned how "crowded" it can get when there is only you and a grizz in the same valley.

I've guided in Colorado and seen Mountain Lion tracks that were made the night before (I know because it rained the day before), and in New Mexcico when I was guiding Bud Gant, coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and my horse spooked at a Lion in the dark one evening, and never got scared.

I've hunted both New Mexico and Minnesota for bear, or hunted deer in wolf and bear teritory, and I do sometimes get jumpy as I walk in to a stand in the dark. You really should talk to yourself or whistle when you scout or walk to a stand in the dark when are predator hunting - so you don't accidentally run into an animal, but if you do it, you may spook the animal you want to hunt. So, it is up to you.

One other time, when I was instructing students at a guide school in Wyoming, I was leading a string of six pack horses along the side of a very steep mountain just south of Yellowstone Park. The second horse in line decided he wanted to walk on a trail that was about 5 yards below the trail I was on. He went down to the trail, dragging the third horse along, which stumbled, and dragged the rest of the string with it.

I was afraid the whole string would loose their footing and roll down the steep mountainside. All I could think of doing was to hang on to the first horses lead rope, head my horse up hill and rake it with my spurs as hard as I could, hoping my arm did not give out, and that the first horse would help me pull the other 5 horses back up on the upper trail. And that is just what happened.

It so happened that the guide school owner Bud Neslon, was right behind me and saw the whole thing. He told me later that he had never seen anything like it, and that I saved him thousands of dollars in what could have been dead or injured horses and lost or ruined camp gear. He was very thankful.

I guess the worst scare I had was when I was guiding and had my 8 year old son along. The duck boat flipped over, and even though he had a life preserver on, I was still very worried about him. When I found I could stand in chest deep water, I pushed him up on the overturned boat. It was a cold ride home for both of us.

The scariest thing I can remember, is when my good friend and well known owner of Lobo Outfitters (and absolutely the best elk outfitter in North America) Dick Ray, out of Chama New Mexico, who I used to guide elk hunts for, went into an enclosure to feed one of his pet bears. He owned a wildlife park south of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and a TV station had come in to shoot some video and talk about bears that were raiding garbaige cans in town due to poor forage that year.

Dick went into the enclosure with Cubby, a 500 pound black bear he had hand-raised from a cub, and was going to feed him, when Cubby attacked him. Normaly Dick would have hit the bear on the nose, but because the camera was rolling he did not want to get accused of animal cruelty. Because he did not exert authrotity over Cubby, the bear kept coming, and when he got Dick (who is all of 5 foot 4 inches and weighs about 125 pounds) on the ground, the bear grabbed him right between the legs, sinking his teeth into the pelvic bone just above Dick's genitalia.

I'd sent my friend and fellow camouflage designer Jim Crumley, designer and owner of the first hunting camouflage "Trebark", to hunt elk with Dick that year. But, Dick was unable to guide Jim because he was in the hospital. So Jim hunted with Dick's son Mike. When I got there later that year to guide, Dick told me what had happened, and showed me the scar he had.

I did not see the video until it was shown on "America's Most Dangerous Animals" a few months later. And it has been shown several times since. If you have a chance - watch it, it is the only "black bear grabbing a small guy in a black cowboy hat" video - that I know of.

I don't know about you guys, but I would have been scared to death if I was charged by a 500 pound bear, especially when it sunk its teeth into my crotch, and I thought I might loose my manhood.

What were your scariest times while hunting?

sarge4 09-21-2011 07:26 AM

My scariest moment would have to be compliment's of my good hunting buddies! Joking and pranks were usually high on the list of our things to do. I deserved everything that came my way so I couldn't be mad at all. I had ridden my atv to my destination and proceded to walk a good ways further in. I hunted the evening and came out. My 4 wheeler was not to be found. Poor preperation on my part left me with only a bobo flashlight that attached to the bill of my hat. After lookin all around I decided someone from another lease must have snuck in and stolen my ride. The keys were in it along with my brand new skb bow case, they stole it all. I was pissed. So me, my bow and my $4 flashlight start the trek back. This was one of my first hunts in black bear country and the woods are totally different at night versus the NC woods I'm used to. I was absolutely scared to death with no protection but stick and string! Every 30 or 40 yards I kept thinking I was close to a bear. Stopping and standing behind a tree till I was certain nothing was there. Finally I made it back to camp and to much surprise there sit my ride with my bow case! They had ridden double in, jumped on my atv and drove it back. I was out of earshot and heard nothing. I was greeted with laughs, they were greeted with a finger gesture as I had just endured the longest and scariest walks of my life! I am sure I deserved all this but sure didnt want to admit it. From now on my key is in my pocket and I haven't decided the perfect payback. It was definetly the longest hunt of my life!!

trmichels 09-21-2011 08:09 AM

You know what they say, "Payback's are a ... lot of fun".

countertop 09-21-2011 08:35 AM

My two scariest moments both happened on the same day - January 20, 2009.

