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August 22, 2008

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The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Elk Head

A couple of days ago, I visited an old friend in Vermont. In 1973, I had given him the mounted head of an elk I had killed the year before in Montana. It was a 6x6, and I think I was prouder of that animal than anything else I had ever taken. I lost 30 pounds in order to be able to climb the mountain where he lived and I shot him on a day when the snow was up over your knees and it was 15 below that morning.

But I had not been to visit my friend in something like 25 years, and my memory of the elk head was not accurate. I recalled it as being a massive beast with a humongous spread of antlers. It is not; it is indeed a 6x6, but it’s a small bull. If you saw him in a herd you wouldn’t look twice at him. But he was the first elk I ever took, and to me he was the greatest wapiti ever collected.

Your memories—particularly the fond ones—rarely match up with reality. If you have a choice, stick with memories.


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Jim in Mo.

I just googled 'Numrich gun parts' and they have parts for model 49 repeater or 49 single shot.

Jim in Mo.

You brought back two recollections. The best is my 4 yr old sons first fish which is always a bluegill, pictures are taken and child is told how great he did. Fast forward 7yrs and same son catches first largemouth bass.
Still get ribbed today about not catching a bass yet that big.

Clay Cooper

I like to take a fake Bull Elk of record breaking B&C and P&Y, stick it up on a hill side about 300 yards full of pyrotechnics and let some well known like Dave thinks he has the Daddy of them all in his sights and to have hidden cameras to capture it all!

Clay Cooper

It was 2 years ago or so some fisherman pulled up at the antlered skull remains of an elk in a Louisiana creek?

Jim in Mo.

Sounds like a theft gone bad.

Don’t mess with this little girl!
Coil gun

5 Gallon Propane tank explosion

Clay Cooper

Jim in Mo.
Suppose to be true. Elk habitat did include Louisiana at one time.

Jim in Mo.

They say at one time we had elk here in the heartland. Now Ky is doing a restoration project for elk. I'm wondering is it just folly, or will it work for the blue collar man? I doubt it. Prices to hunt, I'd like to see.


I have not looked into this matter other than a casual glance at a local butcher shop. While leaving a so-so buck carcuss to be sliced and packaged I happened to notice a fantasticly wide set of huge 4 x 4 mule deer antlers complete with "drops" laying on a desk in the owner's office. Go look at them he says which, of course, I did. I was awestruck by the massive tines and deep dark color of the antlers. The owner walked into the room and I asked where the buck had been killed. He only replied "pick them up". They were light as hell AND make of some kind of plastic material by a taxadermist in Billings, MT. Sure looked real and impressive. So if you guys get tired of the little antlers on your first buck or bull I am sure this guy can simply make you a replacement set. Sort of takes something out of it don't it?


Jim in Mo,
There is a population of Elk in Northen Arkansas at the Buffalo National River. Clay may could tell you if there is a season on them. BTW back before westward expansion, Arkansas was known as the Bear State. Bears have been restored in the Ozarks with bears from Michigan about 30 years ago and have a huntable population. In the White River National Refuge the original strain of bears remain and are protected but have been spotted along the Saline and Ouachita River bottoms.


Seems to me I saw some elk about halfway between St. Jo and Hannibal about ten years ago. On the other hand I am certain I saw a camel somewhere around Warsaw. And no I was not drinking.


Chad, I too hunt the haunts of used literature, looking for the trophies. I wish somebody could inform me of the all the names some of these writers were published under. I believe Jack O'Connor went by a few names and George Nonte went by a few dozen. The best local place to look for old books and used magazines also happens to be the home of the "Members Only Adult Section" in the back room. Often the parking lot is full and I am the only one in the front half of the building.

Clay Cooper

Jim in Mo.
Reintroducing Elk? I hope it works and doesn’t flop like it did in the area of Page Oklahoma. They poached them out faster than they can bring them in! Haven’t been down their lately but the last time, some fella said I was trespassing on his land! Should have seen that ol’boys face when I told him who I was. He needed a change of pants he did!!!

Clay Cooper

O’yes do we have Elk!

The best place to spot Elk is on AR43 at Beechwood AR, between the junction of AR21 & AR43 near Boxley and AR43 & AR74 near Ponca. I see them every time in the mornings when driving thru and there is one big Ol’Boy in their 8x7! And yes, it’s within the Park boundaries!


Dave: At least it took 35 years for you to see the groundshrink in your elk. I've found that in the case of black bears the groundshrink is often immediate.

Clay Cooper

Clays thought for the day,

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”
-Joseph Stalin

Now that should send shivers down your spine thinking Barack Obama and Joe Biden as his vice presidential in the White House!

Dr. Ralph

Reminds me of a friend of mine Ish. He shot a buck with huge antlers, a nice ten pointer by any one's standards but the spread was tiny... in fact the horns almost touched when they came back together except that one was about two or three inches lower than the other. Next thing I know he's got his rack mounted on a doe's head and the spread has grown dramatically and somehow perfectly aligned. It ain't right.


My first buck came in my third year of hunting. It was also my first deer I had see in my first three years of hunting that had horns. It was a beautiful 6 pointer and my father was so proud he had it shoulder mounted. After 10 years I came home and looked at the mount and it seemed rather small, beautiful, perfect beams, but on the small side. My father's explanation was that all horns shrink over time. I have a snap shot of the day that we took the deer. I was 14. It does in deed look smaller now. It is one of those deer that, seen on tv, would be a deer to "let grow a couple of years" even though the deer was older and was probably just not fed optimally. I would never had thought to let it go but it is an eye opener. I have shot deer with much bigger racks but nothing was as thrilling as that first "big buck" and I keep that mount of my beautiful beast that I took first with my ole 30 30. Hunting is like a love affair. You always remember your first with a little bit of magic that makes everything much more perfect than it really was.

Jim in Mo.

What you probably saw was a game farm. In N. Mo theres farms that produce 'exotic' cuts of meat for restaurants, such as elk/bison/imu etc. Never heard of a camel ranch though, you sure there's not a half pint of schnapps under the truck seat? HaHa

Jim in Mo.

Yes I know about the bear in Ark. A friend has a small hunting cabin with bear scratches around the door and windows. We've had some bears migrating up here over the years but the conservation dept. refused to acknowledge them. In essence the locals must be hallucinating. They finally admitted an increasing presence after a few were killed harrasing farm animals. One interesting thing thats come along the past few years is an expanding range of wild/ferrel hogs. Open year round and deer hunters are encouraged to have at 'em. One caveat, make sure they don't have ear tags, farmer Jones wouldn't be pleased.


Memories may be all we will have depending on wins the election in November.

Steve Ferber

Five or six years ago I missed a proud and prancing 7x7 elk within a herd of cows and minor bulls, in Wyoming, at an elevation of 10,000 feet from an up-hill distance of 340 yards.

Acccurately measured with a binoc/rangefinder combo by my First-Rate guide, I even got to lay prone for the shot. It was a stupid miss.

Only when we got back to camp was the ugly reason for the lousy shot determined. The more I think about the event--the bigger the beast gets. It might have only been a 6x6 but only the frustrated guide would know for sure today...and he commited suicide.


Jim in Mo,

Thanks for looking that up for me; I really appreciate it! Last time I looked -- several years ago -- the particular parts were out of stock... My biggest challenge now is finding time for one more project!

Del in KS

Jim in Mo,

If you drive I-70 west of Topeka there used to be a pasture with 2 camels in it on the south side right next to the highway. Last couple years they were gone when we go out for Pheasant and ducks.

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