Running out of time
One more hunting day remains
Elk laugh knowingly
Ranger looked up at me this morning with an expression that said, “Who are you and what have you done with my mom?” He has not been pleased with these days of pre-sunup excitement, and this morning’s 04:50 alarm was just too much. He skulked back to bed.
Mike and I were on site and I was ready to shoot even before the moment it would be legal. The moon was still high over the mountains, and it was bitter cold even though I was dressed like an Eskimo. We thought we might stake out a place we had identified last night, but after standing motionless for almost 15 minutes, our toes started to freeze and even I agreed I’d rather be hiking.
We moved at a noiseless pace, and I finally felt like a “real” hunter. Having to control each foot placement helped to generate body heat. Moment by moment our surroundings unfolded with the nearly imperceptible brightening of the sky right before sunrise.
Two glorious mule deer sprang across an opening to our front, about 50 meters away, and my heart raced. I wondered if mule deer hung out with elk, but I hadn’t come across that in any of my pre-hunting-season research. Still, I took it as a good sign.
For two hours we scoured the forest and poked at poop-piles, “me and my shadow,” until we had completed a sizeable circuit ending back at the vehicle.
“I’d say we go home, get some breakfast, and maybe come back later,” said my shadow. It was unlike Mike to call it quits so quickly, but then he moved past the vehicle. “Maybe one more traverse down that way,” he said, and I felt like he had read my mind.
“Sounds good,” I said, still in a whisper.
“We don’t have to move as stealthily this time,” he whispered back.
Roger that, I thought. “Okay,” came out of my mouth.
We spent another half-hour hiking and hoping the herds of sleepy elk would somehow find their way to us and sacrifice one of their own to our cause, but I guess that’s just not how it happens.
Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of “Looking for Luck in All the Wrong Places”!