Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fall 2013 Deer & Elk Season

Four cow elk silhouetted on the skyline. [photo: copyright Mike Dunn 2006]

There's meat in the freezer, but there the 2013 season has been a bit of a bust for me. I was only able to spent a total of about four or five days hunting and really had no success.  I killed a grouse in thick cover on a great left to right crossing shot, it tumbled to the ground, feathers flying, but I never found the bird, only feathers.  I misidentified what turned out to be a very nice whitetail buck as a doe, until it was too late for a shot.  I never got a shot at an elk - though Brad cleanly killed one of the four I spotted driving out at dusk.

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Elk populations are up and the seasons this year was more liberal than they've been since I moved to Wyoming fifteen years ago.  Mule deer are another matter.  The populations have been declining for years now and those declines are finally reflected in the hunting regulations.   The general season in local areas here were open less than a week with a bucks only rule, at least three points on one side.  I almost passed on even buying a license and in the end I was only able to get out for one afternoon and had no success.

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Brad will be surprised by the image at the top because it is almost exactly the image we saw driving out after a long day hunting elk on foot. In Wyoming, you can shoot a 1/2 hour before and after sunset.  I spotted four cow elk and within a minute of the end of legal shooting time.  They stood there perfectly silhouetted against the skyline.  It was dark enough that the stars were clearly visible.  Brad got out of the truck with his .270 and I rolled  forward, keeping the engine running.  The elk calmly watched the truck, certainly believing they were safely cloaked in darkness. They were close, about 80 yards, but  it was a very steep 80 yards uphill. Brad made a perfect heart shot on the leftmost of the four and she went down within 10 yards of where the bullet hit her.  We were able to gralloch her on the spot and to roll her onto the orange plastic toboggan I use for hauling meat.  The hillside was steep enough that with some backbreaking pulling and lifting, we were able to lower her right down into the back of the pickup.  We were back at the house within an hour and a half of the shot.  We quartered her and the meat was hung for a week before we spent a day butchering. 


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