Well the first annual ATBA group hunt has come and gone. We held the hunt west of Drayton Valley on the Pembina River. We had a great camp site right on the river and surrounded be big poplar and spruce trees. We had deer and moose tracks going right through the middle of our campsite. Man what a nice place it was. Another group of bow hunters from the Slave Lake area who have been coming to this place for the last 15-20 years showed up but we had their campsite already occupied.
We only had six members show up for the hunt but I think for the most part everybody had a good time. We had expected more people to come later in the hunt but the weather held some people at home. Yves Blouin, Jack Kempf, Gun Lemke, Terry Brew, Karl Hermans and myself were on hand to attack the critters of the Pembina.
The weather didn’t really co-operate with us. Wind, rain and occasional sunshine kept the vegetation wet and animals spookie. Everybody saw critters but only Yves had a real good chance at any critters. Yves had a whitetail doe with two dappled fawns with her come up and check to see what he was up to. Yves could have taken a shot at the doe but opted to leave mama alone to bring up her fawns. A good decision in my mind. Yves also had a sneak on a whitetail buck but that ended up with the deer leaving for no apparent reason and fed away without Yves getting close enough for a shot. Yves did manage to find a nice whitetail shed though during his stalk. He was nice enough to give it to Jake for his rock garden and then on our way home that antler put a very nice hole right in the bottom of my brand new water jug. Terry saw a bear that he could have made a move on but being the bear guide that he is decided that he has seen enough bears for the year and let it go on about it’s business. I’m not sure just where Karl went hunting but every time he got back to camp he was soaking wet. He earned the name “swamp dog” for his efforts. Gun put in a good effort to try and find something to shoot at but was skunked. Personally I think it was his hat that kept the critters away but who knows for sure. As for me, I was kept busy driving the “old guy” back and forth to the Wolf Lake campground so he could take care of business. You know how old people are and when the call of nature hits you’ve got to move in a hurry.
Anyway the hunt ended without any damage being done to the game population. We sat around a few campfires during this hunt, Jake was our designated fire starter, and told a few stories and generally had a good time. We’ll be having another hunt next year and Yves has promised to bring along more coffee next year.
I’d like to thank all the people who put forth a big effort in putting this inaugural hunt together. Yves had a very good crew working on this event and it was well worth the effort for those of us who partook. Bryan Down built some really nice ATBA signs for us to put on the roads to get people to the hunt site. Pat Ward announced the event to the club over the internet. Randy Hermann pointed Yves in the right direction in finding the spot that we camped at. And of course Yves who went out and spent time and money looking the countryside over and finding the camping spot and area to hunt in. It is a group effort like this that will make this ATBA organization take off and become one of the best clubs in Alberta.
I was one of the dozen members that made the trip to Buffalo for the annual Group Hunt. Brent Watson and his wife arrived before everyone else and started hunting Antelope, but unfortunately had to leave when everyone else was showing up. Gary McCartney and Cal Briggs had a real nice camp set up when I had arrived. Wall tent and kitchen area tarped off. David Sherwin was in attendance, Mel Kaban was camping with Jack Kempf, Yves Blouin and Gunter Lemke showed up, Ken Bodden arrived, set up his tent and then left, he was back by 6:30 with a deer for the first kill of the week. Jason Collingridge took a day off from University to make the trip as well.
David was concentrating on a group of Whitetails, enjoying the terrain and hunting hard, left camp early and got back late. Gary and Cal were chasing Antelope to the south, stalking and trying the decoy. Mel and Jack were paired up, Mel trying to be a guide for Jack. I had the pleasure of hunting with Jack for a day, got to take a little video of him stalking and then shooting at a pretty good Antelope. Gravity and the wind played havoc with his arrows that time. Gunter and Yves were after deer, Yves spent some time trying to stalk a bunch of Mule deer that seemed to know the terrain better than him, he returned just as happy if not happier than when he set out. Gunter and myself tried a couple of stalks on Antelope, I missed an easy shot badly, with an audience no less. Jason got turned loose by Jenner after some deer and seemed to enjoy himself. Ken was offering suggestions on where to go and how to hunt different areas as he is really familiar with the area. There were a lot of chances for success on this trip, stuff usually happens and it did. Wind, arm guards, etc.
The weather changed on the Friday, cool and rain. I had the opportunity to travel with Ken Bodden and ended the morning with an Antelope. We arrived back at camp in time to say good bye to the crew as everyone had packed up and were heading for home. The Annual Group hunt was a good time, new friends were made, new areas were explored, which is what it is all about.
Gary & Mel did a great job organizing the Hunt!