Category Archives: A Good Picture, Or Three…

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS AS THEY SAY, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU CAN NOT GET OUT THERE TO SEE IT FOR YOUR SELF…

Outdoor Photography by Erwin Bauer. Mountain Goat on Front cover

Outdoor Photography: Specially For Hunters, Fishermen, Naturalists, Wildlife Enthusiasts by Erwin Bauer.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Ansel Adams

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait (For Big Game)

 

Living The Dream

 

A Big Game Hunter Poses with the Antlers of a Trophy Bull Elk, Taken in a Quality Management Unit in Western Colorado
A Long Wait Over

Todd and Ian Dean pose with dad’s trophy bull.

For Todd, it is a fitting end to a 26 year quest to draw a tag in one of Colorado’s Best Game Management Units.

I can’t wait to hear more of the story, but it certainly looks like it was well worth the wait.

Congratulations Todd. If anyone deserves a great bull elk, that would be you!

 

Colorado Offers Some Truly Great Trophy Elk Hunting, But You Will Have To Wait Many Years To Draw A Tag For The Better Game Management Units.
A View From the End of the Trail

 

And to Ian, have patience, for no doubt, you will hunt there one day too…

 

A Hunter Poses With A Trophy Pronghorn Antelope Buck, Taken With A High Caliber Rifle On The Sagebrush Flats of Northern Colorado
Ian Dean With His 2018 Pronghorn. Hunting Success Definitely Runs In The Family

 

We were all young once too!

 

A Vintage Photograph Of a Big Game Hunter Posing with A Bull Elk, Harvested In The High Mountains of Western Colorado.
Todd Dean With Another Fine Bull, Circa 1985

 

“In my mind’s eye, I see young elk calves frolicking and playing tag on the green grass of summer, some with light spots on their skin. I see a mystical creature walking in and out of view among the flickering shadows of a frost covered, autumn meadow. I see hunting camps and friends, animated and laughing. I see tired men sweating under heavy loads of meat and horn, winded and worn out from a hard day, but energized. I see impossibly large steaks sputtering on a hot aspen-wood fire, next to a glass of good, smoky whiskey and some cold, clear, creek water to wash it down. I see a young boy, now a man, describing his first kill while beaming with a grin so wide that it fills the sky. I see a father standing behind a boy who is so proud that he can not speak, but says it all with one look. I see more than I can comprehend. I do not have the words. I see way too much, and maybe not nearly enough”. – From Sacred Ground, by Michael Patrick McCarty

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Elmer Keith’s Big Game Hunting (Paperback)

Widely known for his exploits as a gunman, hunter, and ballistics expert, Elmer Keith’s writings on hunting and guns have instructed and inspired countless devotees—and no one has ever been more qualified to do so.

Keith lived his entire life in the wilds. And after decades of ranching and dozens of hunting trips to remote corners of Alaska and northern Canada, he built a tremendous body of knowledge about guns, game, and life on the trail, which he has generously shared in the pages of this one-of-a-kind book.

Like all of Keith’s writing, Elmer Keith’s Big Game Hunting is pragmatic, factual, and immensely informative. Here is the only big game hunting book that will explain how to:

  • Look for game
  • Judge trophies before shooting
  • Properly select and care for your rifle
  • Track wounded game
  • Properly outfit for a hunting trip

Furthermore, Keith includes detailed profiles of the appearance and behavior of a range of American game, including chapters on bear, caribou, deer, elk, antelope, bison, arctic game, and more. A crucial book for active and aspiring hunters as well as anyone who appreciates a good fireside hunting story, Elmer Keith’s Big Game Hunting is the definitive work on hunting game from a bonafide American legend.


New From:$18.95 USD In Stock
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The Big, Bad-Bore .30-378 Weatherby Magnum Strikes Again

RCBS .30-378 Weatherby Magnum F L Die Set (Sports)

RCBS .30-378 Weather by Magnum 29501 2-Die set 7/8 inch -14 threads. Hunting reloading dies. Made of the highest quality materials

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“More than most American game animals, the pronghorn, by virtue of the terrain he inhabits, is genuinely the rifleman’s quarry of choice”. – Thomas McIntyre, Dreaming The Lion, 1993

 

October 2018

 

A Trophy Pronghorn Antelope, Taken At Long Range With a .30-378 Weatherby Magnum Rifle In Southern Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
Pronghorn And The 30.378 Weatherby Magnum – A Perfect Match

As you can see, the Pronghorn would appear to be dying of advanced age in Southern Colorado, unless of course they run into a fast-moving bullet first.

