Saturday, November 18, 2006

Elk Hunting in Iowa

Ok, ok, I know this ain't Iowa (what's that - you couldn't tell from the pictures?), but the deal is, you just don't go public with your favorite elk hunting spot. And after today, I think I have a new favorite spot. So...I'll happily share the photos, but don't ask me for directions or you'll get something like "Head east on I-80 until you get to Iowa. The elk are those big black things grazing across the countryside, and there AIN'T NO LIMIT! Blast away!" :-)

As usual, you can jump to the bottom and scroll up to see things unfold sequentially.
How do you make a day like this any better? You top it all off with tomato soup, toasted cheese sandwiches, and an ice cold Fat Tire. Aaaahhhh! (Oh, did I forget to mention the homemade apple pie for dessert? :-) Posted by Picasa
Of course, the only thing cooler than actually seeing all this gorgeous scenery (below) is actually bagging a buck like this. This is my brother Jake, and he called me while I was driving home to say that he had just shot his biggest buck ever. I said "send me a picture" and this is what showed up in my mailbox. WOW!!!! I know he doesn't generally post pictures of things he's killed, but in this case I'm going to for him, because its simply too huge not to say something.

Want specifics? Here's his own words...
One shot kill, 125 yds, base of neck, with him standing behind a juniper tree.
.30/06, 165 gr. Barnes X, @ 2900 fps. (56.5 grs. IMR 4350).
25" inside spread, symmetrical, 1 extra point on the third tine (G3) both sides, 2 extra points on fourth tine (G4) both sides. Including brow tines, 8x8 mule deer buck. Yes, I packed him out whole, by myself.
What to say? I am speechless. The bummer, here, is that he is probably not going to be able to afford to mount it. At least not for a while. But wow, what a buck. Nice work, little brother! Posted by Picasa
And here's the view as we are driving out - is this simply awesome, or what? We are very blessed to live in this great state... Posted by Picasa
Check out the cool thing he's doing w/ his upper lip - he's not making any noise when he does this. Malachi thinks he's "sniffing" to see if the ewe is in heat. Any experts want to pipe up? If not, I'll leave the final decision up to you... Posted by Picasa
Ahem. Mr Ram does not seem the least interested in us. On the contrary, he seems to be entirely engrossed w/ that sexy little ewe standing next to him. At least, that's what it looked like from where we were sitting... Posted by Picasa
And this one is even cooler. Looks like a 3/4 curl to me (meaning, 'he's legal' - but alas, I have no tag, and we saw a bigger one a little bit later anyway). I really like the way this photo turned out...

[As an aside - I have it on first hand testimony from a young woman I met last week that Mountain Sheep tastes 'excellent!' - a fact that I hope to personally confirm someday. Only in Missoula have I met females who not only know what wild animals taste like, but a) actually like them for dinner, and b) even talk about 'getting their own elk.' Ladies, this is exceptionally cool. Please keep it up!] Posted by Picasa
Driving back out, and what do we see right there alongside the road but a really nice bighorn sheep. The darn thing is, the camera focused on the grass in the foreground, so the ram is blurry. Drat! Still, it's a cool photo... Posted by Picasa
Eek! Who's that coming through the trees! Is it the sinister Nazi guy from the first Indiana Jones flick? Oh, no, whew - it's only dad trying to drive some elk towards us... (I think I look like I'm in serious need of some exercise here ;-) Posted by Picasa
A lot of hunting is knowing when (and where) to sit down in the sun and just watch for a while. Here, Rebekah's watching through the lens of the camera... Posted by Picasa
Rebekah took this one too, and I thought the color contrast was kind of cool - looking out through the trees, to the mountain across the valley. Posted by Picasa
Ooh, pine needles! (This is a shot that Rebekah took, and I liked it!) Posted by Picasa
Have you noticed that I like closeups? Posted by Picasa
Rebekah, looking like she's ready for Halloween! :-) Posted by Picasa
Come on - would YOU want to be a deer with this guy on your tail?!?! Posted by Picasa
Mr Sneaky, standing below a really cool looking rock formation... Posted by Picasa
Rebekah was pretty proud of the fact that she actually HELD the grouse! For those of you who are wondering - not only do we eat the meat from the grouse, but we put the rest of it to good use too - the feathers on the back are great for tying flies; you can use the wings for training your labrador retriever; the claws make great nose-pickers; and the guts? well they're twice as good as Oil of Olay and they're free! Just ask Marilyn how well they work!!! (Ok, so I might be exaggerating on a couple of these, but I wanted to see if you were actually reading) Posted by Picasa
Well whaddya know - Malachi shot a grouse! Not bad, with a 30-06 at ten yards freestanding (trying to shoot a grouse at that distance, well, it's like trying to hit a dime, and if you miss in the wrong direction there won't be much of the grouse. So if you're going to miss, you generally want to miss high, not low!) Way to GO Malachi!!!! (btw, stewed grouse is pretty yummy!) Posted by Picasa is my little girl. (*sigh*) It sure is fun to be able to go hunting together - we get to see things very few people in America ever will. And that's pretty cool. Posted by Picasa
I think my little boy is growing up... Posted by Picasa
Nice shot of the foreground - as you can see, everything is covered with several inches of crunchy snow (making it hard to sneak up on stuff), and higher up, there's a lot more of it. Walking through this all day long quickly takes its toll... :-) Posted by Picasa
Looking south, down the Bitterroot valley. Again, all I can say is wow. Posted by Picasa
And Rebekah, little miss cheerful (no mean feat, either - she's not old enough to carry a gun and hunt yet - that'll be next year - so today she was simply along for the ride. Meaning she got to do all the work, but she wouldn't have the opportunity of actually shooting anything. And she was a trooper the entire time, even though she got pretty well soaked and tired.) Posted by Picasa
Malachi, looking for game. Posted by Picasa
Looking back to the west, into the wilderness... Posted by Picasa
And here is a shot of the mountains. Wow. That ridgeline in the background forms the border between Montana and IdahoIowa and Illinois. Pretty impressive, huh? (And what's even more amazing is that elk and deer and all sorts of wild critters thrive up here!) Posted by Picasa