Should have gone elk hunting

Today was a rare day for me. My son and I went grouse hunting. Regular readers will know that finding and getting the grouse is the smallest part of days like this. It's the excuse to leave the house and head for the National Forest.

The joy is in a beautiful Autumn day, valuable time with my oldest son, and the chance to step away from my paycheck job and writing.

The grouse were almost absent. We saw one, and my son harvested him for his supper. This was at the very end of the day. (He has to clean his shotgun, I don't. Joke's on him.)

The morning arrived cold and crisp, as it should. We saw a few deer at the lower elevations. Then we spotted a herd of about 40 elk. I keep a small pair of binoculars in my truck, so we checked them out. The old herd bull gathered quite a harem, and he was working awfully hard to keep them happy. You know he was a big one when you can see antlers from three quarters of a mile in the pre-dawn.

Four small satellite bulls stalked the outer fringes of his harem. Whenever the herd bull chose a particular cow to get amorous with, the satellite bulls slipped in and tried to romance the remaining cows. This pissed the old boy off and he ran them into the sagebrush, circled the cows, and it all started over again.

We watched them for a long time. Idaho has a lot of elk, but you don't see a display like that every day. We eventually pulled up to the hunting area and parked. Old What's her Face made us a baggie of Scotch Eggs for breakfast. Our forest is a pine forest, but the underbrush was a riot of Fall colors.

There were elk at every bend in the road. We saw cow/calf pairs, groups of three and four, almost all day long. Grouse were completely absent. Turkeys were everywhere though. We only saw one other guy, and his tent was completely surrounded by turkeys. We laughed at the idea of some Fall turkey hunter, deep in the woods and hunting hard, while the turkeys invaded his camp.

There were more deer too, and one was a small buck. He would normally draw attention, but the elk outclassed him.

Our mule deer will usually stand for a picture. Elk don't. I'd love to post a picture for you, but they were either too far, or disappeared into the forest too fast.

We had some great father/son time too. He's looking forward to the next job site, but today we were both available. We visited my favorite apple tree, but they were all too far to reach. This usually means the deer and bears ate all the ones I could reach. I decided I'm too old and fat to go climbing in trees.

I have a post up over at Story Empire today. I wrote it a week ago and used the scheduler. This one is about working your blog tour. It's aimed toward authors, and some of you may want to check it out.

In a way, this day was provided to me because the scheduler lets me keep fresh content out there. That's a scary thought.

Anyway, today is my grandson's eighth birthday. We're all getting together tonight for some cake and ice cream. Hope all of you had a wonderful day too.


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43 responses to “Should have gone elk hunting

  1. That’s how the universe works. Go grouse hunting and you only find elk. Go elk hunting and you’d have only found grouse. Try for both and you’ll only find a very irritated rabbit living in a cave surrounded by bones.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mmmm…cake and ice cream! Happy birthday to your grandson!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sad I missed those elk. That would have been a sight to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like the perfect day. (No clean is always good)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I’m down for Scotch eggs and cake and ice cream. I like elk, both the living and the cooked, but I don’t enjoy hunting anything more animated than berries.
    Still, it sounds like a great day for sire and spawn πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. carmens007

    Happy anniversary to your grandson! May his life be a good, healthy and successful one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We couldn’t hope to have a day to equal yours, Craig. Your forest sounds amazing. Didn’t you take ANY photos?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nothing compares to seeing animals in their natural habitat – they do tend to shift quickly if they know they’re on the hunting menu though! πŸ˜‰
    Lovely way to end the day with ice cream and cake as well πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t even elk season yet. They’re just so big that one of their steps moves them yards into the brush. I’d have liked a photo to include, but it wasn’t meant to be.


      • Photos are over-rated at times I think – it’s much more magical to remember the moment unadulterated. I once saw a cheetah bring down a gazelle – it was impossible to catch the action on a non-digital SLR (this was in the late 80s) but to see it in real time… I nearly fainted because I was holding my breath so hard – slo-mo video footage on wildlife films just done do a scene like that justice, even though they capture every move! I can still ‘see’ that cheetah moving like the clappers across the long grass every time I recall it!
        Such moments are golden – like with your territorial bull πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • I absolutely agree. I only wanted one for proof to the masses. I’m an author and could have made the whole thing up. (I didn’t.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah – but a photo(shopper) can fib as well these days! πŸ˜‰ I loved your evocative description of the distant antlers in the twilight. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ali Isaac

    Wow! Sounds like a fabulous day! You were blessed with gifts from nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds a like a beautiful day. I miss the fall colors where I am, but your writing brings it to life for me. What a spectacular sight that heard must have been. I can only dream.


  12. The woods and nature sound like a wonderful day out, especially with family. I’m not a hunter myself (at least of animals), but I do love a day spent in the wilderness πŸ™‚ And to finish it with a birthday party sounds ideal!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Did someone say CAKE?! Happy Birthday to your grandson, and hope you both enjoyed the scotch eggs too. Can picture the tent surrounded by chuckling turkeys!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That must’ve been so cool to watch. We don’t have elk here, so they fascinate me. Hope you had an amazing time at the b’day party!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great reason to carry an over/under!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey great article, nicely written! I wish we got Elk in England

    Also check out my blog about my first season as a beater! check it out at

    Liked by 1 person

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