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This is Francis' latest! I loved it!

WORST DEER HUNT, EVER
By
Francis E. Caldwell


My brother-in-law, Mike, kept pestering me to take him deer hunting. I’d never known him to hunt anything, and he easily became lost.
I decided to take him to Smuggler’s Cove, 30 miles from Ketchikan, where we both lived. The Cove is a narrow indentation in the Mainland on the north side of North Behm Canal. Open to southeast winds, few people hunt there, but I’d visited in September and knew there was a salmon trap stored there for the winter. A floating salmon trap is a frame work of large spruce logs, held together with cable lashings. The main part of the trap would more than cover a tennis court, and was beached for the winter to kill marine worms that infested the logs. During the summer the trap would be hung with new chicken wire and anchored somewhere out in Clarence Straits. Two watchmen would live in the shack.

Since it was mid-October, the start of fall gales, the watchman’s shack would provide a warm, safe place to camp. It contained a wood stove, two chairs, a table and two bunks.
The area we would hunt was a long, low, narrow, wooded peninsula between Smugglers Cove and Helm Bay, so there was little chance of Mike’s getting lost.

I owned a sixteen-foot wooden boat and vintage 15- h.p. outboard motor. I had a Coleman stove and lantern and an Army surplus mummy bag and an air mattress. Some discarded pots, pans and a battered skillet from the local Good Will store completed my outfit. We planned on staying several days, until we had the legal limit of three deer each.

Mike had recently purchased a double-mantle gas lantern in a garage sale. It had a fancy chrome-plated tank and appeared to be new. The lantern, a bed roll of army blankets, a borrowed air mattress and a plate and cup he’s sneaked away from his wife, was his camping outfit. His gun was an old, rusty Winchester 30-30 carbine with iron sights.

Because he felt bad about me supplying most of the camping gear, he insisted that he bring his new lantern. To pacify him, and to save space in the boat for all the deer we expected to get, I reluctantly left my trusty Coleman lantern home.

Departure time was set for daylight, which in Alaska, in mid- October, doesn’t arrive until about nine o’clock. By the time we’d made several trips to the grocery store for items we’d forgot, and back to Mike’s house for shells, a pillow and extra socks, it was past noon. For provisions, we had onions, to fry deer liver with, potatoes, a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, oatmeal, flour, two cans of condensed milk, coffee, two loaves of bread, hotcake flower, syrup, butter, jam and peanut butter. We expected to be eating venison, so no need to take meat.

The weather was sunny and exceptionally warm as we cruised out Tongass Narrows. If we’d have been weather wise, we’d have realized such conditions usually indicated an approaching southeast storm. I wondered how my little boat would ride loaded with six deer? It was about twenty miles to Smugglers Cove.

The tide was high and the trap was floating when we arrived. To my astonishment, the stove had been stolen!. A lean to wood shed in the back still held a supply of wood. In one corner was a one-hole outhouse. We considered returning to Ketchikan, but by now it was dark, and we’d seen several huge drift logs on the way over. Without a moon, running in the dark was not an option.

Since we were both hungry, we unpacked, lit the Coleman stove and made coffee. “Where are the spuds?”
We looked everywhere, including... (Cont)

To read more, this is continued on his archived page, here.

Look for Francis Caldwell stories to be printed the 15th of the month, both on the front page, where it says "Francis Caldwell Column", and on the archives, on the ifish forum list.

Ifish is really lucky to have both Francis Caldwell and Stan Fagerstrom, writing for us. Don't miss it! Stan on the 1st, Francis on the 15th.
 

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:agree: Thanks I have never had a trip with that much bad luck:jester:
 

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Let us know if you enjoyed it. Not only will Francis enjoy hearing that you did, but he may write more hunting stories! He's quite the hunter, you know! And his photos are awesome.

Take a look, here!


By the way, neither Stan Fagerstrom nor Francis are paying sponsors. I just think they are awesome, and worthy of my time to put up their articles to share with you. I just honor them on ifish for their life work and fun in the out of doors. Don'tcha think? :) I do. :) I love them both! :hearton: and I feel honored to have their work on ifish, so... please don't think I'm just trying to sell them. I'm not. :)

Jen
 

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OH yeah-- I'll save you some time if you want to look at his photos- They are here, if you'll choose a photo by clicking on it, (you have to scroll down to see them, first) then click and then just proceed by pressing next. I love the shot of the beaver!!!
 

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You mentioned Stan Fagerstrom. I have one of his books from the 70's on Bass fishing that I really love. Probably read it a million times over the years. I felt sorry for the luck of those two but sometimes the bad luck hunts end up being the ones we remember the longest.
 

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Good read- thanks to Francis and to Jen for sharing.Reminds me of some hunts I've been associated with.Also, put 3-4 inches of water in bottom of mouse trap can- I don't like mice and won't share with them.Bucket trap gets set up in all my elk camps. Found one running around in my fry pan...once.Record is 17 mice in one set. Good hunting-Bruce H
 
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