If you happened to be just about anywhere on the mountain on Tuesday morning of last week, you didn’t need a calendar to tell you it was opening day of elk season for rifle hunters.
The Bench Sitters talked to one hunter who was in the Elgin Park area.
“I haven’t heard that much gunfire since I was in a firefight in Vietnam,” he said.
And apparently a lot of hunters were having success.
Those who were still out tramping through the timber on Sunday morning were getting a taste of Wyoming winter to add to the fun.
And the wind did blow that morning. Experts in the early-morning coffee shop were comparing photos of successful hunts, and one told us that a wind gust of 76 mph had been clocked at the airport about 6 that morning.
One of the Bench Sitters said he believed the story about the high wind. He said he got up to use the bathroom and noticed the water was jumping around in the toilet, but that’s as close as he came to checking the weather.
“How many camper trailers were parked on the mountain?” one of the boys asked.
“Not sure,” came the answer.
“But they seemed to be everywhere, and at least two four-wheelers or side-by-sides were parked next to all of them,” came the answer from another table.
A few years back this column had a few thoughts about how elk hunting season can change the habits and attitude of most grown men.
The hunter who complains that the neighbor’s dog woke him up once last week has different standards for hunting camp, where he will spend a night in a snoring contest with three other grown men inside a small camp trailer.
He complains that his recliner is not comfortable after three hours watching a Bronco game, but will sit on an ice-cold rock in sub-freezing weather for hours before sunrise and call it “stimulating.”
He can’t remember his wife’s uncle’s name but always knows someone called Jack Daniels.
He sends his breakfast back at the restaurant if the yoke on his egg is broken, but in hunting camp he eats eggs covered with ashes and will use a razor-sharp hunting knife to cut a tough piece of round steak on a paper plate balanced on his knees.
This guy will lecture his wife about wasting money on raffle tickets, but he will raise the pot when drawing to an inside straight at hunting camp.
He won’t start the car to take a trip until he has the exact address of the destination punched into the GPS on the dashboard, but he has complete trust in the compass the kids found in a cereal box 10 years ago.
He may only grunt out single-syllable answers to important questions at the family dinner table, but he will talk for 30 minutes straight about “elk sign” around a campfire.
A real hunter can be particular about what brand of socks he needs but will wear the same hiking boots every year...even if they still hurt his feet.
He may come home with endless trivia from the office but always remembers “what happens in hunting camp...stays in hunting camp.”
Any elk hunter or elk-hunter widow knows most of that is true.
Meanwhile, back down on the Main Drag, people needing to take advantage of the Bread of Life Food Pantry last week hit a bonanza one day when the place was loaded with fresh produce. Understand that one or two of the local fast-food spots shut down for lack of help.
We hope that isn’t permanent.
Halloween is coming up next week, so the Bench Sitters need to get a lot of rest. Staying up until 8 p.m. handing out treats can be stressful.