Mike Kite took this gnarled, old warrior at nearly 650 yards with a 30-378 Weatherby Magnum and a 180 grain handload. It has been his cartridge of choice for many years, and with results like this it is easy to see why.

Congratulations Mike, on another fine Colorado big game trophy.

The .30-378 Weatherby Magnum Mark V Rifle With Synthetic Stock, High Powered Scope, And Bipod. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty
A Long Range Weapon To Contend With

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

You Can Read More About The .30-378 Here.

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Mule Deer Under Mother Mountain

Nikon D3400 DX-Format DSLR Camera Body with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR Lens, Black – Bundle with 16GB SDHC Card, Camera Bag, 55mm UV Filter, Cleaning Kit, Software Package (Electronics)

Before the D3400, you chose your smartphone camera for convenience. Zooming was clumsy. Shooting in low light was nearly impossible. Capturing fast action was a game of luck. But after the D3400, you’ll see that you were compromising image quality. That some of the greatest photos happen when the light is low. That fast action can be frozen in perfect clarity. And that a camera and a smartphone can work together in harmony to make the photos you share absolutely amazing. Stunning simplicity Photos and videos captured with the D3400 and a superb NIKKOR lens are as vibrant and lifelike as the moments they preserve. Shoot in extremely low light without a problem. Freeze fast-action in its tracks. Create portraits with rich, natural skin tones and beautifully blurred backgrounds. The photos you share will amaze everyone even yourself. Camera, smartphone and cloud in perfect harmony SnapBridge has changed the way cameras and smartphones work together and only Nikon has it. Take a picture with the D3400 and it’s automatically transferred to your compatible smartphone or tablet, ready to share. SnapBridge works seamlessly with NIKON IMAGE SPACE, a cloud storage and sharing site, to back-up your photos and to help you create and share albums with your friends and family. The future of photo sharing is here.

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A Mule Deer Buck Stands Under Mount Sopris, Located In The Elk Mountains Range In The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Near Carbondale, Colorado
Mule Deer In The Heart Of The Mother. Photograph By David Massender

 

The Ute Indians called her “Mother Mountain”, because of her twin summits; the Roaring Fork Valley’s early settlers knew it as “Wemagooah Kazuhchich,” or “Ancient Mountain Heart Sits There.”

No matter what name you use, Mount Sopris, located in the Elk Mountains Range near Carbondale, Colorado provides one of the prettiest vistas in the rocky mountains.

Without a doubt, her heart beats strong. The Mule Deer feel it too.

And maybe it’s just me, but it’s even prettier when Mule Deer are standing below, and upon it.

Just saying…

And I can’t think of a more spectacular place to hunt! I plan on doing just that, very soon.

Good Hunting…

Posted By Michael Patrick McCarty

Photographs Courtesy Of David Massender

 

A Small Group Of Mule Deer Enjoy The Fall Colors Under Mount Sopris (Mother Mountain), Located In Pitkin County Near Carbondale, Colorado
Living Is Easy Before The Snow Flies. Photograph By David Massender

 

You Can Read More About Mount Sopris Here

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Where Decoys Rule The Day – The Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum

Making of Hunting Decoys (Hardcover)

This is the most important book ever written on how to make hunting decoys. You are taken step-by-step in great detail through the making of eighteen different decoys, literally covering every aspect of the art. We have included everything you need to known to make your own decoys and we promise you that once you start you will never stop. The Making of Hunting Decoys presents the following 15 award winning decoy artists explaining in their own words how they do, and you can, create duck replicas of these 18 types: Carl Addison-Ring-necked Duck Robert Biddle-Baldpate Dan Brown-Green Winged Teal(hen and drake) Delbert “Cigar” Daisey-Atlantic Brant Paul Dobrosky-Canvasback Hen Harold Haman-Canada Goose Charlie “Speed” Joiner-Wood Duck (hen and drake) Ned Mayne-Red Head Terry McNulty-Pintail Frank Muller-Currituck Swan and Goose Ralph Nocerino-Black Duck Roe “Duc-Man” Terry-Whistling Swan William Veasey-Mallard Gilmore “Butch” Wagoner-Upper Bay Canvasback Harry J. Waite-Bufflehead

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Folk Art, or Fine?…It’s All Fantastic To Me

 

Simply said, I absolutely love vintage sporting books, wildlife art, and all manners of hunting and fishing collectables…but decoys ride the shimmering waves high above them all. They make my heart sing, and the look of a good one almost always takes my breath away.

