Squirt goes Elk Hunting

By Patty Wilber

So, as you probably know, I don’t have any cows.  Or pasture.  Or lease.

I didn’t ride up country first of the season when the snow drifts were too deep for motorized travel.

I didn’t  search for cows, through the gloaming, until the sky faded from orange to pale violet to blue black and the stars poked through.

I didn’t see any spectacular rainbows.

Brazos Box Ranch, near the cowboy cabin, 2010

On the way out last year without the cows. It was too wet. We had to go back the next weekend. Such a bummer. Not!

BUT I did get an elk tag on the Brazos Box ranch.

Antlerless.  (So I can shoot a cow–um cow elk–or a young bull.  Going for a cow.)

Got out the .30 06 (thirty ought six!) that was my Dad’s (with open sights).

Borrowed a  .270 (with a scope).

Bought a rubber thing that goes over the butt of the gun.  It is not called a Gun Butt Rubber.  It is called a Recoil Pad.  Much more civilized.

This makes shooting a lot easier on the ol’ clavicle than an uncovered gun butt. When you pull the trigger and your 180 grain high performance (deadly. accurate. says so on the box) bullet leaves the gun in a hurry, the force rams the butt into your shoulder. Recoil pad absorbs some of the shock.

I got a bruise anyway.  I’m kind of proud.

And I am not afraid of the recoil.  That’s good.  According to my Hunt Elk book: you want a gun that has enough power to do the job, but you don’t want to be unpleasantly anticipating the recoil.

I got the .30 06 sighted in with a little help from my spouse and I hit the X on the bulls eye at 100 yards with open sights. Boo ya! (Of course 100 yards would be close for a good shot at an elk…)

My friend, Seasoned Hunter:  Not Impressed.  But if I did it twice…or maybe at 200 yards, then we could talk.

Well, the second shot in that series hit one ring out of the bulls eye.  Pretty close. SH: still Not Impressed.

The .270 was already set up and it has a scope so it was easier, but then I tried shooting standing up.  Oh ho.


Brace elbow on the sling. Bring up the barrel, exhale, squint through the scope.  Gun moves.  Need to breathe. Start over.

…ended up low and left, but still on the paper.

Adding in the adrenaline of looking at a live target could cause the accuracy to be further compromised.  I will use the gun with the scope, at least to start with.

I’ve almost got all my stuff together for the week-long trip. It’s a lot of stuff!

My stuff, gun stuff and HORSE stuff.

Yep.  Squirt gets to go.  Penny is elk-colored.  She is staying home!

Horses are often used by elk hunters to get into the back country, but we can drive in.  Squirt might get to push trespassing cattle off the ranch, but her real job (along with the old hands Alameda and Cinco), will be packing elk quarters out of the field, back to “headquarters.”

Alameda and Cinco are inseparable!

Leave Sunday!  Who Hoo!

P.S. Squirt also went to work cows in the arena in Belen twice this week and we had a lot of fun!  She was bright, light on her feet, and she really wanted to cow up!

Squirt: in case anyone forgot what she looks like! (She is cuter in person.)


About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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4 Responses to Squirt goes Elk Hunting

  1. Doranna says:

    Wowza! I hope you have a grand time–and come back with PICTURES! And a BLOG!

    PS Omigosh, it’s raining–!

  2. patty says:

    Definitely! Maybe two blogs!

  3. Marilyn says:

    This has zilch to do with this week’s blog, but I thought you might like to know I tracked down — and thoroughly enjoyed — a copy of DARK SUNSHINE, in the process discovering the author also wrote one of my other favorite books when younger: GOLDEN SOVEREIGN, and that there are apparently a couple other books about the characters in that book. Alas, the used copies are more than I can consider.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. patty says:

    Hi Marilyn–That is fun news! I must go back to that blog myself and write down a number of the titles others mentioned because it seemed there were some real gems in there! So many books! So little time!

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