It’s been some time between blogs. I gave up on the black bear hunting a few weeks after my last blog. The last day of the season I run into a bore and sow grizzly that looked at me and ran off into the timber. That wasn’t more them 500 yards above the house. That same morning I found the tracks of the black bear I’ve been looking for the last few years. He has a pad of 6 1/4 inch wide! The old burin made it through the spring hunting season. I did pass on a small brown and black colored black bear this spring. It was only 4 1/2 feet long probably a three year old. With no dogs or baits, it’s hard hunting, you just have to move around the area morning and evening and glass the openings and burns.
One of the reasons for the long span between writings is I had knee surgery on that bad right knee. It has been holding me up for the last 15 years. Back then the doctors told me it would be a hit or miss operation. Now they have new techniques that can get to the problem with little trauma. He had to remove most of the cartilage and I had worn some of the bone off in a couple places. Unfortunately, in a few years I will need to replace it with a fake joint. The healing has taken longer then I was hoping. I’ve been laid up for seven weeks with fluid in the joint, but I’m hoping this fall I can do some backpacking for trophy mule deer in the Tetons. I will wait and see if it comes about.
Speaking of hunting, I have done very well in the draws. I hooked a Nevada antelope tag in an excellent unit. Gee, it only took nine years of putting in to draw. Also snagged a Colorado antelope tag on my first time putting in! Then here in Wyoming I drew on my second choice for antelope in a good unit. That makes three antelope tags and I’m still waiting for the Montana antelope results. In Wyoming, I finally drew a limited quote elk tag in a great unit! My son, Guy Eastman has taken several 330 plus bulls out of the unit over the years. It does have a large grizzly bear population that keeps hunters from wondering to far off the roads. I’ll be hunting the bow season during the rut with the old recurve bow, but I’ll always have the rifle season for a back up plan. The unit has only a 30% draw for residents, and with my bad luck, it took me six year of applying to get the tag!
In the next issue of the EHJ, I wrote an article on scouting for buck antelope and horn development. I think it’s going to be of interest to most antelope hunters. Antelope have the strangest way of developing their headgear. It’s different then any other horned North America animal. And a hunter can key in on this horn development when it comes to scouting way before the season. That issue will be out the first of August and is the annual D-I-Y issue.
The rivers are still running high and the reservoirs here in Wyoming and Montana are full. The drought could be over! In fact most of the reservoirs in Wyoming haven’t seen this much water since about 1996, or so. I’m going out on a limb here, but I say that we should see great horn and antler growth this summer. Looking at the country, we have a lot of feed on public land for big game. I noticed that out on the BLM grass is growing in country that normally doesn’t grow grass at all. I think even those desert mule deer will have great antler growth this year.
Fall is just around the corner, less then 90 days so get ready! Mike Eastman