ANTLERS IN THE BACK!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: November 21, 2023

Hunting season is when we frequently see antlers, legs, bodies, and other animal parts protruding from the back of Montana pickup trucks. Other hunters are jealous, anti-hunters are offended, and some are just curious. Every pickup load has a story, but they are not always the same.

If you see a HUGE full-bodied elk in a pickup bed, you know a couple things right off. First, this critter was killed on private land. Second, farm equipment was used to load the critter into the truck. There is no such thing as an easy, ethical, elk hunt.

Every elk that I have tagged required quartering, meat bags, and lots of hard work. Most private landowners either leased their land to outfitters or “just say no” to most hunters. Others charge $1,000 a tine for a bull off their hay fields. My point is that whole carcass critters come from privileged hunting spots and are not the reality for the majority of “Real, ethical Hunters”. Shooting a magnificent bull off the hood of a truck in a private hayfield is not Fair Chase or true, ethical sport.

Elk are monster animals. They can weigh well over 600 lbs. Bison can be even bigger, as can moose. A full carcass is not as believable, honest, or cool as meat bags and antlers. If you are looking for antlers over the fireplace, buy a pair of sheds. 

My friend Shrapnel places a set of nice elk antlers in his truck each fall. Dozens of folks admire, photograph, and start conversations about his huge rack. These antlers are from many seasons ago and Kirk is still milking the story. Now Kirk has legally tagged more elk than anyone I know. This is his way of having a little antler fun. 

The other day we went antelope hunting and Shrapnel had his elk rack on full display. He doesn’t just put it into the truck bed. It must be hanging out at a precise angle to ensure that everyone sees it. Other hunters drive by giving a thumbs up, some drivers frown in disdain. Kirk has a good laugh. 

After our big antelope hunt, the white pickup truck needed to get washed. The muddy dirt roads splattered the ride and antlers. We stopped at the car wash for a cleanup. The first thing Kirk washed were his antlers!

The tourists seem to like it!

Montana Grant

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