Meat vs inches


Dec 15, 2012
We haven’t got much for horns this year but the freezer is officially full. On the Friday before opener, we packed in to one of our favorite basins only to find 20 guys with horses in three separate camps already set up in the basin. We had just enough daylight to hike a ridge over so we wouldn’t be bumping them at daylight. At dawn we were in the middle of herd of about twenty head including one small bull but we couldn’t close the deal. The next weekend we packed camp into a drainage my son shot a bull out of last year, only to wake up to a torrential rain at 35 degrees with complementary gale force winds. Three miserable hours late we called it a hunt.

The next weekend I decided to sleep indoors. After a leisurely breakfast with the wife I left the house at 7:00, more to say I went hunting than with any expectation that I would see any game. Within 10 minutes of leaving one of the most heavily used trailheads in Montana, I was on fresh sign and within 40 minutes of walking out the front door, I had a cow down. In thirty years of hunting and twenty some elk, this is the first one I have shot within a mile of a vehicle. (sorry Shrapnel, I still wasn’t able to get it to the vehicle whole. Buzz should be happy in that only the quarters are hanging in the garage, although because the hide is still on I won’t get full points for cleanliness)

This weekend, we again hunted from home. Yesterday, after a morning hunt for deer we decided to check out new drainage in the afternoon. About 2 hours in we jumped a small four point that my son was able to drop and then on the way out with full packs we cut a set of fresh elk tracks. A quick visual follow of the line of the track to the nearest ridge revealed the back leg and one tine of a bull. Five tense minutes with binoculars and some careful re-positioning and we had confirmation of a brow tine and a small window through timber on the vitals.

The bullet took off the top of the aorta and lodged in the skin on the far shoulder. And we needed more packs. This morning the wife carried backstraps, I got the front shoulders and the shooter carried the hindquarters. The total mileage for the four round trips on both elk was less than the one way distance to the bull he shot last year. And while the score on that elk was greater than the combined score on all of the 6 animals we have shot this year, I’m not sure if I would trade inches of antlers for the extra wear and tear on my meniscus.

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Lazy Bushman