That miserable week was not one of my better ones | NevadaAppeal.com

That miserable week was not one of my better ones

Don Quilici

Have you ever had one of those terrible periods of time?

For the record, it was no fun.

That miserable, no-good week actually began one week before, when I proudly announced to the entire world that my Outdoors page was making a move from Wednesdays to Thursdays, beginning on Oct. 3.

As it turned out, due to some internal problems at the newspaper, that move did not take place and I got caught with egg on my face.

Apparently, the folks in “Advertising” operate on a different time schedule than the folks (AKA me) who write about the outdoors. So, I am still waiting for them to make that switch, if they do!

Then, there was that miserable, no-good, deer hunting trip of mine.

After 5-6 years of trying, I had drawn a rifle, buck, mule deer hunting tag for Big Game Management Area No. 14, near Eureka in the central part of the state.

My longtime friend, fishing partner, hunting partner and practical joker, Norm Budden, has hunted that area for many years and talked me into applying for Area No. 14.

He promised that if I got drawn he would be my personal hunting guide.

In retrospect, if he ever volunteers to take you on a hunting trip, RUN, don’t walk, for the nearest door.

That deer hunting trip was a total, unmitigated disaster.

Here is a list of what happened during that Week from Hell:

Wednesday:

Norm’s hot tub sprang a leak and we were delayed in leaving Carson City, while he drained it.

Our oven’s heating element burnt out while Elaine was getting ready to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies for us to take on our trip.

Then, while sighting in at the local rifle range, I got too close to my rifle scope, with my eye, while trying to get the perfect shot into the bullseye.

When I fired the first shot, the rifle’s recoil caused the scope to slam back, smashing into my eyeglasses and nose.

My glasses got badly warped and the bridge of my nose received a very bad gash that bled like a stuck pig.

On the long drive to our camping area, we encountered gradually worsening weather. At Austin Summit, it began to snow and got worse as we got closer and closer to our destination.

When we got there, we found that our camping spot was already taken by another hunter and we had to drive miles to find another one.

At the new location, I had to shovel about two inches of snow off the ground, so we could erect our tent.

That was when we discovered that Norm had forgotten his boots at home.

All he had was tennis shoes.

Because of the snowstorm, we were forced to stay inside the tent to eat dinner and to attempt to stay warm.

That was when we sadly discovered that Donnie Q had forgotten a large, delicious, lemon cake at home.

Norm’s brand new propane heater did not work properly and we had to place the propane lantern on the floor of the tent to give us badly-needed heat.

Numerous times during the night, Norm loudly complained about my snoring. I began to hate him.

Thursday:

The weather was somewhat better but not much, with lots of rain and wind, instead of snow.

We drove 33 miles (one-way) on a dirt road to fish at Tonkin Reservoir. I caught and lost an average sized, rainbow trout on my first cast. Then, never got another hit all the time that we fished!

Norm was kicking butt with a small, red and gold lure he would not share and I began to hate him, even more.

When we got back to camp, it poured rain and we were once again forced to stay inside for dinner and warmth from the lantern.

Norm got very sick to his stomach during the night from something that he had eaten (we suspected the roast chicken purchased from a local supermarket) and made a number of trips outside into that terrible weather.

Numerous times during the night, Norm loudly complained about my snoring. I hated him.

Friday:

We left early in the morning, riding double on Norm’s ATV, to scout for deer.

By the time we got back to camp about noon, I was beginning to strongly suspect that there are probably as many African elephants in that part of Eureka County as there are mule deer — NOT VERY MANY!

Heck, there have been more deer spotted in Carson City, recently, than we saw on that entire trip.

When we got back to camp, we sadly discovered that Norm had left a box outside containing our small, fruit pies, assorted candy bars and a dozen, large sugar cookies. A coyote had sneaked into our camp and eaten all of them!

Then, he had the nerve to yap at us from the top of the ridge, above our camp. If I could have spotted him, I would have drilled that thieving critter with one of my .30-06 shells.

While refilling the ATV, the gas nozzle on the gas can leaked, very badly.

The wind blew so hard that evening it blew down our outside lantern, breaking the glass and both of its mantles.

Don got very sick to his stomach during the night from something he had eaten (either that darn chicken or the Western beans) and made a number of trips outside into that terrible weather.

Numerous times during the night, Norm loudly complained about my snoring. I hated him.

Saturday (Opening Day):

We left very early in the morning, riding double on Norm’s ATV, to scout for deer. The weather was blistering cold.

The zipper on Norm’s down coat broke and he was forced to use my spare coat (at a minimal price!).

Lots of hunters and very few deer.

We missed an opportunity at nailing a huge 5X5 buck because while Norm was “dogging” a ridge for me, he spooked the buck in the wrong direction and I could not inform him because his miserable Walkie Talkie did not work properly.

The back lens fell out of my rifle scope cover and is now lost forever.

My heavy, G.I. coat fell off the back of the ATV and we did not discover it until reaching camp. Norm drove back on the ATV and after about an hour of searching, finally found it, lying on the ground.

Back at camp, the zipper broke on the tent door and we could not close it to keep the cold out.

Numerous times during the night, Norm loudly complained about my snoring. I hated him.

Sunday:

Basically the same as Saturday. Lots of hunters and very few deer.

My battery radio developed a short and did not work properly.

Norm sneaked some heavy rocks into my backpack and I carried them for hours before finding them.

That evening, I dropped my salad bowl into the dirt while trying to sit by the campfire to eat dinner.

Numerous times during the night, Norm loudly complained about my snoring. I hated him.

Monday (Go Home day!):

Basically the same as Sunday. Lots of hunters and very few deer.

Everything got covered with a thick coating of white dust on our long, slow, going-home trip back to the highway.

In Fallon, we stopped at a coin-operated car wash to wash the white dust off the truck, ATV trailer and ATV.

I put eight quarters in the coin machine, it burped and that was it, nothing happened. The machine had stiffed me!

I got angry, slugged the coin machine with my fist, said “To Hell with it, Norm, take me home,” and we came back to Carson City.

That was my Week from Hell. I should have stayed in bed all week.

— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you if anything else happened when I returned home.

If he grins and says “Yep! Don’s personal computer crashed and the washing machine broke down,” he wins the bet.