Friday, December 25, 2015

From our parlor to yours...

Because the cows don't take a day off to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Good shit paper

Figgered I'd throw this'n out while I'm bashin' on the Hildebeast.

My brothers and I saw these gems durin' our annual Christmas shoppin' trip* last week.

I'd be honored to wipe my ass with this stuff. Be the most fittin' tribute I could manage for those two crooks.

* Many moons ago, when I was still in college and Jesse was workin' nearby, we decided to meet up after class/work at the local mall to do some Christmas shoppin'. We've done it every year since, and have since included Joe, and Jesse's oldest son. We don't actually shop for the most part, but we do enjoy drinkin' coffee from the mall coffee shop and checkin' out women. It's usually a big deal when one of us actually makes a purchase.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Too true, unfortunately

Saw this over on T-Shirt Hell the other day. Sadly, a lotta idiots will, just because she does.
I'd love to see some sort of required civic testin' be done in order to vote (and breed, for that matter). At the very least, there should be some sorta qualifications other than breathin'.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A bangin' deer chili recipe

I'm usually lucky to get a deer or two every year, but I have to ration my venison stash so it'll make it through the followin' year. That sure as hell ain't gonna be a problem this year, so I'm gonna have to be a little less shy about takin' stuff out and doin' some cookin' with it.

Anyways, I wanted to whip up a batch of deer chili to take to work the other day, so I jumped online to find a base recipe, then proceeded to alter the hell outta it. I cheated and used canned stuff, for lack of fresh produce layin' around. I also used beans, which you chili purists are sure to hate me for. I was raised on beans in my chili, and I see no reason to shy away from that at this point.


• 2 lbs ground deer burger
• 1 lb deer or pork sausage
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt, pepper and Old Bay to taste

• 28oz can diced tomatoes
• 4oz can Chipotle peppers
• 15.5oz can sweet corn, drained
• 15.5oz can Navy beans, drained
• 15.5oz can Kidney beans, drained
• 2-3 diced jalapeƱo peppers
• 2 tsp Cinnamon
• Hot pepper sauce to taste

While enjoying a cold beverage, brown the meat in a large skillet on low heat. Drain, then add the onions and garlic and cook for five more minutes. Add more beer to the cook as necessary.

Meanwhile, dump all the other ingredients into your crock pot. When the meat mixture is done, add that in, mix everything up, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir every hour or so. Again, add more beer to the cook as necessary.

Serve with shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream.


That's all there is to it. I suck at cookin', and my prep time was still only about 15 minutes. There is a super-secret ingredient that I added, but faced with the risk of Aunt Wanda forcibly removin' my manhood, I have omitted it here. One of these days, I'll try a batch without it to see if it makes or breaks the recipe. I also noticed well after the fact that my base recipe called for 3 Tbsp of chili powder, which I completely forgot to add in.

Regardless, the outcome was jolly damn delicious, and my coworkers are still ravin' about it several days later. Go ahead and give it a fair shake and tell me whatcha think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Over the summer, my lady mentioned that one of the trees in the backyard was lookin' a little rough. Sure enough, it barely grew any leaves and the ones that did grow died quickly.

The problem was, it was leanin' dangerously toward the house. There was about a ten-foot space between the house and the sandmound that it could be dropped without damagin' anythin', but I sure as hell didn't trust myself to give it a whirl. Instead of riskin' a lovely hole in the dining room ceilin' or smashed sandmound pipes, we decided to call in a pro.

The fella showed up the other day to take care of it, and I gotta say, it was worth every penny we paid him just to watch him work. Within two hours, he had that thing down slicker than shit. I learned more about woodcuttin' in that two hours that I have from any amount of time I've spent behind a saw.

Gotta love a cheap education.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The huntin' nun

File this under "Things you don't hear about every day"...

By Marcus Schneck
on December 06, 2015 at 9:32 AM, updated December 06, 2015 at 9:33

Sister John Paul Bauer stood over the magnificent, 10-point buck, the largest deer she'd ever seen in the wild in Elk County.

The 60-year-old Benedictine nun recalled the events of the past few minutes, savoring a memory that deer hunters will ever experience.

Just before 9 a.m., about three hours after first climbing into her tree stand on a friend's land near Weedville on Nov. 30, the first day of the 2015 rifle hunting season for deer, she had finished praying the rosary.
"I always pray the rosary in my tree stand," she explained. "It's a tradition."

