2012 portage hunt BWCAW

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Tadmdad
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2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Tadmdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:14 am

Being news years day, and the season is over for many of us. Seems a good time to reflect on this years hunts, think about things that were learned and things to do differently on future hunts.

This years hunt in the BWCAW was 6 guys, 2 of us on a portage hunt, and 4 in main camp. Mike and I will be on the portage hunt, so will speak to that experience. The hunt will be 9 days, 2 travel days and 7 days hunting on the lake. We launch and travel thru 1 lake and portage about 3/4 mile into a different lake, loading boat and gear onto a wheeled cart and PULL, then about 9-10 miles up the second lake, and set camp before nightfall, this becomes a long day.

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camp setup

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boat setup

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Sure can't beat the view from the front door

Had several goals before the start of the hunt. Mike and I are childhood friends, and will have to rely on each other on this hunt, after hunting together for many years, we know what to expect from one another. 1st goal is to get Mike a buck, which we succeed doing on a parallel still hunt on day 2. Mike kills a decent 9-pt at 1:30 p.m. while the buck works a scrape, the skunk is off.

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Mike's 9-pt

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To far to drag back to the boat, so we bone and pack the buck out. Makes a strange looking buckpole.

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Outline of our parallel still hunt.

2nd goal is going after a buck I call short toe, he has a broken right rear hoof, which makes his track disticntive. I have went toe to toe with him 2 years ago in this area, and seen him on that hunt but was already tagged out. Believe him to be now 6.5 yo, when I seen him 2 yrs ago believe he was 4.5 and about 130ish. Well on day 3, I find his track on a scrapeline about 1/3 down from the top, a natural travel corridor on a ridgetop above a lake, backtrack him and locate 1 of his beds. Day 4 go in with a climber and setup, see 6 deer this day, all between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. At 12:30 have a doe come through and she is obviously being pushed, ready for a shot thinking it's "the" buck. A 130ish 10pt comes through, 1st reaction it's not him, and let him pass. This decision makes me think twice about what I'm after, being that any mature buck in this country is a good buck, but in this country you usually don't have time to think you need to go on autopilot. Well I hunt short toe for a total of 4.5 days, and see his track 1 more time, and then he just disappeared.
Beliveve he recognized my presence and that he was being hunted, at that point it's game over, these old bucks in that country just vanish, they have 0 tolerance for human intrusion and a bunch of country.

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Map of my setups on short toe. Welcome any thoughts or comments from Beasts on the approach. Being I have another year to chew on this hunt, and lord willing him and I will get to dance again.

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Interesting picture, this was a pike that I saw floating belly up going across the lake 1 day. Thought he was dead, maybe 16-18 lbs and 40" long. Circled back around, and he was still alive, pulled him up by the gills, he had a bunch of marks on top of his head, like he was in a fight. Looked down his throat and could see the tail and feet of a duck that he swallowed.....guess you can't use to big of bait when fishing for big pike. :shock: Wish I would have taken a picture looking down that pikes throat. :oops:

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Couple of random pictures, just great country up there.

After the hunt and on the portage out, we had the boat on the cart when 1 of the tires had a blow out. We spent a VERY long day getting out after this hunt. But know Mike and I will remember this adversity faced and overcome together, more than the details of the hunt in the years to come. Bonds made while "on the hunt" last a lifetime.

Think it, Plan it, Do it.....life is short.


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magicman54494
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby magicman54494 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:38 am

Awesome hunt!
How do you keep the meat and hide from spoiling?
Passing that buck must have been hard to do!
It tells me it's more about the hunt than the kill to you, a true sportsman!

I liked your setup for the buck. I see that you really pay attention to edges. I think you did well setting up but during the rut it takes luck because they can come by at any time or be off miles away and never show up.
One thing that might be fun to do is carry a trail cam and set it along an edge and see what you get. I know that's just what you need, more gear on a portage hunt. LOL
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Tadmdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:15 am

magicman54494 wrote:Awesome hunt!
How do you keep the meat and hide from spoiling?
Passing that buck must have been hard to do!
It tells me it's more about the hunt than the kill to you, a true sportsman!

