With three weeks approaching the 2004 deer hunting season, I scouted out an area that had a view of two well-worked game trails. I set up my red leg camo tent/blind early in the season so that the wildlife would be used to it come the bow hunting season’s opening day.
I secured the anchor stakes, broke limbs and pulled up ferns placing them around the skirt and zipped her shut. I went home to await the season, stow my gear and clean my rifle.
Then four weeks to the day later I made my way around the perimeter of these two game trails as stealthily as I could. There was something unpleasant in the air that day. I've hunted this acreage for 8 years and never smelled this odor before. The entire area is thick woods that open onto a meadow-like opening maybe 50 yards by 70 yards. It wasn't quite skunk smell and it wasn't quite rotting carcass smell; I cannot quite put my finger on what it was.
Within an hour, I arrived at my blind, this is where the stench was really unpleasant; it nearly made my eyes water. Approaching the front of the tent in preparation to unzip and climb in I found the zipper torn open and the stench inside nearly intolerable. Something had been sleeping inside AND RECENTLY because I found hairs stuck to the floor fabric and the floor of the tent infested with fleas.
After a futile day’s hunt, I took a handful of hairs to a neighbor hunter friend of mine who is a chemist; he lives near Folsom. His son was attending veterinary school at U.C. Davis. The hairs were not black bear as I had anticipated and get this, they told us they "didn't know what the hairs were from;" they were unable to identify the hairs.
You tell me what is powerful enough to rip open a small camouflaged hexagon tent made of sturdy waterproof fabric if not a bear? I figured whatever it was apparently slept inside. I thought bear, they smell pretty bad most times and because they aren’t smart enough to figure out a tent zipper that would account for the torn door. But the hairs were not bear hairs!! By the way, the odor lingered the entire hunting season of 2004.
Dr. R.S. my cabin is nearer to
Pollock Pines, California
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