Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mountain Bike - A very useful tool

This morning I rode my Mountain Bike on some nearby State land. It is a nice block of mostly 2nd and third growth forest, a marsh, abandon logging roads and trails (aka single track). There is some technical riding but not a lot of vertical deviation.

Soon after I arrived and within a quarter mile of my tires hitting the dirt I rode up to a Blacktail doe. I stopped and watched her for a while until she figured out what I was and hopped away. The trail I was on looped away and then switched back to the direction she retreated so I speculated I may see her again - sure enough I spotted her again looking back where I had spooked her. I rode within 25 yards of her before she spooked again. I had forgotten how stealthy a mountain bike can be.

Before I could ride another half mile I spotted another Blacktail and within a half mile of that I spooked another. When I spoke with hikers in the area I asked them if they were seeing any deer. None of them had...

In the past I have noticed I see a lot of game while riding. Usually a good thing but one time I rode right between a sow Black Bear and her cubs... Luckily I was well past her before she took notice. I've used the mountain bike to access remote hunting areas in the past. A Forest Service gate was a welcome sight, barring motorized travel but allowing access to those willing get out or off of their vehicles. Covering a lot of ground quietly makes it ideal for forest grouse that are common sights on and along forest roads. Even when spooked they rarely go far. If my tag is filled or I've given up on an area I will take a Grouse with my sidearm or a reduced load in my rifle.

It is just about time to start scouting and I can think of no better way to cover ground and see game from a highly mobile and quiet machine. With Bear season just a week away, it was a good reminder of how useful a mountain bike can be for hunting.

My general purpose bike. Because I live in the Pacific NorthWET fenders greatly inprove comfort while riding in the rain. I use the old style "thumb shifters" so I could canibalize any 26" rear wheel regardless of the rear cluster - 5 speed 7 or 8 speed, even nine speed if I could also salvage a chain and crankset) and still shift in friction mode.

This is my Touring bike. It is a converted mountain bike that I switched out the handlebars, brake levers and shifters. I have a front rack and front panniers that help me extend my range - water is usually the limiting factor - and the rugged frame and wheelset can handle the roughest dirt roads.

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