Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A bunch of Sandal Clad Lunatics Go Persistence Hunting

Hunting Really?

This could get dangerous!
I have never wanted to kill an animal in life!  I don't even eat meat.   However I do realize that a lot of the luxuries we have in the modern  world often come at the expense of the lives of the animals whom inhabitit it. I'm no saint (I totally would have let the Snakes stay in Ireland) and realize that many animals do in fact die in order for me to live in a world full of modernity (kind of sad) 
but hunting, Really?

After I gave it a little more thought I came to grips with the idea.  First off I have degree in anthropology (who doesn't?) Have I done anything with it not really.  When I went to College I got almost all A's (obviously they didn't grade me on my garmmer) Sadly though my goal was grades not knowledge.  The only thing I really gained is the authority to make stuff up and quote imaginary people while I spew out BS claiming that I totally learned it in school.
I figure I've evolved about half way from Australopithecus to being an average American. 

I have always felt that hunting was more humane than eating commercially raised meat  including organic and I decided to join in on the expedition, knowing that our chances of killing an animal would be extremely slim.  I'm as pacifist by nature, but when it comes to sports or games I have a extremely competitive mentality.  I think that my desire to compete I.E. run races may be the way my subconscious deals with it's  instinct to hunt.   I was interested in seeing if some kind of primordial disposition to kill would come out in me.

Would I gain the thirst for blood?  Would I eat the animal if we were successful?

What is Persistence Hunting?

Persistence hunting is a hunting technique in which hunters use a combination of running and tracking to pursue prey to the point of exhaustion. While humans can sweat to reduce body heat their quadruped prey would need to slow from a gallop to pant.[1] Today, it is very rare and seen only in a few groups such as Kalahari bushmen. Persistence hunting requires endurance running – running many miles for extended periods of time. Among primates, endurance running is only seen in humans, and persistence hunting is thought to have been one of the earliest forms of human hunting, having evolved 2 million years ago.

By the way I think this whole video is fake.  I do however feel that it adequately depicts what a successful persistence hunt would entail.

I am not going to Africa and there are no Kudu  running wild in United States.

So what should we hunt?

a fierce beast indeed

What a brilliant Idea let's hunt the second fastest land animal on the planet.
The only thing I've ever seen run faster is a cute girl at the bar running the opposite direction when she finds out I have no money.

Where Should we go?

The Red Desert  Wyoming.
(sure why not)
Supposedly The weather would be warm.  The desert would be relatively flat with good visibility and there would be a ton of antelope.

Out hunting tribe was put together at the last second and I didn't even know I would be apart of it until less than a week before our expedition began.  Our band of prehistoric hunters would consist of myself (duh ) Barefoot Ted,  Bookis, Jules, John Durant ( AKA the Caveman) Philip (AKA the Professor) Dennis and Ulrich.

By the way Jules, Bookis and I are Vegan.

Let's get this show on the road.
On a Thursday morning I flew to Denver where I was too meet Ulrich, Barefoot ted, Bookis  and Jules.

Ulrich in slow motion
(If that don't make you smile I don't know what will.)
My flight  arrived a litlle before the Luna crew.  Ulrich was there right on time to pick me up.  He's successful entrepreneur in the ceramic's business who struck up a bond with Barefoot Ted a few years back.  Right off that bat I liked this dude.  After a short wait  the others arrived and we were on the road for a four drive up to the Red Desert.

We settled on Wyoming because their was supposed to be a ninth member of our tribe.  Are missing member knew the area, told us he would take care of the permits, was an experienced hunter, and an ultra runner but for some reason he never showed?
Now were really gonna have to rely on our instincts.
(Uh oh!)

We needed a permit to hunt, It was labor day weekend and also the first week of Bow hunting season for antelope.
We ended up at some fish and game office where we found out all the good area's were already taken.  The nice people at the office pretty much laughed when we told them what we were up to.  I don't think they cared whether we had a permit because they had already made up their minds what our outcome would be.
That's a big freakin moose.
I'm not at the beach anymore
We fumbled around the office for awhile to no avail
While we failed
 The other half of our tribe procured
 a Bow hunting License. For the middle of BFE

After about another hour drive we met up with others at some random supermarket, picked up some of Wyoming's finest booze (I think it's their only one) Koltiska and set forth to our hunting grounds.

I hadn't seen the Professor since January at the Calico 50k he arrived with Dennis my new friend from Leadville and the Caveman  whom I had never met before but have followed his Blog for some time now. He also the organizer of the New York City Barefoot Run which on Sept 25th which Luna Sandals is a sponsor of and I will be attending.

