Finally Meat in the Freezer

“Ah!”  The freezer will have some meat after all.  The picture is of a small bull elk  I recently shot on a working cattle farm here in Michigan.  This particular farm consist of a section (mile x a mile) of high fence, due to the elk planted about 20 years ago.  It is a working farm, and the elk do alot of damage to the corn.  The farmer sells 10 crop damage permits each year, as regulated by the DNR, and I bought one this year.  This is a private herd and the hunt is not to be confused with wild unfenced Michigan elk.  It’s not a game ranch, just a well-to-do farmer who enjoys seeing elk roam his property.  He has to “cull” some animals every year to keep a balanced herd.

That being said it was exciting just the same.  There were cows and a few horses on the property, and hay had been dropped in one of the fields for them to feed on.  I was told that the elk would start entering the field just before dark, from the swamp.  As I sat in a blind, at the edge of the woods an eagle landed in a tree, not far away.  Before I could get my camera out he flew across the field, and perched in a tree out of camera range.  Around 4:00 p.m. a pack of coyotes started yipping down in the swamp.  I thought that might put a damper on any elk moving, but it didn’t.  Shortly thereafter elk started wandering into the field, and several made their move toward the hay.  I noticed two cows and a lone bull about 200 yards across the field, but they really seemed nervous.  I glassed him for several minutes and decided to take him if I got a chance.  At around 120 yards they started to turn and head back for the thick stuff, and it was now or never time for me.

I put the cross-hairs of the 30-06 on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger.  He never reacted to the hit, but fell in a heap after running about 50 yards.  Elk are tough, as there was no exit wound.  The shot was well placed, and I have some great meat going in my freezer, even if it isn’t deer venison.

I’m sure some of my readers would have a problem with a high fence hunt, and wouldn’t even call it hunting.  Trust me I had very mixed emotions going into this “hunt” myself.  The land was wild, and the evidence of that ( deer, turkey, coyote, eagles, and elk ) reflected that wilderness experience.  But it was fenced in, and that certainly does take away from any real thoughts about “fair chase!”  All in all I enjoyed the various natural happenings going on around me, and me and my family will have lots of corn fed elk steaks to eat this winter.  For me it was a good way to spend time in the woods, and it gave me a chance to fill the empty freezer.  I’ll say this “It beats going to the meat counter at the grocery store!”


2 Responses to “Finally Meat in the Freezer”

  1. Arthur says:

    Congrats, Mike. I know hunts like this stir mixed emotions in hunters, but I’m of the mindset that, if it’s legal, and if the kill is efficient and quick as possible, then go for it.

    It sounds like a one-of-a-kind experience, it provided food for your family, and that is all that matters.

    Venison, venison!!!

  2. Phillip says:

    Sounds good to me, Mike. Sure, it wasn’t the big country hunt of our dreams, but you made as good a hunt of it as you could, you killed cleanly and humanely, you did a service for the farmer (even though you had to pay to do it), and you’re making great use of the game… those are all good things.

    It doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a big country hunt, and it doesn’t change you as a hunter… or it shouldn’t. It only means that you’ve expanded your options, based on one of the many reasons you hunt.