It was cold as hell that morning, and we went out to go duck hunting. Got the boat in the water, with ost of it resting on the ice. My buddy was driving the boat, I was walking alongside it on the ice, alternating between an ax and a sledge hammer, trying to break the ice and get out to the moving water in the channel. We finally get out on the river, but the ice flows kept taking our decoys down stream. Plus, we couldn't call any birds it. Driving up the river some, I spotted birds through some trees on the other side of an island. We stopped the boat, getting out with the idea my lab would use his upland skills to flush the ducks so we could shoot and retrieve them. But that was not to be. Following in my buddies footsteps, I took two steps and BOOM, the ice opens up and I fall straight down, luckily catching myself on my shotgun, with the ice cold river water about 1/2 an inch below the top of my waders.

Needless to say, once I got out and back to the boat, we just turned around and headed home.

OH, the second scariest moment . . . Obama was inaugurated that morning.

trmichels 09-21-2011 12:34 PM

When you think about it, and I've had about 45 years to think about it, duck hunting may be one of the most dangerous hunting sports there is. You are often out there in sub-freezing temperatures, or high winds on water or ice, where the boat can capsize, the ice break or you can fall in and die of hypthermia or get frost bitten, wearing waders that can fill up with water that will suck you down if you cannot get them off. And many of you forget to wear a life jacket, or dress warmly enough, and if you go in, you may not be able to use a cell phone to call anyonhe, you may be stuck thelr with only your wits and common sense to help you out, and those are two of the first things to go - if you are suffering hypothermia. Many of us also hunt alone, with no one close by to help if problems do occur.

You can also die of a heart attack, exposure, or get shot - by careless hunter.

Please be careful out there, wear appropriate clothing and bring along any possible gear needed, expect the unexpected, and be prepared for it, do not hunt alone, and tell your family or friends where to find you if you are late.

I often hunt alone, but my wife and children know all of the roads around my entire 5000 acres of deer and turkey hunting land, and the farm roads I usually park on when in partifcular areas. So, if I am late they first go out to look for the Suburban, then use a car horn, whistle or elk bugle to try and locate me. If they do not find me, and I'm over 3 hours late, they know they need to contact my hunting friends in the area, and call the sheriff.

Better safe than sorry, and better for others - knowing than worrying.

God bless,


WNYhunter 09-21-2011 10:33 PM

my scariest moment happened a few years ago. I had my oldest son out on his first opening day of our gun deer season. we hunt private land and a few locals there were not happy about us having permission. I was in a treestand and he was on the ground 50 yards down the hill from me. And then the shooting started. Not shooting at a deer but someone shot 20-30 times pretty much non stop and the bullets were hitting all around us. I yelled to my son to get behind a tree and I headed down the stand and took cover. The whole time I am whistleing and yelling and I finally had to fire a round in the dirt to get them to stop. I don't think it was done on purpose and I never found out who did it. But when you see bullets hit 10 yards from you thats bad enough but imagine having a front row seat to them hitting around your child. yea, that by far is my scariest moment.

trmichels 09-22-2011 11:11 AM

I had something very similar happen one time when I was duck hunting. We had "permission" on the other side of a slough, where some rich people had paid to put in a pit on a strip of land. When we kept decoying "their ducks" and killing them - they started firing around us.

I can't help the fact that I choose good locations for decoys, set decoys out pretty darn well, and am a pretty darn good duck caller. It is part of being a guide - and part of being a good hunter.

Seif5034 09-22-2011 10:33 PM

When I was about 14 I was out deer hunting with my dad on some public land. Conditions for deer were fairly poor that day so we figured we'd check our sights in a field for a minute and head back into town. Dad parked the truck and we were getting our rifles loaded and some improvised targets out of the bed of the truck. (coke bottles). Just as I was finishing loading my rifle I heard a shot go off right next to me. and I saw that my dad had accidently discharged his 30-30 into the dirt about 4 inches in front of his boot.

Another is while trekking in to our ground blinds my dad had a tendency to trip over deadfall with a 12ga slug gun in hand. Usually carried 1 in the tube with the saftey on. Even with the saftey it made me nervous that someone may catch a stray slug.

trmichels 09-23-2011 02:04 AM

I forgot about the day when I was der hujtng right after a big freezing rain storm. The forzen rain ahd actually broken off the tree my sgtawnd was in, about 6 feet above the stand. So, I decided to so some still hunting - until trees started crashing down around me. It was - unnerving to say the least. I quickly got out ot the woods and drove home.

StealthHtr22 09-23-2011 06:31 AM

Two years ago, I was on an evening hunt out of my climber. I was about 25 feet....

Once the sun went down and darkness hit I decided it was time to climb down as I always do. I lower my bow, strap in my feet, and remove my harness from the tree for the quick climb down. I picked my feet up to lower my platform, and the nylon strap going over the from of my boots, broke and the platform fell about 8 - 10 feet down the tree before it caught...Just far enough there was no way for me to get to it. I pulled myself up to sit on my little 2 inch wide bar (facing the tree), held on as I was able to call a buddy to come and climb up underneath me, and bring the platform back up to where I was stuck.

I sat there for about 30-40 minutes in the dark on that little bar before he got to me. I wasn't exactly excited to be in that situation.

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