Hunting season in the wild west has begun! I was so lucky to go on my first EVER hunt with my dad and his friends last week up in Jarbidge, Nevada. It was such a special experience that I will never forget.
Jarbidge is a small mountain town located on the border of Idaho. Being able to spend time breathing in the mountain air, spending time with my dad and his life long friends was filled with excitement, adventure, and cherished memories.
Opening day of cow elk season was filled with lots of down time. We had four people in our group with cow elk tags and a well thought out plan with an element of surprise. One team went up on the mountain to scout out good hunting ground, while the other team were spotters. The spotters are very important for the hunting process. They are the ones that radio to the hunters and tell them where the elk are. Without them, it would be a lot harder to find those sneaky creatures.
Elk are like mythical creatures. One minute you they will appear from the forest, and the next minute they have disappeared in the darkness.
The first day we spotted about 40 or more Elk on the mountain, but they outsmarted us.
The second day, one team went to try a different spot on the mountain, while the other team ventured up to the same spot we previously spotted the Elk the day before. We crawled up the mountain in our truck and found a spot on the ridge where we waited for sunrise. My dad, who was the hunter in our team, got out of the truck and sneaked around in the dark to find a spot that was out of sight of the elk. Three of us waited in the truck hoping to hear a gunshot, but we never heard one. After about 45 minutes of waiting and hoping we would get one, we got the radio call, “I got one!” The hunt was a success!
The rest of the team and I headed down the mountain in search of some rope to help pull the elk out of the canyon. We got about 1500 feet of rope and drove back up the mountain to where my dad was gutting the elk and waiting. I was the lucky one who got to traipse down the canyon with the rope toward where the elk had fallen. The wind was howling in my face, the brisk air was nipping at my skin, and climbing over sagebrush was the hardest climb I have had to do in awhile. The only thing helping me down was that rope. I was on a mission!
I reached my dad and the elk, we tied the rope around the neck, and the truck at the top of the canyon slowly pulled the elk out of the canyon. We had no idea how far we were down the canyon, but we were pretty close to the bottom. After the elk vanished, it was my dad and my turn to climb to the top of the canyon. We climbed over sagebrush, took lots of breaks, got windburn, but eventually made it to the top where all of our friends were waiting for us to help heave the elk into the back of the truck. We got the elk off the mountain and back to the cabin where we skinned it and cut off the meat.
It was the grossest process I had ever seen, but I sucked it up, because it’s a part of the experience!
My dad saved the hide and turned it into a taxidermist to have it made into leather, and we turned the meat into a butcher to have it processed. I can’t wait to have fresh elk in my freezer.
I can’t wait to go on a hunt next year with my dad and his friends! It was the most exhilarating experience and I can’t wait to do it again!