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  1. #1
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    Eating Tags: The Whole Experience!

    Well, here it is going on November and I've eaten two valuable elk tags. Not for lack of trying mind you. My Wyoming archery tag was left unfilled due to poor range estimation and an arrow thus sent low. Several opportunities were "passed" on, and two other bulls of my hunting partners made trips to the freezer partly on my back. Then came a Colorado rifle tag that went down a bit smoother given the company it was consumed in as we all made our choice of tag sandwiches.

    Eating tags is a bitter sweet experience. Bitter in the aspect that money and time were spent in the fruitless (meatless) pursuit of our quarry. We do not hunt to take pictures, we hunt to kill, to eat, to fulfill our role as the supreme predator and when we fail to achieve our goals, for whatever reason we are left feeling less... and yet, more. We also hunt to reclaim and make alive again a part of ourselves that our modern world kills, our role, our rightful place, our true knowledge of life. It is a sweet experience in that along the path to a failed season we experience many successes, learn many lessons, and hopefully share many indelible experiences that become part of who we are as hunters.

    As I reflect upon the past two months of Autumn I cannot help but think about how much was learned. I learned to trust my calling, my scouting, my abilities to find elk, to pack meat... the lessons were numerous and well learned and will not soon be forgotten. However, there is more. The fellowship that comes only within the frame of the hunt. Spending time with people hitherto largely unknown and learning from them, helping them, sharing with them has made this autumn one of firsts, one of renewal, and one to usher in new traditions. This season was also one for time with family. My father had always dreamed of a horse back drop camp hunt in a wilderness area. So, after some research and planning we rode high into the Colorado mountains to fulfill his dream and hopefully kill his first elk. Long story short the hunt was magnificent, the kill never came, and my father left with a full heart and the knowledge that he could "still do it."

    The "cost" of those tags is more than balanced out by time spent in the mountains and the opportunity to be with my new friends and my family. The movie "Searching For West" has done quite a bit to put things in perspective for me this season. It is not all about the kill, as I once was wont to believe, we are predators but we are more as well, we are intelligent and thoughful stewards of all that lies before us. Therefore it is up to us what we take from our experiences afield and I for one don't mind taking home unfilled tags and pockets full of memories and lessons.

    I encourage all the rest of my brothers and sisters with filled or unfilled tags to look more deeply into the true reasons we hunt. Make all your time afield count.

    With all that said, anybody have thoughts on tag recipes? Yummm!

  2. #2
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    It will sure will add some fiber to your diet!
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

  3. #3
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    hell it might even make some of those ducks taste better this fall time in the hills none the less

  4. #4
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    Well said.

    But eating tags sucks! I ate all 4 of mine last year, didn't fill a single tag! Bear, Deer, Elk, Deer. I'm 2 for 2 so far this year, and it does make it that much sweeter when u get back to droppin em.

  5. #5
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    Ouch! I hope it does not come to that. Ate a bear tag last spring too... however, there is a lot of bird hunting left and still whitetails to chase come November 1st. Sounds like this fall is treating you better though, congrats.

  6. #6
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    Good job Grizz!! Glad to hear you and your father had a good time! There's always a time while I'm out hunting that I think to myself, my hunt feels successful even if I don't get to punch my tag. Wether it be seeing the amazing sunrise/sunset on the mountains, close animal encounters, being deep in the thick timber listening to bulls bugle or even just the lessons that better you for next time, it's not always about the kill! I have had a great season so far getting a turkey, bear, 3 deer and I'm still hopeful on my elk tag!

  7. #7
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    Nice work and Congrats Jen!

  8. #8
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    Great topic and post Grizz. On hunting TV shows, hunting is almost always centered around the kill shot. I’m not hunting just for that kill shot alone.

    Each of us should ask, What’s our story? What drives you to be a hunter? What makes you excited? For me hunting can be very private moment. It can also can be a spiritual moment. Each hunter perhaps looks at it differently, shares it differently and how they are striving to meet their goals. I'm in it for the experience, the quest, the adventure, not just the outcome alone.

  9. #9
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    I have not filled a lot of tags in my lifetime.

    I used to be bitter about it, but now I realize that it's part of life. There is a reason it is called hunting and not killing. Not 100% of all tags should end in an animal.

    I have had guided hunts go without an animal, one of those was EXPENSIVE!

    I know folks that have had bongo and lord derby eland hunts go without an animal. Hunts that were $70,000 plus.

    What's worse, to eat a tag or wound and lose an animal?

  10. #10
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    You guys are all throwing out great stuff. Wounding an animal is by far much worse than not filling a tag. I spent the entire season trying to catch up with the bull I stuck on opening morning. Spent the month before season opened looking for a big bull, found him, figured him out and stuck him one hour into opening day... in the brisket! I spent the entire afternoon tearing that drainage apart looking for him. The next morning I went into the next drainage over the ridge on a hunch and found my bull in there already scabbed over and placidly grazing in a small park. I never could seal the deal on that bull all season long and saw him numerous times the last few always with cows. At least he was seemingly okay but still... I framed the broken arrow around Mark Drurie's saying, "Plan the Execution, Execute the Plan." It hangs in a prominent spot where I see it everyday to remind me of the lesson.

    Canvsbk,
    You are absolutely correct... I've not taken shots as well because I did not want the season to be over so quickly only to eat my tag later on. Good thing there are pheasants and waterfowl!

 

 

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