Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

My front yard elk and possible poachers

Marty’s photo of the day #2081: This was the scene in my front yard yesterday. For the last few days, we’ve had a herd of elk hanging around. At this time of year they are a bit scraggly, as they are losing their winter coats. They were also quite skittish, so I had to be very careful when photographing them. When the elk are on Deb’s and my 25 acres, they are safe, but when they leave our property I worry about them. For years, I have suspected certain neighbors of poaching, but I can’t prove it without trespassing onto their property—and therefore risking getting shot myself.

When I hear single gunshots echoing through the woods, year-around, day-and-night, a backyard deer or elk seems like the most logical reason for the shot. But then, this is Montana. So perhaps my neighbors just get so aroused by the sight of all their guns standing at attention that the pressure builds up and they occasionally have to step outside and shoot their load into the air. Who knows? For someone like me, who isn’t into guns, such things are hard to understand.

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