At 5 a.m. this morning I am standing in a ranch road holding the gate while Dusty drives through with the lights off. We know this road and the barbed wire gates that are perennially so tight for no reason obvious to us that it often requires both of us to close them. We go through two gates on the adjoining ranch to get to the area on Dustys ground where we will hunt. We have been doing this for many years. Good neighbors are important.
The elk are celebrating the rut with lots of gusto. I wish I could share video in the Tribune. The sound of those big bulls screaming their heads off is one of the fundamental sounds of the universe. I was hooked at age 10 when I heard a bull bugle in Colorado. I still get that same feeling today. Standing in a blind with a slice of moon and the Milky Way overhead listening to the cows mew and the bulls screaming while waiting for daylight has been a part of my life for many years.
Elk meat is delicious and low-fat. If I were required to just hunt and eat one critter only for the rest of my life-- it would be elk. It has been a staple in my diet for many years.
The friends I have acquired over these many years become more precious as time passes. We have hunted so hard, laughed so much, played so many tricks on each other, and joined forces for lots of good causes-- I am so fortunate to have known each of them.
Wyoming is a terrific state. The rules and regs are geared toward hunting success. You apply for your tag in January. You can hunt with bows and arrows during archery season and if you aren’t successful you can rifle hunt into January. They want you to have a quality experience and put meat on the table. The game wardens I have met are friendly and helpful and choc full of facts and information that help me be safe, successful and legal. I have lots of admiration and respect for these people.
We stayed in our blinds until all the elk moved off the meadow and back up the mountain to the dark timber where they will spend the day. One little spike that appeared to still have velvet came by within range. I got his picture and he went on his way completely oblivious to the danger he could have been in. Dusty and I walked back to the truck-- each with our own thoughts and jointly grateful for our day -- and already eager for tomorrow.