..That those words actually came out of my mouth, without a hint of intended sarcasism still has me shaking my head...
I was explaining why I hadnt been taking the girls out after birds yet this season' with a coworker named Allen when it was mentioned. He's a local of Bozeman, born and raised, and understood without even hesitating; before we continued on in our conversation about hunting and fishing (as thats pretty much all we talk about at the fly shop).
..It was a few minutes later when I stopped and had a chuckle to myself at what I'd just said and the pure absurdity of it all'...especially given everything I went through to get up here to my lifelong dream state of Montana, and to now be complacent enough I'm essentially bitching - 'I can only afford to hunt elk instead of birds' when I'm off work for a few days every week.(at a frickin fly shop)..?!
Thats not the kind of thing one should take lightly, myself especially as I could - had I not decided to throw caution to the wind instead stayed where I was unhappy - be doing something far less atttractive right now in this crazy world...
Truth is, I couldn’t have wished for a better predicament to be in and like nearly everyone else out there, have certainly faced far worse over the years leading up to this.
..And so since moving to this part of Montana I find solace in the mountains surrounding town, when things get especially tight and my future doesn’t look so bright compared to others more financially fortunate. So I go elk hunting or chase mule-deer; or at least dress the part' and do an awful lot of exhaustive hiking around areas where I see tracks and poop that is.
Sad fact is I really am flat broke and busted (again), and now with my hours being cut back already at the fly shop; it looks like this' Winter will require some sort of additional 'odd job' to get me through it.
All that concern can wait till December though, and even if I dont have the funds to pay all my bills and rent, or gas and motel to take long trips this season; I can jump in the pickup truck on any given afternoon and be in and amongst elk within 40 minutes if I plan it right(?).
Never a bad thing as long as you’re not a Brittany or GSP living in the same household; then you’re bummed – big time!
Worse, I’ve twice in the past two weeks laid my shotgun and vest near the door, torturing the two of them as I thought I could swing a bird-hunt, but then went elk hunting instead. I’m usually gung-ho the night before and will even promise them both “we’re going hunting”, but then I awake and sadly determine “a road-trip just isn’t in the budget” (note- Bozeman has little to no public bird-hunting available).
I’m also fishing a lot less since my accident. I was wading below the Dam on the Lower Madison about two weeks ago and took a tumble in amongst the boulders I won’t soon forget. In the fall I nearly broke my neck, leg, and brand new Winston B-IIIX in that order.
Little known fact, when guys who can’t afford $700.00 fly rods work in fly shops selling them; once they sell enough (12) they’re rewarded with a complimentary one (custom engraved no less, so I can’t then sell it on Craig’s List to pay my rent – which sucks as I'd been debating doing so).
Since it arrived right about the time I was in hunting-mode and nothing else, I decided last minute to “give it a go..”
Bad idea, not only was the fishing less than stellar, when I slipped on the slick rocks in the rain and smacked my skull and twisted my knee to where the bottom of my boot was up around my shoulder; I determined I’d likely never walk-and-wade ever again and instead - stick to drift-boat fishing from here on out (all this becoming much clearer after my concussion finally subsided that is).
(Above was taken only minutes before I fell)
(Ennis Lake at Dusk)
And so I’m now in my fourth week of elk season and still at it. I came very close to tagging one with bow two weeks back, but passed on the small calf at forty yards, as I was waiting for momma or something bigger to choose the same path.
Nothing did, but I knew they were nearby and rewarded with the sight of two cows and two calves the very next day, but well out of range.
They teased me into thinking they would still be nearby' every single day since then and I not surprisingly haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since...
With my hours cut the way they are currently, it appears I’ll have about 15 days remaining in the Montana Big Game Season to continue to pursue elk and deer; but am pretty sure I’ll fit a few of those into chasing after birds since my two girls won’t last another week without accompanying me on one of these camo-clad adventures...