Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chasing After Animals

Hunting in Montana is an institution.  In other places where one might be considered odd or politically incorrect if you hunt, in Montana, people think you're weird if you don't.  The first question my neighbors asked us when we moved in was "Do you hunt?" 

Hunting here is part of a lifestyle, but it is based in some pretty practical necessities.  When a large number of people are on the SNAP (the food stamp program), hunting and fishing is the only way for some folks to have meat in their diet.  I spend a good portion of the year eating venison and then having to switch to buffalo or (shudder) beef when the game runs out. 

I used to really like beef and I'll still eat a prime rib, but I'd rather eat venison over beef.  Much healthier for you.

The past several days we've been chasing animals.  One day, I saw about 18 deer of either whitetail or mule deer, but I couldn't take the shot because they were all does and I had a buck tag.  Yesterday, I managed to take a shot at a buck, but I missed probably because the wind was strong and swirly.  Tonight when we walked Sid, we saw a whitetail buck.

We've also been chasing after the elusive elk.  We'll find fresh tracks only to not see a single elk.  A guy told us we missed a whole herd by 10 minutes.  We found plenty of tracks and fresh elk poop, but no elk.  Using binoculars on the hill didn't yield anything.

It feels like we walked forever.  We walked and walked and walked to get at the deer in their beds, but didn't find any bucks, only does.  Frustrating, but they have been good walks.  Still, it's caused my hip to hurt and a blister to form on my foot. 

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