The over-arching goal of the research is to restore native fish species, including Bonneville cutthroat trout, to fire-affected streams in the Tushar Mountains. However, the watersheds of these remote 12,000+ foot peaks do not provide data easily.
One particular goat that some have dubbed “Gruff” (he has a broken horn) can often be seen with the group of lively goats. Additionally, several “kids” or juvenile mountain goats have been seen playing and jumping among the rocks, seemingly unaware of their precarious surroundings.
Either hunter could have legally shot at the bird but both declined. I was impressed with the good judgment and courtesy the father and son team exhibited even though they had no idea I was watching.
I harvested five chukars in less than two hours! This hunt will forever be seared in my memory. I have a general philosophy that life is about the happy memories we make. My hunting companions performed their tasks flawlessly, and I shot as good as I ever have.
When I first visited the burned area it looked like a bulldozer had gone down the middle of the stream. It was completely full of gravel. There were no fish. There were no pools. This was my first taste of what we were dealing with.
Oh, and ravens will eat pretty much anything: from small, already-dead mammals to bird eggs and fruits. I’m with Poe in finding these birds a little on the creepy side. Their deep, gurgling croak is enough to raise the hair on my arms.
At the end of the day, as we walked back to the truck, a rooster flushed. Having played guide that day, I was the only one in our group who hadn’t gotten my limit. This one was mine. The rooster came down the draw towards and past me. I fired once, twice, then I fired my last shell. On the third shot the rooster folded.
When he served them up, the steaks looked pretty typical: browned on the outside, with a pink strip in the center, just how I like ‘em. I wasn’t prepared for how it would taste. I couldn’t believe it. I finally had to ask, “What are we eating?”
Bats are interesting and largely beneficial animals that provide important “ecosystem services.” That is a fancy way of saying they eat lots of harmful bugs for free. They can eat half of their weight in forest and crop pests every night.
I took a little time out to enjoy the moment. Euphoria, 12,000 feet above it all, alone with my dogs. Life is good.
I’m not sure how either one of us made it down that slope without a broken ankle, nor who was more excited, me or the dog, but after retrieving the bird we both sat down for a good twenty minutes to catch our breath, admire the bird’s beautiful plumage, and enjoy what I’ll always remember as a perfect moment.
I would like to invite you to think about making your own adventures in the backcountry, though not all at once, I might add, because there is nothing better than feeling that you are fishing an untouched lake or moving in on an elk bugle that actually came from an elk.