Highway Robbery: Roadkill Meat Intended for Charity Stolen in Alaska

Roadkill is worth something in Alaska. Dinner. And the goods are getting stolen. 

According to Associated Press, thieves are lifting dead moose off the road before Alaska can claim the carcasses. 

Moose killed by cars are state property in Alaska, and a program run by state troopers routinely salvages usable roadkill as meat for the needy. 

“Sometimes there will be 10 people waiting for this moose to be delivered,” says Don Dyer, Alaska Moose Federation director. “Then we have to call them up and say, ‘Sorry, this moose has been stolen.’”

At least two dead moose between Anchorage and Denali National Park disappeared before the federation picked them up this summer. That’s more than 1,000 pounds of meat illegally stashed somewhere.

In the last year, the federation salvaged 500 moose. The formal retrieval program system started in 2012. It allows federation members to pick up a dead moose and move it from the road to a safer area for butchering by people signed up to receive the meat. 

“At 3 o’clock in the morning, at 30 below in February, you might have a group of grandmothers out there cutting up a moose on the side of the road in a snow storm with kitchen knives,” Dyer says. “The officer would have to sit there for an hour or two hours while they’re cutting up this moose, protecting them from traffic.”

Most roadkill is safely salvageable in Alaska due to the colder climate keeping meat fresh for longer. 

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Wisconsin Elk Gain Numbers with Jackson County Reintroduction

After vanishing from the area’s landscape 150 years ago, elk are being reintroduced in the Black River State Forest in Jackson County, Wisconsin. Shipped from Kentucky, the first group of 23 were released in August of last year; in July of this year 50 more were released, 39 adults and 11 calves, WKBT reports.

Scott Roepke, a Wildlife Biologist with the Wisconsin DNR, explained to WKBT that “elk were a native species not only in Wisconsin but throughout the lower 48 states,” and that Jackson county is prime habitat for reintroduction, with “exceptional forage opportunities.”

However, for now the elk will stay put on the 320-acre range, with a second herd being brought to northern Wisconsin near Clam Lake. For hunters, the benefits of the reintroduction are distant, with an elk hunting season delayed for perhaps 8 to 10 years.

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Antelope: Make or Break Blind Tactics

Late summer has arrived! With the yellowing grass and soaring temperatures, August brings the anticipation of hunting big antelope bucks over waterholes. Many seasons begin in August and September and now is the time to start thinking about your perfect ground blind set up. Here are a few ground blind tactics to think about that can “make or break” your hunt this fall. Keep in mind that no two waterholes are the same. But if you’ll think about these tactics as you’re making your game plan throughout the season, you’ll be well on your way to filling your tag.

Want to punch an antelope tag this season? Add the following tactics to your bag of tricks this year.

Sun at Your Back, Antelope in Your Face

Arguably the single most important piece of a ground blind setup is where the sun will be. Whenever possible, position your blind so that the sun is at your back in the main waterhole activity hours (9am-4pm). 9am to 4pm is the time frame when the majority of antelope will water. I’m certainly not saying that you should get out of the blind at 4pm, but these are peak hours of the day. If you aren’t going to be able to hunt during those hours, maybe you’re an “after work” hunter, set the blind to where you’ll be looking east during your evening hunts. Keeping the sun at your back is a play on the strengths of an antelope (their vision) and will help make your hot hours in the blind a bit more enjoyable. Well known is the fact that antelope have incredible eyesight, if you can keep your face from glowing in the sun at the window of the blind you’ve already increased your odds significantly.

sunrise in antelope country

The sun in your face can quickly become a deal breaker when hiding out in an antelope blind.

Opening Day With No Blind Set Up?

There are a lot of people who have been there. The summer gets busy and before you know it, opening day is here and you don’t have a blind set up. Don’t sweat it. Lots of antelope have been taken out of blinds that were set up minutes before they arrived to drink. Look for ways to adapt. What structure can you use to blend in quickly and effectively?

