North Ogden Hunters

John and Berkley Marshall. Photo By Kamille Marshall.

On Aug, 25, 2019 the Marshall family began their nine day escape in the Uintah Mountains archery hunting for elk.  Kamille said, and her husband John agrees, that they like to step out of their chaotic busy life and slow down and connect with each other and nature with zero distractions. Their kids love it!

In the mornings, sometimes there’s snow, sometimes there’s not, but it’s usually chilly enough to keep their two kids Berkley and Bridger occupied with play dough and Legos within the warmth of the trailer. John and the other dads in the group embark on the day’s hunt at around 4:30 a.m.  When it warms up enough, the children venture outside to play, ride bikes, and build forts with a camouflaged sheet.  When the dads return to camp for brunch in their side by sides, the children always run out to ask “Did you get anything?” and almost always the answer is no.

Berkley Marshall. Photo by Kamille Marshall.

After brunch, the dads play with the kids while Kamille and the other mothers take a break. They Kayak, talk, and hang out in hammocks until about 3:30 when the dads get ready to go out hunting again. The children help prepare dinner which sometimes consists of their favorite chili recipe from Great Grandma Stromberg. Once again, when the fathers return, the children run out to ask their question, and the response is usually the same. However, on occasion a hunter in the group gets an elk and the children’s excitement rises to a whole new level!

Ann Park and her husband Brandon also archery hunt, but they usually deer hunt with their family in northern-central Utah each year.  There are several ways they go about hunting. Sometimes they pick a spot and quietly watch for a deer to emerge, other times one person will drive their four-wheeler while the other sits on the back scanning for deer.  A tactic where they find a lot of success is called “a push.” Two hunters take up positions in two different locations and the rest of the group has the lousy task of bushwhacking through an area leading towards the hunters. This pushes the deer out giving the hunters a chance to take a shot. Katie is 15 and she is Ann and Brandon’s second daughter and she really enjoys archery hunting. She and her cousin Ben, who is 12, were the two hunters in position for their most recent trip. Both of them shot at two different deer that passed by but neither of them ended up getting one.  Brandon’s dad Rod always says, “That’s why it’s called hunting, not shooting.” 

Katie and Julie Park hunting with their dog. Photo provided by Ann Park.

Ann understands how much her husband loves hunting so when the season comes around, it’s understood Brandon will be out hunting pheasant, duck, chukar, grouse or dove at least every weekend. Brandon breeds and raises Douiche-Drahthaars, a hunting dog that comes with what looks like a beard and a mustache. Dogs are super helpful when it comes to tracking, pointing and retrieving birds. They are especially helpful if you’re hunting ducks and you don’t want to go for a swim. It’s quite the sight to see a dog work. They have their nose to the ground as they run along and suddenly they stop dead in their tracks. Their nose will point right towards the bird and they’ll stay that way until you flush the bird from its hiding spot.

Two Douiche-Drahthaars have found an animal and are pointing at it. Photo provided by Ann Park.

One of the newest bird hunters in North Ogden is Beckham Catanzaro, an 8th grade North Ogden Knight. He passed his Hunter Education course and got his hunting license in August. His uncle Palmer Lott encouraged Beckham to go through the class and get his license so they could go duck hunting together. Beckham has practiced shooting targets with different guns before but this will be his first experience using a shotgun.

His uncle is from Alaska and has hunted moose, bear, and elk.  He has a few hunting stories he has told Beckham, particularly about hunting bear. “I’d like to hunt big game at some point in time,” said Beckham, “but I think the duck hunt will be good enough for now.”  

Another North Ogden resident who has some exciting bear stories is Howard Dabb. He guides bear hunts for an outfitter in Alberta Canada but he has also hunted mountain lions, buffalo, mountain goat, deer and elk. He has gone out with each of his daughters and his wife to hunt bear but his hunt with his daughter Katie, who was 22 at the time, was the most exciting.

The forest is thick and the tall trees block out a lot of the light where they usually hunt. Howard and Katie took up positions in two different tree stands and waited for a bear to make his way to the bait below them. Howard had his rifle with him but he was planning on just shooting pictures of his daughter getting a bear.  Soon enough, a 7’ 10” black bear comes wandering in from the forest and walks right past the bait towards Katie’s tree. He made it to the base of her stand and started climbing.  Howard stood up and yelled to Katie to shoot it. It had its front paws on the fourth rung of the ladder and it was about to put its back legs on when she shot. She was about 7 ft. away and didn’t bother looking through her scope. “That was the closest call I’ve ever seen… If its back feet had left the ground I would’ve shot.” They still don’t know what attracted the bear to Katie’s stand. “She didn’t have perfume on.”

His first bear hunt was nerve racking, but he better understands what to expect and how to respond to different bears as he spends more time with them. Bears that are 3 years old are usually the most volatile because they are in their first year of being on their own. Mother black bears usually raise their cubs for two years before she chases them off to make it on their own. The young bears don’t have a fear of humans yet and hunger can make them desperate. “Last year I had one square off with me.” He was about to put bait in the barrel when it challenged him. The bear stood there huffing and stomping its feet trying to intimidate Howard. “I raised my arms, yelled, and charged it. The bear ran up a tree and I took some pictures of it. You just learn over time what you can and can’t do.”

He knows that response is never appropriate with a mother bear with cubs. In fact, if a sow brings her cubs to a place where the outfitter brings bait, they keep feeding her and her cubs but never bring any hunters around. They want her to raise her cubs and they don’t want any hunter accidentally shooting her and leaving her cubs abandoned. Sometimes a sow will come in and she will have her cubs in a tree, a hunter will mistake her for a boar and shoot. If they keep her in the same place near another bait location, they run less of a chance of her showing up at a different spot where they actually bring hunters.

 The outfitter he works with focuses on keeping things sustainable and seeing bear numbers increase. This is a part of what kept Howard coming back over the years. In fact, when they take a boar, it actually helps the population since boars will kill cubs so the mother will go back into heat.  Howard loves what he does and he loves giving others the opportunity of these experiences to others. Over the years he has and has taken around 70 people from the Ogden area with him to Canada.

John and his son Bridger Marshall are looking for wildlife. Photo by Kamille Marshall.

A common theme I’ve heard among the hunters I’ve talked to is they love spending time with family. They love being in the mountains enjoying the scenery, feeding their family, and doing something challenging. Sure sitting on the mountains waiting for a deer to show up can be boring and really cold at times, but patience and perseverance are invaluable virtues and poignant memories hardly ever come from your comfort zone.  

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