by Jeffery Ross
This adventure took place on High Mesa while on an elk hunt in central Colorado. There were three of us in the hunting party: Pete, Rob and myself. We had been hunting hard for a couple of days, but all we managed to see were cows, and none of us had a cow tag. On the third day we were on stand by 4:30 a.m. and very tired from the previous day’s hunting. Rob was at the base of a ridge and Pete and I moved around the ridge to see if we could get anything moving. We finally reached Rob at about 11:00 a.m. None of us had seen anything so we decided to bag it for the day.
We went back to camp to grab some lunch and check our maps to look for places in the area that we had not hunted. After lunch, Rob and Pete decided that it was time for a snooze. I decided that I just wanted to sit around for a while and look at the maps for the next day’s hunt. I was eating a sandwich and looking at some new areas when I noticed a gray jay hanging around. It got closer and closer to me everytime it landed.
Pretty soon, I was more interested in watching this brave little bird and started setting out breadcrumbs to see how close he would come to me. After about 10 minutes, the bird was near my feet. About that time, a devious plan began to form in my head. I started putting the breadcrumbs on my legs and the bird would actually land on me and eat the bread. I gradually put the bread close enough to where I could reach out and grab the bird. Finally, I got the bird to land on my groin area and my hands were ready. I made a quick grab and the bird was mine. By this time, I could hardly contain myself because of what was coming next.
I walked over to the tent where the guys were sleeping and released the bird inside. The bird was squawking and going nuts in the tent where my ‘victims’ were sleeping. I heard shouts from inside the tent and it looked like a giant superball was bouncing around inside as Rob and Pete were trying to figure out what was going on and what was the quickest way out of the tent. By now, I was on the ground busting a gut because of what was going on in the tent.
Finally, Pete ran out of the tent, doing a somersault on the way out. Rob was still groggy and was hiding in his sleeping bag trying to get away from the screeching menace in the tent. Tears were coming down my face by now and Pete was still trying to figure out what had happened. I threw open the flaps on the tent and the bird came flying out. Rob was still in his sleeping bag yelling what in the heck is going on. Pete started laughing as he figured out what was going on, and Rob was still disoriented from his nap and the excitement, but he started laughing when I told him what I had done. I chuckled the rest of the day, and even a couple of times on the following days while out on the hunt.
We did not shoot an elk that year, but we still talk about the joke whenever we reminisce about our hunting stories. That was about 5 years ago. It is times like that that just add to the hunting experience and makes it all worth it, whether you get an animal or not.