This year I am Elk-less in Montana but I am sure not Thank-less. Thanksgiving is the time of the year that we stop for a moment in our busy lives and give thanks for all the blessings that we have received during the past year. My list of things that I am thankful for is a long one. This is also the case when it comes to hunting elk, even when my freezer is empty. My lack of success this year in bagging an elk doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of trying. I have been fortunate to be able to hunt over eight days this year for elk. The first five days I didn’t see a live elk. However, all of that changed a week ago Monday when I was hunting with my buddy Bob Culp from Frenchtown in Southwest Montana. When we hunt elk we hunt patches of timber. The elk migrate through these patches of timber on their way to winter grazing grounds. One day for example you walk a mountainside of timber and you don’t see any sign of elk, the next day you might catch some elk that have moved in overnight. Anyway on this Monday morning I left the pickup about 7:15am and started my walk up the timbered mountain.
I was about three quarters up the mountain and through the timber I spotted what I thought was an elk off to my left. I stopped got behind a tree used my binoculars to get a better look. I was correct. Up about 120 Yards standing on a plateau was not one elk but two. I could see both of their bodies but could not see their heads to determine if they if they were brow-tine bulls. The elk on the left was moving around feeding and when it lifted its head I could see that is was a legal bull. But then it headed out of my sight as it continued to feed. The other elk was on the left and was standing broad-side looking down the mountain. Since they did not know I was there I decided to move about 20 yards closer to try and get a better look at the elk facing down the mountain. That elks head was behind a fallen tree and I could see its complete body between its front and hind legs but not his head. It would be a perfect shot at 100 yards I just needed to know if it was a brow-tined bull. I glassed the elk for about 15 minutes when it finally moved his head and to my delight was a big bull. The elk then turned and faced me where now I could see him from his shoulders to the top of his horns. I put the cross hairs of my rifle scope on his shoulders and pulled the trigger. I missed. Yes I missed and I couldn’t believe it. So I am elk-less but at the same time I am certainly thankful to have that opportunity. And I am also thankful that the hunting season has a few more days to go! Happy Thanksgiving!
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