Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hunting Season

I was on my way to Portland when I stopped at a cafe in Lava Hot Springs Idaho for lunch. I sat down at the counter next to a guy who turned out to be a park ranger. He told me it was the middle of Elk Hunting season in that area and the California hunters were a constant source of amusement.

He said that in the past, the forest service kept a bunch of mules for packing into remote areas of the park. When they were no longer needed, the mules were just turned loose. It seemed that at least once a year some hunter would shoot one of those mules.

He said his exposure to California hunters came during his first stint manning the hunter check station. Hunters that shot an elk had to have it checked to verify that it matched what they had a license to shoot.

He said, "A hunter from California checked in with what he had tagged as a cow elk. I took one look and saw that he had actually shot one of those mules. I went into the check station and asked the veteran ranger in there what I should do." The old ranger said. "Let him go. Every time he stops on his way to California he's going to brag about the cow elk he shot. Eventually someone is going to point out that he actually shot a mule. Let's not spoil that guy's fun."  

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