On the west end of the ranch, T.H.(Trophy Husband) has a high fence area with a small elk herd. It’s a couple hundred acres of very rugged terrain with lots of grass and trees and hills and two creeks. The fence is about 8 ft. high. It is for trophy hunting of “exotic” type game animals. 
   
He built the fence five years ago and bought this small elk herd from some broke guy. That guy was out of cash and feed. They have a way nicer life here.
The elk are very self-sufficient in the high fence year-round. However, since Storm Center was predicting a winter “mega-storm” he wanted to feed them a big round bale of alfalfa hay. We do that for them in winter when the ground is covered. That bale is around 1500 lbs of alfalfa. He sets it down with the bale spear attached to the truck bed and cuts the twine. Then rolls it down the hill. It unrolls itself making a nice feed line while taking out everything in its path. (Trees, bushes, dogs)
We hadn’t seen any elk yet so we drove around a little bit and found them sunning themselves on a hillside.  Then there was this stampede. (only 12 second video).  When they saw the truck they jumped up and stormed right past us to the feed ground. They know the drill this time of year. I love it.

T.H. decided they were all here in one place… that is rare so….”Let’s take an inventory”
“Here, I’ll call out there tag numbers and you write them down.”
The ones with ear tags were purchased. The ones without were born on the ranch.
He walked through them while I hugged the truck in case I need to make a quick escape. He’s on his own.

They are fairly tame this time of year but are still a wild animal.  They move very quickly and know exactly where the tips of those antlers are.  When we first got them in 07 they were pretty domesticated and I tried to make pets out of them.  T.H. didn’t like it. I didn’t care. He said it was bad for hunting,  I still didn’t care.  But I don’t do it anymore.  It was bad for their longevity.
Except for that one archery hunter. My pet walked up to him and tried to get in his pocket and then he couldn’t do it. He threw his bow down and walked off. “I can’t shoot someone’s pet!” 
  It swings both ways.

Honestly, I am not anti-hunting. It is part of our livelihood.
I like game meat.  It’s organic. Everything we do is very humane.

 It’s just, at this stage of my life, I don’t want to be around killing or dead anything anymore.
 Just me. Just my choice. Same with the cattle. 

I don’t want listen to anyone talk about killing anything either.  In person or on TV.
I’m good with that.
Not in a rude way.  I just go do something else.

I live-trap raccoons, possums and even mice that need relocated.
 I know…I’m getting eccentric
A fur sack full of cute!

One mom with all the babies.  She must be lining them out. They make funny noises.  A chirping sound when the mommas are trying to gather up the babies.   A teeth grinding sound when they are about to give an upper cut to another elk, a goat, or a little white dog.

view from inside the truck

Don’t ask!

see the cow elk in back sticking out her tongue  Feb.2010
This old guy was the herd bull purchased 2 years ago. T.H. buys new breeding stock regularly so the elk won’t perform any improper hanky-panky. This bull was magnificent. He is not with us anymore.
 No, he did not get hunted. He died of old age. 
 I’m sure he went out happy. He’s not hanging on anybody’s wall either.
He must have worn himself out keeping the cows bred up and whipping the young bulls off. 
 We will get to see his handiwork in the next few years as the calves grow up. 

This is me in the summer of 07 when we first got the elk.
 Like I said they are not this tame anymore. I have this great snapshot to remember.  
Love,  Cowgirl Red  aka  Terah

P.S.  After our “annual inventory” the elk are all accounted for but the big one.  And I know where he is….not.  Not on someone’s fireplace or in their freezer.  Sorry T.H. not even ours.

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Comments

  1. Creatively Sensitive says:

    I LOVE your photo journalist stories of life on the ranch! Love, love, love! It's like were there with you. I just want to roll over and say goodnight John Boy, or Ma and Pa. Good night half pint! That fur sack is adorable. And the picture from the truck is awesome, such fluff, and such power.

    Thanks for all your comments and support 🙂 Nice to know there is someone in this with me, and vice versa!

  2. Catherine... says:

    Hi Terah,

    Wow, wow, wow, love your ranch stories… fantastic.
    Funny how some of your elk look like goats…is TH trying out a new breeding programme?… Last summer we had a deer that used to come into the garden… it was wonderful watching him.. unfortunately, hunting season came and we never saw him again… There are lots of deer around here, one ran into the side of my car the other morning… I think she was ok..a bit stunned but she did get up and run off…

  3. pluckychickenheart says:

    Terah I Love how very sane you are about loving the animals while also respecting that some will die as a part of providing food for living humans.I'm not interesting in killing for killings sake but I am respectful of animals that give their lives so that we may have ours.

    You are one of the most conscious ranchers I have ever come across. I'm sure the raccoons know it too. ;o)

    xo
    Mari

  4. What magnificent gorgeous creatures. I know I'd be wanting them all as pets but I guess its not practical! I loved reading this & looking at the photos. Thanks for sharing!

    Kat X

  5. B @ Sweet Limes says:

    That is so neat. I see lots of elk around here because I like so close to the mountains but getting that close is unreal!

  6. Cowgirl Red says:

    Thanks everyone. For reading my blog and leaving a comment. Next time I live trap a raccoon I'll take photos and blog about it. I have some hysterical stories already. MMWWAAA!!! xoxo Terah

  7. The elk are gorgeous!!

  8. Lille Diane says:

    Wow! This is so cool! I always learn so much from you when I come over here! This seals the deal. I am coming to visit. Well… that is if you'll have me. winkity-wink-wink~

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