Well Then I'm Happy and Sad For You

The new/old gun I mentioned in the last post is a High-Standard R-102.  It had been my grandfather's gun.  My grandmother recently passed away.  It wasn't entirely unexpected.  She had suffered a stroke and then been in and out of the hospital.  While my mom and aunts were cleaning the house and putting things in order they found the gun.  It was up on a shelf, exactly as my grandfather had left it, with nine rounds in the cylinder.  I wouldn't have expected it to be any other way.

My grandfather carried the .22 on his hip often when we were out in the woods together.  He used it on a couple of rabbit hunts we went on.  When I carefully took aim and shot at the grouse, it occurred to me that this was likely something my grandfather had done many years ago with this same revolver.  Unlike my grandfather I sailed the first two shots right over the grouse's head.  On the third shot I aimed slightly lower and hit my mark and the circle was completed.

It isn't a terribly pretty gun.  The grips are plastic.  It isn't worth a lot of money, and the finish is worn and scratched.  What it is is a tangible connection with my past, my mother's past, my grandfather's past.  I wouldn't part with it for anything.


A Bird In the Bush, Now In Hand

Sitting in elk camp on opening day with two elk hung and skinned early left us with some time for goofing off.  We soon had the slingshot out and were putting some serious dents in some cans.  I was sitting at the end of the firing line and kept hearing rustling next to me.  After thinking the squirrels were playing jokes on me for several minutes, I finally saw the source of the rustling.  Not 15 feet away from me were two grouse.

The nice thing about elk season is that it overlaps with grouse season.  I quickly went and got my new/old revolver from the truck.  I walked around so that I had a good backstop, and upon the third .22 round I had ever shot from the gun I had bagged one of the grouse.  It was quickly cleaned skinned and placed in a dutch oven over a bed of veggies.

We covered it and placed coals from the campfire on top, replacing regularly for 45 minutes and dinner was served.


What I Found Walking In the Woods

For the last week I've been walking through the Colorado woods chasing elk.  I have been blessed in the last three years and have brought home a cow elk each year.  This year I did not draw a cow elk tag in the area I usually hunt.  This meant going into the high up places to look for bulls.

I have also been blessed with a wife who has developed a love for hunting.  She did draw a cow elk license, as did my uncle.  My wife and I got to elk camp after a long week of work.  We pulled in long after dark, plopped our sleeping bags in the canvas wall tent we share with my uncle, father-in-law, and cousin.  The morning came early and with it came a plan.  There was construction down in the valley below that was pushing the elk up around 7:00 in the morning.  We downed some coffee and quickly ate a cold breakfast in order to get into place to catch the elk on the move.

I sat with my back against a large aspen tree and watched the ridge above me where the elk might choose to cross.  After sitting for about an hour enjoying watching the squirrels play and chatter, I was jolted by a crack and a boom.  Someone had taken a shot.  I sat tight, hoping that the elk might choose to run past me.  Instead I heard several other shots, all very close.  Soon I could sit no longer and called my uncle.  I was sure that two of the shots were his.  He had a cow down and wanted my help to get in gutted and back to camp.  I found him quickly and started to help.  Several minutes later, my cousin crested the hill and told me that he would help my uncle as long as I went to help my wife with her elk.

I quickly headed over the hill to find my wife with her first elk, a small cow.  Her dad was soon there to help.  As is my wife's way, she insisted on doing most of the work of gutting the elk herself.  She had gotten it close to camp and in short order we had it back and ready to hang.  Fifteen minutes later, my uncle and cousin brought the other elk in, and we had two elk hanging in camp.  It was not yet 2 PM.  An excellent start to the season.

Pictures below the fold.