By: Parrey Cremeans
After we wrap up our early season hunting in California, I may be helping a friend of mine guide one of my good friend’s daughter, who has cystic fibrosis, on a special elk hunt. This elk hunt will be inside an enclosure, and we’re hoping she will take a bull that scores at least 330 to 340 inches. This elk hunt will be a management hunt to try and take an elk that the outfitter wants to remove from his herd, and that he’s donating to this hunt.
I know there’s a lot of controversy about hunting enclosures. However, many of the enclosures in Texas and New Mexico contain thousands and thousands of acres behind high fence. For instance, one of the ranches that we hunt in Old Mexico has just under 70,000 acres with a 12,000-acre enclosure. I could take someone through the middle of that 12,000 acres, blindfold him, turn him around three, four or five times and leave him there. It would probably take us a month to find him.
On that hunt in Old Mexico, we take hunters to desert bighorn sheep and big mule deer. We can hunt the desert bighorn sheep from November to mid-March. We hunt the desert mule deer in December and January during the rut. This ranch in Old Mexico also has Coues deer - all free range. To hunt mule deer there, our hunters can hunt in an enclosure or for free range mule deer. Our hunters usually take mule deer bucks that will score from 170 to 180 inches on that ranch. Numbers of non-typical, heavy-antlered mule deer live on this ranch. Just about every other year one of our hunters takes a mule deer there that scores 200 inches or more.
After we leave Texas and the enclosure elk hunt, I’ll be going to New Mexico to guide elk hunters for Mossy Oak. I’ll probably purchase a black bear tag to hopefully be able to take a black bear after the person I’m guiding fills his elk tag, depending on how many days are required to get my hunter the elk he wants to take with a bow.
I don’t like to hunt the same animals that the people I’m guiding are hunting, because if I get really lucky and take a really nice animal that one of my clients could have taken, I don’t feel that’s fair. My job as an elk guide is to try and help the individual I’m guiding find and take the bull of his or her dreams. So, after I help my Mossy Oak hunter get his elk, I may spend another day or two hunting black bear, if we’ve seen good numbers of black bear while elk hunting.
For information on cooking elk and mule deer, you can download a free book, “Miz Denise’s Outdoor Cooking: More Than 35 Recipes for Elk and Mule Deer,” from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.