I liked your setup for the buck. I see that you really pay attention to edges. I think you did well setting up but during the rut it takes luck because they can come by at any time or be off miles away and never show up.
One thing that might be fun to do is carry a trail cam and set it along an edge and see what you get. I know that's just what you need, more gear on a portage hunt. LOL


Most of the time it's cold enough at night to freeze the meat, as long as it's in the shade during the day.

Yes, I 2nd guessed this decision a couple of times and ate a tag as a result. I knew that when I made the decision to hunt a particular buck, the odds were stacked against me. Guess the older I get, it's has become less about the kill and more about the hunt, and having a passion for what we choose to do.

Certainly this old buck was on a cycle, just never figured out what it was. Located a couple of his beds, just never could get the one step ahead of him and anticipate his next move. Always a issue when hunting remote locations, how to learn a bucks habits, without scouting in advance, and tipping him off to your presence.

One of my buddies, that was hunting out of camp went up and setup 8 cameras in August (he's retired and 2 much time on his hands) Think he got pictures of about 15 deer, in 2 months, more pictures of bear and wolves and a couple of moose. Just not many deer up there, so cameras don't help much.
Last edited by Tadmdad on Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:17 am

wow what an awesome hunt and story looks like a blast. I would have loved to see that duck sticking out of the pikes throat! What kind of cart do you use to portage that big boat? That much be a pain
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:26 am

Sounds like a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!

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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:40 am

Thanks for keeping us on the edge of our seats - you're a regular Speilberg style story teller.

Looks like a blast - and a but load of work, I don't think my back and knees could take it... :cry:
:clap: :clap: :clap:

What was the wind direction when Mike got his buck?
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby magicman54494 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:00 am

How were the deer numbers? I'm not quite as far north as you and my numbers were the lowest I have seen.
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Tadmdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:16 am

BackWoodsHunter wrote:wow what an awesome hunt and story looks like a blast. I would have loved to see that duck sticking out of the pikes throat! What kind of cart do you use to portage that big boat? That much be a pain


This type of hunt is alot of fun, but a ton of work, and if the weather gets bad....it will test your metal. We use a 2 wheel cart, mounted on a frame and use 4 ratchet straps to hold the boat on the cart. But after the blowout we had, think it will be a 4 wheel cart next time (time to re-engineer).

Agree wish I would have taken a picture down that pike's throat, he was thrashing aroung pretty good, had to hold on with 2 hands.

Will add that in 7 days of hunting, we never saw another person and the closest shot we heard was maybe 3 miles away. This is really what makes the effort worthwhile, solitude, quiet, self reliant on ability and skill. So if you are one of those hunters that has lost interest with dealing with the orange army, you have options to step back in time.....and dance with the ghost of the north.
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Tadmdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:21 am

Edcyclopedia wrote:Thanks for keeping us on the edge of our seats - you're a regular Speilberg style story teller.

Looks like a blast - and a but load of work, I don't think my back and knees could take it... :cry:
:clap: :clap: :clap:

What was the wind direction when Mike got his buck?


Thanks Ed, think you could do this, just have to chose a couple of young bucks as hunting partners. ;)

Wind direction was straight South that day (from bottom of picture), think that helped with Mike's approach, his shot was about 70 yds, buck from what I understand was pre-occupied making a scape.
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Tadmdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:32 am

magicman54494 wrote:How were the deer numbers? I'm not quite as far north as you and my numbers were the lowest I have seen.


In the 7 days of hunting, Mike saw 10 deer, and I saw 13. Would say good for this area, anything over a 1 deer a day average is good, but 1/2 where young deer, does and fawns. Not alot of mature buck sign, but some, think it was a good reflection of having a good winter last year, couple more good winter will help a bunch.

How was the wolf numbers around your area? We only heard 1 pack this year, and was one of the reasons we did a portage hunt, always seems to be less wolf packs back in that area, historically anyway. Last year, where we hunted it was unbelievable number of packs hunting the area, sure it keeps the deer numbers down.
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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Scot » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:36 am

I enjoyed reading the description of your hunt.

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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby utica19 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:45 am

Cool adventure. What does BWCAW stand for ?

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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby dan » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:16 am

utica19 wrote:Cool adventure. What does BWCAW stand for ?

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Re: 2012 portage hunt BWCAW

Unread postby Spysar » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:25 am

Very cool stuff. :clap:
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