On Aug. 25, four of us returned from my second-ever pronghorn antelope hunt. I had drawn a rifle tag for big game management area No. 015, which is north and west of Gerlach. The four were Norm Budden and Mark Day of Carson City, Roy Deering of Dayton and myself.
I went as "Bwana," the big game hunter with the rifle, hunting license and antelope tag.
Budden was to carry a small pack with my water supply, and whenever asked, he was to call out the distance from me to a target.
Day was there as the Supply Sergeant responsible for all food and drink supplies.
Deering was the primary antelope spotter and also some kind of self-appointed "Master Packer."
I asked him what the heck that was, and he replied he was in charge of watering, feeding and shoeing the horses and mules.
When I pointed out we did not have any horses or mules, he became indignant, said I was acting just like "Curly" in the Three Stooges movies, called me a dirty name, spit on the ground and walked away. Geez!
I really couldn't get too upset with the Master Packer, as he did provide the four-wheel drive truck, a large "toy hauler" camper and one of the three ATV's we used.
The toy hauler:
It was supposed to make our stay extra nice because we camped in the middle of that God-Awful barren, blistering hot, bone dry, very dusty and wide open part of Northern Washoe County.
However, Deering's toy hauler presented several problems:
The batteries kept running down, as he had forgotten to fully charge them prior to the trip and they would not hold a charge.
We were reduced to only using the tiny light above the stove at night, and usually sat around in the dark like four big ugly bats.
We were also very low on propane and the gasoline supply for the ATV's ran out, because he had forgotten to fill those tanks.
We had just one medium sized pot for cooking. All the rest of the pots and pans were safe and sound, back in his garage.
When we first set up camp, someone tried to get a glass of water from the kitchen faucet.
Some awful-looking stuff that bubbled, hissed and smelled bad flowed out. Day took a tiny sip and said it really didn't taste that bad, but Budden, Deering and I refused to drink that Devil's Potion.
Supply Sergeant Day:
Day had instructed me to bring breakfast pastries, snacks for cocktails, Pulled Pork for a dinner, a case of Coor's Lite beer, and a case of bottled water. Being a nice guy I also brought Italian salami, Cheddar cheese and a bottle of whiskey.
As also instructed by Day, Norm brought chili beans, and Deering was told to provide coffee and another case of bottled water.
Prior to leaving Carson, the Supply Sergeant informed the three of us, "I've got everything else covered." Once we were at our camp, we sadly discovered that statement really meant: "I've got everything else covered FOR ME."
He brought two packages of beef jerky, a can of Anchovies and a couple of cans of oysters and sardines, just for himself. That was it! I just told you about our total food supply for five days. Yipes!
Breakfasts were a small pastry and coffee made with nasty water.
Lunches were salami and cheese with a small chocolate "Ding Dong" for dessert.
Dinner No. 1 was a small paper bowl of chili beans with crushed Tortilla Chips on top. Our second dinner was sliced roast beef. The third dinner was Pulled Pork. Our final dinner was a small paper bowl of chili beans. That's all!
Then, as we were driving home, Day had the audacity to say to us, "Boys, that was a great hunting trip. We ate like Kings."
Oh, I forgot to add that one day while we were hunting, he opened and ate that can of Anchovies. For the rest of the day, when he talked to you, his breath smelled like Aunt Matilda's cat's breath. Yuk!
When I got up the first morning, I was confronted by the other three, who had ugly, squinty, red-rimmed eyes with big pouches under them, and they accused me of loudly snoring all night.
Budden said I sounded like a pride of lions fighting over a freshly killed Cape Buffalo. Day said, "No, that terrible noise was like a snowmobile traveling at full throttle." Deering told them I sounded like a large mechanized corn combine running out of control.
I really don't know what the heck they were complaining about because I slept like a baby.
I knew I was in serious trouble the first morning when we spotted some range cattle and I asked Budden for the distance to them.
He squinted, spit on the ground and said, "Those cows are 115 yards." I replied, "No way. They are about 350 yards." We paced it off, the cows ran away and the distance was 345 yards.
Meanwhile, Day had been looking through his super-powered, spotting scope and he located a herd of antelope with a trophy-sized buck. Unfortunately, they were about 6-7 miles away.
We tried to sneak up on them, finally got fairly close, I asked Budden for the range, he squinted, spit on the ground and said, "That buck is 325 yards."
I cranked my scope up to 12 power, could barely see the buck, put my rifle on the shooting sticks, took aim, shot and missed. Shot and missed again. Shot and missed again. Sigh, that antelope buck is probably still running. We paced off that distance at 615 yards.
Budden has been fired as the range finder, Day has been fired as the Supply Sergeant and Deering has been fired as the toy hauler provider. Is anyone interested in replacing them, whenever I draw my next big game tag?
Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what was unusual about our drive home between Gerlach and Wadsworth.
If he grins and says, "They encountered hundreds of vehicles headed in the opposite direction for the Burning Man Festival," he might have been in one of them.
Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal