|Topaz the Great
Joined: 01 Jan 2007
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:22 PM Post subject: Mungus 2018 Tale
|Well it is the time of year when some of you fortunate enough to not have burned up all of your decoys need some help getting through the "no geese in the air" times. So here you go with the first draft of this years tale.
Mungus 2018 Adventure: Duct Tape, Shoo Goo, and Baling Wire…
Well, with each passing year one has to wonder just how long the ride will last. It wasn’t long ago that it was just a given that next season was going to be here soon and all would be well. All it takes is to look back at those old pictures to realize that every dog is now dead and all the llamas are now grazing on heaven’s hills or being chased by Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. The only constant is myself and Mungus, and with some of his exploits combined with his support of “big tobacco” for decades I have my doubts about Mungus!
Now for myself I just getting better every year, keener eyes, sharper hearing, of course my features just get more angular and chiseled each season. But the real improvements are in the level of knowledge stored in the ‘ol thickly haired noggin… Sometimes it hardly seems fair to the four legged prey to have me out there moving like the smoke from Gary’s cigarettes through the trees, tireless and all seeing, slipping amongst them unseen/un-sensed until my un- suspecting victim has been chosen for his sacrifice. It is sad, really, but pity cannot be afforded to the ‘free meat”. They never really have a chance.
Before our shared adventure I had to go hunt Bull Moose, WY elk, and bull elk, here in CO. For our adventure I would have a cow elk tag and a mulie buck tag. I scored on a nice bull moose with a day left in the season and while he was still not completely butchered I went out one morning and got my bull elk. This led to a mountain of “free meat” being entered into our freezers and Princess put the royal scepter down hard on my neck with a royal decree… “Thou shalt not come home with dead animal unless thou also bringeth home another freezer”. I tried to grind up the burger and therefor free up some space and killed off her family heirloom grinder in the first 10 lbs. Smoke flew and breakers tripped and I was down to trying to re-build an 80 year old grinder. A day of repairs and I plugged her in, sparks flew, smoke billowed and breakers tripped, E-bay was my only recourse, and a new LEM 1 HP was on its way.
I went to WY, on what was then, a very expensive camping trip, but I just could not stand to just not go because of my misfortune of possessing excessive skill. I never saw a hair of an elk, things were getting better! I returned just in time to pack for my next trip with Mungus. My Princess’ threats were still in effect as we headed up the mountain to go get Mungus his “free meat”, something that has historically proven to be above even my considerable skills. We decided to use his tent this year so as to have a few more square feet of floor for me to sleep on after being thrown off my cot by the dogs. Cody has hit retirement age so it was to be Wheately and Cashew to accompany us and take care of any “free meat” trimmings on the mountain side butchering table. There was a little snow at the parking area and after last year’s fiasco of chaining up in the dark with a midnight arrival home, we decided a prudent person would chain up right then and there with ideal conditions, before pulling downhill off the road into untracked snow. In mere moments I had my chains on with my skillful fingers deftly snugging them up tight as a drum head. I heard some horrible language coming from a couple truck lengths behind me. I did not understand since I had just been told about how gorgeous his new tires were and how his brand new tire chains worked and fit so extraordinarily well. Well it turns out that Mungus had put his new chains on in a heated shop on a jacked up truck, what we believers in Murphy refer to as “un-realistic conditions”… He had trimmed off those last few inches of loose chain to make them look very cool. Now with snow, ice, and frozen fingers (smokers have poor circulation you know) his beautiful chains were a few links short of hookable. While his fingers were frosty his tongue seemed to not be frozen at all and I did my best to cover Cashew’s ears as she is still quite young. After the threats to “just turn around and go home right F***ing now!” faded, he worked the chains on and we (one of us at least) headed merrily down the trail with a song in our hearts and a smile on our face, nothing beats heading in to elk camp!
Since I was not allowed to have any live ammunition in my possession I took only 6 llamas from the younger end of my herd, Mungus took his only surviving 5 from his retirement home he calls a pasture. After having not nearly enough food the previous year for my string in the unpredicted snowstorm I had my favorite llama “Landa” carrying nothing but 50 lbs of grain “just in case”. (Murphy and I are old acquaintances) The weather man was calling for some scattered snow showers for the next day or so then clear and 50’s, perfect weather for a guy not allowed to kill anything, with pleasant conditions for the camp life. We got a spartan camp set up before dark and the fire started to thaw things out about bed time. The morrow would be the Mungus “resting day” when we could tie up the loose ends and tidy up our camp a bit. That night it began to snow, as we had hoped, Mungus kept me updated on each of his twelve trips outside to pee on the accumulations. Our “resting day” turned out to be “sit in the tent and watch it snow” day, as the totals approached double digits. It altered between rain, sleet, and wet snow so the totals never got very big before being crushed by another wave of rain. As dark approached I went for a walk to see what was around and we were surrounded by camps of hunters that had moved in during the day. I saw about 20 llamas 3 horses and 5 vehicles, smoke everywhere and not a single elk, and 2 deer.
