Elk Hunting Trip 2018

*Warning: This post contains information on hunting and pictures of animals shot and butchered.  If you are a meat eater but prefer to pretend that the meat you eat doesn’t actually come from a living animal, do not read this post.  If you are vegetarian, well…we understand that each animal has a life and we do our best to respect that life and the environment they live in.  We will just have to agree that we disagree.

This was an exciting hunt because it was the first year that our oldest two sons got drawn for tags.  In Arizona you go through a lottery on what unit you are allowed to hunt and if you can shoot a bull (male) or cow (female) elk.  This year my husband, 14 year old, and 12 year old all got cow tags.

Before we could even go we needed to find a farm hand to watch all the critters.  Thankfully friends, Trevin and Calli (and their mom!) were available to help!! They did a wonderful job and allowed us to get a little R&R.

It was certainly a mad dash to make it to AZ with enough time to hunt before the hubby had to report back for a mission but thankfully we have driven I40 over 21 times (that we can remember) in the past 15 years.  We have our “secret” spots to eat lunch and sleep.  I LOVE sleeping at our favorite rest stops!!  I know truckers/truck stops get a bad rap but our family loves them (well, at least the ones we have marked as our favorites).

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This year it was COLD!  Normally we are in shorts and trying to figure out how to keep the elk cold enough until we can butcher.  This year however it was highs in the 40’s with a constant wind and lows in the 20’s.  Beautiful actually for hunting.  Even the wind helped.

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I can’t tell you what unit we hunt in (family secret) but I can tell you it is north of Flagstaff. Anthony has been hunting there ever since he was a kid and he has a “secret” spot that we call the ROCK.

After setting up camp Anthony, Adam, and Justin verified their guns.  We got Adam a new 30.06.  Justin borrowed his TaTa’s 7mm-08.

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The hunt began that next morning.  We had three days to fill our tags get everything butchered.  Anthony tagged out that first morning with a nice size cow elk.  Garrett, even though not yet able to hunt, followed along that first day.  He will be able to take Hunter’s Safety this year in hopes of getting drawn in 2019.

The littles and I hung out.  Enjoyed fun breakfast snacks and hiking.

Adam tagged out that first evening.  With the wind we weren’t able to hear shots but the first thing he did when he jumped out of the truck was run up to me with his blood stained hands (true evidence of the kill!) and ask if I wanted a hug. LOL (I love him and love hunting but…no thank you. LOL)

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His cow was HUGE!!  Seriously looked the size of a bull and when hung next to Anthony’s.  LOL well, lets just say Anthony has a great sense of humor as everyone made sure to share jokes the rest of the hunt. 🙂

Seeing the joy on Adam’s face as he recounted the story of shooting his first elk warmed my heart.

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Adam next to his first cow elk (Anthony’s hanging next to it) 🙂

Justin went out with his brothers the following day and saw a nice one. But something must have rattled the scope because after verifying accuracy his gun at 100 yards he was shooting two feet low and one foot left.  Thankfully his shot was a miss but unfortunately it was too late to find another and tag out.

Now the “work” part of hunting.  We know lots of people who take their elk or deer to a butcher.  I guess that would be easier but…we choose to do it ourselves.  It is a team effort.  Everyone (starting age 6 and up) gets to cut, trim, and process the meat.  Most of the gals are in the kitchen grinding, weighing, and packaging the meat (I like this better because it is warmer in the kitchen and I get to verify the serving sizes that are being packaged).

Thankfully we had our third and last day to process both.  We took almost a full one back home with us and left the rest in the freezers of Anthony’s family.  Then the mad dash back home.

Now to prep for the midwest Whitetail Deer hunt!  Personally this is my favorite animal to hunt.  I LOVE the taste of venison and love the suspense when all the squirrels in the area begin to sound like Da Turdy Point Buck I grew up singing and dreaming about.  My Yooper friends and family know what I’m talking about.  LOL for the rest of you, here ya go! 🙂

Love, Anthony & Mariel

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