Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
December 5, 2012     The Adams County Record
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December 5, 2012

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Page 20 BY DALE FISK This is part II of the story of a 1972 deer hunt at Horse Heaven in the Seven Devils Mountains. The photo with last week's section of the story somehow lost its caption: On the way to Horse Heaven, October 7, 1972, with Rapid River in the background. Left to right: Tony (our packhorse borrowed from the Gould Ranch), me on Danny, Larry Fisk on Dusty, and Walt Mott. Dan Brown took the picture. As the trail climbed ever higher to the southwest, it wound in and out of the side canyons of a large, timbered roadless area drained by Rapid River. By mid-afternoon we reached our destination: a small log cabin that was the only' remaining structure of an old Forest Service lookout station named Horse Heaven. Although the lookout tower was gone and the facility was no longer in use, this Wednesday, December 5, 2012 Success at remote cabin had been well maintained. In the early days, everyone "left the latch string out" at such mountain dwellings, meaning the door was never locked. People felt a social obligation to make their accommodations available to others in a remote and hostile domain. This custom had evidently lost favor with the government, as the door was secured with a padlock. A casual examination of the situation revealed that the latch was only held to the door )am by a coupl.e of medium sized nails that one of the impetuous youths of our group "accidentally" discovered could be pulled out with little effort. Having nothing but the purest of intentions, we felt justified. in borrowing the use of the cabin for a night or two. (I'm hoping the statute of limitations has run out on our indiscretion by now.) We spent the remaining _--[orse Heaven daylight hours awestruck at the incredible beauty of this spot. To the east, was the drainage of Rapid River and the trail we had just traveled. Beyond that was the Salmon River-- the longest free-flowing river in the continental United States. On the eastern horizon were the jagged mountain peaks in the Frank Church Wilderness area--the largest wilderness in the continental U.S. To the west, we looked down into Hells Canyon-- the deepest gorge in North America. Beyond it, were the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon. We could just make out the WaUowa Valley that Chief Joseph's band of the Nez Perce Indians had called home before their famous clash with the U.S. military. As we settled in for the night, Dan was feeling discouraged about the lack of deer sign along the trail. He had a sense Dan Brown cooked some great venison finger steaks on the little stove in the Horse Heaven Lookout cabin. .... .... In Adams, Valley, and Washington Counes $40 per year Out of local counties $45 per year Out of state $50 per year of foreboding that this trip might be a big disappointment. The next morning, we set out to see if Dan's apprehension was well founded. About 300 yards from the cabin, I looked over to see Larry aiming his rifle. As the crack of his rifle echoed across the landscape, I ran toward the direction he had been aiming and stopped short at the edge of a 20-foot cliff. Looking over the rim, I saw a nice four-point buck slowly limping away from the base of the cliff. I made short work of him with a clean shot from my .270 just before Larry reached my side. It was then that I learned that Larry's shot had knocked the buck off of the top of the cliff. We stood there for a minute, looking down on the deer and scratching our heads as to how we would get him out of there. I was reminded of the Charley Russell painting "Meats Not Meat Until It's in the .Pan," that depicts a mountain sheep hunter in a similar circumstance. Dan came over to see what all the commotion was about. While Larry gutted his deer and then went back to get a horse, Dan and I continued hunting. At the lower end of a big meadow, I )umped four deer. There were three bucks in the bunch: a three point, a four point and a much larger one that looked like he had about 5 or 6 points on each side. Fortunately they ran toward Dan's position, and he was able to down the three-point. With two deer down, our work was cut out for us-- especially for me, since The Adams County Record I was supposed to know how to stick a deer on a horse so it would stay there. When Larry's buck fell after my finishing shot, the deer had slid almost a hundred yards down the incredibly steep mountainside on a mass of loose shale rock. Although it was slow going, sometimes sliding down thehill ourselves, we were able to get" one of the horses to him by angling around the hill below the cliff. We had no real trouble hauling Dan's buck. That night, as we gathered around the little wood cook stove in the cabin and feasted on venison finger steaks, Dan had forgotten all about his misgivings. We went to sleep not knowing that the next day had even more adventures in store. To be continued In front of the cabin at the end of our first day at Horse Heaven. Left to right Dusty, me, Dan Brown with his buck, Larry Fisk with his buck. Speeds up to 2MBPS Now Available $29.95 (with 2 year agreement) Call or stop by our office Today!