I did feel my age when field dressing the elk alone, a task not easy for a couple of folks, a strong gal or guy. Decided I would not do that again, reason enough to carry a phone. And Sarah was not exactly brimming with excitement about packing out the meat even though the route was all downhill. In that regard, I’m done hunting deep country, look for elk in terrain close to home that enables a downhill exit after harvest and is near a man-made trail where I can use my sled and/or mountain bike plus trailer for the haul.
While not happy about the labor of hauling out the meat, Sarah was engrossed with the final field butchering. Reminded me of our Alaska moose hunt 20 years before, her first ever hunt. After the big bull was down, I was surprised that Sarah got right into the blood and guts of the butchering task. Said deep time welled in her, felt an imperative to get the meat back to the ‘village’, work purposefully and industriously. Hmmmm… Is that the ancient genes flickering within every one of us that date back to a time when life depended upon our relationships with wild animals and the well being of everyone in the community? The presence of other predators- bears and wolves chief among them – that would appropriate the carcass were part of Sarah’s inspiration too. It’s a reality that drove ancient brethren together and is as real today as it was then in places like Alaska and Idaho.
The elk home, we hang the meat to cure thence bone, cut, grade and package into steaks, roasts, hamburger, fondue, stew and jerky. For us, it’s a year supply of locally harvested, supremely organic meat, which we’ll also be using on our Walk About with llamas. Trout, fresh caught, from the various streams and lakes we pass will also be on the menu. Maybe rock chuck too? Sarah??