Friday, October 21, 2011

Lessons of the Hunter

Hunters are a breed all their own, which I learned when my husband tried to teach me the basics thereof this past weekend.

Should this be our Christmas card picture?
All in all it was a great time with my hubby, his dad, his brother and his brother's friend.  I feel like it was a valuable experience to have with Chris (my hubby) because I feel like we learned more about each other in the process.  Below are various Lessons of the Hunter that I never would have experienced without the patience and insistence of my hubby.

Chris (Hubby), Nate (Nick's friend), Dad Miller, Brother Nick
The Eternal Optimists

  • Hunters get up REALLY early!  These are men that often LOVE to sleep in.  These are men that in any other situation will sleep until noon or later... they get up, dressed, traveled to the woods, and in position before dawn.  Actually, before pre-dawn.
  • Hunting in Colorado spans from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.  It is really hard to see 1/2 hour before sunrise, but its amazing how quickly light fills the sky in that 1/2 an hour.  It really is a beautiful time of day.
  • It is also a COLD time of day.  Hunters are CRAZY!  Hunters happily sit in very frigid temperatures many mornings in a row.  I get cold now just from the memories.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is love in action!
  • Hunters are a unique breed that requires an element of delusion.  Let's take the men with which I was hunting this past weekend.  This group has been hunting 4 seasons in this one location with between 4-5 hunters every year.  One man has gotten an elk, two seasons.  So this group approximately 2/18.  Most of the hunters have never SEEN an elk during their time hunting (on the highway on the way to and from hunting, yes, but never during the actual season).  Nevertheless, these men are sincerely CONVINCED each and every year, that not only a couple of them, but ALL of them will get an elk that year.
Here's the group toasting the elk we are getting...
before we get one
  • Between the weather, the temperature, and the lack of elk seen by the rest of our party, I really got discouraged by the process; after all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result.  Yet we did the same thing every day and every day all the men expected a different result.  They expected, anticipated, BELIEVED we would each come home with an elk.
The third morning we got 2" of snow in 1/2 an hour
(Picture taken on Chris' truck's tailgate)

  • I'm not sure how I would do in a survival situation.  Mentally, I don't know if I can keep the hope enough to survive... because in the elk situation, I was not the most hopeful.
"I don't know how much more of this fun I can take!"
  • Female elk are called Cows and male elk are called Bulls.  You definitely need to know the difference if you are going to go elk hunting.  You also need to be able to tell the different between elk and deer (or moose).  You can only hunt what you have a license to hunt.  Every member of our group had a Cow Tag (license to hunt a female, cow elk).
  • Speaking of a hunting license, IT IS IMPORTANT TO BRING IT WITH YOU!!!!  This I learned the hard way.  I brought warm clothes, boots, a book for the downtime, heck, I even brought mashed potatoes and bbq pulled pork -- but I did not remember to bring my hunting license.  This is a mistake I will not make again.
We had quite a bit of smoke when I baked
the mashed potatoes... turned out, I didn't
have to worry about the smoke detector
going off.
  • Every hunter is a great story teller and every hunt comes with a great story.  Usually, it is a story about the one (or the several) that got away.  I almost feel like its a right of passage, because, even I, after this trip, am coming away with stories about the ones we "could have had... if (enter excuse)."
I don't have an elk in my sights... but I'm ready if one comes by

 Now, to be fair, Chris and I did see elk during the weekend -- we were the ONLY ones of the group to see elk throughout the weekend.  Every member of the group had a cow tag We came within 20 yards of two elk -- one spike (so a year-old bull who cannot be killed, even if we had had a bull tag as he was to young) and a cow.  Chris and I both had a great shot at the young bull (again, we couldn't hunt him), but the cow was in heavy foliage when we had a chance to get her.  Later that afternoon, we came within 30 yards of a BIG BULL.  Chris had the bull in his sights 3 times before he wandered away... of course we had a cow tag, so we could not get this bull.

So, of the three elk we saw, we could have gotten two of them but they were the two we couldn't get.  If Chris or I had had a Bull tag, we could have had a beautiful Bull... but alas, instead this is another infamous story of the ones that got away.

Every hunter in this pictures has an "it got away" story --
and they're all true

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed... at 4:30am

All in all, hunting was a great experience but the Lord did not provide an elk for us to bring home in this particular hunt.  The Lord did provide an amazing puppy for us to bring home and we are grateful.

Lloyd loves his Michigan blanket and we LOVE him!

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