Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Woodland Elk Crossing Guard

I got an up close and personal view of a bunch of cow elk today. There I was minding my own business using my factor 10 prism to find what trees where in and what trees were out of my stand exam when suddenly I hear the snapping of twigs and the rustling sound of underbrush. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal to me except for the fact that it was literally over my right shoulder and very near, which would give me very very little time to react if the critters coming my way were dangerous. I don’t know if these cow elk were particularly dumb or the breeze was just wafting my scent away from them but within a few seconds 4 cow elk and one very young bull broke from the underbrush into the clearing to my right.

Deciding to enjoy the experience and since they didn’t seem to be all that worried about me, I took my pack off and sat with my back up against a huge larch and watched them while I entered habitat type data into my stand exam mini handheld computer. Yes the days of recording data entry after data entry by hand are past. Now I have a computer the size of an old school game boy prompting me to answer stand questions. The cost of each one of these little buggers is $2800… seems outrageous compared to a piece of paper and a pencil. In some ways it’s great because it makes sure I don’t leave out information, but at the same time it doesn’t really give me the option of writing further notes to explain some of the entries since old growth stand exams run a little bit differently and require additional information. So I still lug around a big metal folder clipboard to write more things down. It is a bigger pain in the butt really. But my gripes about technology aren’t the point here.

As I was sitting and watching over the next few minutes I realized that I hadn’t checked the status of my cow tag online yet. Yep, I can be watching and animal this noble and majestic and still be thinking about how good it’s going to taste this fall. Creepier yet (for those of you non-hunters) and better yet (for those of you fellow hunters) I began thinking which one of these particular elk would make the best meal and of course began wishing it was about 2 months later, I wasn’t on the Forest Service clock, and had Mace’s 7mm with me. So what do you suppose the first thing I did when I got home was? That’s right, get on the state’s fish, wildlife and parks website, type in my ALS number, and check and see if I got a cow tag. Much to my major disappointment and chagrin I hadn’t been drawn. My hope of putting an elk of my very own in the freezer is not to be this year. I know… so sad isn’t it. At least I can still go deer hunting. This buck I saw last spring would do nicely. I actually wonder how big its antlers are now. Doesn't matter I guess. I'm just looking for a nice tender deer for roasts, jerky, and backstrap steaks. Robin (my vegitarian sister) is cringing right now reading that I'm sure.
Mace was bummed about my lack of elk tagage too and gave me the “well there is always next year speech” (little solace at this point and time). He had checked his status a few weeks ago. Luckily he got his cow tag and so did his dad. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year and we’ll find a nice juicy cow since last year it wasn’t till the last day of the season that Mace found one and couldn’t get a shot on because of how warm hunting season had been. My countdown to opening day though has begun….. Tminus 56 days! Woo hoo!

1 comment:

Kati said...

You take such awesome pictures. I miss Montana. :(