elkoholic

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elkoholic last won the day on September 14

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About elkoholic

  • Rank
    Monster Buck
  • Birthday 06/30/1953

Converted

  • First Name
    David
  • Last Name
    Powers
  • Location
    Montana
  • Gender
    Male
  • Occupation
    pharmacist
  • Interests
    hunting, fishing, hiking, reading, weight lifting
  1. Hunting season?

    I do think that hunting is much more than the dictionary definition. The vast majority of hunters do not actively seek or pursue their quarry, mainly due to the area in which they live and hunt. Here in northwest Montana even spot and stalk is not a practical method as long distance spotting is mostly impractical due to thickly forested terrain. One can often glass into logging areas across a canyon but getting there would involve some serious trekking in steep, rocky terrain. The mountain valleys are mostly private property with limited hunting options. Archery season for me is mostly an elk hunting endeavor (although I've been stymied by forest fire smoke and closed areas this year) which involves a lot of walking and calling to locate and hopefully get an opportunity for a shot. I am a lone wolf hunter and that makes killing an elk very difficult and if successful in that endeavor, getting the meat out a serious consideration. One can sit in a stand over a water hole or an alfalfa field (common in the eastern half of the state) for elk but I do not consider that "elk hunting". We are only allowed one deer (one can apply for doe tags) per year, so I seldom shoot a deer (it has been almost 20 years) during archery season. I have passed on a few rather large bucks over the years that in retrospect makes me doubt my sanity. My deer hunting passion is still hunting or tracking. Much in the fashion of the Benoit family (if one does not know about these master hunters, google it) this may well be hunting in its purist form. With millions of acres of Forest Service land along with additional lands, owned by Weyerhaeuser, open to hunting one can hunt all day and never see another hunter. In the past 30+ years I can count on one hand the number on times I encountered another hunter while hunting. The forest roads are crawling with "road hunters" (basically poachers), but I do not want to get started on that subject. Stopping occasionally to rattle and call, I hope to spot a buck before he spots me. When on a fresh track (a perfect day is fresh tracking snow) my goal is to not only spot the buck first but to catch him still in his bed and have managed to shoot 4 bucks in their beds and several that had just risen. Due to low deer density one might not see a lot of deer but come November the chance of that deer being a mature buck is pretty good. I like big antlers as much as anyone but just a mature buck is more my goal and if meat for the freezer is on my mind than any buck I believe to be at least a couple of years old might be in trouble. Things that make me wonder include, shooting (or not) a deer for antler size, naming deer (really?), hunting anything (except maybe some predators) with no intentions of consuming the meat (or giving it away for consumption), and any type of hunting that is illegal. I see an incredible lack of respect for the animals and land. It is sad. Success at any cost or means. Hunters ridiculing other hunters about the size of the buck they shot or how they got it (as long as it was legal) is also a curiosity. Hunting is not a contest or competition. The successful hunter did not match wits with his quarry, for his quarry is merely trying to survive and does not care how witty the creature is that is trying to kill it. In this day and age a hunter never loses. He/she goes home and eats a hot meal, drinks a cold beer and sleeps in a comfortable bed after watching football from their recliner. Tough life, that. I wish every hunter could have the opportunity to still hunt the big woods. It has given me many stories to tell (some unbelievable) and opportunities (some capitalized, some not), but, I'm still waiting to see that Sasquatch. Have a safe and enjoyable hunting season, and if you kill/harvest this year, try a new recipe. It's part of the journey.
  2. Hunting season?

    Dang! Wonder what the dates are for harvester season. Should have completed the job and "shelled" him too.
  3. Hunting season?

    Hmm......I still think, when it comes to human consumption, most plants are harvested while still having functioning cells and are therefore "killed" when harvested. Once something dies it either molds/rots or dries up depending of moisture content internally and/or externally. Corn and wheat are indeed dead and preserved by drying out naturally on the stalk, unless of course it has been raining for the past month and it has rotted, making it unusable. After death the nutritional value and palatability start to decline almost immediately. In other words, take proper care of the animal you kill to maintain quality table fare. Most fish and game commissions look at "harvest" figures to set tag limits. Also, picking up roadkill is a good idea, as long as it is a fresh kill, and is legal in many states. A crop is a crop, be it plant or animal/fish. We feed (fertilize) our corn fields and our deer herds (Rackology, B&j, BigTine, etc.), practice genetic modification (GMO products (Whitetail Institute products) or culling/selective breeding) and harvest at the proper age to maximize the "crop". Unfortunately, for deer it is all about the antlers and not the overall health of the herd and improved meat production. Fortunately, improving nutrition does have an overall positive impact on the herd and not just antler growth, even though if it weren't for antler size these products would not exist. Okay, sighting in your bow/firearm and setting stands is preparation, but how about trail cams (or actual physical scouting)? Are we not looking for, that is hunting, something to harvest/kill. The kill is such a small part of the "hunt". I say, enjoy the journey, be it prep or anticipation, because once you kill, it is all over. Then the work begins, but enjoy that too. It is part of the journey.
  4. I made u tube

