SCHIESS: A successful, but meatless hunt
“If all you take home from your job is a paycheck; it is your own darn fault,” a wise man once said.
So it is with everything we do. There are fringe benefits, positive and beautiful things that we experience as we perform tasks that we choose to do.
I hunt because my family and I rely on deer and elk for meat and we enjoy it better than the hormone infested mislabeled stuff we get from the supermarket. We cut and grind the meat that we harvest and feel like we are eating good quality non-additive food. Pure meat.
I enjoy hunting, but not the kill. When given the opportunity for a clean humane shot, I take it. But the kill is anti-climactic for me as it usually ends the things I love about the hunt or the excuses that hunting gives to me.
Early morning sun rising over the Tetons, the sounds and sights of non-targeted species, visits with other hunters, getting needed exercise, taking home some extra, legal firewood and getting a few pictures. These are some of the fringe benefits I get from hunting.
So far this hunting season has been meatless, but not unsuccessful. Here are a few gems I have experienced in the wilds of the hunt.
At a rain-filled pond a flock of about 30 Mountain bluebirds, yes, Idaho’s state bird, were flittering and fluttering around the pond picking off insects as the birds prepared for their journey south. Dark-eyed juncos joined with the bluebirds until a Northern harrier made an unsuccessful attack. It too remained meatless on that attack.
On a jaunt through the scrub aspen groves I found two elk sheds from last spring. While packing them I awoke a young bull moose along the edge of buckbrush. He looked a little disturbed but trotted off when he saw the weapons I was carrying.
I watched as seven does and fawns headed into the pines and since they were illegal I let them be, but ran into two Great gray owls, some of my very favorite birds. One of them was meatless while the other was holding a vole in its talons. Lunch time.
A couple of days later on another outing I saw a large buck sneaking through the scrub yellowing aspen. The 700 to 800 yards were too far so I watched him until he laid down. I made a stalk to a point about 200 yards from where he was at but all that I saw of him was his butt as he went over the ridge.
“They don’t get big by being stupid,” my dad told me many times when I was a kid. But I had to try; it was good exercise for a pair of old legs and lungs. I smiled as I headed back to the truck finding a mule deer shed on the way.
Around another rain-filled pond were a flock of Stellar’s jays and Clark’s Nutcrackers picking at an old harvested deer carcass that had probably been harvested by an archer. I watched as a few ravens came by, but did not stay long – not enough left to fight over.
I still have a couple of weeks to hunt deer and the elk hunt will open next week, so as long as I stay meatless, I will have plenty of excuses to harvest more gems and memories. In fact I am headed out early tomorrow morning and as long as my truck does not break down, I will have success.