Set ‘er Back a Bit

Sometimes it’s easy to set your blind right on the water because generally that’s where the flattest part may sit. If you can, set your blind 10-15 yards off the water. Often times this will give you a much better shot angle, as well as allowing the animals to feel a bit less pressured when they come to drink. If you can’t find a flat enough spot off the water hole, use a shovel to cut the high side and make yourself a level spot. You’ll appreciate the time you spent when you have a level place for your chair.

antelope blind

Dont’ crowd the water hole. Set your blind back and break it up with whatever structure you can find.

Leave the Windows Open

When you finish setting up your blind and are ready to leave, open the windows you’ll be shooting out of. If you’re going to set up a blind early for animals to get used to, open the windows and leave it just the way it will be when you hunt. You can also hang the shoot-through netting or some plastic grocery bags inside the blind to create movement for the animals to get used to.

Put ‘em Where You Want ‘em

Sometimes we have the “perfect” water hole. Maybe it’s a tire tank or a small reservoir that’s only 20 yards all the way across. But generally, that’s not the case. It’s disheartening when you find a waterhole with tracks leading to opposite ends of a pond and your rangefinder tells you it’s 70 yards across. Don’t worry. There is a simple solution. The simplest way that I have found to address this issue is to take a few t-posts and stick them in the ground at the water’s edge, about two feet from the water. Run the t-posts where you don’t want the antelope to drink. Finally, run a piece of fencing wire (smooth wire, barbed wire, even twine or electric fence nylon) about 2’ off the ground on the t-posts. This will deter the goats from drinking in that location.

antelope at water hole

The right tactics, at just the right time, will help put more antelope in front of your blind this season.

Use Carpet in the Antelope Blind

This is one piece of advice that gets waved off but it can make a world of difference in your hunt. This doesn’t have anything to do with the antelope, it’s about making your 14-hr day in the blind a bit more comfortable. Fact, if you’re comfortable, you’ll hunt better and longer. Take a scrap piece of carpet that is roughly the same size as your blind and use it as a floor. This does many things including preventing your blind from filling up with dust on windy days, giving you a quiet place to set your items, and allows you to take off your boots without getting stickers or anything in your socks. Will the antelope wind me? 95% of the time if an antelope is close enough to smell you, he’s already visually determined it is safe and that trumps scent in almost all cases. I’ve never seen the stinky old piece of carpet be responsible for blowing an antelope hunt.

With antelope season kicking off across the west, be sure to try these tactics to help tip the odds for success in your favor this season.

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Oct. 7 dinner and auction to raise funds to help women and girls across Wyoming

Laramie, Wyo. – The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt will hold an Oct. 7 dinner and auction at the Ranch at Ucross, located 17 miles northeast of Buffalo, to help raise funds for grants and special projects to help women and girls across the state.

The dinner starts at 6 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and a live auction. Individual tickets cost $50, and corporate tables are available. Visit wyomingwomensantelopehunt.org for information about tickets, donating items to the auction or additional sponsorship opportunities.

Leading the way as the first event of its kind for women, the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt now is in its fourth year. So far the Antelope Hunt, as well as the annual dinner, has raised more than $200,000 for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation’s mission of supporting economic self-sufficiency for women and girls. This year’s hunt will be held Oct. 6-9 and will bring together 40 female hunters from across the nation for a weekend of hunting, mentorship, and camaraderie.



About the Wyoming Women’s Foundation

The Wyoming Women’s Foundation is a priority fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation, which granted out over $6.1 million to nonprofits across the state in 2015. The Women’s Foundation builds on a permanent endowment that will ensure funding to enhance the lives of women and girls in Wyoming for generations to come. It makes grants to organizations that help Wyoming women and girls attain economic self-sufficiency, creates statewide awareness of the barriers to economic self-sufficiency, and supports systems change to eliminate those barriers. Since its inception in 1999, the foundation has invested $775,000 into almost 100 organizations. Learn more at www.wywf.org

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Deadliest Elk Shot Ever Caught On Camera

Every so often, bowhunters will encounter the skeptic that feels archery equipment is not a deadly means of killing wild game. “It’s a slow, cruel death,” they’ll say as they try to make their case.

