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Monday, October 19, 2015

Chasing the herd as part of a pack

Pick up a hunting magazine and you will see that Americans tend to emphasize the individualistic aspects of hunting.  It is all about who shot what and how big was the what.  So on your generic group hunt you tend to get a bunch of guys who are all focused on shooting something for themselves.  It's hard to put together a team to chase just one animal - say a mountain goat or elk - because nobody wants to be a packer just a shooter.

That's why our elk boat is somewhat unique.  The deal has always been that everyone comes along every year whether they get a permit to hunt or not.  You lose your spot on the boat if you don't come.  This guarantees that there are both porters and shooters on every hunt.  The goal of the hunt is to bring back elk meat and all meat is shared equally amongst all participants.

Another unique aspect of our boat is that we focus on elk.  Porters are not 'promised' deer to shoot if they come along to help carry elk.  In 14 years of elk hunts we have brought back just one deer (as opposed to 19 elk).  This guarantees that the focus is always on getting elk.

Elk are big animals who live in rough country, and it is a lot of work to find them, and bring the meat back to the boat.  The act of stalking and shooting an elk is just one small task among the many necessary for a successful hunt.  Things like glassing for and spotting the elk, gathering and splitting firewood for the stove, cooking for the group, driving the boat or skiff, and, of course the most important, humping out meat to the boat on your back.  The only truly essential and unique task is driving and skippering the boat - THANK YOU JIM!

It takes a team to get all the meat back to the boat and not lose any of it to the bears or improper care.

As an anthropologist I can't help but equate our elk crew to a band of hunter gatherers traipsing across the veldt in search of game.  It is hunting at its most primal - a communal rather than individual enterprise.  Patrick

The bull elk in the distance seem to know that we only have permits for cows

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