Sunday, November 16, 2008

"May B Late. Dad Has Elk Down"

Those were the simple words I sent via text message to family and friends, from a high-elevation location in central Montana. While text messaging may be a preferred method of communication for teenagers, it was a handy way to tell people that were waiting on me, that I may not show up on time that evening.
The 5 x 6 bull that was down was a decent animal, especially for a day hunt on public land in this part of the state. It was the result of some fair knowledge of the area, some timely weather, and a little luck.
We left town at dawn, the overnight snow making for some terrible roads, but also some perfect tracking snow. We headed to an area where we had seen elk on previous hunts. Twenty minutes of walking the boundary between private and public land, we found fresh tracks. The luck was in the fact that these elk had just crossed from private land, onto public, giving us a chance to sneak on these elk in the quiet, powdery snow. For the next four hours, we would be "in elk". The first sightings, were just that: only glimpses of hide, no sign of antlered animals. The second run-in, Dad saw the rack of a bull, but only had a rear-end shot, and passed. Finally, the shot an elk hunter waits for all season presented itself: a 75 yard shot, at an antlered bull, in open timber, broadside. Success.
The returned text messages all conveyed the same thing-Good Job, Way To Go, and Enjoy Packing It Out. Well, we did. As every elk hunter knows, it can be a long time until your next bull elk.

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