So with archery elk season just a month away, we offer the following video to stoke the fire for big bulls in your face…and to once again put to rest the fact that a bow is as deadly a weapon as any you’ll ever hit the woods with.

Will a bow and arrow kill a big bull elk quickly and humanely? You be the judge!

Just watch as 13-year-old, Clayton Coyle, unplugs a big Wyoming bull that walks right up in his lap. It’s been a few years now, but Clayton’s elk kill continues to be one of the deadliest elk kills ever captured on camera.

Let’s hear from you? What are you thoughts on this video? The shot? And how quickly this bull bled out? Comment below and let us know what you think.

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Hunter S. Thompson’s Widow Returns Stolen Antlers to Hemingway's Home

In 1964, Hunter S. Thompson traveled to Ernest Hemingway’s home in Ketchum, Idaho, to write an essay titled “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?” This was three years following Hemingway’s death, and, evidently, the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author could not help but leave with the enormous pair of elk antlers hanging above the front door. “He got caught up in the moment,” Anita, Thompson’s widow, told BroBible. Earlier this month, more than 50 years since the theft, Anita returned the antlers to Papa’s old Sun Valley home.

 

Anita told BroBible that Hemingway’s family was “warm and kind of tickled” and that “There was no weirdness.” She and Hunter had originally “planned to take a road trip and quietly return them, and not make a thing of it,” she said, and Thompson was “actually very embarrassed by his actions.”

Thompson was a great admirer of Papa, and Anita said he traveled to Ketchum to “see just what it was about this outback little Idaho village that struck such a responsive chord in America’s most famous writer.” Perhaps, at his departure, Thompson wasn’t yet satisfied and needed to bring home a talisman of his idol. It’s not hard to imagine that Hemingway, who also had an impulsive streak, would’ve approved.

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A Backwards Elk Hunt: Why You Should Switch Up Your Public-Land Strategy This Fall

Unless you hunt private land, chances are your Western elk hunt will involve a pre-dawn race to the top of a mountain. Public-land elk follow a typical pattern throughout their range. At dusk, they drop into lush meadows, valleys, and flattops to graze on the abundant grasses found there. At dawn, they begin a scramble back into lofty, elevated hideouts characterized by dark, north faces and steep, vertical terrain. 

Elk hunters traditionally start out with the herds, following bugles in the morning darkness and then subjecting themselves to punishment by following the herds to Sherpa-required refuges. But what if you reversed the process? What if you started at the top and waited for the elk to come to you? Consider this strategy on your next elk adventure. 

To pull off this time-saving scheme, first review your past hunts and take note of where elk retired for daytime safety. North-facing slopes rank high for escape cover, but elk will also bed high on timber-covered benches and mountaintops. Use satellite images and topographic maps to pinpoint these locations. Then see if there is a realistic way to beat elk to these locations. 

Access may be possible by jumping off a National Forest Service trail and hiking a couple of miles into high country. Or you may have to pack in a camp to a location that gives you hiking options to several high retreats. Either access option gives you entrée to possible routes elk may take on their way to higher ground. Watch and listen for hints on the herd’s line of travel.
 
Beyond Location 
In addition to the complications of elevated access, you’ll be battling Mother Nature’s problematic thermals. Morning thermals plunge downward as cold air sinks. This phenomenon doesn’t reverse until midmorning or later, as the day warms. With this in mind, you’ll need to keep to one side or the other of a herd to avoid having your scent reach the elk below. 

As the herd progresses upward, the energy you saved by waiting rather than following will give you the endurance needed for a side-slope ambush. Keep a puffer bottle handy at all times to monitor the ever-changing wind directions on warm mornings. 

Even with the high-ground advantage, you’ll need to be prepared to act quickly. Elk herds often shift to a new location on a whim, especially with constant hunting pressure. You will also likely be challenged with the sounds of silence. It’s not uncommon for herds to go quiet as they amble on the last portion of their morning journey. Follow your hunch and hope you picked the right safe haven. If you end up in a bedroom with no guests, move to a location where you can monitor the most country. Elk routinely bugle from their midday beds, and in the afternoon they’ll raise a ruckus, giving you a short window for another interception before they head back down the mountain. 