    That's pretty slick! Had a little trouble feeding the big one but still made the job a lot easier. What do they use the chips for? The mills around here would strip off the smaller limbs and needles and turn it into plywood or fiber board.
  5. where potholes come from

    Those forest roads have a layer of crushed rock as a top layer. I'm not sure of the exact content but the Forest Service has multiple sites where they set up rock crushing equipment (makes one heck of a noise when they are operating), and overlay where there are active logging operations. Some kind of sedimentary rock is all I know, but the ground water around here is high in calcium and magnesium.
  6. Hunting season?

    But....I thought still hunting was moving slowly through the woods, but still hunting. And....I thought scouting and figuring out where to hang your stand is hunting, which, is only allowed during hunting season. Plus, seeking a place to put a stand is not the same as seeking out an animal to harvest....ah....kill. Don't you kill a plant when you harvest it? I think.....therefore I hunt. That's what I think
  7. where potholes come from

    I think the moose are eating holes in the roads. I watched him chow down on the road for several minutes and can not even fathom what he is missing in his diet that would make him chew and swallow mouthfuls of crushed rock.
  8. Hunting season?

    Why do we call it hunting season? This question came to mind as I sat in my ladder stand (a rare occurrence for me) on the only day with semi-breathable air so far this season. The fires in this area are making our archery season a tough go so far. Anyway, as I am sitting there waiting on something to come by it occurred to me that sitting in/on a stand is the most common method of trying to harvest an animal. Technically, by definition, that is not hunting. Hunting would require someone to seek or pursue something and not just sit there waiting for something to appear. So, therefore, most of us are waiters, not hunters, and on that thought we should call it, waiting season. Or maybe, harvest season, as that is the ultimate goal. Now, I know that most of you just do what you do and not think about it, but just sitting there, waiting, I find it hard to not think. Actually, I think that I think too much. See. But, I digress, on the original thought, just what does hunting mean? Is any activity that is directed toward the goal of harvesting an animal considered hunting? Example: if planting a food plot is part of the hunt (or scouting), then is doing so outside of "hunting season" illegal. Anything you do in your quest to fill your tag can be considered hunting. One can hunt any animal and "shoot" it with a camera at any time of the year. If I am hunting elk (hopefully next week with the expected weather change) and a deer of immense proportions gives we a shot and I kill it, was I deer hunting? Hence, we should change the name to, harvest season. I would say killing season but that is but a small percentage of the process and I think the word harvest instills more meaning. During "open" season I hunt 99% of the time and wait 1% and much prefer hunting over waiting (my aching back agrees) but my circumstance is much different than most forum members. On top of that, I hunt all year long, but only kill during "hunting" season. I love to hunt moose but have never drawn a tag, and still I have some nice pictures to show for my "hunts".
  9. A HAPPY HAPPY

    Hope you had a better Labor Day than most of us here in northwest Montana. With all the fires and smoke it really put a damper on any outside activities. Could have gone hunting but just breathing the air was painful. Campgrounds closed early, Glacier National Park is burning, and even being out on a boat required a respirator. The elk should start rutting in a week or so and I'm hoping to exchange insults with a bull or two. Cooler temps and rain/snow would help.
  10. 1st Hunt of the year !!

    Congratulations! That 'lope looks like he has some wicked cutters.
  11. paradise burning

    Just a fire update here, we are now covered up in smoke with the air quality rated somewhere between unhealthy and hazardous. The fire to the northwest of us has destroyed at least 10 houses and multiple out buildings. Strangely enough, the smoke has helped to lower the temperatures and slow fire growth. There are so many fires burning in the northwest part of the state it is impossible to escape the smoke. I feel bad about the hurricanes and wish they could send a little rain this way. A view of the fire/smoke column to the northwest before the smoke settled in A view from the same window after the smoke settled in Hopefully, the weather will improve by next week and I can get outside without a threat of respiratory distress. I'd rather have to deal with a grizzly attack (http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20170905/AP/170909931) than fire/smoke. Well, maybe not. Still hoping for snow!
  12. paradise burning