Hours in a tree stand are a contemplative time, when a hunter wants to remain as still and quiet as possible.

Sister John Paul had then started to pour herself a cup of coffee from her thermos, reinforcement for the leggings and the orange hunting coat she wore under and over her habit against the 23-degree air.
Suddenly a herd of does "came flying up this steep embankment," startling her to the point that she dropped her thermos. Strangely the clatter of the metal cup did not cause the antlerless deer to pause even a moment.

Something unusual was pushing those does, she pondered as she studied the scene.

Then she spotted the two bucks sparring behind the does. Her 10-pointer and an eight-point in pitched battle, actually rising on their hind legs, something few will ever witness first-hand. The sound of their rattling antlers came to her ears.

When the bucks backed off one another for a breather about a hundred yards from her stand, Sister John Paul leveled the scope of her Winchester 30-30 on the 10-pointed and triggered off a shot.

The big buck, which was later weighed at about 200 pounds, fell to the forest floor at 9:05 a.m.

After making sure of her kill, the theology teacher at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys retreated down the mountainside to the home of the landowner, Shirley Burke, for some help in retrieving the heavy animal.

They called Sister Jacinta Conklin, another nun at St. Joseph's Monastery in St. Marys who was hunting solo in another location, and together the three woman dragged the deer out of the woods.

Deer hunting has been a tradition among the nuns at the monastery for decades, just as it is with nearly the entire community in St. Marys. Sister John Paul bought her first rifle, the Winchester, soon after she arrived there and has not missed a first day for 15 years or so.

Sister John Paul professed her final vows with the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County in 2002. She earned her nursing degree in 1975, two years after graduating from high school, and then went on to serve as a nurse with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Growing up in St. Marys, she had watched as her father and brothers ventured out on many a first day, "but I was never invited."

She's bagged a few other bucks along the way, one from that same tree stand near Weedville, as well as a 200-pound bear. Her best buck prior to this year was a six-pointer with a much smaller body.

"You can tell the conservation efforts have paid off, because the deer are getting bigger," she noted.

Antler restrictions imposed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in recent years encourage hunters to pass up younger bucks, allowing them to gain additional maturity and growth before being harvested.

A photo of Sister John Paul on the Facebook page of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie went viral, attracting more than a million views and the normal criticisms of anti-hunters.

She has taken the attacks in stride, noting, "In this area pretty much everyone hunts. It's good conservation.

"I'm a person first, a normal human being who likes to hunt and happens to be serving God."

On the website of the diocese, she further explained, "You have to maintain the population that can be fed naturally off the land. If you get an overabundance, then the deer starve. Likewise, if you overkill, then that's not good either. So there's a balance."
As a Benedictine, she believes that Christ is in everything, even the hunted. "You don't just hunt for the sake of killing. You are part of nature. You're part of a cycle. You're part of creation."

Most of the venison from the big buck was dontated to several local families, including one that has a Christmas tradition of eating deer stew as the main meal that day. The sisters at St. Joseph's share the prized and tender back straps.

Jeff Crawford of Whitetail Taxidermy in St. Marys will mount the 16-inch-spread, almost perfectly symmetrical rack.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bear Camp

The weeks surroundin' Thanksgiving are some of the most excitin' times for us Pennsyltucky hunters. You catch the peak of the whitetail rut at the end of archery season, then sandwich Thanksgiving between rifle seasons for bear and deer. Meanwhile, ducks, geese and the full gamut of small and upland game are in for most of that time too. Whatever critters you like to chase, it's the time of year to do it.

I love goin' to bear camp, mainly because it's a fun style of huntin' with a great group of fellas. We don't do any stand huntin'... we are drivin' from dawn until some of the fellas start gettin' thirsty, which is usually around mid-afternoon. Some folks think it's a shit way to hunt 'em, but I think it's a helluva lot better than waitin' 'em out on stand or shootin' em over a barrel of doughnuts, which is standard practice in a lot of places.

We had a big group of guys for the opener, which was recently changed to the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We had four good chases, but the bruins managed to elude us.

The bad part about the Saturday opener is that PA still lives in the dark ages and doesn't allow Sunday hunting. The opener used to be Monday, and we'd have a fair group for at least Monday and Tuesday. With the new Saturday opener, the break between opening day and last three days of the season has proven to be a camp killer, with everyone showin' up to hunt on Saturday, then goin' home Sunday to go back to work.