Why this is, exactly, I could never say for sure, or should I say – completely. The full battery of descriptive words elude me still.

Nor can I tell you why the mere sight of them always seems to cause that sudden catch in my throat, or fully activate the location of that special human gene that causes the quickening of the hunter’s heart.

What I can say is that New Jersey decoys are a special breed of bird, and that some of the best of the breed can be found at The Baymen’s Museum at The Tuckerton Seaport in Tuckerton, New Jersey.

Below are some photographs that I took at the museum in July 2016. Mere images cannot truly do them justice, for to enjoy the full effect you must take it all in for yourself.

I have done that myself, several times – but there has never been enough time to fully satisfy that mysterious part inside of me that always wants for more.

So don’t make my mistake. Set aside an hour or two…perhaps an afternoon, to wander the museum and contemplate these wonderful works of art. Steep yourself in the history and lore of the great bays, and learn just a bit of the lives of the carver’s that made it all possible.

There’s plenty of room. You may find me there too, close at hand, but far, far away…watching…searching…for those things that only a hunter sees.

Enjoy!

 

A Pair of Collectible Decoys On Display at The Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
Art of the Finest Form and Function
A History of New Jersey Decoys And Their Carvers. A Display At The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A History of New Jersey Decoys And Their Carvers
A Merganser Decoy by Joe West of Bordentown, New Jersey. Displayed at The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Merganser Decoy by Joe West of Bordentown, New Jersey
The Outstanding Work Of Decoy Carver Rowley Horner of Tuckerton, New Jersey. On Display at the Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
The Outstanding Work Of Rowley Horner
An American Widgeon Decoy, or Baldpate by Chris Sprague of Beach Haven, New Jersey. Displayed at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
An American Widgeon Decoy, or Baldpate by Chris Sprague of Beach Haven, New Jersey.
An Old Squaw Duck Decoy by Joseph Eugene "Gene" Hendrickson. Displayed at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
An Old Squaw Decoy by Joseph Eugene “Gene” Hendrickson.
A Rare Pintail Decoy, Painted as A Black Duck, By Harry M. Shourds of Tuckerton, New Jersey. Displayed at The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum at Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Rare Pintail Decoy, Painted as A Black Duck, By Harry M. Shourds of Tuckerton, New Jersey.
A Drake Broadbill Decoy By Sam Forsyth of Bay Head, New Jersey. Displayed at The Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
Drake Broadbill By Sam Forsyth of Bay Head, New Jersey
A Canvasback, or Redhead Decoy, Attributed to the Inman Family of Bay Head, New Jersey. It is on Display at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Canvasback, or Redhead Decoy, Attributed to the Inman Family of Bay Head, New Jersey
A Hen Red Breasted Merganser Decoy by John Horn of Oceanville, New Jersey Dispalyed at The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Hen Red Breasted Merganser by John Horn of Oceanville, New Jersey
Canada Goose by Harry V. Shourds of Tuckerton, New Jersey. Displayed at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
Canada Goose by Harry V. Shourds of Tuckerton, New Jersey
A Mallard Drake Decoy by John Updike of Green Bank, New Jersey. Displayed at The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Mallard Drake Decoy by John Updike of Green Bank, New Jersey
A Wonderful Miscellany, Including a Shorebird and Brandt Decoy by Hurley Conklin of Manihawkin, New Jersey. On Display at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
A Wonderful Miscellany, Including a Shorebird and Brandt by Hurley Conklin of Manihawkin, New Jersey

——————————————————–

All Photographs by Michael Patrick McCarty

 

The Front of The Dustjacket of The Book New Jersey Decoys by Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr., Which Shows A Pair of Early MeNew Jersey Decoys Rule!rganser Duck Decoys.
An Indispensable Reference for New Jersey Decoy Collectors

For more Information and a photographic history of more than 700 New Jersey ducks, geese, and shorebirds, you may wish to purchase a copy of New Jersey Decoys by Henry A. Fleckenstein, Jr. In Hardcover edition, 270 pages, 1983.

