Raven

At the sedate age of 93 I find myself reliving some of the adventures and fun experienced on hunting and fishing trips in some of the beautiful areas of BC. No mountain was too high to climb and no lake to remote to explore.

As I intruded into the less traveled back country I anticipated the fun and pleasure of what surprises would appear over the next ridge. Will it be a pileated woodpecker, a family of grouse, an animal fading into the cover, a bear busy eating berries, the beautiful trees and colorful foliage or the plaintive call of the coyote?

Often you are accompanied by Canada Jays, commonly called Whiskey Jacks. About the size of a robin, gray in colour they follow fluttering from tree to tree and when lunch time comes they are quite tame. Often hopping on your foot and looking for a handout in the way of crumbs. I always enjoyed their company but got to know them better when I saw them cleaning up a family of grouse (more about that later).

I must tell of my interesting experience with a Raven. When we humans get hungry we jump in the car and go to the nearest chain store where all is available. The birds and animals must depend on what nature provides and depend on their instinct and ability to find the food required in their natural habitat.

One fall in the 1930's I had a hunting trip with Arley Gayton. We set up our camp in the south end of what is now known as Conkle Lake. Evidence of it being a hunting camp by native Indians was a large pile of deer horns which we surmised were surplus to their needs, that being the hides and meat.

The weather was quite cold with a few inches of snow. I hunted the high ridges on the east side of the lake. There was a lot of deer sign but the snow was noisy.

I was interested to see a raven land on a tree ahead of me and made several croaks; it then flew to a tree some distance away and called again. My curiosity and instinct forced me to follow it. This flying ahead and calling was repeated several times. I was convinced this was a message. My friend, the Raven, finally landed in a tree overlooking a drop off to the lake. He emitted several croaks and appeared to point over the hill. I got the message and was surprised to see the top of a fir tree shaking vigorously.

I released the safety catch on my 308 Winchester convinced it was a buck rubbing his horns. He was at a disadvantage rubbing the tree and had not heard my crunchy footsteps.

The buck just had time to look at me before a well placed shot provided me with a nice fat four point buck.

The next day when I returned to get the meat, ravens and coyotes had eaten the entrails and tried to eat the deer, which I had covered with brush and bark.

April 2002

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