I stayed up to hunt Monday, and was kinda disappointed when only four other guys showed up to hunt. Pushin' the big woods with five guys is foolish at best, so we drove out a few smaller patches, then called it a day early. I ate lunch, then headed back home to tend to the wood pile.

Although the second day was a wash, I still had a damn good time. I'm already lookin' forward to next year.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


While I was off galavantin' in Fulton County, my grandma on dad's side of the family passed on. It wasn't altogether unexpected, but it still sucks. Thankfully, it happened rather quickly. I had a wonderful visit with her the Sunday prior, and she was her normal animated, ornery self. Four days later, she was gone.

She wasn't without her flaws, but damned if she didn't love everyone who walked into her life. She was a great storyteller with a grand sense of humor. Every time I'd walk through the door, it was likely that she'd either be on the phone or bangin' away at a crossword puzzle, and there'd more than likely be a game show on the TV. Didn't matter though, as she'd excuse herself from her call so we could chat.

With Grandpa gone almost two years now, I think she was ready to go. We enjoyed one last Thanksgiving lunch at their house last week, as we have for decades, but I reckon that'll be the last time. It was a sad day to realize that part of my life that's been there from the beginning was coming to an end. Such is life though, I suppose.


Marion Ann (Sprenkle) Murren, 81, died Thursday evening, November 5, 2015, at her home, surrounded by loving members of the three generations she leaves behind. She was the wife of Thomas R. Murren, whom she married almost six months to the day after they met in 1952. He died December 7, 2013, after they had shared 61 years of marriage, nine children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, lots of laughter and good travels, arguments and frustrations, heartaches and joy.

Marion was born in Menges Mills, York County, on April 19, 1934, the oldest child of Willis E. and Kathryn (Jacobs) Sprenkle.

She was a 1952 graduate of West York High School. She was a member of Annunciation Catholic Church in McSherrystown, where she sang in the choir for many years, and had been a longtime member of the Hanover Chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS). Marion loved people and made friends wherever she went. She welcomed and loved all the friends her kids brought home. Always room for one more at the dinner table. Always OK to invite friends who would get "snowed in" with the family. A house full of people made her happy.

She did not always love being a farmer's wife, had once sworn she would never marry a farmer. But she loved her farmer. So she fed the farmhands after a long day, she drove the hay baler when needed – at least until the kids were old enough to take over – and she supported six decades of 4-H meetings and fairs.

From her grandfather and dad, she inherited wanderlust, never passing up a chance to travel near and far. Over the years, she and Tom visited Hawaii, Australia, and Alaska. They cruised the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence Seaway. They enjoyed great times at Notre Dame football games, quite a few "wine runs" to the Finger Lakes with dear friends, and searching out covered bridges in a dozen or so states. It was their tradition to take grandchildren, two at a time, along on their annual trips to Florida.

Marion was also near legendary for her love of animals. Over the years, she raised keeshond dogs, and nurtured mutts, ferrets, bunnies, and too many cats to count.

She loved her family beyond all else. She is survived by seven children, Anthony J. Murren and wife, Joyce of McSherrystown, Angela R. Murren of Hanover, Wanda M. Murren and husband, Darrell F. Crabbs, Sr. of Spring Grove, Terrence P. Murren and wife, Patricia of New Oxford, Ann R. Murren and companion, Steven Carroll of Kenneth City, Fla., Barbara J. Garman of Carlisle, and Peggy C. Clowney and husband, John of Gettysburg; 16 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two brothers, Ralph "Jake" Sprenkle of Spring Grove and Thomas H. Sprenkle and wife, Rose, of York New Salem; and many nieces and nephews and "adopted kids." She never stopped mourning and missing her late daughters, Kathryn Murren Hippensteel and Susan Murren Roth; as well as three grandchildren, K. Benjamin Smith, April E. Clowney, and Renee A. Clowney.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, November 10, at Annunciation Church in McSherrystown. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Relatives and friends will be received at Murphy Funeral Home, 501 Ridge Ave., McSherrystown, on Monday, November 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Adams County SPCA, 11 Goldenville Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The tradition continues

The are few certainties in life... death, taxes, and us Murren boys doin' some waterfowl huntin' on Thanksgiving mornin'.