 

Barnegat Bay Decoys and Gunning Clubs by Patricia H. Burke. An Invaluable Reference Guide to New Jersey Decoys, The Barnegat Bay Sneak Box, Duck Carvers, Artists, and More. New Jersey Decoys Rule!
Barnegat Bay Decoys and Gunning Clubs by Patricia H. Burke.

Another great reference is Barnegat Bay Decoys and Gunning Clubs by Patricia H. Burke. Published by Ocean County Historical Society, Toms River, New Jersey in 1985. In softcover wraps; 44 pages.

We usually have copies of each in stock. Please email us at huntbook1@gmail.com for a price quote.

The Bull Of The Woods Bugles No More

September 2018

 

Master bowhunter Rocky Tschappat with another beautiful bull in a long line of Colorado public land, elk hunting trophies.

The “Bull Of  The Woods” has stumbled and fallen, but maybe, just maybe, there is another out there just like him, waiting for us.

Congratulations Rocky!

You do make it look easy, even though we all know, it is not…

 

A Bowhunter Poses With A Trophy Bull Elk, Harvested On Public Land in Western Colorado in 2018. Posted by Michael McCarty
A Bull Of a Lifetime – Until Next Time!

 

“Few indeed seem fitted for archery or care for it. But that rare soul who finds in its appeal something that satisfies his desire for fair play, historic sentiment, and the call of the open world, will be happy” – Saxton Pope, Hunting With The Bow and Arrow, 1923

 

A King-Sized Elk Burger Patty; Ground Up With Just The Right Amount of Beef Fat. Ready For The Pan. Posted by Michael McCarty
From The Elk Woods to Table – A Hunter’s Harvest

“Fresh king size elk burger for a starving elk hunter” – Rocky Tschappat.

And might I add, that’s gonna be a lot of burger…

 

For an elk hunter’s taste treat sensation, try:

Venison (Elk) Patties Oregon

It is a particularly good recipe for that big old bull that passed the tender stage some years ago.

  • 2 pounds of venison (or elk)
  • 1/2 pound of salt pork
  • 1/8 pound of butter
  • 2 cups of finely chopped scallions
  • 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 Dash of Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard

Put venison and salt pork through a meat grinder twice. Blend thoroughly and add salt and pepper. Shape into patties 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter and place on waxed paper. In a skillet melt butter, add scallions, horseradish, Tabasco Sauce, dry mustard, and Worcestershire. Blend ingredients, and cook until onions are tender. Spread this mixture over every other meat patty, then cover with adjoining patty and press together. Place the pressed patties on a shallow roasting pan and slide under a preheated broiler. Broil for about six minutes on each side and serve on toasted buttered rolls.

*  This recipe is taken from Game Cookery In America and  Europe by Raymond R. Camp. It is my go-to wild game cookbook, and I highly recommend it for hunter’s and fishermen everywhere.

We generally have a copy for sale in our bookstore stock, if so interested.

And, as you can see, Rocky can be tough on cow elk too, and he took this one just a few days later.

 

A Young Cow Elk, Harvested With A Compound Bow In Western Colorado.
Some Elk Meat Of The Best Kind

 

A Bowhunter Poses With a Dusky Grouse, Otherwise Known As A Blue Grouse, Harvested With A Compound Bow in Western Colorado
But Then Again, Is There Anything Better Than Grouse For Dinner

 

A Bowhunter Poses With A Trophy Pronghorn Antelope, Harvested With A Compound Bow In Northern Colorado
Pronghorn Are A Perfect Warm up For The Coming Elk Season

 

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A Partying Party Of Pronghorns

August 2018

 

Pronghorn can provide an almost endless parade of entertainment for the perpetual watcher of wildlife, and I am always a most captive audience.

The most common sighting of an antelope for most people is that of an animal running away at an almost unbelievable speed, or perhaps just a view of their ears and head as they watch you from a long, long distance, before turning to leave.

Setting up in a blind near a water hole is a sure way to gain some close encounters of an animal not so easily observed. With luck you’ve already put in some blind time yourself, and if not, I hope that you will get to do so soon. You will not be disappointed.

With that in mind, here are just a few images from my August bowhunting adventure in Northern Colorado.

