Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

My hunting heritage

Jack O'Conner

New member
Jan 11, 2003
Black Hawk, SD
Grandad was born in near Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 1886. He headed south to Kettle Falls, Washington as young man in his early 20's and started a saw mill. But the crash of 1929 left him with a stack of un-paid invoices. The mill was closed.

Grandad hunted elk and mule deer to feed his family. The cattle he raised in Wyoming were for selling, not for eating. Grandad shot many elk with his Winchester 94 rifle with long octagon barrel and flip up tang sight. This was long before outfitting for out-of-state clients had become established. The Bighorns were under hunted and fairly large elk herds thrived.

Grandad knew many interesting people. He was acquainted with Civil War veterans and market hunters. The area now known as the Nat'l Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole was once a prime area for shooting elk for the market. Before you get angry, understand that market hunting was legal until about 1905 or so. These guys were not outlaws. My Grandad was never a market hunter (too young)but he knew many who had been. Grandad told me the 30-30 Winchester was a favorite rifle of the market hunters. I have no way of verifying this information.

My Dad was born in 1922. His health is waning but he still likes to talk about the old days of elk hunting. Dad did most of his big game hunting with 300 Savage rifles. He never understood the practise of taking long shots at game; his basic philosophy was to get closer before shooting. Dad does not understand bean field rifles and can't comprehend this tactic.

My Uncle and his sons have taken over Grandad's cattle business. Dad sold out his shares in the early 1970's. Unfortunately, my cousins lease their lands to private hunting clubs and have excluded me from the very country I know so well. A business decision that I try not to take it personally.

So now I hunt elk in the Bearlodge Mts. of Crook County. Good public access for someone willing to study maps and property lines at the Courthouse. Times have changed, maybe for better. I'm not sure. But any rate, I'm currently a non-resident of Wyoming and pay the same - play the same license games as most of you guys.

Good hunting to you all.
yeah,nice story.I love to read and listen to people older than me,they have a lot of wisdom to share.

Not trying to call you an old geezer Jack
,just saying I always appreciate hunting stories and wisdom from a sage of hunting. Share some more please.
Here is a family story for you.

Grandad told us about being awoken at "dark thirty" by his barking dog. The bark had a sound like rage and fear combined. Grandad loaded his old "thirty" and lit the rusty lantern. A very large bear was seen pawing up the garden. Grandad peered down the barrel and fired twice. The shots sounded like dynamite explosions in the stillness of late night. The dog was released and it worried the bear's carcass breifly.

Next morning, Grandad went outside to look at the bear and the damage to his garden. But the bear was not "blackie". This one had the silver-tipped hairs and huge claws of a mountain grizzley!

Two hired hands spent all morning skinning the beast. Grandad sold the hide for $20. which was a lot of money in 1933. He used the money for canned goods since the vital garden was badly ruined.

My Dad was 11 years old when this occurred and he loves to remember this event. Grandad must have told it to me a dozen times also. Whenever the family gets together someone brings up the grizzley bear story.

That's the way it was in rural Wyoming before before indoor plumbing, electric lights, and EPA came to that country.
You mean that's the way it was when times were right.Seems so many have gotten away from the simple things in life.Thanks for sharing,great story.I'll bet ol' grandpa felt kinda lucky after that,eh ?

I miss my grandad too MD4M, he was a heck of a hunter and grew up on the cherokee strip.He could sure tell some tales,most of them true,too.
Great stoy Jack. Love hearing them from someone who writes so well. Some people just have that nack for writing. Thanks again
Thanks for another great story Jack. As MEATHEAD said "Love hearing them from someone who writes so well. Some people just have that nack for writing. Thanks again
That was a cool story, there are a lot of oldsters that have a great many stories to tell... Thanks!!!
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