Take a look at this short video of two mule deer bucks doing what young bucks do, although they are probably still new to the game and may not be completely sure exactly what makes them do it. The November rut is a ways off yet, but it helps to get some practice in beforehand. Just getting shed of some nervous energy, I suppose.
The clip is courtesy of Dave Massender of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dave recorded this little bit of fun from his office window, and the deer were sparring in his backyard. Clicking antlers is a sound not heard near often enough.
Many thanks to Dave. We should all be so lucky to have such an interesting backyard!
Call me crazy, but I may never tire of admiring elk.
It would take much more time than I have here to tell you why, but if you are a hunter, or another elk enthusiast, then there would not be much of a point in doing so. You already know what I might say.
I would be with them right now, amongst the herd, if I could. September is the best of all times in the Rocky Mountains, and elk have more than a little bit to do with that. I suspect the elk might agree with that too.
Yet, personal time in the wild lands is limited and precious, and there are always so many things that get in the way. I can appreciate a good picture when I see one though, and this one really puts me in the proper elk-country frame of mind.
A wildlife photographer is a hunter too, though they may prefer a different kind of tool to acquire their prey. With luck and perseverance they may just catch that perfect moment in time, preserved for you and I and for those who may never step foot in the land of rutting and wild-eyed bulls.
They fill in the gaps of our lost experience, and placate our wilderness longings when we simply cannot be there ourselves. We are all so very much richer for their efforts, and I salute them.
This particular photograph was taken by David Schroeder this September in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. He used a Nikon D600 camera with a 600mm telephoto lens, set at ISO 800, an aperture of f/4, and a shutter speed of 1 /400 sec.
Dave tells me that he has been crazy about elk for over 35 years, and it shows. I can tell a kindred spirit when I see one.
I have no doubt that he, like I, shall never tire of admiring elk.
At the National Association for Gun Rights, we firmly believe the Second Amendment is the only permit law-abiding citizens should ever need. Period.
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Hunting, fishing, and other kinds of outdoor fun may have little in common with a bottle of aspirin, but not from my somewhat jaded point of view. A rugged outdoor lifestyle can leave some marks, and at this point in my sporting life I can barely imagine one without the other. It is a small price to pay for a lifetime of wild rewards.
Perhaps I have more nagging and bothersome pains than most, but then again, perhaps not. I just know that I have some issues and several points of contention with my otherwise healthy body, like a little toe that likes to remind me at every step that it is not so happy on a steep uphill grade. Or a neck and lower back that tend to tighten, burn, and throb after a short hike with any kind of weight in my pack.
We all have them, those little nicks and troubles. We nurse them along and suffer through the pain and inconvenience of it all. Making the best of it is the outdoor way, but what do you do when diet and exercise or body treatments haven’t helped?
Call me trite or unimaginative, but I choose painkillers. Nothing too strong of course, just a couple of small white pills…the breakfast of champions… a little marine candy…, and more coffee, always coffee, if I can get it.
The problem is I tend to forget it more often than not, a sure sign that many of my springs’ have already sprung which is one of the reasons that I needed the aspirin in the first place. I usually realize that I forgot it when I am far enough from the truck for my body to finally remind me that I can’t be without it, while at the same time being too far from it to endure the pain to go back and get it. Or something like that.
This can lead to a long, uncomfortable day in the field, wincing at every step while promising my burning brain to never ever ever forget such a small but crucial little item again…until next time that is.
Some things in life are simply not fair, and rarely do they change.
So, if you are like me, take heart. The remedy may be right under your nose, where is exactly where you will want to put it…and it’s called “Willow”.
Pronghorn Reflections. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty
Maple syrup was used as a traditional sweetener by many of the Northeastern Native American tribes, though there were never any antelope in that part of the country. Luckily, I live in the part of the world where they be, and every once and awhile I have an opportunity to test my burgeoning cookery skills.
This recipe features the boneless loin of Pronghorn, and the simple ingredients seem to blend perfectly with this wonderful and unique meat. It is one of my new favorite (of many), new game recipes.
6-8 loin cutlets, thickly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup each of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar (equal parts)
6 juniper berries, crushed
several slices apple smoked bacon (enough to cover bottom of pan)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium-sized bowl combine syrup, vinegar, and crushed berries. Mix well, add loin, cover, and refrigerate overnight (about 10 hours). Fry bacon in iron skillet until the grease is well rendered and set bacon aside. Remove from marinade, roll loin in unbleached flour, and then fry in bacon grease and butter until approaching medium rare. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.
This is a fabulous dinner entre or lunch, served with a salad or your favorite sides. It’s a special treat for breakfast too. I had mine with eggs over medium and a hunk of corn bread. I’m still thinking about it!
– Adapted from a recipe found in “Spirit of The Harvest: North American Indian Cooking” by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs.
* Vinegar is a natural meat tenderizer, so it is important not to marinade too long for younger animals. It is, however, a great trick for breaking down the meat of the older and tougher animals.
** I have not yet tried this with elk or deer or other game, but I suspect it would also work well in other instances. I can’t wait to give it a try.
There’s Nothing Like Hunting Turkeys at 8,000 Feet (If You Can Take It!)
Sometimes you have to go a long, long, way up in the land of little air to find a turkey…and if your hunting in western Colorado, I can just about guarantee that you will.
Merriam’s are the name of the game, and they, of all the other subspecies, may be the most challenging wild turkey of them all. If you have any doubts in that department, just take a long, hard gander at where they live. It may force you to reevaluate your hunting strategy…and your hopes.
But then again, maybe not.
The terrain is usually steep, and deep, and big. Really, really big. But the turkeys are there for the undaunted, and it is after all, a Rocky Mountain adventure.
Did I happen to mention that there is very little O2 hanging about?
For some tips on hunting The Merriam’s Wild Turkey, see a great article here.
A Journal of Wild Game, Fighting Fish, and Grand Pursuit