Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Elk again & memories of other hunts

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A Memory -- It is late afternoon and the bull is slowly working his way toward me. He slips through aspens like wood smoke from a campfire. I cow call softly and he stops to consider. The arrow vanishes right behind his shoulder and two seconds later, I hear him fall. Now the work begins.

Robert and I began to plan this hunt back in March when Bo insisted we come. I have been thinking about it almost daily. It has been some years since I breathed that clean mountain air and felt the shiver that always comes when a bull bugles. I think of the big bull one of Foster Butts clients shot a few years ago. I was in camp at the time. Not the biggest bull I have ever seen but a beautiful bull. I want one like that but will settle for whatever legal bull comes by. I love the meat.A Memory -- Finally, we have the last load on the ATV. We are both out of breath but the hard work is done. What was that?

Something big crashed in the brush. Bear? We agreed it made more noise than a bear usually makes. Mike slips the .44 magnum out of the holster. I scan the woods intently. We never did find out what made the noise.

Bo has a complete butcher shop at his ranch. We all know how to butcher. Ill steak the back straps and tenders and maybe a roast or two out of the hams. The rest will be ground with 15% beef tallow for ground meat. Superb spaghetti and chili and not bad as just plain burgers.

You give some of that meat away. It is not uncommon to get 300-400 pounds of meat from a big elk if you bone it out carefully-plenty for all my friends and even Big Bird. Cut it up, vacuum package it and freeze it hard, solid. Ill ship it home next day air the day I fly home. It should reach me still frozen.

First, I have to kill one. It will not be long, now. I am going back. Back to the mountains and that place where the earthquake, several thousand years ago, made the spilt the elk must pass through. They wont climb the rocky slopes. I will be there one morning just as the sun touches it.

A Memory -- We scouted hard, Mike and I. We found the elk and we will spike out tonight. Well camp back in the black timber by the giggling water fall. The fire will be small, just enough to cook over and keep the haints away.

Downstream, near the big, flat rock, I took the cold bathice cold. But now I am clean and feeling fresh. Mike will bathe while I gently saut the trout, smelling and tasting the clean mountain air. I can see him now, coaxing the 14-inch, silver bullets from below the falls.

I can smell it. I can smell it right now.

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