We kind of took liberties with where we supposed to go.  We ended up on some random dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  The sun was setting and we found a small clearing.  Just as we parked the vehicles we saw an antelope off in the distance.  

Jules, Bookis and I immediately jumped out of the SUV and gave chase.  That damn buck  was fast and lost us in no time. After less than a half mile the chase was over and I felt pretty winded.  The altitude was around 7,000 and I could deffinetly feel it. 
(This aint gonna be easy.)

It seemed like a good spot.  If we found one antelope there must be more right?  Along our chase we spooked a small rabbit which made the professor pretty excited,  he has a thirst for blood and had brought his sling shot along with a jar of marbles and decided to go a little hunt of his own. (unsuccessfully)
It was the one and only rabbit we saw all trip)

Antelopes: 1 Rabbit: 1  Hunters: 0

I guess it's gonna have to be Guacamole for breakfast
Plus a little cowboy coffee.
From where we camped at almost any given time you could see wild horses off in the horizon if you scanned the terrain long enough.
As we were sitting around getting the sleep out our eyes up strolled a lone buck
This time instead of bounding out after it with reckless abandon.  We slowly marched down the road snapping photo's with our cameras before it dashed off
Mighty hunters we are
Antelope: 2 Hunters: 0

On the bright side we got a good look at what some fresh antelope tracks look like.

As we gathered are bearings to do next  I decided to put The Professor's marbles to good use.

I had never played before and got my butt kicked early but was able to win the 2nd match using mt patented sniper technique.

Bookis made good use of his winnings
(check out his lobes)
Lets go hunting.

Almost immediately we spotted an antelope.  We had a game plan to spread out and try an chase it in a circular pattern but Barefoot Ted got a little excited, sprinting after the antelope before anyone knew what was going on.
Ted's Impulsive enthusiasm is part of what makes him such aspecial dude but on this particular day it didn't work to our advantage.  (love ya dude)
After giving chase for about 10 minutes the Antelope was gone

Antelope 3 Hunters 0

I figured we had about a 1 in 1,000 chance of success so I guess our odd's were increasing.
Pat Jemima
We didn't know if we would encounter other hunters,  we decided to dawn some orange bandanna's so that we wouldn't become the their accidental prey.

Natural gas wells Piss me off!

The desert is pretty void of human structures other than the thousands of natural gas wells scattered out everywhere.  Not only are they an eye sore they often  poison the ground water using hydraulic fraking to extract their gas.  If you wanna know more about this I highly suggest everyone to watch the documentary Gasland
I wonder how long the antelope have in this desert before the contamination destroys their lives that is if it hasn't started already.

We decided to climb the wells tank to get get better perspective of our terrain.

We walked for hours with out seeing an antelope. Wild Horses were everywhere off in the distance but the only wildlife to be found in the immediate vicinity were little thorned lizards.

Just when we were about to give up we caught site of antelope relatively close to where we started our original persuit.  At the time we were pretty spread out.  All of a sudden the antelope got spooked and the chase was on.  I was lagging a bit behind as we hiked which put me in the best position to chase the animal when it doubled back on us.

within 10 minutes of running the rest of the group was nowhere to be seen.  The antelope was pretty fast but I wasn't gonna let him get away that easily

It's hard enough to chase an antelope and keep track of where it's going.  Now try doing that in sandals while running through prickly sage brush trying to avoid thousands of tiny cacti and film yourself at the same time.  It takes someone pretty stupid to do such a thing.
This video documents  what transpired.
The Antelope is maybe 150 ft away, 
He blends in pretty good Huh?

I gave chase for a little over six miles.  For the first three miles or so he would stride out to anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 mile gap between him and I. He was difficult to follow and I lost site of him a bunch of times but I didn't give up.  After the first few miles he began to slow, I'm not sure if he was getting tired or that he had accurately gauged my speed as not being fast enough to make physical contact.

Tiny cacti everywhere I had to be careful.

We kept playing a game of cat and mouse and I started to have fun.  It was a rewarding feeling to keep up with beast.  The animal began to feel more like a friend than prey. I felt like I could easily continue the chase  for another few hours but after six miles I started to feel a little bit lost.  Even I had kept going I am almost certain it would not have ended in a death.   The weather was way to cool (maybe in the mid 80's at it's hottest)  and  the antelope was getting at least 1 minute of rest every 10 minutes,  I'm guessing that's plenty of time for him to pant and keep it's body temperature regulated. If  I was to succeed this chase would have to last well into the night.  I have no tracking skills and little knowledge of the surrounding environment.   That was not gonna happen.

I would love to get the Antelope's perspective on the Hunt.  Was he scared? Was he having fun and did he find it humorous how inapt of a hunting I was.

