My elk hunting buddy Jimmy Primos excitedly shared his elk stalking thrills with us all back at camp.
Seems he and his Hill Ranch Colorado guide Paul had heard a squealing bull elk up over the next ridge, with the subtle “mews” of cow elk echoing from the stunning wilderness forests all around.
Carefully playing the wind for a sneaky approach, they cautiously made their way up the steep, thick timbered Rocky Mountain slopes with visions of majestic stags and gorgeous venison-bearing beasts before them.
Ever so slowly getting closer and closer to the sounds of bugling bulls, they finally peered over the dense oak puckerbrush with high hopes of pulling the trigger on one of America’s most impressive big game animals.
There in the small clearing was indeed a wonderful trophy, but not the kind you can eat or hang on the wall. However, this particular trophy is appreciated by all human beings as the commodity by which Jimmy and I were able to get to Colorado for our dream elk hunt.
The squealing sounds that lured my friends up and over the mountain wasn’t elk speak, but rather energy speak, as the pumpjack creaked and groaned away pumping natural gas from far beneath the pristine wilderness mountain top terrain.
Here on the vast Hill Ranch outside of Trinidad, Colorado, like thousands and thousands of privately owned properties across America, wildlife and flora and fauna rich wilderness thrives side by side with gas, oil, shale, coal, wind, solar and hydro driven energy production.
Our energy requirements and love of wild things are not only not mutually exclusive, they are mutually beneficial.
From the lichen enhancing heat from Alaska pipelines benefitting caribou, to the game rich biodiversity of reclaimed coal mines in the east, the great fishing around oil platforms in the oceans, wildlife populations actually increase and expand as a result of energy development.
Sorry Al Gore, but the polar bears floating away on the ice floe is what polar bears do, Mr. Bozo scam artist.
I just spent the week getting my Rocky Mountain high elk fix in with my wonderful son Toby and a camp full of great Americans, where we were surrounded by the healthiest elk and mule deer herds to be found anywhere in the world.
Throughout the gorgeous, healthy landscape, dotting the coniferous forested mountains were methane gas wells, running 24/7/365, surrounded by herds of elk, mule deer galore, more black bears and cougars than ever in recorded history, eagles, songbirds of every description, marmots, ground squirrels, porcupines, gophers, coyotes, badgers, bobcats and every indigenous species of critter that Jeremiah Johnson probably encountered, just more of them.
Long known for its coal and gold mining, eternal timber production, cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and various agriculture in the bottomlands, the wild Colorado we enjoyed this opening week of elk and deer season in the Rockies proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the enviro-whackos must have started doping it up many years before it was legalized in these parts.
Hunters from around the world will once again descend on these game rich traditional hunting grounds and like my son and I, will harvest big and small game in record numbers while energy production rages on nonstop all around us.
I didn’t get fooled by the elk sounding squeaks of a pumpstation, but I did merrily leap up a steep mountainside one fine morning to ambush a regal old stag with my Savage .300 Winchester Magnum rifle and the aim-small-miss-small sniper discipline that my dear old dad taught me.
The soul stirring excitement of another phenomenal annual hunt was captured by Toby running our Spirit of the Wild vidcam for all the world to see on Outdoor Channel, how the old Motor City guitar player gets high on nature while providing the most delicious, natural, renewable, healthy, nutritious, organic, free range protein available to mankind to my family, friends, neighbors and charities. And lots of it!
As we loaded up the stunning antlers, hide and sacred flesh into our pickup truck, we did not have to be reminded about our inescapable consumerism, or how hunters just live it more honorably and honestly, naturally sharing this sacred earth with our brothers the beasts, and how we need to fuel our trucks to get the job done.
You can’t grill it till you kill it, and you can’t hump it till you pump it.
We will burn some wood to cook our elk meat this fall, then plant some new trees next spring to replace the ones we use. Conservation is indeed the “wise use,” and like hunters and responsible consumers everywhere, we enjoy using God’s creation wisely.