And yes, I did get my buck…but that, is another story!

 

A Pronghorn Antelope Doe Stares Head On At Close Range. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty, Taken On a Bowhunting Trip In The Red Desert In Northern Colorado
Ready To Shake Hands

 

Several Doe Pronghorn Antelope Watch The Horizon For Possible Danger In The Red Desert of Northwestern Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
Where The Antelope And The Antelope Roam…
A Pronghorn Antelope Buck Leads The Way to Water For Two Young Ones On The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado. Photograph by Michael McCarty
Follow The Leader

 

Two Pronghorn Antelope Bucks Running Towards A Waterhole In The Red Desert of Northern Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
Heading For Water

 

A Doe And Fawn Pronghorn Antelope Visit A Waterhole For An Early Morning Drink In The Red Desert of Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
There’s Nothing Better Than A Cool, Early Morning Drink!

 

The Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) One of The West's Most Iconic Animals. Photography by Michael Patrick McCarty
Poetry, And Perpetual Speed, When Needed

 

Two Doe Pronghorn Antelope Stand At Alert, On The Red Desert of Northern Colorado. Photography by Michael Patrick McCarty, While Hunting Near Baggs, Wyoming.
I’ve Got Your Back!

 

A Doe Pronghorn Antelope Nurses A Fawn In The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
Bring On The Milk

 

A Waterhole On The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado, Surrounded By Sagebrush And Alfalfa. Home Sweet Home, And A Main WAter Source For Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, and Age Grouse. Photograph by Michael McCArty
The Best Of All Worlds – A Spring-Fed Desert Waterhole Surrounded By Sage And Alfalfa

 

The Distinctive Tracks Of Pronghorn Antelope, Found In The Soft Sand At A Waterhole In The Red Desert Of Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
Evidence Of What Was Here, And What May Come

 

A Young Mule Deer Buck And A Doe Pronghorn Antelope Share A Comfortable Summer Evening In The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado. Photograph by Michael McCarty
Mule Deer Like To Party Too!

 

Sage Grouse and Pronghorn Antelope Together On An Early Summer Morning On The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado. Photography by Michael Patrick McCarty
Sage Grouse Like To Have Fun With The Gang

 

A Pronghorn Antelope Buck In The Red Desert of Northern Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick MCarty
Eyes of An Eagle; Heart Of A Lion

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

“The essence of being a really good hunter is, paradoxically, to love the particular species of game you’re after and have enormous respect and consideration for it”.

Hugh Fosburgh, One Man’s Pleasure, 1960

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A Perfect Pair Of Mule Deer Bookends

August 2018

A fine pair of Mule Deer bookends, taken near my ground blind while on a bowhunt for Pronghorn Antelope in Northern Colorado.

 

Two Mule Deer Bucks Seem To Mirror Each Other On The Red Desert Of Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
A Pair To Draw To…!

“From that day on I have been a lover of mule deer…They were my first love and still remain my strongest…Somehow he sight of an old mule deer buck, head high, antlers lying along his broad back, returns me definitely to my childhood and the day I first felt the mystery of wild game and wild country”.

Jack O’Connor, Game in the Desert, Revisited, 1977

Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty

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The Ghost Spike Of The Night

A Spike Bull Elk, Caught in The Flash Of A Game Trail Camera In Western Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
A Flash In The Darkness

 

September 2018

Lots of things happen after the sun goes down, often when you have just sat for hours in a hot and dusty blind without hide nor hair of a beast with horns.

Still, there is hope in the air, all around. The elk are close, somewhere, just out of sight, but obtainable.

With luck, you may catch them soon, early in the morning, or late in the day, with enough shooting light left to seal the deal.

I hope to see you again, soon, brother elk – and don’t forget to bring along your grandfather.

Can’t wait to meet him…

Good Hunting!

By Michael Patrick McCarty

Coyotes, Mountain Lions, and Bears, Oh My!

Browning Trail Cameras BTC 8A Spec Ops Advantage 20MP W/Colr Screen (Sports)

BROWNING TRAIL CAMERAS 8A spec ops advantage trail camera 20 MP camo. Crafted from the highest quality material to ensure quality and durability.

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“Adoration is as alien to wild nature as blasphemy. Nature transcends love, goodness, malevolence or evil. It is simply a primordial force – shining, aloof and brooding, a vast sweep of power too awful to be imbued with human emotions, virtues or mischiefs. It is presumptuous to adore nature as it is to kick a redwood”.

