01 November 2010

Elk Hunting (just scenery; no blood)

Elk hunting: a chance to follow tracks into places you simply would never visit otherwise (bull elk track):

See the rosy fingers of dawn touch familiar mountain ridges:

See the beautiful bones of a long-dead Whitebark Pine on a remote, barren ridge:

Walk so slowly and move through the seams of the world in a way that does not alarm wary Pine Squirrel:

So long, that is, as you do not mess with PS's winter stash of Lodgepole Pine cones:

Realize that you are seeing many Downy Woodpeckers thanks to the abundant beetle-killed Lodgepole Pines full of tasty grubs:

Go where the wild Wolf goes:

Visit old cabins that you remember from ten years ago and wonder if you can find again:

Wonder why the oldtimers would build a cabin on the very edge of a mountain creek:

Find the remains of the old cookstove used to feed those many hungry lumberjacks that lived in the cabins:

Realize that this is a lamp oil can with spout:

Remember that you are elk hunting and that this is a good sign--a rub made by Bull Elk polishing his antlers:

Track a lone elk that you know is a bull (they pee to the side and knock snow from branches with their antlers) into its bed, cow-call to make it stand, realize it is a bull but a spike and hence not to be shot, and take his photo from 100 feet away:

Elk hunting: like having a second job for 6 weeks, albeit one you like!


Sylvia K said...

I do so enjoy your posts and your photos in spite of the fact that I'm not a hunter. The love you have for your world is delightful to see and to read about! Thank you for the beauty! Have a great week!


Arija said...

Oh, I do sooo enjoy your posts. I just love tracks and tracking. As soon as I am out of the car my feet quite naturally seek animal tracks. I have followed moose tracks in the soft moss of the Swedish forests and kangaroo trails in Australia.

Your mountains are like heaven to me and though I know I will no longer see them in this life I still yearn for them.

Thank you for letting us share in your wonderful surroundings.

Elizabeth said...

Oh ER, your second and third shots are absolutely beautiful. I love reading about your amazing adventures on the other side of the world :)

Matt said...

Nice work tracking an elk to a bed, and getting a shot opportunity. Lets face it, that is hard to do! Elk are wary animals...the ghosts of Montana's forests.

Anonymous said...

This is a nice series.
Maybe the creek changed paths over the years, or maybe the cabin builder was lazy.

secret agent woman said...

Ah, a hunting post I can read!

I love the photos of the pie cones and the red sky.

Terry Scoville said...

Beautiful post, poetry in pictures. I am glad you saw an Elk, I never did this hunting season. A cougar, yes.

Pete said...

Lovely post, Pat. A reminder that hunting is as much about the walking, wondering, and recharging the soul as it is about the harvest. Enjoy.

mdmnm said...

So very cool (and an accomplishment) to not only track that spike, but to sneak in on him so that he's unalarmed enough to stand while you take his photo. Great photo essay.

a bad man said...

Great Blog - hope to call back soon with more time to read up.

Judy said...

My favourite shot is that mountain sunrise! Perfect! As to why build right at the creekside - you don't have to carry the water very far at all, and with the running water to listen to at night, you never have to count sheep!

Janie said...

You're so very observant to track an elk so well. I enjoyed going along on this hunt and following the elk sign with you.

Merri said...

very cool! beautiful sunrise, nice wolf track! Maybe the creek moved closer to the cabin over time..?
and, what's a spike? (and how do you know the bull is a spike?)
- The Equestrian Vagabond