I love the seasonal transitions we experience in British Columbia as crisp air and brilliant colors invite the first abstract snowflakes that purify the hills.
But beneath this euphoria lies anxiety as the pre-winter to-do list is daunting: fill the wood shed, finish the chicken coop, build a sauna, fund raise and plan for the inaugural ski, snowboard & mt. bike academy at Pemberton Secondary School, get back in shape, and fill the freezer with freshly harvested game.
Hunting the elusive blacktail / mule deer hybrid buck is a sure way to regain cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone and agility, and sharpen the senses to notice and react instantaneously to the surroundings with hair splitting accuracy - all elements necessary for mountain survival.
I grew up hunting in Northern Ontario, where generations of Treadways passed down their local knowledge of living off the land; and now as an immigrant to the coast range I've had to start anew.
After years prying information from locals and field testing, I was rewarded with a big stinky buck!
Each year I have filled my two deer tags, but this past week was the first worthy buck I've lined up in my sights.
With adrenaline still pumping through my veins, the 180 pounds of deer slid easily down the 1500 feet of elevation to the truck. (Google Earth and some snow helped me get down before darkness set in.)
Micah was ecstatic about 'Big Stinky', Jonah was still happy with his spike horns from last week's harvest, and I am very grateful for a freezer full of goodness to fuel the fire in these two mini shredders.
Now it's time to start hunting down some big mountain lines on skis and my fresh split board.