Monday February 15th 2010
8:00 AM Clear, 14 above
After yesterday's sucess, I could go home right now with a smile on my face. I honestly came on this trip happy to be able live for ten plus days in the wilderness I had dreamed of since a kid. I tried to come here with no expectations of what I may or may not catch. If anyone would have told me before I left I’d have the kind of time I’ve had already, I wouldn’t have believed them. In five trapping days, we’ve already caught more fur than what I had expected from the entire trip. I cant say the wolverine was a shock to catch, but it was all that I had dreamed of. Before leaving Louisiana, Ken had said that even under poor conditions, he believed we’d have a good shot at one. And just think, the trip is only half over.
We get the day started with our hot breakfast, and then a quick peek out the door to see if the camp raider has been caught. Nope. But I’m neither surprised nor disappointed. There is enough bait laying around the shed to keep him fed for a year. We have witnessed his affection for spruce chicken, so we know he’ll sniff that leg out soon enough.
We decide to spend the morning checking out our northern line. We think that if the animals have moved at all we should have at least two or three wolverine caught already. As we ride the trails across the northern tundra we are both surprised to see no fresh sign. We do a little more prospecting in the area and set out a double MB 750(W) under a hanging bait, and another wolverine trail snare. When, not "if", that dude comes back through here he’s got several surprises waiting for him.
While on the tundra Ken points out a creek that connects to the slough where we have the gulo gauntlet set. He thinks it might be a good idea to walk that creek in the next few days and see if there is enough sign to set an extension line there. I think the idea is great, but it’s not happening today. We both know that back at camp there are five critters ready to be skinned.We’ve burned up a good part of the morning just basically looking over the country and enjoying the bright sunshine.
We get back and have a quick snack then it’s knife time. I’m glad Ken is a patient man. I came up here with the plan to do everything I could without his physical help, only his advice. So far he’s been more than accommodating, allowing me all the time I need to work things out on my own. I sure do appreciate this aspect of the trip. He’s there willing to give any advice or help I ask for, but he doesn’t knock me out of the way to do something simple that I’m bumbling with.
It takes me right at four hours to complete a warm up marten and the wolverine. I know that odds are I’ll be full body mounting this wolverine, so it’s slow and steady for me. Ken stands by and gives me advice as I go but I notice he makes a point not to touch the knife, that is until I flat out balk at splitting the ears. I was fine skinning out the eyes, ears, nose and feet, split the lips and pads, but no way am I cutting off one of this guys ears after all that work. I do take advantage of his experience and ask him to take over. I watch him split the ears and I’m pretty sure I still cant do it. Ken says it takes him about two hours to completely prep a wolverine. Even though it took me well over twice the time just for skinning, and my hands are one big cramp, I’m very satisfied with my work. Heck, I even look forward to doing it again!
While I’m skinning, Ken sees our camp raider is back at his plundering, I keep waiting to hear the “SNAP“ from the 220 shovel set, but no luck. Ken watches him through a crack in the door. The little guy sure is persistent, he circles the camp numerous times sometimes within inches of the front door. It’s neat watching him, whenever possible he hops in his existing tracks. He stand on his hind legs often to sniff the air. Those guys must have a heck of a nose on them. Ken realizes that he is checking out his “brethren” who are hanging from the old wood shed. Some of the brethren are also playing in the yard minus their fur coats. He doesn’t seem overly bothered by their misfortune, so we figure tonight’s the night for his raiding to end.
Dinner is moose burgers with cheese and home fries. Did I mention I really like moose meat?
Reading a few pages of the “Corps” and about to fall asleep when….SNAP! The camp raider has stole his last spruce chicken. I jump out of bed to go see if he needs any first aide. Unfortunately for him, I’d make a better living in assisted suicide than in saving lives. He turns out to be another large male. Great dark coloring and P.I.G. fat. Marten number seven, number five for the day, is hanging on the shed with his kin.
Have you ever skinned so much that your hands turn into meat clubs at the end of your arms??
Note to Ken...Thanks for opening the child proof asprin bottle for me. And for digging three of them out of the bottle. And for holding up my cup of water. And for helping me untie my shoes.