As soon as I gave up the chase and started walking back to where I presumed my camp to be. The antelope started to follow me.  This lasted a few 100 yards.  I think he was taunting me and I deserved it.

Congrats to him. :)

Antelope: 4 Hunters: 0 

I wasn't lost after all and found my tribe well before sunset.

Just in time for a twilight game of Ultimate Frisbee.

6 of us took the cactus filled plain to test both our agility and Bernoulli's Principle on lift.  At this altitude it was difficult at best and we had to use extreme caution when stretching out for a catch.

As darkness neared it was time to get a fire started

Maybe I should have been more supportive.
(sorry Philip)

Jules had mad skills and got a flame going in a matter of seconds

Ted made sure the fire didn't go out making good good use of the cheap booze.

As Ted would say "Dude!"

Fire roasted Yams for dinner

I warmed my feet with the fire and my dulled my brain with some 114 proof bourbon

It was a fun night.

The next morning we set forth on another hunt.

This time we stumbled upon a herd of  5 or 6 antelope.  We spread out and approached with caution.  With in about 5 minutes the antelope took off we gave chase the best we could.  I myself took took the flank  thinking that if the antelope turned I would be in a good position.  After less than 20 minutes of chasing over a terrain that was not ideal for human running the antelope had vanished we continued to search for them to no avail.  I speculate that when the antelope flea as a group they are more inclined to run farther away  knowing that they only need to out run their slowest member to be safe.

we did find some nice elk  bones 
This one made for a nice bottle opener after the hunt.

As for our feet. Most of used the new Luna Lead Cat and they preformed great

Persistence Sandal hunters

Along the way back The professor and Bookis tracked down some rubber.

I think this may be the first time Sandal hunters have ever been caught on video.
(and I didn't have to stage anything like Attenborough did)

Since we didn't end up running anywhere close to Ultra distances we decided to burn off a little steam with some foot races 

Caveman wins, Ted declares shenanigans and the judge declare's Dennis cheated.

Bookis totally kicked my ass

Persistence hunting is hard work.  Yes there were plenty of animals to chase but with our little knowledge of the environment and moderate weather conditions we didn't stand much of a chance.  It was time to 
 get the hell out of desert and hit up some Hot Springs.

Final score
Antelopes: 5 Hunters : 0

4 hours later we found ourselves at the Strawberry Park Hot springs in Steam Boat CO

The place was pretty awesome and it was nice to get the desert grime off my body.

.  We arrived just before Sunset and stayed till 10 p.m.  After Dark the springs become an adult only playground where clothing is optional.  Well since we were there as a group of 8 dudes we all kept are shorts on. At one point Dennis said to the Caveman "This would be a great place to take your girlfriend." I agreed (it would be a great place to take his girlfriend, lol) Alcohol is not permitted but we snuck in a little moonshine via water bottle.  It got pretty freaking dark real quick, visibility was slim  but if you had a keen eye you'd notice plenty of boobies bouncing and willies dangling about.

Instead o f camping we decided to cruise back to Denver and crash at Dennis's house about another 4 hours away.
Dennis was deffinetly the mvp of our trip!
(thanks dude)
He lives in the heart of the city and gets paid to have a New Belgium ad on the side of his home
Pretty freaking cool if you ask me!
But it would be a lot cooler if the ad were for 

I decided to go for a little barefoot stroll in the morning

Less than a block away was Coors field
(home of the Rockies)
What do you find outside Coors field

Busted Coors bottles of course.

Dennis was gracious host and even offered us up some meat from his freezer.
(I declined)

We had plenty of time to kill and decided to pitch marbles 

The goal was too roll them as close to the opposite wall as you could without hitting it about 80 ft away

The competition was intense

We used our expert tracking skills learned from our time in the desert

Speed and agility were not needed but it made for better photos 

If only we had  played for cash

With a few hours left till we had to be at the airport. we explored the city

Jules played some piano

and Bookis found something to hug as usual

I said it before and I'll say it again

What a bunch of Lunatic's

We may have failed as hunters but we excelled at having a good time.  On this occasion failure didn't feel so bad.  I deffinetly think we could be successful under different circumstances. Perhaps we will try again next year but If I go the rest of my life with out eating or hunting another animal I can live that.

With one exception?

 The cAntelope 

Long live the Vicarist!


  1. Hey Patrick! Great blog post, great videos, and what a blast we had... Let's get dirty together again soon.

    Philip, AKA "That's Herr Professor Doktor to you, thank you very much."

  2. Sounds like an interesting trip, I would have loved to tried this. Love the pictures and videos. Love reading your blog. :)