Opening morning was a white out blizzard with about 50 yards of visibility; I ran into 2 hunters and saw no game at all. That evening it cleared off just a bit but I still saw nothing. The weather was supposed to clear that night but apparently the storm did not read that forecast, but it did stop with the pretending to rain thing, from here on out it was just snow. ‘Ol Mungus was done pretty much after opening morning and was doing a great job of keeping the tent nice and warm for my soggy returns. Usually it takes very little reason for Mungus to prematurely end his adventure, this year he created a reason…
After returning from my opening day white out I was completely drenched and hung my stuff close to the stove to dry out, I put my spare boots on and set my wet boots on the steel warming tray to speed up their drying. Mungus came back shortly after my return and got a raucous welcome from Wheatley that made Mungus mad and made me smile. He saw my boots on the tray and put his beside them but
even closer. About an hour later as he was properly stretched out on his cot I told him his boots were smoking, he jumped up after saying a bad word and lifted them off the tray, except his boot soles stayed on the tray… that should teach him to not say those words in front of Cashew.
Now he still had knee high rubber boots and camp moccasins that were almost a full inch high at the heel, so he wasn’t quite barefoot (or pregnant) but with the whining that took place he might as well have been. He kept squawking about how they gave no traction or ankle support, while I pointed out their positive features like keeping the soles of his feet off of the snow, I’m always sensitive AND optimistic, two of my endearing traits. (amongst many others) After a while his bad language turned into a stony silence as he sat and glared at the offending stove with my boots still happily drying out next to it. He then pointed out that I had extra boots that should now be “camp boots”, I countered that they would be “camp boots” for about $189. He sputtered something about them being on their final stage of life and new ones costing $189. I suggested he write a number on the tent flap so the fedex guy would know which tent to deliver his new boots to, off of his fedex mule, he slipped back into his “stove staring”.
At this point I took pity on him and dug out my full tube of shoo goo from my possibles bag and suggested that he glue the boots back together well enough to get him through a few more miles. This should have cheered him up but he was definitely in the “glass half empty” kind of mood. But while I was out for the evening hunt he smeared them full of goo and taped them into place until the goo could cure.
Day two was a bust with heavy snow off and on all day. Day three had a few more breaks in the clouds and the animals really started to move down into our area, and right on through… the deer in particular were nose to tail in groups of 10-20 all headed down to the wall of orange awaiting them. The camp of Utah dwarves filled their tags and packed up and left, there was plenty of shooting all over the area. Although Mungus had his boots back in action he remained in camp. Tending the llamas in the ever increasing snow totals was becoming a more serious task, we moved them into a protected valley with tall bunch grass that was still sticking above the knee deep white stuff, and attempted to kick some clumps free of snow so they could get their bellies full. On day 3 I started to give them some grain as they were not getting enough of the grass to support their needs. The storm was supposed to be long gone but we got multiple waves of heavy snow every day for the duration of our hunt. We felt a little abused when I called the Princess and she reported green grass in the yard just 15 miles away at the same elevation.
Day #4 brought the elk to us by the dozens, and the bigger bucks started to show up as well. In the evening I walked away from my log with Cashew and at the edge of the trees, about 75 yards away, a big buck stepped out of the timber with water dripping off his antlers. He had steam coming from his nostrils after his steep hill climb, and the setting sun from behind me lit him in vivid yellow tones and he was just magnificent. Then he turned his head and I saw it, the tracking collar which sealed his fate, I wanted that collar bad! Unfortunately my rifle was twenty five yards behind me leaning on my log; all I had was my dog. I went face down in the snow and crawled back to my log, grabbed my gun and snuck back, thinking he would be right there on the edge of the trees, he was gone.
I figured he must have seen me and ducked back into cover so I waited and watched with no result. I
went back to my log and re-enacted it to see if he could have seen my crawl back to it, he could not. Then I realized he could have used the curvature of the hill to sneak down below me as I crawled and might be right there even now, but hidden by the drop in the hillside. I put Cashew to heel and snuck down the hill and there he was chasing some girls around. It was a long shot, for me, at 285 yards, but I had perfect conditions and when he stopped to choose which girl to chase in circles next I took my shot. As always the .300 did its job and after a short dash he piled up in the creek bed. I was now in violation of “she who must be obeyed”.
Cashew and I went down and drug him up out of the willows, field dressed him and packed him full of snow and went back to the tent, lugging my trophy, that collar! Mungus offered to give me his divorce attorney’s phone number when I arrived back at camp; he had actually left the tent that evening and heard my shot. I had been trying to convince myself I could shoot a calf elk but even that pipe dream had gone away with my pulling of the trigger on this buck. Knowing my lack of self-control I was going out with only binoculars from this point on.
The following morning I slept in while Mungus went out to hunt a mighty elk, it is rare I sleep in opting instead to go out and observe. I got up and stepped outside to see 5 big bulls right outside the tent flap, within rifle range. As soon as Mungus leaves the tent it is the place to be… I took some pictures to show him later and they saw me with the dogs and scampered over the ridge and ran right into Mr. Mungus, who missed them, of course, sending them far, far, away! Later after it warmed up a bit I went over to my buck with a couple llamas and butchered him up for his travel.
Mungus was now officially done as we were to leave the next day and the clock was not his friend at this point. The llamas got their final ration of grain and were more than ready to high step it all the way back to the hay pile the following day. The pack out was hard in the deep snow but it was reasonably clear with just a few flurries adding to about 20 inches of white. In a few hours we were at the trucks and I, for one, was very glad the chains were already on! There were boat loads of hunters on the road making for a difficult descent with a truck/trailer combination but with only a couple close calls we made it back to the barn intact. The llamas dove into the hay as if they had never seen food before. I had to un-pack and repack for the following days’ trip to the ‘dowry ranch” for the annual whitetail hunt… Leave this to the professionals kids do not try this at home it will only lead you to misery!
If dogs don't go to heaven, I want to go where they went.