“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!”