John Madson, Stories From Under the Sky, 1998.

 

A closeup photograph of the eyes of a mountain lion
Things That Go Bump in the Night

 

August, 2012

Many of our followers are aware that I have done a lot of security work over the years, and I still do. I’ve spent many sleepless nights on one type of patrol or another, and I’ve learned to notice many things that most people miss in the world all around them.

Last night I missed a chance to see a big mountain lion moving just a short distance from my solitary post. It was reported to me by an excited and breathless observer, who apparently had some trouble believing his own eyes. He just had to tell somebody, and I’m glad it was me.

The sighting took place on the black top and concrete of a two-track bridge over a cold, clear river in western Colorado, not far from the unfenced yards of several exclusive homes and the manicured grounds of a large country club and golf course. It seemed an unlikely spot to find such a magnificent predator, or so he thought. For his part, the tawny beast was no doubt chagrined to find himself caught in such an exposed and vulnerable position.

The lion enjoys good company as he hunts. Coyote, the all-seeing trickster grows more bold and opportunistic with each passing year, having learned long ago to take advantage of the nonchalance of the family pet. He may have learned it from the big cat. Likewise, encounters with black bears are increasing, as are people and bear conflicts. As a result we receive many complaints about coyotes and bears on the property that I roam, and it looks like it may become particularly bad in this time of terrible drought.

After all, we are surrounded by the rocky mountain west, with national forest and other undeveloped lands close at hand. Still, a mountain lion report is big and electrifying news which will surely surge throughout the small community by morning. This creature rules by stealth, and it is no surprise that most people have never seen one outside of a zoo or animal park.

I have been quite fortunate to study them several times in my adventures and wilderness travels. I’ve spied them without them seeing me, and I’ve noted their reaction when they realize they haven’t seen me first. I’ve hunted them several times, and have found myself standing with the bawling hounds under the killing tree, with an angry and snarling cougar above. I’ve followed their distinctive paw prints over hill and dale, and on more than one occasion found their tracks following me. I love to watch them under any circumstance, and to see them do their thing for any amount of time is an awe-inspiring experience that marks an indelible impression. I can see a stalking cat right now, in my mind.

What I don’t like is this long-tailed ghost watching me, particularly when I don’t know it. I have absolutely no doubt that it’s happened, countless times, at close range and but a primordial fang away. I’d take a bet that it’s happened to you too, if you have spent any significant amount of time in puma country. Fates can change quickly, as the tip of a cat’s tail twitches, measuring what to do. But of course, we will never really know, and it only adds to the mystery and magic of it all.

 

A trail sign describing what to do when confronted by a mountain lion
Follow The Signs

 

I would have explained this to my wide-eyed mountain lion man, if I could have gotten a word in edgewise. There are some noteworthy visitors out there in the black night, just out of reach of headlight beams or human consciousness.

Think about that the next time you enjoy a hike on a shadowy mountain trail in a quaking aspen grove, and the hair on the back of your neck stands up for some unknown reason. You may wish to honor that sense. It’s there for a purpose.

Keep it in the back of your mind the next time you go out at night to check on your chickens or other animals in your backyard or back forty. Catch a breath, and take a second to wonder about what just made a nearly silent footfall, behind or above.

The possibility of a lion nearby reminds us of the wilds at the edges, and grounds us in the realities of the natural world. It’s an unsettling thought for some, and one that many of us have to live with when we spend time in the places that we love. Still, I would rather live where I live knowing that a mountain lion lives here too, rather than in a place known to have no mountain lions, and wishing that it did.

It’s a reality I am happy to accept, in the hope of but a quick glimpse, in the corner of an eye.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

a nighttime trail camera photograph of a mountain lion
Things That Go Bump In The Night

 

*Update August 27, 2013

There is not a week goes by that someone does not ask if we have had any puma reports, and I must say, I’m a bit anxious myself. The leaves in the high county are beginning to turn color already, far too early it would seem, and it won’t be long before the early snows are as high as an elk’s belly and the mule deer are headed for the lower valleys along the river. The big cats are sure to follow, and it is then that there is a fair chance to record them on a well placed trail camera. We hope that the hunting is good this season, for us, and for mountain lions everywhere.