    After a long wet spring there were predictions of a mild fire season, well, forget about that. We have not had a measurable rain in the past three months and are now in the worst fire season I've ever seen. British Columbia, our neighbor to the north, is having it's worst fire season since 1958. Yesterday was the archery opener and with the temperatures in the mid 90s, smoke filled air, and extreme fire danger, I have decided that chasing after elk would have to wait. I may try sitting on stand (if my aching back will allow it) for deer but the thought of sitting out there sucking in smoke is not all that appealing. The weather forecast for the rest of this month is not very promising. Living in this area can be a bit daunting in the summer as the fires start to burn. In August 2005 the Camp 32 Fire burned a small corner of our property and we are hoping that another fire does not overrun us. The closest fire (The Caribou Fire) is now less than 10 miles away and had made a 4 mile run yesterday. The good thing is that it is north of us and on the other side of Lake Koocanusa (it could easily jump/spot over the lake). The bad news is the communities, now under mandatory evacuation notice, are in danger of being lost. This is just one of many fires burning in Montana. I can not wait for snow, or, at least a substantial rain. Here is a link to some of the fires burning in my neck of the woods: http://flatheadbeacon.com/2017/09/03/fire-west-eureka-doubles-sizes-destroys-structures/ From hurricanes to fires, there is a constant fight against the forces of nature. With any luck, we can hold our own.
  13. Touchy topic

    Unfortunately, the road hunting mentality is what brought on this post. It all seems to come down to how easy can we make it on ourselves. Although road hunting, which is poaching, is a totally different issue than using technology to our advantage, there is a parallel. Make it easy enough and anyone can do it Participation trophies for all and more license fees collected. The thought that we have to cuddle a youngster to keep them wanting to go hunting is something I also have to question. I remember when my father first took me with him and freezing my butt and getting tired and I still could not wait to do it again. My children had pretty much the same start as I did and still love hunting and the outdoors. Yes, I realize that we are now in a "cuddled" world, where everything "requires" as little effort as possible to be enjoyable. The rainbow has no meaning if there is not a pot of gold at the end. Back to the road hunting, sorry to hear Alberta is the same, I see fathers and mothers teaching their children that it is okay to poach. The hunt becomes nothing more than a drive on the miles of forest service roads and a shot fired from the road (or the vehicle) and bragging rights that something was bagged. Most do not hesitate to tell of their "daring" success when talking to friends and family. Many do not follow up on shots if they do not see an animal fall. Head and neck shots are commonly attempted and I'm sad to say that I've seen the results of this. FWP seems to be blind to this. Two examples, both well documented in the local newspaper, are two trophy caliber moose taken further up the drainage where I live by hunters who were "hunting" with licensed outfitters (probably the same one, as it was the same area) while road hunting. You can find both of these listed in the Montana Trophy Book, one in 2006 and one in 2012 (pretty sure about the years). I would be willing to bet that 90+% of all moose shot are by road hunters/poachers. When it comes to deer hunting, I can not even begin to recall all of the stories I hear each season. Our property borders forest service and on any given day during the hunting season there is a constant procession of vehicles inching along, some with rifles sticking out of the window. Alas, it is getting worse and there is no stopping it. There is no stopping technology either. As long as inches of antler or bragging rights (that pot of gold) matter more than the journey, then making it easier will be the goal. Obstacles, there are different ways to overcome them. Example: muzzle loader and shotgun seasons were put in place for a couple of reasons, either safety or for more of a challenge with increased opportunity. Being that success (measured by making a kill) is more difficult, we can either become better hunters so that we can get closer to our quarry before making a shot, or, we can develop muzzle loaders/shotguns that can shoot well past 200 yards and in the case of muzzle loaders, much faster to reload. Now the safety factor of shorter range and challenge of the hunt are gone. Hmmmm...... is that good? Does it matter as long as the result is the same? How about changing the name to "killing season" and any weapon goes, your choice? Anything within reason. But, whose reason? Yes, much has changed in the 50+ years I have been hunting, some good and some bad. I still rate discomfort as an integral part of the hunt, the memory of, and if something should die at my hands, maybe a necessary part of the hunt/living. Would that venison steak/roast taste better if I hunted harder to get it? Probably not, but the memory of the hunt will be sweeter. Guess I'm done. If all this got you thinking, well, that's good. If it hurts to think, I'm sorry.
  14. Touchy topic

