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Women and Youth Hunters
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Dorn's First MZ Elk

Women & Youth Muzzleloaders

Day 1

Okay, I finally made it to the range to work on my long shots. Didn't have enough time to work on the grouping, but I can hit the target, and I can hit the kill zone, even off hand so its a green light for hunting.

Unnnnnnnnnnnfortunately the elk took the afternoon off and laid low. Steve dropped me off at the top of the hill, then took our neighbor up and around to look for the bucks they spotted earlier in the day. I had to laugh at them from across the ravine. Jim is hearing impaired and has no idea of the amount of noise he makes walking through the woods. It sounded like a herd of elephants was making their way through the trees.

I made my way up and down, over the ravines and fingers. I started having all kinds of flashbacks as soon as we drove up, this was the site of my head-first plunge into the 'cactus crevice' a couple of years ago....bad memories! I shake the feeling and hum the 'Mission Impossible' song as I pick my way across the hillside covered with yucca and scrub oak. I'm not kicking any thing up as I walk along, and my humming hasn't scared anything so I think its safe to assume that I am alone in the ravine. I find a nice little spot that looks out over a creekbed, a meadow and the fork where two ravines meet. Perfect! I sit and wait...and wait, and wait. By now the mood has switched and I'm humming the new Taco Bell song 'My Chalupa' while my stomach growls in harmony. I'm starving, and there are no elk! I sit on a rock, resisting the temptation to sing out loud. The coyote choir is already in full swing.

Have you ever tried to 'will' the light not to fade? I tried so hard to ignore the steadily falling dark but when visibility is 50 yards, its time to call it a day. Soooo I sang the last chorus of My Chalupa and stood up. Unfortunately my chalupa was asleep! Try walking through the brush and yucca and cactus with no feeling in your butt! It ain't easy let me tell you!

Soooooooo, I finally made it up the hill and to the road where Steve was to pick me up. He finally showed up but didn't see me sitting on the log so he turned around and drove off back up the hill. I wasn't happy when I finally reached him. At least I had the feeling back in my cheeks!

Our neighbor shot at a buck and thought he hit it, but they were not able to find the trail before the darkness set in. The guys will be out there at first light though looking for it. And my guide for the day...6-Shot! He's so excited to finally get to go out, even if he can't hunt.

So now I'm off to bed, got to get up early, and this daylight savings is going to cut an hour off of my down time... ewwwww, I hate that!

Day 2

I'm going to cut to the chase right now, I didn't see squat! Well, thats not true. We did come across some deer, in fact we had a nice little 3X3 buck cross 45 yards in front of us (6-Shot and me), and we watched a group in a meadow about 500 yards away that we could easily have moved in on...if we had to.

Unfortunately NO ELK! We saw a cute little grumpy faced porquepine (they're adorable!), a baby chipmunk, a cottontail, an eagle, several hawks...but no elk! We even saw a rainbow in the mist (beautiful!) and I made shadow figures on the low hanging clouds in the sunlight, but no elk!

My neighbor found his deer, unfortunately while he had been looking at a buck, his gun was aimed at a doe. Apparently his scope was set too close and all he could see was hair...and thinking it was the buck he took the shot. Needless to say he got a fine and points assessed against his license. He spend the whole day kicking himself in the butt. I have to admire him for reporting it though, it would have been easy enough to walk away from the carcass and pretend it never happened.

I have to say though that it was a great day of hunting. I spend many hours pounding on the key board trying to explain to Anti-hunters that hunting isn't all about killing. Its about tracking your prey, its about knowing their habits, their lives, their habitat and patterns. In fact hunting an animal and killing an animal are 2 entirely different acts. Today I hunted with my son. We learned alot in the time we spent in the woods. For instance I learned that his boots are loose rock magnets, and every other rock he steps on is loose and wobbles. And he learned that my stomach really growls loudly when I don't eat breakfast, and will continue to do so until it is fed. I learned that my son likes stepping on animal pooh, and the fresher the better. 6-Shot learned that his mother is afraid of heights...after he took her to the top of the mile high cliff!

Saw the most beautiful thing today, after I stopped hyperventilating at the top of the cliff. The mist rolled in, or actually a low hanging cloud moved in, and visibility was at about 40 yards. I was huffing my breath out so that the steam from my lungs could join the mist. Okay, stupid, but I was having fun. Even tried to huff some smoke rings but it didn't work. Then the sun broke through and I saw it... a rainbow. And it was curved right over my shadow on the clouds. Can't tell you how awesome it was, to be surrounded by mist, with a sun beam breaking through enough to cast my shadow on the clouds, and a rainbow overhead. Gabe pulled out his picture of our friend Nolan, who's ashes were scattered near by, and said "Think he has anything to do with this?". You know what, I do! We didn't bring home an elk today, but wow, what a day!


Day 3

1 flintlock + 1 round ball + 90 yards offhand + 1 excellent tracker + 1 very determined Dorn = 1 very dead elk! YEEEEEHAAAAAWWWWW!

Thanks to each and everyone of you who had a part in educating me, giving me confidence, and putting that beautiful rifle and all the accessories that came with it. You were all there with me and you all made this dream come true for me.

Got so much to do, still have to skin it out, and then practice shooting clay pigeons to prepare for opening of pheasant season next weekend. Will tell the story later this evening when I get back.