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Public-Land Pronghorns: Where and How to Hunt Antelope on a Budget

Stay low,” I whispered to my son Cole. “If those bucks see any movement, they’ll blow out of here.”

It didn’t help matters that we were hunting public-land pronghorns that had been pressured more than an elementary school spelling bee champion. Reaching our destination—a high, sagebrush hill—I motioned for Cole to crawl, and we both slithered to the edge for a look below. Two bucks were just finishing their morning fill at a small reservoir. Soon, hopefully, they’d pass below, unaware of our presence. 

Cole eased the bipod-steadied rifle forward and settled in for the shot. Minutes later the bucks were within easy rifle range, and I whispered encouragement to settle his racing heart. 

The sound of the bullet hitting home heralded a successful ending. This may sound like an easy hunt, but the public-land caper involved months of planning. In addition to several scouting missions, I secured landowner permission to access the rear of the public parcel with a sweat-equity barter. Anyone else hunting the area had to hike several miles to see the same vista.

Public Picks
For bowhunters, two states shine as top places for a public-land pronghorn hunt. The first-place honor goes to Wyoming, and here’s a spoiler: Wyoming is also the best state for a firearm hunt. The Cowboy State has more pronghorns than residents, and 50 percent of the state is in public ownership. Focus your efforts on Bureau of Land Management holdings and look to the southwest corner of the state for record-book trophies. If you don’t want to wait several years for preference-point support, the central part of the state brims with public-land units offering a higher percentage of success. Both the northeast and southeast also offer great hunting, but there are fewer public-land opportunities. 

Although Wyoming is a top pronghorn state, you’ll still have to draw a license. Fortunately, the large number of units combined with lots of pronghorns increases your odds, especially if you avoid trophy units. 

South Dakota gets the second-­place nod for bowhunting. Sure, it fluctuates between third, fourth, and fifth place for population density, but you can’t go wrong with a guaranteed archery tag. Combine that with fewer than 2,000 pronghorn bowhunters annually and a scattering of public land to create a quality hunt. You’re not restrained by units, so you can wander all of western South Dakota.

Look to the northwest corner and scout lands set aside in the state’s popular Walk-In Program, which opens up more than 1 million acres of private land annually, much of it in pronghorn country. Your backup plan should include BLM tracts, portions of the Custer National Forest, and three national grasslands—Buffalo Gap, Grand River, and Fort Pierre. 

Rifle hunters should consider Big Sky Country. Montana ranks second to Wyoming in pronghorn density, and as you would in Wyoming, you’ll have to draw a tag to play. Rebounding populations help boost your odds of securing that tag. You can run across pronghorns consistently anywhere in the state, save for the northwest. Look to the eastern half of the state, with Region 7 as a focus. Not only does it hold some of the best pronghorn hunting, it includes 3.8 million acres of public land. That’s not counting the 2.37 million acres enrolled in the state’s Block Management Areas, which open private land to the public.

What about other states? Colorado has a high density of antelope but limited public lands in the unlimited archery permit areas of the southeast. Rifle licenses in the northwest require years of accumulating preference points. A waiting list for licenses in Arizona also keeps most hunters looking elsewhere, and New Mexico’s random draw requires the luck of an airline passenger getting upgraded to first class on New Year’s Eve. 

Boots on the Ground
No matter where you choose to hunt them, know that public-­land pronghorns feel hunting pressure. You’ll need to walk into country not marred with roads. A good goal is to locate several parcels that don’t have roads within at least 2 square miles or more of their interior. The majority of Americans are out of shape—70 percent of them, according to government data—so you simply need to push past the crowd. 

Don’t overlook rough country, either. Even though pronghorns prefer to lounge in open country, they’ll dive into canyons and hide on the edges of timber once hunting pressure peaks. I’ve seen that behavior in Wyoming and Montana. Pronghorns there have no aversion to hiding out in timbered openings at a slightly higher elevation.

Cole’s pronghorn was like that, but the feeling of public-land success made packing out feel effortless.

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