Brenda Doudican of Emporia, Kan., had to blink to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.
Hunting from a ground blind last weekend, she saw two does crossing a field. Nothing unusual there. But it’s what was traveling with those female deer that caught her eye.
“At first, I thought it might have been a big buck,” she said. “But then I looked closer, and it was an elk.
“I was just amazed. I’ve been hunting all my life in this area and I had never seen an elk.”
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Doudican went to a vendor and purchased an elk tag and returned to the same ground blind the next morning, hoping the elk would return. Sure enough, it did and at about the same time it had the day before.
Doudican leveled her rifle, squeezed the trigger and had the first elk of her life.
“The first question I had of the game warden was, ‘Where did it come from?’” she said. “He said it could have come from Fort Riley (where there is a healthy elk herd), but if it did, it traveled a long way. That’s about 21/2 hours from here.”
Wildlife officials estimated the elk was 2 or 3 years old. It didn’t have a huge rack, but it was special to Doudican nonetheless.
“I harvested a big eight-point whitetail (in the Kansas gun season), but taking this elk was what I’ll remember,” she said. “That was a complete surprise.”
Mark your calendar
It’s time to start planning for 2015.
If you are a Missouri hunter, there are some dates to circle on your new calendar.
▪ Deer season: The regular firearms season will run Nov. 14-24. The youth seasons will be Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and Jan. 2-3. The urban season will be Oct. 9-12, the antlerless season will run Nov. 25-Dec. 6 and the alternative methods portion will be Dec. 19-29.
▪ Turkey season: The spring hunt will run April 20-May 10. The youth season will be April 11-12. The fall firearms season will be Oct. 1-31.
Blockbuster boat deal
Fishermen are still talking about the surprising deal that may change the bass-boat market forever.
Bass Pro Shops announced that it had reached an agreement to buy Fishing Holdings, LLC, which has well-known bass boat lines Ranger, Stratos and Triton under its umbrella.
That means Bass Pro, which manufactures the popular Nitro and Tracker brands, will own all five of the most popular lines of bass boats.
Reaction to the deal was mixed. Some bass fishermen have expressed concern of a monopoly that would drive prices up and result in more uniform designs and features on the boats. But Bass Pro founder and CEO Johnny Morris assured fishermen that the companies will continue to have their own identities.
“This partnership brings long-term stability for the companies and for the dealer networks…, ” Morris said.
A holiday tradition
If you think winter is for the birds, you might be one of the many people across the nation who participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
The tradition started in the late 1880s, when people took part in what was known as “the Christmas Side Hunt.” Participants divided into teams and competed to see which group could shoot the biggest pile of birds.
By 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman came up with a new tradition, “the Christmas Bird Census,” in which participants would go out and count the species of birds they would find, not shoot them.
Today, that tradition lives on. There are more than 2,300 circles (routes) across the nation, and groups conduct counts from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5. Data is used to keep track of species’ population status and for research.
To find a count near you, go to birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count.