By Parker Heinlein
Outdoors columnist 

When it omes to tags, I'm rarely successful


I had such high hopes.

Following the same routine I always use when applying for special tags, I clicked “send” and settled in for the wait, visions of big bucks and bulls dancing through my head.

It’s been a while since I shot a bull elk, in part because bull tags are a precious commodity in this part of the state, and partly due to a of lack of effort. (As in: I could hunt somewhere else but I’m too lazy.)

So I applied for the area closest to home where bull tags are rare as hen’s teeth, and for the umpteenth year in a row, I wasn’t drawn.

At least I’ll have an excuse ready when asked this fall: “Git yer elk yet?”

“Didn’t get drawn,” I’ll reply, mustering a look of great disappointment.

I can still hunt bull elk on my general license in plenty of places, just not around here.

Same with deer, just not in the special area I was hoping to hunt.

I’ll console myself by hunting with the dogs nearly every day next fall. It takes a lot of consoling.

There won’t be any grueling pre-dawn slogs, following rumors of elk. I won’t have the opportunity to pack out hundreds of pounds of meat on my back. There will be no bloody liver to share with friends.

The trophy deer tag I was hoping to draw would have allowed me to shoot an ancient, nearly inedible muley. Now that that is off my plate I can set my sights on something younger, tastier, and easier to drag back to the truck.

Like an antelope, which I’ll apply for at the end of next month.

I always wait until the last minute. It’s my proven routine. Procrastination is my friend. And while my routine seldom proves successful, it’s proven to be my routine nonetheless.

Unlike other hunters I know who apply only during certain phases of the moon, or spit on their keyboard for luck, I simply wait until the last minute.

My friend Dave usually calls within hours of the deadline to remind me. I always tell him, “Yeah, I know,” hoping to sound more on the ball than I actually am. His call, however, often catches me by surprise.

“Huh? Already?” I think to myself, while telling him “I’m all over it.”

He’ll no doubt call the last day of May and ask if I’ve applied for an antelope tag.

“Of course,” I’ll say, while firing up my laptop. “I never forget.”

Parker Heinlein is at [email protected]


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