HOISINGTON —I am in Wyoming visiting friends that have been a huge part of my life for a lot of years. I also have harvested the cow elk that eluded me during bow season way back in September and October. It is exhilarating to go on a walk and hunt elk at -7 degrees. It gives one a new respect for thermal underwear, gloves and hats. Sandra always says I stop by sports supply store in Sidney, Neb. to go to “church.” I have shopped there since the l960s-- it is almost a religious experience. I was honored to be invited to the Christmas party at Dick Cabelas home last Saturday night. It was an amazing event and experience. They were wonderful hosts and their home is incredible. I honestly don’t have words....
I processed my elk this morning. Not enough elk are hunted in January to keep the game processing facilities open. Apparently the better hunters are successful in the fall. It required about 5 hours of skinning and deboning to get the elk in my cooler to go to Kansas tomorrow morning.
I took the remains of the carcass out to a trash site. I noticed several magpies around and they immediately attacked the skeletal remains of the elk. I have watched magpies in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and occasionally in Kansas. They have a bad reputation for ruining meat that is left hanging for any period of time. They have previously been considered “bad” for ruining fruit and meat. They eat carrion also. They are one of the few birds that hunts by smell. A group of magpies have been called a “charm,” “gulp,” “mischief” and “tribe.” They are members of the crow family and are now a protected species. They are cranky with each other, and are fun to watch. Here I am bird watching again.
I will be back in God’s country tomorrow. It has been a great trip!
Dr. Dan Witt is a retired physician and avid wildlife enthusiast.