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Out & About: Getting out game with muscle power

OUTHUNT – Even in 2012, muscle power remains a workable alternative to horsepower when it’s time to pack big game out of the backcountry.

A few Inland Northwest hunters stood out as examples this month.

Pat Behm had a new twist on a “bicycle rack” as he pedaled out of the North Idaho mountains on his mountain bike.

Behm (pictured) and his hunting partner, John Karpenko, boned out the meat, stuffed it into their packs and carried it all out down a gated road to a main road.

“The hunting area was open to all,” Karpenko said, noting the key to putting muscle into hunting public land. “You just have to work a little smarter to get there.”

Kyle Hanson (pictured) and his father, Dan, used a canoe to stealthily approach a hunting spot and ultimately to paddle out a whitetail buck they bagged along a northeastern Washington stream.

Jim Kujala used a game cart to haul out an elk in the Blue Mountains.

Kujala (pictured) and his partner boned out the meat, loaded it into four bags along with the hide, proof of sex and spike antlers, and secured the load with cord.

They pulled the cart briefly cross-country to link into closed logging roads. Less than two hours later, they had covered the two mostly uphill miles out to a main road.

Tree permits $5 at forest offices

OUTCUT – If you’re planning to head out on a great nature to cut this season’s Christmas tree on national forest or BLM land, be sure to purchase a $5 permits from a Forest Service office.

Permits are available in Spokane at the Bureau of Land Management Information Center, 1103 N. Fancher Rd., 536-1200.