Watch Where You Step, Eh?

No matter how careful you are in the field, sometimes it's just not your day—especially if you aren't watching where you step.

I haven't posted a blog in awhile, and for that I apologize. It was a busy couple of weeks at headquarters, and then I skipped town for a few days to go on a waterfowl/predator hunt in Alberta. While there, I happened into a bit of a Wilder World Outdoors moment of my own.

No matter how careful, coordinated and deliberate you are when hunting, things can always go a bit awry. It's all a part of the greater hunting experience and, at times, just adds to the adventure—or, at the very least, the story. This past Tuesday was one of those days for me.

I was on a predator hunt, accompanied by fellow hunter JJ Reich and our young guide, Nathan. Coyotes were the game of the day, and we'd been sent to a wooded property not far from a lake. As we trekked through the 25-yard cut that we'd selected, looking for a place to set up and call, we noted that the area had been a bit flooded, and conditions were muddy. Not a big deal—at first.

Once we'd gotten about a half-mile from the truck, things had gotten fairly wet. If you stepped in the wrong spot, you could sink a few inches. Still, though, we could traverse the terrain nonetheless. Eventually we came across a spot that seemed perfect—we had a little elevation over the field, and there was a nice, shady spot where we could set up. I whispered that information to my fellow hunters and immediately made for the shade, without stopping to examine my surrounding. Imagine my surprise when I started sinking.

I'd stepped right into what amounted to a bog, or, as the guides called it, muskeg. Before I knew it, I was thigh deep in the stuff and couldn't seem to move my legs. I've seen ATV's that weren't as buried as I was.

And that wasn't even the worst of it. No, that would have been about 15 seconds after I went in, when my boots finally gave way and filled up with mucky water. Cold water.

So, there I am sinking into the earth, and my partners-in-crime are loving every minute of it. JJ couldn't contain his laughter, and Nathan the guide was making jokes like "I should go get the winch, eh?" Not that I blame them—I'd have laughed at myself, too, if I hadn't of been dealing with worries like "Am I really going to lose the only pair of boots I've got with me?"

Long story short, I handed off my gear and began the gradual process of dragging myself out of the bog. I had to bury each leg into the muck three more times before I managed to reach ground that was dry enough to support me, sufficiently drenching everything from my thighs down in muskeg. I'm not even going to mention what I smelled like, by the way.

Once I'd managed to stave off the bog's attempt to drown me, we began the half-mile hike back to the truck—my boots squishing the whole way. I wasn't about to give up on the hunt—we still had time to get a couple of sets in! So I emptied a substantial amount of muck from my boots, wiped my legs down with a towel and climbed back into the truck, intent on nailing a coyote. My socks were a bit of an issue, though—even after being wrung out several times each, they were pretty soaked. So, for the first time in my life, I was the guy riding down the road with his socks hanging out of a closed window. I apologize in advance for not having pictures of that. We never did see a coyote, by the way, but it wound up being a memorable hunt, nonetheless.

Lesson learned: Watch where you step, eh?

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1 Response to Watch Where You Step, Eh?

Kevin McNeil wrote:
October 29, 2013

Hi Shawn eh what a memory from you Alberta hunt.