Elk Hunting

Some of you may remember a post from earlier this year about antler shed hunting.  Winter is a very boring and slow time of year for ranchers and farmers alike, and my cowboy had taken up searching for antler and horn sheds from all the deer and elk in our neck of the woods…er sagebrush covered hills.  This fall, Mr. Rancher decided to try hunting for a live elk instead.  By decided I mean: Tanner spotted some huge elk, he noticed they were huge, he called Ty to describe how huge they were, a couple hours later Ty had a hunting license, an elk tag, and a borrowed gun from his cousin Keith (he had to borrow a gun, that’s how much of a non-hunter he is!) and the guys were sneaking up on the unsuspecting elk. Boom!  Ty shoots the elk and the guys pack it out.  End of story.

One of our friends from church is a very serious hunter, in fact Ty and Tanner helped him and his buddy pack an elk out of the very steep country along the Snake River just before Hells Canyon.  Our friend, Anthony, doesn’t mess around when it comes to hunting.  He works out year round, mainly to be fit for the hiking involved during hunting season.  He scouts game for several days before the actual hunt.  He videos the hunts and later makes podcasts describing the trip.  He’s very committed to hunting.  You can imagine his reaction when Ty–the non-hunting-rancher-who whimsically decides to go hunting for and afternoon– called him to share the good news of his two-maybe-three-hour hunting trip in which he shot a massive bull elk.  Anthony was nice enough to give us a rough measurement of the elk’s horns and an approximate score of 361 3/8 on it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with elk scoring (like me up until yesterday!) an elk’s score is calculated by measuring the length, width, circumference, and span of the horns.  Additional tines equal additional points since they add inches into the overall score.  There are hunting clubs that keep scores of various big game and these clubs have a minimum score before the animal can be considered “special” or “record-setting.”  Boone and Crockett is one of these clubs and they require and 375 elk score to meet their minimum requirements.  If Ty’s elk hadn’t lost one of his brow tines, at some point, he would’ve made it!  Apparently it’s a big deal among hunters to have a “Boone and Crockett bull.”

And to think that two years ago my primary research and writing interests related to autism and family dynamics under external stress factors.  Now I’m googling terms like Boone and Crockett and tallying elk scores.  Sigh.

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Okay, academic nostalgia aside, I’m going to try to explain a brow tine to you.  Look at the above picture.  If you start counting points or tines of the horns, beginning at the skull you can see that either side is the same for the first point.  The second points, however, are uneven.  I’m assuming the the first and second points both count as brow tines since they are both tines that sit somewhat on brow level.  How’s that for inductive reasoning?  I’ll stop with the school-speak now.  Anyways…back to brow tines.   The second tine on the right side of elk horn–left side of the picture–is significantly shorter than the right side.  Sometimes these points are broken off in a fight with another bull or caught on something.  This particular point doesn’t appear to have been broken, it looks like it grew that way or was possibly broken when it first grew and has since been worn smooth.  Mr. Rancher so wishes it had grown!  image1

Either way, this is an impressive elk.  Especially considering this was Ty’s second time elk hunting.  It really isn’t fair that a guy who won’t even try elk meat and doesn’t really care one way or the other about hunting and doesn’t even have a gun to hunt with shot this bull.  I’m sure there are much more hard-core, avid hunters out there that have worked much harder for such a trophy.  But, I gotta say, I’m proud of Mr. Rancher, even if he is too stubborn to just try the meat!

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And I should add that although I’m very happy my husband had fun and has a trophy to show for his efforts, I don’t know how I feel about the actual trophy.  On principle, I’ve always been opposed to dead animals inside the house.  Mr. Rancher has informed me that such an awesome trophy simply must be displayed, and, well I guess I agree with him.  We really may have to build or buy a new house though.  There is no way those horns are going to fit inside our tiny house!

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