Elk are where you find them…

… 100% of the time.

And they’re not where you don’t find them.  At least, according to LLM.

I decided to try hunting this year – mainly because of the self-sufficiency aspect.  I like to know where my food comes from, and I also like to know that if I needed to, I could provide it for myself from the wilds. Of course, I definitely want to try my hand at raising chickens and maybe some ducks and rabbits too, but for now, one thing at a time.  It’s fall, and it’s hunting season.

I started with grouse.  They’re a good beginner creature to start your hunting persuits with.  Instant gratification.  They’re not the brightest birds on the planet.  They pretty much just sit there until you get your act together to shoot them.  And you can pretty much kill them by blowing at ’em – which is a good morale booster for someone just learning to hunt. So I’ve bagged a couple grouse this fall, and I’m hoping to get some more for the freezer or the pantry.

I also have a turkey tag that I haven’t filled yet this fall.  I’m hoping to serve up a local Tom turkey for Thanksgiving this year.  And trust me, if I can kill myself a Tom, I will definitely be thankful!

But we haven’t been focusing too much on the birds lately because big game rifle season opened up a couple weeks ago.  So my birds are on the back burner for now.  I’ve been following LLM over hill and over dale on the hunt for elk.  We spent the entire weekend in search of them.  Saturday it poured, litereally, all day.  We were drenched.  But we had fun.  Didn’t see anything more than two huffing whitetail does in the forest.  But LLM doesn’t shoot does (because they make more baby deer), and he enjoys the meat of the mule deer more.  But we weren’t necessarily looking for the mulies this weekend.

Yesterday the weather was much better, and we hiked to the top of a mountain in Thompson River country.  We went through a couple drizzles early in the morning, a snowstorm about mid day, and finished it up with some brilliant blue November skies toward afternoon.  The color of the larch was magnificent.  It’s in all its golden glory right now – simply one of the most beautiful colors in all of nature.

About noon we caught a strong scent of elk as we bushwacked down a slope. I swear if they didn’t somehow sneak out of there within five minutes of us coming upon their beds.  We hit the high ball and followed the tracks further down the mountainside.  We had to have been close on their trail because we were finding really fresh scat and tracks, and kept getting some super-pungent whiffs of elk scent on the breeze.  But nothing came of it.  Well, nothing but a spectacular autumn hike!

And as LLM reminded me:  Elk are where you find them.  100% of the time.

So, even though we had an incredible weekend in the elements here in Western Montana, there’s still no elk hanging in the woodshed.  But there are still a few more weekends left.  And with any luck, we’ll find a turkey in there someplace for me.

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Categories: Skills & Info | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Elk are where you find them…

  1. Did you clean what you killed? I don’t have trouble killing I just have trouble cleaning it. I have to let someone else because I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

    • LOL Yep – I had to clean the grouse. I was told that if I killed it, I would have to clean it. And I actually had an interest in learning how. So when I got my first grouse, we hunkered down right there at the truck and took to cleaning it. And when LLM killed his Antelope a couple weeks back, I was right there, front and center helping with the gutting, skinning and butchering. Now, if I had to do it on my own, I’m not sure if I would do it right – but hopefully after a couple more episodes I’ll have it down. At least for this hunting season! 🙂

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