It was crazy enough that upon our departure from Montgomery it was confirmed that there was two foot of snow in one area we were hunting and five foot in the other–but to arrive in Montana only to find out that one of our bags did not make the same flight was pure insane. As Murphy’s Law would have it the bag that did not arrive at our destination was the one bag that had ALL of our hunting clothes, thermals, base layers, wool socks and hunting boots in it. Too make matters worse, because we were going to be in excess of 70 miles one way from the airport, Fed Ex would have to pick up our bag from the air port the next day and deliver it to us the following day. That would mean missing TWO entire days of hunting–that wasn’t happening!!
The lost bag was found in Salt Lake City and would be on a return flight to Billings in the morning with an estimated arrival time of 12:45 p.m. We were told we could pick it up at the airport at that time. We were going to miss a morning of hunting and would be on a fast horse just to be able to get out to the woods for scouting and territory acclimation. I just laughed and thought to myself…”make the best of the situation”! So I did!!
We were up bright and early, had the truck rented and was on our way to waste a little time in Billings prior to the 12:45 p.m. arrival of our baggage. What better place to waste several hours than to go shopping at the new Cabela’s store in Billings, MT? We were able to get our hunting licenses and tags there as well so it was a one stop shop for the few errands on my list.
We made to the airport at the same time the Salt Lake City plane was landing and as promised our bag was there behind the Delta counter. We were well on our way now. I contacted Glenn and he said he would meet us at a designated spot–when we got there, he was waiting on us. We pulled in the drive and stepped out of the vehicle and you would have thought a hurricane was passing over. The wind was absolutely horrible and it was evident that there had been some snowfall in the area.
We made a mad dash into our room and opened our “not so long ago lost bag” and before we tied our boots and walked out of the door I looked over the room and it looked like the bag had went off like a BOMB! I like to be organized (to my standard) with my gear and equipment so that everything flows smoothly–if there is one thing that I am not cut out for, that one thing would be DRAMA! I made a mental note that I would need to fix that as soon as I got back in that evening. If you could have only seen the pile of gear and clothes that came out of that bag; it literally looked like it exploded in 5 directions. How I actually got all of it in that one bag was truly amazing but what the pile looked like now was beyond belief that it all came out of that one case. It is kind of comical now that I think about it.
I tossed the keys to Glenn and we were out the door and FLYING down the road toward the first hunting spot. I emphasize flying because we actually were; no joke. I have never been in a vehicle that went that speed for that length of time and to top that off the further North we drove the more snow we were finding. I think my butt cheeks (from grabbing into the seat) and right forearm (from hanging on to the door frame handle) are still sore from that ride in the back seat. I guess folks in that part of the country are use to driving those speeds because of the very long and straight stretches of road they have there. Matter of fact, our gracious host made the comment that there had previously not been a posted speed limit sign and the only time you drive up on someone driving the speed limit in this part of the country they were either drunk, not from around these parts or old; more on this statement later!!
The mountains and surrounding country were beautiful even if with several feet of snow covering the ground. Our first stop was a success as far as finding turkeys on it, but we arrived a little to late to get into the position to do any hunting. It was better to back out and let these birds roost here than to chance it and spook them to an unknown area that would be difficult to get to the next morning; so we backed out and moved on.
We drove to a couple other locations and scouted some with no luck. This was a perfect time to get acclimated with the boundary lines of the property we were going to be hunting so we set out to do that so the entire afternoon would not be a waste. We were seeing wildlife moving every where. The snow started falling in tiny slushy pieces and some flakes about an hour before dark. I was already struggling to walk through knee deep snow–which by the way is something I have NEVER done before. About every twenty yards you had to stop to catch your breath and the elevation didn’t help much with the dizziness. I was starting to think I was ill prepared for this trip–but so far, so good. What would tomorrow morning bring for us?