Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bear and Elk Hunt in the Tetons

The 3 AM wakeup call came really early at the Teton Mountain View Lodge.  The room and facilities at the Lodge were excellent.  Out my bedroom window was a view of the western side of the Grand Tetons.  The lodge was located in Tetonia, Idaho just north of Driggs.  There was a hot tub, picnic area, and for breakfast  fresh cinnamon rolls.  A small dining room with cereal, yogurt, and fresh coffee was available in the morning.  In the evening Bob brought in various dishes that were frozen. We then microwaved them.  Lunches were prepared by the guides, and we always had plenty to eat.  In addition, Bob supplied plenty of water, so there was no reason to get dehydrated. 

Having had altitude sickness before, there was no intention on my part to let it happen again.  Altitude sickness causes severe headache and low grade nausea.  This is not what a hunter on horseback needs during the hunt. If you are a flatlander like me, you need to drink plenty of water to avoid this problem.  On climbs up the mountains, getting winded was a problem for me, and it improved only slightly as time went along. 

We headed out to the Tetons on day two.  On this day it was just the guide and myself.  We left Tetonia and drove to the trail head in the mountains. The Grand Tetons were to my southeast. 

In the dark we moved up the mountain.  With the moon at about 1/3 full, visibility in the dark was not an issue.  We pushed up higher into the mountain and over some really rough country.  The horses we rode were part draft as evidenced by the big hooves and hair down the lower back of the leg.  They were very stout and sure- footed, and climbed easily over all the obstacles we came upon.

Toward the top of the mountain we moved along through trails and meadows looking for elk signs consisting of rubs on the small trees, droppings, and wallows.  We did see fresh bear scat, so remained very alert. We stopped along the top of a canyon, and sat for a long period using field glasses to study the terrain and meadows for elk and bear.

The two picture above give you an idea of what type of country I was looking at.  This is a study in motion looking for elk and bear that may be moving up from the valley below into the meadows.

The search went on all morning as we rode from meadow to meadow stopping to glass the area we were in and listen for the bulls to call.  We also were very observant of our surroundings and kept a close lookout for bears.
The three picture above show the type of country we were working. 

There was just no action in this area.  We ate lunch around 11 AM, and then started down the mountain.  Again as the morning moved along, it became really warm and even warmer as we descended.  Shedding clothing was the order of the day. 

The two pictures above are of a meadow used by campers and hikers.  This is wilderness country so nothing mechanized is allowed.  They gave me a different horse to ride.  Red Cloud was a little easier getting on and off.

We knocked off about 2 PM and headed back to Tetonia.  The plan was to go after bear in the evening.

Leaving the lodge after 4 PM, we drove into some scruffy looking country laced with dirt roads that weaved around on the tops of ridges.  The truck was parked.  We walked down a slight incline to a place where we could see almost to the bottom of the valley.  It was here we hunted bear.

To the right of the tall pines on the left is a large flat rock.   We moved up about 75 yards and waited. 

Darkness was almost upon us, so we pulled out and made our way back to the truck.  Neither one of us wanted to be stumbling around this area in the dark and come upon and unfriendly bear.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank
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