While hiking along a steep slope in ColoradoI was crossing a slide when I lost my footing, next thing I know I was sliding downhill and the going was getting rough. I managed to get on my back and had my feet out in front of me, I saw one tree to my left that might stop me before a sheer drop. I was able to get slowed down a little and lean over and plant my foot down. I pushed some dirt/rock up right before the tree and then hit the tree hard!
It held and I was able to get stopped and move to the left and away from the slide. I had slid about 40 feet.
I ended up jamming one finger, my hands were shredded and a couple fingernails were ripped loose, but other than that I walked away. Another 10 feet and it would have been a 30 foot drop to the bottom of a creek bed.
That jammed finger hurt for two years after that.
A friend, my father, and I were setting up tree stands the week before the hunt, when my dad said he didn't feel good. I knew what was happening, he was having a heart attack. I raced up the steep hill about a mile and half to the four wheeler and bushwhacked it down to him to get him out so he didn't have to over exert climbing out. Got him to his four wheeler and headed out for help.(no cell service) I had him go first, when I came around the first corner he was on the ground off his wheeler. I went for help, while my friend stayed with him. When I left I knew I would probably never see my dad alive again. An hour later I got cell service, called 911 and met medical help to show them where to get to him(13 miles back on a dirt road). Life flight was called and landed as we got back to him with the GPS cordinates for them. My dad never made it out of the mountains that night. Never in my life did I think I would help put my dad in a body bag. Hunting has never been the same for me, to loose my mentor who taught me everything I know about hunting. I know he is with me on every hunt though. Worst day of my life.
Ohh, I got plenty of these stories ... unfortunately.
First off, I have a SPOT and never head to the woods without it. If you don't have one, get one. Keep it in your pocket and not in your pack.
A few years ago I was hunting the high alpine country of Western Montana for mule deer and was looking for a giant 190 class typical buck. I had seen a number of deer that were good shooters, but that was the deer I was after. My buddy had killed a deer the day before in this area and told me he had seen a buck that neither of us had seen through weeks of archery hunting. He said it was a double dropper nontypical. I was excited to hit the trail, but had a harder time than usual, coughing up large amounts of phlem.
I scrambled up the snowy, steep backside of a mountain, so I could glass down into an area with patches of pine and steep slides. I had a lot of trouble with my cough and felt unusually light-headed, but I continued on. I got up there and glassed down. Right away in noticed a deer body tucked up under the low branches of a fir in the middle of a slide. I glassed him until I could see his right antler move, and a drop tine came into view!
That was enough for me, so I lined up on him and put one through the goods. He just layed his head over in the snow. I racked the bolt, put it on safe, and stuck it down the Eberlestock gunscabbard, in case he tried to jump up on approach. I scrambled over to him and nearly slipped down the snowy slide several times getting to him. I found him there and got a look at his 21 points. He had a tight 24 inch mainframe and short forks, so I knew he wouldn't score great, but he was heavy and ... well ... awesome.
I boned him and caped him, and suffed him into the pack. I got everything loaded, and just put the shoulder straps on loose, given the extreme terrain. I just started off the ledge, and lost my footing. I started rolling, and somehow got out of my shoulder straps. My pack and I started on separate paths down the mountain. I rolled off a 15 foot ribbon cliff and landed hard on my back. My wind was gone. I looked down to the see my pack, antlers, rifle, and all disappear over another cliff. Then I heard a giant kaboom. It took me a minute to process what happened ... but it dawned on me, and I realized I had never unloaded the gun.
It seemed like forever before I could breathe again. I said a prayer, thanking the Lord I was still alive. I could not believe how stupid I had been not clearing my rifle. I checked myself over, and found that nothing was broken. My back and both arms were starting to visibly swell, though, and I knew I had to get moving. I slid/side-stepped my way down the slide and found my rifle by itself about 20 feet from the path the pack had taken. The rifle and scope looked like new! The safety was now in the off position. I scrambled down to the next cliff and could see my pack, without head and antlers, about 250 feet down the slide. I could see the head above it and game bags of meat along the slide mark. I made my way, slowly and painfully down the slide and picked up the meat on the way, rolling it down to the pack. I made it to the head, and found the right main beam and a couple inches of the left dropper had broken, but the reast was OK. I made it to my pack and found that the rifle had gone off when it was half out of the scabbard (exposing the trigger and safety to rocks and sticks), and blasted the scabbard apart. The compression straps were all still attached to the frame. I put everything in strapped it all back together. To my surprise the pack carried the load!
I hiked back to the lake in what can only be described as a miserable, painfull march. My friend was at the lake, because he had come in to get his bivy camp out from the day before. He found me in miserable form. I told him the story and he thankfully took the bulk of the meat in his pack, with his camp, for the rest of the 3 miles out. I was coughing uncontrollably. I was miserably sore. I was having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, but finally made it out.
My wife bought me a SPOT immediately afterward. It turned out I had pneumonia from a lung infection. This story is hard to tell, and more than a little embarrassing. However, I hope it gives some of you guys stuff to think about when you are out in the rough and dangerous wilds of the West.
Unfortunately I have more incidents than this one to tell, but maybe another time.
unfortunate, but great story BB. Sorry to hear about your father ruttin...
My condolences, Ruttin.
That post is tough to read, let alone live through.
Ruttin- No words can describe.
BB-No matter what, that was a great lesson for all of us.