The rain was pounding so hard off my roof last night that I went to sleep with the satisfied feeling that the storm forecast to continue on into today would surely put a damper on the opening day of elk season (a more sacred day than Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter combined to folks around here). But like a scene out of the cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” it seems nothing can put a damper on the local revelers murderous merriment.
Except for a lack of elk, that is.
Dawn broke to the rapid hammering of gunfire, in spite of the driving rain and near gale-force winds. It sounded like boys and girls of all ages were out playing with their new semi-automatics, sending lead sailing through the air for the sheer joy of it. If each round spelled a dead elk, every herd in the region would be felled by now. Don’t ask me how they get that “good clean shot” at that rate.
But with all the privately owned forest and farm land in these parts, this isn’t a popular destination for the suburban hunting faction. I knew the noise was all the result of just one overeager local resident, and that most of his shots hit only alders, salmonberry bushes or possibly another neighbor’s sheep or llama.
So what is the upside of all that insanity? Another neighbor out trolling around for elk in his $40,000.00 pickup (clad in full Cabella’s camo coveralls and an orange vest that made him look like some kind of demented, oversized crossing guard) inadvertently provided the answer when he pulled over to make small talk, bemoaning the fact that at the first sound of gunfire this time of year the elk for miles around make themselves scarce. He went to add, “…and they know the difference between deer and elk season too. I’ve been out every day of deer season and saw over a hundred head of elk, but now they’re nowhere to be found.”
Can’t say I feel sorry for the guy; it’s not like he was starving. Hunting is just a hobby for him—something to do. You know, like a tradition; just something to bullshit about with his buddies about at the local tavern or mini mart.
Meanwhile, for the elk hunting season is a matter of life and death.