I was a little concerned with a barron scouting trip, a full moon overnight and a bluebird day forecasted. Hardly waterfowlin' weather, but we never miss this opportunity to hunt together, regardless of weather.

Thankfully, Joe did a little scoutin' of his own and located some birds. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise, then got to lay into some geese. There was some questionable shootin', but we managed to leave the field with eight honkers. Definitely a day well spent with the ol' man and my brothers, and we got the icin' on the cake too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fulton County Adventurin'

Holy hell, had it been a busy few weeks. Reckon I'll pick up close to where I left off.


In lieu of our annual Bowhunter's Weekend, Schlongie and his ol' man and I decided to change things up a bit a head to their cabin in Fulton County the first weekend in November. It'd been damn near ten years since I'd made my only trip there, so my memory was a little foggy about the place. Schlongie and his two uncles would be headed up the mountain to bowhunt, while Reds and I would try to put a whoopin' on some turkeys and grouse.

I gotta say, they have about a picture-perfect little cabin up there. The neighbors are a little close, but that ain't really a deal breaker. The place butts up against a purty good chunk of state ground, and it was damn nice to walk out the back door and go huntin'. The inside is everything you'd expect from a proper huntin' cabin. 

I spent the first day drinkin' beer and keepin' my feet up. There are some perks to havin' a full freezer. I did finally get my act together and cover a few miles durin' the afternoon lookin' for critters, but to no avail. The weather was a bit sketchy, but the view was nice. 

The second day, I hit the woods with Reds in search of some turkeys he'd gown into the day before. Naturally, the little bastards were nowhere to be found, but we explored a couple miles of mountainside and had a good time anyway.

We retired back to the cabin early to prepare a dinner of fresh backstraps for the rest of the crew, and enjoy a few cold ones, of course.

Sunday came too quickly, and we broke camp about midday and headed back to civilization.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Politically incorrect

I stopped at the beer store last weekend when I was up at Schlongie's cabin. More on the whole trip later, but the sign on the door made for an easy, quick post. I wish more businesses operated like this.

P.S. I bought a case of CenTexTim-approved Shiner Bock, which was goddammed delicious. The only problem is that up here, it costs about the same as a case of several good craft beers, which is more up my alley.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fall in Pennsyltucky

I'm sure I've mentioned on these pages before about the beauty of our fair state in the fall season before. It's literally like livin' in a kaleidoscope. We're on the tail end of things now, but here's some pictures I've taken along the way the last few weeks. I didn't touch any of them up, because (a) I didn't take the time, and (b) it still wouldn't do it justice....

Monday, November 9, 2015

PA huntin' success

With our Colorado elk huntin' trip consumin' most of my time and thought up until mid-October this year, I really didn't do too much of anythin' at all related to huntin' around home.

Somewhere in that batshit craziness though, Tater and I were able to make plans for what has become our annual foray for ducks at the farm. In what was almost a repeat of last year, we set up the pond, and waited in the dark as ducks poured into it. Once again, our shootin' left a lot to be desired, but at the end of the day we came away with a trio of woodies and a pair of teal. The company was good, and the B.S. was flyin', so all in all, it was a mornin' well spent.

After our mornin' duck hunt, I loaded up the truck and headed up to Ron's to get some freezer meat.

A little back story here... Pennsylvania has an early muzzleloader season for antlerless deer, and you can use these newfangled inlines. You might as well give me my .30-06, as accurate as these things are. The deer are still in their predictable late summer patterns and haven't been pressured, so essentially, they're still dumb (for lack of better description). Basically, if you're competent enough to get within 200 yards of where they have been comin' out regularly, it's about as close to guaranteed meat as you can get.

I generally like a little bit of challenge when it comes to huntin' deer, but the deer are extremely overpopulated up there, and several of the farmers that give us permission each year are completely fed up with the amount of crop damage they experience. With that in mind, I had no qualms about takin' the inline out and helpin' the cause. I was able to take two mature doe out of the population in as many evenin's.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I still hadn't had any hunts with a bow in my hand, outside of a few quick sits behind the house after work. I finally had a day off on my schedule, and with the peak of whitetail rut approachin', it was time to be in a tree. Havin' had plenty of excitement in the rut at the farm over the years, I headed there and climbed in the same tree that I took my buck out of last year.

I saw a few deer early, but that was 'bout it for the mornin', sans a careless groundhog that showed up around mid mornin' and a great blue heron sneakin' down the creek.

