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Thread: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    213

    Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    Early in 2021 I won the Spatsizi sheep draw. I didn't have much of a plan right off the bat but figured I could put together something as the year went on. As I started checking out possible lakes in the park it struck me that Coldfish, with the cabins and infrastructure might be a great base to take my family on their first fly in hunt.

    I have three kids, Connor 10, Angus 8 and Rosie 5 and wife Lorie age redacted. Also 2 golden retrievers. The plan as it came together was to leave the older dog at the kennel, drive north and fly with Alpine Lakes Air on August 20. We'd try and snag a cabin at Coldfish to use as a base then maybe camp out on the plateau with our tipitent for caribou and sniff around for some sheep while we were at it. A couple of inflatable boats would round out the fun with fishing and looking for a moose on the lake.

    Two weeks to go and the kids were super excited. I'd spent my free time in the summer preparing dehydrated meals, getting any gear we were lacking and trying to downsize our load as much as possible to make sure we could make it out in 2 flights in the cessna. Anyway, the rug was pulled out from under us when Alpine cancelled all their flights. To say the kids were heartbroken is an understatement.

    After much talk, Lorie and I decided we were too far in to just give up on the idea of flying somewhere, so I messaged and called every outfitter I could think of. The only response we got (and quickly too) was from Northern Rockies in Watson Lake. The down side - I usually fly from Dease and didn't know much of the lakes within my price range out of Watson; the plus side - they had a Cessna Caravan which was big enough for all of us, both dogs and a lot more gear in one trip...wall tent and cots now.

    2 weeks later we were off. I will not lie, the night before we left I definitely had a "What the hell am I doing moment". Too late now though...




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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    213

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    More to come later.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    695

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    Oh yea!! I look forward to the rest!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    478

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    sweet! love these

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    ladner bc
    Posts
    321

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    Can't wait for the rest of the story.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    213

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    So a snag with pilots meant we'd fly out in 2 trips with the beaver instead of the caravan. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the long drive but for some reason we decided I would go out in the first trip with the kids and tent and Lorie would follow us with the dogs. Good idea or not, it was great watching the kids as the plane started slowly chugging across Watson Lake then take off with a roar. I could hear them yelling with excitement over the noise and hearing protection.

    An hour later we were pulling up to a rain soaked beach with a dark wall of forest behind...forbidding indeed. Through sheer luck, the first thing out of the plane was my pack which was filled with siltarps. I knew I had to get the kids active before they realized it was cold and wet so I had them setting up a shelter with the tarps and rope under a nearby tree while I finished unloading the plane. With the weather closing in, I had a few thoughts as the plane departed..."What the hell am I doing", definitely came up again and "I sure hope he can get back here with Lorie".

    The plane gone and the gear secure and dry we started to set up camp. We were on a sandy beach about 50 yards wide from woods to lake and 200 yds long. There was some old evidence of a camp so we set up there, next to a huge log that someone shaped into a table. I got the kids pulling rose bushes and rocks while I started putting the poles together.

    With the kids' help I finished setting up the frame and was just getting the canvas out when I heard the returning plane. Thank God! With Lorie's help the tent went up quickly then the kids gathered firewood and we settled in.


    That evening over supper, I spotted some movement on the other side of the lake. The lake was fairly big, so it was really just a dot about a km away. I got the binoculars on it but was still unsure what it was as it moved in and out of the bush. Finally I set up the spotting scope to reveal a large black wolf. The kids all took a look until the wolf finally heard us and took off. I appreciated his reaction but the kids were definitely a little nervous. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that wolf.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    213

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    So the next week was spent exploring, hunting and fishing. There was a lot of moose sign around the lake, but mostly cow and calf. It was likely that any bulls were up higher. The weather after the first day was pretty good...-4 one night up to 27 degrees the next day. It felt like mexico with our private sandy beach and crystal clear water.






    Apparently though, the weather wasn't so nice everywhere else. We were supposed to be out ten days, but on day 8 I got a message from the pilot. They were socked in at Watson Lake and had been for a few days. Everything was behind schedule and we might be stuck out there for a few extra days.

    I'm sure some people would be upset with news like that. Honestly, I think we were all happy to have the chance for a few extra days out. In order to conserve food, we set aside the last few dehydrated meals and started to live off the lake. Grouse weren't open yet which was too bad because we were surrounded by them but we made do with lots of lake trout meals. Chowder and soft tacos being two notable favourites.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    213

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt




    So now for the exciting part.

    On day 11, we had gone out on a fishing/hunting expedition around the lake. After eating lunch (spitted greyling) Lorie decided to walk back the 2km or so to camp with Angus and the dogs while I took Connor and Rosie back in the boat.

    We got back first and I was just building the fire up when I heard Lorie, from about 100 yards away in the forest say in a completely conversational tone of voice, "there's a wolf here". I grabbed my rifle and told Connor and Rosie to stay put and started toward where I heard Lorie last speak. Unsure what was going on, where the wolf was or if Lorie was about to fire a shot, I was a bit nervous going into the woods but Lorie talked me through which way to go so I wouldn't accidentally get in between them.

    I found them, Angus scared but holding on to both dogs (who had no idea what was going on) and Lorie between him and a wolf with her rifle up. The wolf was about 30 yards away, sitting beneath a tree staring at us. We all kind of faced off for a minute then I told Lorie, "Well, he's not leaving, and he can't stay. Do you want to shoot him or should I?".

    Lorie decided to shoot him. She'd never shot an animal before, but without hesitation after the decision was made, her 7mm08 barked twice and that was it.


    I went to check him out after and his behaviour became a little clearer. He was a wreck, teeth worn down to stumps, no meat at all on him just skin and bones. I pulled him out from under the tree easily with one hand. Either drawn by the squealing of playing kids or the barking of playing dogs, I had a pretty good idea of what his plan was.

    When we got back to camp, Connor was ready for anything having taken Rosie into the tent and was guarding the door with a hatchet.

    Did this encounter take away from the trip? Not a bit. If anything it made it better. It was the potential disaster I had been afraid of and everyone did exactly what they were supposed to with the best outcome. Even for the wolf as I can't imagine he was going to have a pleasant few days before the ineveitable.

    The plane showed up after an extra two days, and we were out. We drove straight back to Smithers, getting in around 1am and already during the drive planning our next fly in hunting trip.


  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    695

    Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    Amazing trip, story and write up....thanks for sharing.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Port Alberni
    Posts
    10,479

    Thumbs up Re: Successful Unsuccessful Fly In Hunt

    Cool!

    I'd say there was a little more success than simply the wolf.
    Memories like the ones you created are priceless.
    Well Done & Thanks for telling the tale (and the pix too!)

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNhzkJ-UU&feature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others.

    Guess he got to Know me

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