It’s Saturday morning, in elk country on the last weekend in October. The air is crisp and trees are slowly shedding their golden leaves. Autumn can be a special time of year, but not for everyone. A week from today is opening day of elk (murdering) season. Since first light the peace of the morning has been desecrated by the repeated blasts of hunters, sighting-in their rifles—or warming up their itchy trigger fingers.
To say that hunters ruin it for the rest of us would be an understatement. Their noises, actions and attitudes not only irk those of us who enjoy living peacefully near wildlife habitat, they cause overwhelming stress to the animals who know they could be the next target.
When I hike through the forest, I try to use the same routes, respectfully leaving unexplored certain areas where deer and elk are likely to be bedded. The hunter’s outlook is just the opposite, purposely tromping through every corner of the woods in hopes of scaring up any animal who might call it their home.
During the fall, elk should be bugling loudly, competing with other bulls and rounding up their harems. Meanwhile, the cow elk try to stay out of harm’s way as much as possible, yet feel reproductive stirrings of their own.
All are distracted enough already. The last thing they need right now is a bunch of Elmers out trying to “harvest” their flesh—or their head to mount on the wall to boost their fragile Fuddly egos.