You can see a short video of our night-time visitor here.

 

 

Update: October 17, 2012

Game trail cameras are an invaluable tool for those wishing to document the comings and goings of our wild neighbors, particularly in those magic hours between dusk and dawn. Strategically placed, they can capture a delightful display of animal movements not otherwise observed. It’s great entertainment, with the promise of true surprise within easy reach. My anticipation of the next photo or the next video can barely be contained. You never really know what you’re gonna get…

We use several cameras scattered about the property, which we move on a regular basis. Our main interest lies in the activities of the creatures with two legs. We watch for trespass, intrusion, and foul play. That, of course, is a story for another time. Animal sightings are the bonus feature to the main event.

Today’s review of the image collection was no exception. They held the usual cast of characters. Marmots, foxes, and inquisitive raccoons. Wandering pets, and the occasional biker. One frame held the faint outline of a bear in the shadows, and another the up close face of a young mule deer.

And as you may have guessed by now, one camera captured a video segment of a mature lion on the prowl. At first there was nothing but the wide emptiness of the night, then the world lit up as the beams of infrared caught the ghostly figure like the flashes from an electronic campfire.

He was big and long and solidly built, with well-defined muscles that rippled on his bones as he padded easily back to who knows where. No doubt he had used this route before.

A house loomed large here too, just out of camera range. I know, because I set the camera there myself.

My reaction was sharp, and visceral. It’s one thing to hear someone else talk excitedly about their sighting and personal experience. You want to believe, yet, there’s always a little room for doubt in undocumented reports. It’s quite another matter when you actually see a lion for yourself, or have indisputable evidence in hand.

Real is real, and but a moment away from memory. It is undefinable proof of the untamed mystery of our realm, accessible to all just inches from the comforts of our daily routines.

I shall do my best to stay out of the big cat’s path and unseen wanderings, yearning, for his eventual return.

Hunt well, my friend.

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom, and Guns Too!

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Comments? Tell us about your Mountain Lion experience.

https://steemit.com/nature/@huntbook/coyotes-mountain-lions-and-bears-oh-my

Antelope Down – And It’s Always a Thrill

August 2018

 

A Hunter Poses With A Pronghorn Antelope, Taken In Northern Colorado With A Hoyt Satori Traditional Takedown Recurve and Easton Axis Carbon Arrows. Photography by Michael Patrick McCarty
First Kill With The Mighty Recurve

For the last several years I have been fortunate enough to figure out how to hunt a pronghorn, somewhere, to start off my annual bow season. It’s a fabulous way to warm up for elk, or mule deer, or whatever else that you may be after.

They are one of my very favorite animals to bowhunt, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, if you hunt them over the right waterhole, under the right conditions, you can just about be assured that you will have  a fine old-time.

Set up correctly, and it is generally not a question as to whether you will have a shot, or not, but more of a question, as to when. It will probably be a chip shot too.

I have spent a considerable amount of time in my bowhunting career looking over many a good buck, looking for just the right one. There have been years when I have been mighty particular, and that mostly means that one will be spending a lot of time in a very hot, uncomfortable blind.

A Double Bull Wide Deluxe Ground Blind By Primos, Set Up Over A Waterhole While Bowhunting For Pronghorn Antelope In The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado. Photograph By Michael McCarty
Home Away From Home

I’ve learned a lot about them, up close and personal, and I never grow tired of watching them. They are a magnificent creature, and for them I have nothing but great respect.

With that in mind, I can tell you that my opinion as to what qualifies as a great buck has come a long way too. For now, I can make a case that any buck’s a good buck, in my humble opinion.

Why do I say that, you might ask?

Well, the answer is quite easy on that one – and I’ll come right to the point. Just stick a fork in one sometime and you’ll know all about it too!

It is my very favorite of all big game meats, and I can almost never wait to get some tenderloin spattering in a hot, heavy pan.

Time to heat up the stove, right now…

Best,

Michael Patrick McCarty

 

“Long ago I learned that my hunting is not just for meat, or horns, or recognition. It is a search for what hunting can give me, an effort to win once again that flash of insight that I have had a few times: That swift, sure intuition of how ancient hunters felt and what real hunting – honest-to-God real hunting – is all about. It is a timeless effort to close that magic circle of man, wildness and animal”.

John Madson, Out Home, 1979