I was drawn for the a whitetail hunt from 11/28 through 12/4 in an area that includes the Santa Rita Mountains. This is one of my favorite areas but I am not inclined to say exactly where.
My old knees sure take a toll in the hills. Swelling, cracking and creaking noises make me wonder how much longer I can do this before submitting to knee replacement surgeries. It may be worthwhile to try some of those fancy braces to try to limit lateral movement. Too many years of basketball, tennis, and running have taken a serious toll on a lot of body parts. I was told many years ago to quit the b-ball if walking was important to me. Back to hunting....
There is no cell phone service in the bottom of the canyon where we were camping. I just had to hike up to a ridge line to call out on Saturday. I needed to get an update from my better half. My mother was having her hip replaced so I was curious as to the status. This was going to be a couple of trips in a row for me. There was the hunt, a couple of days at work, and then pack to go to MI to get Mom settled in when released from the hospital. Back to the ridge line. It is one of those that is about a mile (as the crow flies) from camp. In reality it is about double that with an elevation gain of about 500 feet. Nice little hike that takes its toll on the old knees.
My buddy went up to the ridge line the next day to check with home (they have a 4 month old baby) and left his cell phone on. He was back in camp roaming around and the darn thing buzzed at him. If you stand in exactly one spot, facing the correct direction, on one leg, holding your other hand in the air you can get out. The signal was very weak as it turns out that it had to be reflecting off of a shear rock face. Dang! Really didn't need to hike up to the ridge line.
This was one of those years where you see a lot but can't grow antlers an any of them. My hunting buddy did pass up on one spike and then decided that passing up two was not a good idea. He shot a nice spike. I tend to agree with that sentiment as every time I have passed up a buck looking for a better one was usually the last one I would see that year.
The weather was beautiful with the lows being about 30 and the highs about 55. Too warm to hang a deer in the daytime. My friend had never skinned or sectioned so the morning after was fun. We skinned the buck and sectioned him down far enough to fit in his cooler. This is one of the few times that I got to skin and quarter one that wasn't mine. He was appreciative of the help/lesson but I find this to be fun and not a chore.
My friend took off on Tuesday morning but I had decided to stay at least one more day even though the knees were telling me that I was done hiking all over. I sat in camp one afternoon watching a hillside with an intermittent stream at the bottom. I was just hanging out sitting in my good folding chair all comfortable. I saw eight doe that afternoon over a period of about 3 hours with some actually coming into camp. Still never got to find that buck that you just knew had to be running in the thicker stuff.
I believe that I will need to take the bow for a walk in January to try again. Maybe I should just sit in a chair in that same spot!