There really isn’t a better way that I can think of to spend a hot, August, Idaho evening than by getting out and doing some hardcore catfishing. That is precisely what my husband Shane and I did a few nights ago. We decided to try and get some relief from the 100 degree weather by packing up our fishing poles and bait, and heading about an hour from our home to one of our favorite fishing holes on the Snake River. When we arrived the mosquitos were terrible, so we drenched ourselves in spray, loaded my backpack with our gear, and hiked down to the river bank. A few casts from the bank and we knew that the catfish were stacked and the fishing was on! We decided to wade into the water as the temps were still very high, and as we were doing so we were kicking up catfish all around us. The riverbed was pretty slimy and slick, so I, with my incredible lack of balance, slipped and fell in almost immediately. That didn’t deter me, I was on a mission! We continued out to the middle of the river where we spent the next few hours catching cats, cast after cast. Eventually the sun started to set, leaving a pale pink hue in the sky and on the river, and we knew it was time to start heading back to shore. I can’t even count how many fish we caught that evening, but it sure was a great time! I look forward to going again very soon! #Proiswasthere!!
By Shannon Rasmussen
Saturday morning we woke to a fresh blanket of snow and temps in the teens. We gathered all of our warm hunting gear and headed to the mountain. You see, Saturday was a very special day for our family. Our middle son Mason had just turned 12 last week, which is the legal age in Idaho to hunt big game. Mason had drawn a late rifle cow tag, and Saturday was the first day that he could hunt. It was a slow drive as the roads were ice packed, but eventually we made it to the hunt unit. We drove and glassed, glassed and drove. We weren’t seeing many tracks, and after a lot of glassing still weren’t seeing many elk. After a few hours we were about to head home for the day when we cut a set of fresh cow tracks crossing the road. We drove up the road a bit so that we could glass back towards where the tracks were headed. Sure enough there were four cows feeding across the snowy hillside. We decided that we would make a stock on them by coming up and over the hill above them. We drove around the other side of the hill, parked, and started the steep, slick hike to the top of the hill. The snow was crunchy and slippery, and there was a lot of thick brush that we had to make our way through. Eventually we topped out, and very cautiously and as quietly as we could be under the circumstances, started glassing the area where the elk had been. There was no sign of them, so we decided to climb up and side hill to see if we could cut there tracks in the snow and get on them again. As we started to hike all of a sudden my husband Shane whispered “Right there!!”. To our right a cow had jumped up out of the brush and was trotting away. Shane got Mason set up for a shot, and as the cow was about to disappear over the hill and out of sight, Shane blew a cow call. She stopped about 200 yards away. We whispered to Mason to be calm, make sure he was good and steady, and to squeeze the trigger when ready. Boom! We could see the impact of the bullet hit the cow. She swayed and started to slowly tumble forward. Mason shot again and she fell to the ground, sliding down the hill, coming to rest next to a bush. High fives and tears all around! Mason was so excited and Shane and I were so proud! This young man had harvested his first big game animal, and performed like a pro! I cannot think of a better way to have spent a Saturday in December with my family.
Last week my husband Shane, our oldest son Tyler, and I set out once again for another evening of spring bear hunting. Tyler was lucky and had drawn one of the Idaho controlled hunt bear tags, and we had been hunting for bears since mid-April. We met up with our good friend Brian to hunt an area that we had been seeing a lot of bears over the past few weeks. We felt like there was something special about this evening and we couldn’t shake the feeling that we were going to find the shooter bear we had been looking for.
We parked our ATV’s, gathered our packs, and started hiking up the yellow flower covered hillside. Tyler was ahead of us a ways when we noticed that he had stopped and was standing on a rock. When we reached him we asked him what he was doing. He said that he thought he had heard a rattlesnake. Shane took one more step and the rattlesnake started buzzing, three feet in front of us. If Tyler hadn’t heard it and stopped, one of us would have stepped on it. We were very grateful for Tyler’s attention to his surroundings.
We continued on our way and got set up with our binos, and spotting scope to start scanning for bears on the hillsides all around us. After about 45 minutes I spotted a bear walking down an old dirt road about a mile from us. We watched him through the spotting scope as he stood on his hind legs and scratched his back against a tree. He was a roly poly bear and a beautiful chocolate color so we decided to try and make a stock on him.
Shane hiked back to the ATV, and Tyler and I started hiking down the hill in the direction of the bear. We eventually came to a road where Shane picked us up. We drove over and parked the ATV at the bottom of the road that we had seen the bear walking down. We quickly and cautiously started walking up the road knowing that we could meet the bear around any corner at any moment. The trees and brush were very thick making it difficult to see very far. As we were walking there was a small clearing on our left and I was scanning it to see if there was any sign of the bear, when I glanced back to my right the bear was standing right there about 12 yards from us!!! We had almost walked by him!! Luckily the wind was in our favor and he was standing facing away from us next to a creek that was very loud so he had no idea we were there. I grabbed Shane and pointed. Shane grabbed Tyler and pointed, Tyler stopped, raised his gun and shot. The bear jumped up and ran into the thick brush about 10 yards before piling up in a bush. Tyler had made an excellent shot!!! We waited a little while to make sure the bear was dead before we went in to the brush after him. Once we went in to get him we saw what a gorgeous big bear he was!! We were so proud of Tyler and he couldn’t have been more pleased with himself over this, his first ever bear kill. Brian drove down to meet us after hearing the gunshot. The four of us worked together to get the bear loaded in our truck. We headed back to town to weigh the bear, measure it, and take pictures. The bear weighed exactly 400 lbs and measured 6ft. This was definitely a hunt to remember!!!
I spent Saturday morning doing something truly unforgettable. Picture it, a cold snowy winter morning. A horse-drawn sleigh with hay bales for seats. A group of friends, anxious for what they know they are about to experience. Two majestic draft horses pull the sleigh as it jolts forward down a snowy lane, deeper into the woods, then comes to a stop. There we wait. After several minutes the first silhouette appears in the trees, as if it had been standing there the entire time, yet somehow unseen by this group of spectators. Suddenly more and more bodies appear, making their way through the trees, brush, and deep snow. Then we hear it… a sound which will remain one of my favorite spine tingling sounds for as long as I live-a bull elk bugling. Then you see him, trotting in with the rest of the herd, as if a dinner bell has been rung, which in fact it has, only in the form of sleigh bells. Filing in one after another, cows, bulls, calves, what seems like an unending procession of elk.
Do I have your attention? Now for the best part!
The hay bales I spoke of earlier are what the sleigh bells have beckoned this massive herd of elk to come running in for. Dinner is served. One by one the elk surround the sleigh and start snacking on the hay bales, yes, right out from under our warmly dressed bums. As an elk hunter and admirer of these creatures I cannot think of a more surreal situation. Magnificent bulls mere inches away, not caring that we humans are sitting atop their meal. I can’t think of anything else quite like it!!!
Although we could have sat there amongst that herd all day, unfortunately it was time to go. So, once again the horses pulled on their reigns, jolting the sleigh forward, and away we went, knowing we wouldn’t see this herd of elk again until next winter when they are drawn in by the sound of sleigh bells in the cool, crisp winter air, ready to feed.