    Okay, the weight loss thing, instead of doing the sensible things that usually require lifestyle changes (exercise and diet), I see people coming into the pharmacy to achieve a "better life through chemistry". It's just easier to pop a pill or purchase a diet plan. If you are using technology to improve the results and limit the detrimental affects of your doing exercise that is a little different than using electronic eyes in the field to do your scouting for you. As you are aware, I use trail cameras and am not totally against their use with the exception of during an active season they should not be used and certainly not to "pattern" a deer's movement. Here in Montana they legally have to be removed before the season opens. William, I'm with you on the back issue. I have had 2 back surgeries and multiple injections. I have learned to deal with constant pain and at times severe loss of function in my back and legs. I still hike and hunt miles from the road and do other things that I probably shouldn't. Stupid or hard headed, I'm not sure which, but I will carry on as long as my body does not totally collapse. On the blind thing, I live and hunt in northwest Montana and believe that as hunters we should experience the same weather as the critters we're hunting. We have the technology of all these wonderful garments we wear, so why not at least sit out in the open and give the animals a chance to see our camouflaged/scent masked butts. Also, I passed the 64 plateau and expect no quarter and shall give none. Growing old should is not for the faint of heart and should carry no special treatment granted. On abortion, I'll not go there. I will offer up this, as a whole, the human population is getting less intelligent and less physically fit with every passing generation. There are outriders of course, but our reliance on "technology" and our refusal to manage our own herd is causing more problems than we can handle. Ethics/morals are interesting topics. Often confused, ethics are society's beliefs on right and wrong and morals are an individual's beliefs on what is right or wrong. I am sure if one's morals clash with society's ethics, individual morals win out over ethics if no one is watching and no threat of being caught is detected. It is easy to justify something in your own mind. Dang it, I'm thinking again and it's starting to hurt.
  15. Touchy topic

    I love the devil's advocate. It brings about a good discussion. The thought on legal vs ethical would be that anything that is illegal is unethical, until such time that the general consensus becomes one where breaking the law becomes the acceptable thing to do. Hopefully we never get to the point where breaking the law is acceptable. On the other hand, legal may not be ethical. Hence, that leads into the "fair chase" debate. My feelings on the fair chase issue are that if you remove the ability of your prey to detect your presence by nullifying their senses, all pretenses of "fair" are gone. Is anything fair? No, but driving around in a heated (or ac controlled) environment while drinking your favorite "brew" looking for something to kill, surely skews the picture. Maybe it all comes down to why one is out there trying to put something on the ground. Do you just want to say you killed something and the method is of little importance or is the journey more important? A heated stand? It would only be fair if whatever you are hunting has a temperature controlled environment. Right? I actually like the heated stand thought, but I am against box blinds. Life is never going to be fair, but we as humans have a choice to even the playing field or alter it to be in our favor. Many of our choices are based on the area we hunt, hunting pressure, and local traditions. Poaching as a way of feeding the family can be accepted no more than stealing from the grocery store. There are other options, and the defense of not wanting to accept food stamps or charity makes a poor excuse for breaking the law. The "baiting" issue is an interesting one. My thoughts are such that if the bait is not naturally occurring, or a product of continuing farm or ranch practices, and the sole purpose is to lure a critter in to kill it, well..... There is some real muddy water on this one. Technology, it is apparent that anything that makes it easier to do something (be it losing weight, improving physical ability, or killing that buck of a lifetime) is going to be a big seller. Let me just say this, if you had to cheat to do it, did you really do it? Once again, were the results the only thing that mattered? Technology is not making you a better hunter. It may improve your chance of killing that buck, and if that is all that matters, so be it. Technology can be good, but letting it take the place of hunting skills I'm not so sure about. My thoughts on "trophy hunting". If you hunt just for "bragging rights" and donate the meat because you only wanted the "horns", I think you may have a self esteem issue. If you hunt to feed the "tribe" that is another story and if a trophy is in the mix, serendipity can be just. The sole purpose of my original post was to get those of us still still visiting the forums thinking (yes, I know sometimes that hurts) about who we are as hunters and why and how we can enjoy our cherished lifestyle. I particularly like a quote of Jim Shockey's, "When you are wet, cold, and tired, it is just getting started". Steve Rinella's statement that you remember a hunt as more fun the more adversity you encounter during the hunt also comes to mind. It all comes down to individual choices regarding how we hunt and as long as one is within legal requirements in the hunting area, go for it. Another final thought. If you are willing to talk to a game warden on the circumstances of a "hunt" the same way you would talk to family and friends you probably are on the right track. If on the other hand your conversation with a friend mentions driving down the road, stuck the gun out the window, or talks of illegal methods/implements and these "minor" details get left out of (or changed) when talking to a warden (or friends/family), maybe you are a poacher. If you break the law, you are a poacher, and if legal, the ethics part is on you. Enjoy the journey! Good hunting this fall!