Around 2:30, I had just finished bangin' out my post about our elk hunt when I heard some crashin' to my right. I looked down, and a scant five yards away was a doe, pantin' hard and lookin' behind her. I immediately panicked, because I was slouched down in my stand, and wasn't even remotely close to bein' ready to shoot. Hell, I didn't even have my release strapped on. Sure enough, I heard a grunt behind her, and followed her gaze to see a good buck about 25 yards behind us. Somehow, I managed to get stood up, get my bow in hand, and fish my release out of my pocket and into my palm without gettin' busted. He turned and headed down the same path the doe took, and I was able to get a good arrow in 'im at about eight yards. It wasn't my best shot, so I called Joe and gave the buck time to expire. A few hours and a short track later, we made a quick recovery of what turned out to be a much bigger buck than I thought he was. He even had a big non-typical point on the left side at the base, and some other junk stickers. I was damn near speechless when I walked up to him. I've been waitin' a long time to shoot a buck worthy of a shoulder mount, and this'n was it.

A stop at the stuffer was in order on the way home.
I'd made the decision a few weeks ago to not hold our annual Bowhunter's Weekend this year, which was not an easy decision to make seein' we've been doin' it for ten years. Instead, I'm now hangin' out at Schlongie's family huntin' cabin in Fulton County. With no more deer tags left in my pocket, I'll be spendin' the weekend tryin' to find some turkey and grouse, and hopefully draggin' out a buck for Schlongie or one of his uncles. Either way, it's the best time of year in PA, and there's no place I'd rather be than the woods.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A little bit of elk huntin'

It's a slow day in the deer woods, so I'm gonna take the opportunity to catch up a bit until Mr. Bones shows up...

As I eluded to earlier, I was fortunate to find success on my first trip to elk country. It wound up bein' some of the hardest, but fun and fulfillin' huntin' that I've ever done. If you're part of the TL;DR crowd, might as well head back to Facebook now. If you're up for a huntin' story, grab a beer and keep readin'.

Since Joe and I flew in and arrived at camp in the dark, I decided to stay at camp the first mornin' to see the sights. I was not disappointed... our camp was right on the top of the hill, overlookin' the valley below. I was treated to a first-class sunrise, then grabbed some grub and split some wood until the ol' man got back from his mornin' hunt. Then it was time to get my gear together and let the hunt commence.
Sunrise from camp.
Our modest accomodations for the week.
We spent that afternoon and the next day at our buddy Robert's favorite huntin' grounds. They'd had success there a few weeks prior in the bow season, but Dad's fleeting glimpse of an elk a few hundred yards away that first afternoon was the only fresh sign seen. The old sign was there, but the elk no longer were. The views were intoxicatin' though, and I put down quite a few miles as I explored that section of mountain. 
The "Ol' Man's Hole", as our buddy Robert calls it. It's close to
the truck, and has been very good to him over the years.
This tree was about 3" diameter, and
was broke about 8' up. Elk in the
rut take no prisoners.
A few views across the valley.
Some of those aspen trees get the damnedest bark markings...
Dad's second day spot.
The third day, Dad, Joe and I decided to explore a different area. En route, Joe got distracted by a stream full of native trout, so we yanked off the road and let him catch a few. He decided he was gonna stay there and fish, so Dad and I pushed on another couple miles and found a decent hill to hunt for the afternoon. Dad decided to stay near the truck, so I found the tallest hill nearby and headed for it. I found some fresher sign on my way up, so I kept goin' the whole way to the top. I found a nice meadow up there, and was rewarded when a cow and a calf stepped out at 150 yards just before dark. To finally see an elk in the wild after years of waitin' literally sent chills down my back. My trip was made then and there.
Joe, with a beautiful native brook trout.
The view from the top... 11,300ft.
It's a little hard to see, but there's an elk calf in the middle of the
picture. The cow had already gotten behind the trees.

