He was too tired to file a blog — hiking back and forth between High Buck camp and the rig in 75- to 80-degree weather three days straight will do that to a guy — but our Jason Brooks still provided some details from his group’s search for bucks and bears in the North Cascades this past weekend.
Camp was set up Thursday afternoon by Lake Chelan guide Andy Byrd and when Brooks showed up Friday afternoon he found that Byrd was just getting back with the 50-pound hide of a nice-sized boar he’d shot near their water source.
The pair took a break and then went for water and the load of bear meat, which they packed back to their tents. Just after dark, three friends and their three kids arrived.
On Saturday’s opener, Brooks, Byrd and two others set out for a peak several miles away featuring a spring. Well, the spring was still there, but there were no animals to be had, and as the day heated up, Byrd and Brooks decided it was too hot for the bear meat to stay at camp so they packed it down to the rigs.
On the hike way out, they ran into the other members of their party who had seen five deer, including one 2-point, as well as a whopping nine bears.
“All sows with cubs, including a gorgeous blonde bear with cinnamon paws with a cinnamon and a black cub,” Brooks notes.
After loading up on ice at a local mom-and-pop store, they returned to the trailhead and hiked back to camp in the dark.
“It was a nice night to hike, cool with lots of stars,” Brooks says.
The next morning’s hunt started on the late side, but was fruitless for all the hunters.
“Basically really hot the entire weekend,” Brooks reports. “I know of one other bear killed up there and two bucks, both 4×4 in velvet and both really nice. I know of reports of about five or six nice bucks up there — they hit the timber right at first light and only come out just before dark. Too hot out.”
A friend has taken over their station on the mountain and Brooks expects a midweek report from him.
Fellow North Cascades high buck hunter Mike Quinn also came back in after opening weekend, reporting that he saw some game, but nothing he was dead set on taking and packing out. He confirmed Brooks’ conditions report.
“The woods are hot and dry!”
Indeed, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has closed a huge chunk of ground between Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee, and the Cascade Crest and Columbia River because of fires and fire danger. For more on that closure and a map, as well as other closure notices in the forest, see this blog.
As for Byrd’s bear, Brooks says that Andy learned his motto the hard way: “‘Only shoot big bucks and small bears’ — he got it wrong and shot a big bear, estimated at 6 feet and 350 pounds.”