Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land
When Chris Renner woke up early on a September morning this fall, elk hunting wasn’t the first thing on his mind. He had more important things to do, like bail hay. It wasn’t until about 9 a.m. that he and Frank Trenkle decided to get together and see if they could find an elk close by.
Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that simple. After all, Chris, who spent most of his life in that immediate area of western Wyoming, had been seeing a pretty sizeable herd of elk out there in noman’s land for about five years now. They had moved in around 2004, maybe from wolf pressure. Regardless of the reason, they had set up shop in the sagebrush, cactus, and occasional pivot irrigation island and were multiplying like rabbits, living fat on the hog. Maybe a little too fat, according to a few ranchers.
There was one bull in particular that had Chris’ attention, and for more than one reason. There was the obvious, of course, in that the bull had one heck of a rack on him – the kind that can keep you up late at night. That rack shone like a beacon out in that nondescript and usually uneventful landscape. But beyond that, and more a matter of principle, there was an issue that needed resolved. That bull had torn up Chris’ pivot while polishing those regal antlers, and where water and pipe mean dollars, there was a score left to settle.
If it were just a matter of going out and shooting the bull, he’d have probably met his maker quite a bit sooner. However, there were logistics and circumstances that just plain made it hard to put him in the crosshairs and squeeze a legal trigger. First, there was the private land issue. The elk spent a lot of time on it, and were provided refuge by some elk-friendly landowners. Second, when the elk did disappear, it wasn’t so easy to figure out where it was they went to. Third, it was a limited entry area, and the combination of having to have the tag and then hoping the elk would be there during that season had made it difficult to get those dots connected. And Chris would know; he had the tag in 2008 and had to take a different bull in a different area due to their conspicuous absence.
For a full account of Chris's adventure, go to page 14 in the December/January 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.