Lessons learned from “Boats and Bows”
You know in the movie Jaws when the guy says “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”? Well, we needed a smaller boat – or three-super small boats – or maybe just a boat that doesn’t have a keel and rigid floor – or possibly one big boat that drafts very little water and is rock-resistant. Yes, rock-resistant, and a shallow runner; that would have been key. When you break it down, pretty much any boat other than the one we chose.
The Mission: When planning for this trip began, the premise revolved around three foundational pillars.
- Adventure can be found in your own backyard.
- Adventure is what you make it.
- Let’s have fun!
The Question: How can we go on a multiday, multispecies, boat-based hunt without having to travel logistically complex distances and purchase out of state tags? Essentially – all the adventure you could ask for, but at a fraction of the time and monetary investment it would take to hunt somewhere like Alaska.
What We Knew: Sure, we were completely aware there were easier ways to pursue the game we were after with nearly zero unknowns – and certainly a much higher likelihood of “success.” But that’s not what we were looking for on this trip – and maybe, just maybe, it’s not what you need to be looking for. At least not on every trip.
What We Learned:
- The only way to remember your spoon is to forget your spoon: Sometimes learning what you need or don’t need is best, or possibly only, accomplished through trial and error. For example: Everyone else forgot their spoons. This is not a testament to me being some sort of spoon expert. I’ve just forgotten my spoon before. Did we bring too much gear for too many pursuits? Maybe. But had the trip not been cut short, our bows, fishing rods, and, lest we forget, the crawdad trap, may have come in quite handy. The jury – at least for me – is still out on this one. And oh yeah, you can make a spoon with gorilla tape and a stick.
- Sharpening your skills and gear familiarity: In the grand scheme of things, this was a low-consequence trip. A practice before the big game, if you will. Getting a deer would have been a plus, but the fact we didn’t won’t haunt us compared to coming home empty-handed on that once-in-a lifetime moose hunt. We even timed the trip as to not take place during prime deer season. What we did get was the opportunity to use and test gear that can lay dormant between big hunts, or even go entirely untested before the hunt of a lifetime. (Not the time to find out you disagree with the temp rating on your sleeping bag, or the stove you brought to boil water all week is defunct.)
- Saving a life might be easier than you think: Had we not enlisted the help of DJ Struntz at North American Rescue, we still wouldn’t know how to properly apply a tourniquet to ourselves or someone else. A very empowering skill to have. Not only that, but the essentials when it comes to stopping a major bleed or splinting a limb are shockingly lightweight and compact. Both things that will likely make it in our gear kit from here out. (Check out Podventure Two, Episode Three for more details.)
- Picking the right boat for the task is paramount: Pretty much everything hinges on that. (Learned on the river.)
- Scout the river as much as possible. We talked with several folks, including locals who canoe the river. No one told us we had the wrong boat. (Learned on the river.)
- Time is of the essence: If you can run a river or lake with an outboard, you can speed scout miles of territory with relatively low impact, or risk of alerting deer in the area, confirming or crossing off likely looking spots. After that, go in for the kill in the highest percentage areas without having to wonder if you should be somewhere else. (Learn more about scouting waterways on “Episode One with The Hunting Public.”)
- Just go: The best way to learn or figure something out is to do it. Preplanning is a must, but at some point, you must jump out of the proverbial plane, pull the ripcord, and hope for the best.
- The Outcome: Was this trip a complete debacle? Yup! Did we learn a lot? Yup. Did we have some successes? Yup. Was it one of the more fun and memorable trips we’ve had in a while? Yup! Will we be back? You bet – and better prepared. Mission accomplished!
If you haven’t checked out the “Boats and Bows” Podventure yet, check it out in its entirety here.
It’s our hope you can learn and laugh along with the expert voices we feature on this blog. We want to be clear that the opinions you see featured here are just that: opinions. The content belongs to the authors and is not necessarily the opinion of Vortex Optics.
To learn more about what you’ve read, please like, follow, and otherwise support our authors.