Pringle Worthy

 

You’re just not a true Pringlite unless you’ve shot an elk in the Pringle area. Whether residents apply every year until they finally draw a tag or they’re land owners who get a tag because their land, hay and alfalfa fields, and cattle fences suffer from elk depredation, harvesting an elk; especially a bull elk, is a community tradition. Some residents wait 20 years before they draw a tag. Some are lucky enough to get a tag while still in high school. For the landowners who raise cattle, getting a tag is like a minimum R.O.A. payment for the expense and headache of having elk herds graze their property and tear up fences year round without permission so-to-speak.

I decided I needed a turn at the tag since my 14 year-old son had two sets of elk horns hanging in our shop and was taking turns getting the tag with my husband. It’s been eleven years since I got my last bull elk, which was the first one I ever shot. My daughter was a 10 month old baby then. I remember my husband having to go get her, bundle her up, and bring her in the pickup over to where we had to load my elk. That was back when we had to load it the hard way–man and woman power with the help of a hill. Now we have the DewEze bale bed pickup to hydraulically load elk. I harvested my first bull about 300 yards from our house with a borrowed left-handed bolt action 7 mm Weatherby Mag. This year I used my husband’s new gun. We call it the “Weatherbeast:” A 300 Weatherby Mag. It’s a sweet gun and want my own now.

 

Due to mid-80 degree weather and rumors that the elk herd numbers were down, not many shots were heard opening morning nor was the sight of elk horns in the back of pickups in town. I had a two week spell of not hearing or seeing any elk around in addition to not being able to do any hunting because of other commitments until last week. About 8 p.m. Wednesday night I could hear bulls bugling and cows calling in our field by the house so my husband and I came up with a game plan for the next morning according to the direction of the bugling we heard west of our house.

Thursday morning at first light we caught two bulls by surprise and I got one of them. My focus was on my aim; my husband’s focus was on the bull with the biggest set of horns. Once I got my elk, we drove the pickup over to get a better look. I got a bigger bull than my last one but there’s more to my elk hunting story than what my friends on facebook saw in the pictures I posted:

 

Unless my avid elk hunter facebook friends saw the pictures, most viewers didn’t notice what was missing but since you’re taking the time to read this blog post, you get the rest of the story. It turns out I shot the bull locals talked about that had one side of his horns broken off sometime during the summer.

My husband thought I should just say I shot a nice six (six by six) and post pictures from a side view, which I did so the flawed side was hidden behind me but I decided I still got a bigger bull than before and I didn’t have to settle for filling my tag with a cow so I have nothing to be ashamed of.

We had one of the guys working on our house’s siding take a picture of  me with my elk hunting guide husband:

Compared to other elk hunters, I know getting an elk tag every year is a privilage.

My husband already has my horns mounted to the shop rafters with all the others. Even though I was disappointed that the rack wasn’t evenly matched, I do have a nice, evenly matched beautiful set of elk ivories.  

These are my elk hunting trophy. I plan to have them made into some elk jewelry by a local jeweler that made a pendant and bracelet out of my last elk ivory set. Like my fellow ranch wife elk-hunting friend said; “It’s a girl thing.”

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About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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