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Learning to Hunt

Today marks the end of my antler-less elk tag and 2020 hunting season. It was about a year ago that my friend Tom Bishop gave me an elk steak. All natural, non GMO, organic, free range elk. I fired up the Traeger, set it to smoke, pulled out the cast iron and then reversed seared that steak, medium rare, salt, pepper and butter to pure bliss. At that point I was sold. Since then I’ve been gearing up to learn to hunt, “live off the land” as they say, and bag my own elk. This is the first year I’ve ever hunted. Tom took me under his wing, showed me the ropes. Countless 5am mornings began in October.

I was hunting elk, at least I thought it was hunting, more often than not I felt like I was hiking around with a big backpack and a rifle. But more than all that I was collecting experiences and moments of connecting with nature in a way I never would have expected. Over the past few months I have seen a “smiling” badger carcass, a bald eagle soaring right over my head, obsidian (the glassy rock the Native American Indians used to make arrowheads from), creepy glowing forrest eyes, countess sunrises, countless deer, mama and baby moose, and a single giant herd of elk (30+). I saw vibrant fall colors turn to monotone bare brown and white snow. I saw many moonlit mornings.

The land seems to have a life all its own I was chasing that elk and that’s what kept me waking up day after day. But when I’d end my hunt without an elk, I still had so much to take home with me, not the least of which were the animal reenactment stories and little souvenirs I had for my little girls when I got home; btw I def don’t recommend leaving kids unattended with cattails.

Truth be told, I’ve never found waking up so early so often so easy.