For day four, I was gonna fly solo and go explore a promisin' area I'd found on the map. Dad was headed down to the water hole below camp, and Joe was goin' explorin' in a different area. I was just gettin' dressed when I heard Dad's .300 RUM sound off twice. Sure enough, my phone range a few seconds later. He'd intercepted a herd of elk, includin' a nice bull, as they were leavin' the water hole. He felt certain he'd made a good shot on the bull. I headed down, but after over an hour of searchin', it was apparent that he'd done no damage. I'd have given anything for Dad to take a bull on this trip, so I'm not sure who was more dejected. We sulked around camp for a few hours, then I went down the hill to town for a bit, then went explorin' while Dad got drunk. Day Four was definitely the shitty day of the hunt.
I snapped a few pictures on the way to and from town. Of
course, I had to ge the obligatory Park Service sign.
Not exactly roads that you want to misjudge...
With only one day left to hunt, I decided I was goin' to try my original Day Four plan again. Again, it was another uphill climb, but I was tickled when I got to the top... Lots of meadows with patches of pines scattered about, and several water holes around. The first water hole I encountered had reasonably fresh elk tracks in it, which did nothing to hinder my enthusiasm. The whole place just looked "elky". With a plane to catch early the next mornin', I decided I would explore for a few hours, the sit on the waterhole until early afternoon, then call it a hunt. 

I picked my way slowly across the top, glassin' as I went. The backside of the hill led down into a rocky, deep ravine, and I wanted to stay on top. So naturally, it came as no surprise when I nearly stepped on a handful of elk, and they promptly headed across the rocks and toward the ravine. Although I knew they were long gone, I decided to go to the ledge they'd disappeared over and have a look. I was startin' to see fresh sign, and the whole area smelled like elk. For the first time on the hunt, I felt like I was gettin' close.

As I was glassin' the rocky bowl below me, I heard what sounded like an ol' Holstein bawlin' down below me, and it sounded reasonably close. Seein' that there were no bovines in the area that I knew of, I suspected that my quarry awaited me, so I pressed on. 

The next bowl down was empty, but I could see another one a little further down. I decided I'd have a look, but if that one was empty, I was headin' back up to before I got to far down the ravine.
One of many rocky bowls that led down into a large ravine.
I crept down and glassed the bowl, but there was a large section that was hidden. I started to circle around to glass the hidden part, when I heard the unmistakable sound of runnin' elk. I scrambled back to the gap in the trees I'd just vacated, and sure enough, a herd of elk was runnin' through the bowl, about 150 yards below me. The big bull was leadin' the way; I threw my gun up and tried to get on him, but it was too late. Meanwhile, cows were pourin' through, well over 20 by my rough count. I had just about given up hope when I saw two smaller bulls bringin' up the rear. I picked out the larger of the two, and my trusty Remington 700 .30-06 barked just as the bull slipped into a small patch of trees. Several seconds passed, and the bull stumbled out of the other side of the cover and went down. His head was still up, so I quickly sent what proved to be an unnecessary finishin' shot. Just like that, the hunt was over, and the work began.
It was about 9am when I pulled the trigger. Although I was two miles from the truck, I reasoned that I had all day to get him out, so I decided not to mess up anybody else's hunt. I composed myself, got changed into lighter clothes, and started cuttin'.
This is a zoomed-in view from where I shot. you can see the
elk layin' in the middle of the picture.
This was the bowl where the elk were hidden.
Naturally, he came to rest between several rocks and an old
log, which made the butcherin' process a bit tricky.
My first elk. Hopefully not my last.
Three hours later, I had a bare skull and three bags full of delicious elk meat, ready to be trucked up and over the mountain. I stashed the meat in the shade, strapped the skull to my pack, and headed for the truck to get my frame pack. Two more round trips later, I arrived back at the truck just after dark, thoroughly whooped, but as satisfied as I've been in a long time. I never did get a chance to weigh everythin', but I'd guess I took between 175-225 pounds of meat off the mountain that afternoon.
Everything bagged up and coolin' in the shade.
Jesse bought me this pack for Christmas
ages ago. I do awful things to it, and
it just keeps on tickin'.

All told, I'm glad that I didn't get anythin' until the final bell. It gave me time to enjoy the best of what Colorado had to offer. Huntin' out there is a completely different ballgame to what we're used to out here. No traffic noise, no dogs barkin', no nothin' except for whatever noise Momma Nature wants you to hear. Every direction you look makes you want to drag your camera out and snap pictures, which I did plenty of. And although I'd have given my bull ten times over for the ol' man to have connected, I'd be lyin' if I said I wasn't thrilled by havin' the chance to take a bull on my first trip out. It was truly an experience I ain't likely to forget soon.
My final picture from the trip. Dusk as I headed down
the mountain with the final load of meat.