The tale condensed, courtesy of Ian:
Such is the neophyte hunters' life, lots of good stories but not much to eat.
Camp made with the remarkable generosity of the DOW and its volunteers, on private land along Box Elder creek. The hunter's code of secret locations doesn't apply here: since it's private, naming it does not call in the competition of other hunters. The bathroom was heated but a twenty-minute walk away through the cow pasture, one fence climb, one chained gate, and thirty placid cows on route.
The closest we got to a deer all weekend was volunteer Tony's deer chili for lunch on the last day. Thank you Tony. We saw deer but only at long range. Sitting in a deer blind keeping quiet, in 20 degrees, was a bit of a challenge.
The last morning we were in the blind 600 yards from camp at 6am. At 6:25am a herd of 10 deer walked through camp. If we’d stayed in camp drinking coffee, we could have shot one through the flaps of the tent. They milled around for a bit, then moved off down the dry sand creek bed. We attempted to stalk them but chased across two property lines without getting closer than 300 yards, then they were on a property we didn’t have permission to hunt. We also saw a herd bedded down on a neighboring private property, and spooked another herd by walking over them on the way to set up a blind on a different property: all nice big healthy-looking mule deer. So, plenty of beasts, just not in the right place.
Luxury camping: electric light in the kitchen tent from a remarkably quiet Honda generator, gas lamps in the bedroom, and both tents had marvellous little wood stoves for heating. I tried to capture the smoke coming out of the tent's chimneys here but my camera and I were not equal to the low-light shot.
Ian doesn’t seem downcast by his ill fortune this year, still keen on hunting next year, even with all the cold, snow, and privations. It’s a pity I have no idea what I’m doing.