View Full Version : Eating Tags: The Whole Experience!

10-30-2012, 12:14 PM
Well, here it is going on November and I've eaten two valuable elk tags. Not for lack of trying mind you. My Wyoming archery tag was left unfilled due to poor range estimation and an arrow thus sent low. Several opportunities were "passed" on, and two other bulls of my hunting partners made trips to the freezer partly on my back. Then came a Colorado rifle tag that went down a bit smoother given the company it was consumed in as we all made our choice of tag sandwiches.

Eating tags is a bitter sweet experience. Bitter in the aspect that money and time were spent in the fruitless (meatless) pursuit of our quarry. We do not hunt to take pictures, we hunt to kill, to eat, to fulfill our role as the supreme predator and when we fail to achieve our goals, for whatever reason we are left feeling less... and yet, more. We also hunt to reclaim and make alive again a part of ourselves that our modern world kills, our role, our rightful place, our true knowledge of life. It is a sweet experience in that along the path to a failed season we experience many successes, learn many lessons, and hopefully share many indelible experiences that become part of who we are as hunters.

As I reflect upon the past two months of Autumn I cannot help but think about how much was learned. I learned to trust my calling, my scouting, my abilities to find elk, to pack meat... the lessons were numerous and well learned and will not soon be forgotten. However, there is more. The fellowship that comes only within the frame of the hunt. Spending time with people hitherto largely unknown and learning from them, helping them, sharing with them has made this autumn one of firsts, one of renewal, and one to usher in new traditions. This season was also one for time with family. My father had always dreamed of a horse back drop camp hunt in a wilderness area. So, after some research and planning we rode high into the Colorado mountains to fulfill his dream and hopefully kill his first elk. Long story short the hunt was magnificent, the kill never came, and my father left with a full heart and the knowledge that he could "still do it."

The "cost" of those tags is more than balanced out by time spent in the mountains and the opportunity to be with my new friends and my family. The movie "Searching For West" has done quite a bit to put things in perspective for me this season. It is not all about the kill, as I once was wont to believe, we are predators but we are more as well, we are intelligent and thoughful stewards of all that lies before us. Therefore it is up to us what we take from our experiences afield and I for one don't mind taking home unfilled tags and pockets full of memories and lessons.

I encourage all the rest of my brothers and sisters with filled or unfilled tags to look more deeply into the true reasons we hunt. Make all your time afield count.

With all that said, anybody have thoughts on tag recipes? Yummm!

Colorado Cowboy
10-30-2012, 12:28 PM
It will sure will add some fiber to your diet!:o

10-30-2012, 12:48 PM
hell it might even make some of those ducks taste better this fall:) time in the hills none the less

Doe Nob
10-30-2012, 12:52 PM
Well said.

But eating tags sucks! I ate all 4 of mine last year, didn't fill a single tag! Bear, Deer, Elk, Deer. I'm 2 for 2 so far this year, and it does make it that much sweeter when u get back to droppin em. ;)

10-30-2012, 03:02 PM
Ouch! I hope it does not come to that. Ate a bear tag last spring too... however, there is a lot of bird hunting left and still whitetails to chase come November 1st. Sounds like this fall is treating you better though, congrats. :cool:

10-30-2012, 05:50 PM
Good job Grizz!! Glad to hear you and your father had a good time! There's always a time while I'm out hunting that I think to myself, my hunt feels successful even if I don't get to punch my tag. Wether it be seeing the amazing sunrise/sunset on the mountains, close animal encounters, being deep in the thick timber listening to bulls bugle or even just the lessons that better you for next time, it's not always about the kill! I have had a great season so far getting a turkey, bear, 3 deer and I'm still hopeful on my elk tag!

Kevin Root
10-30-2012, 06:51 PM
Great topic and post Grizz. On hunting TV shows, hunting is almost always centered around the kill shot. I’m not hunting just for that kill shot alone.

Each of us should ask, What’s our story? What drives you to be a hunter? What makes you excited? For me hunting can be very private moment. It can also can be a spiritual moment. Each hunter perhaps looks at it differently, shares it differently and how they are striving to meet their goals. I'm in it for the experience, the quest, the adventure, not just the outcome alone.

10-30-2012, 06:58 PM
I have not filled a lot of tags in my lifetime.

I used to be bitter about it, but now I realize that it's part of life. There is a reason it is called hunting and not killing. Not 100% of all tags should end in an animal.

I have had guided hunts go without an animal, one of those was EXPENSIVE!

I know folks that have had bongo and lord derby eland hunts go without an animal. Hunts that were $70,000 plus.

What's worse, to eat a tag or wound and lose an animal?

10-31-2012, 09:06 AM
Nice work and Congrats Jen!

10-31-2012, 09:29 AM
Somewhere along the timeline of my hunting career I went from - gotta punch this tag at all costs, regardless - to - it's OK to not get one this year - to - geez, when I pull the trigger this deal is over for another year.
I don't like the it's over part at all.

Colorado Cowboy
10-31-2012, 09:58 AM
I've always there is nothing to compare to sitting in a waterfowl blind and watching the sun come up. Birds or no birds, there is nothing to compare to the start of a new day!:cool:

10-31-2012, 10:46 AM
You guys are all throwing out great stuff. Wounding an animal is by far much worse than not filling a tag. I spent the entire season trying to catch up with the bull I stuck on opening morning. Spent the month before season opened looking for a big bull, found him, figured him out and stuck him one hour into opening day... in the brisket! I spent the entire afternoon tearing that drainage apart looking for him. The next morning I went into the next drainage over the ridge on a hunch and found my bull in there already scabbed over and placidly grazing in a small park. I never could seal the deal on that bull all season long and saw him numerous times the last few always with cows. At least he was seemingly okay but still... I framed the broken arrow around Mark Drurie's saying, "Plan the Execution, Execute the Plan." It hangs in a prominent spot where I see it everyday to remind me of the lesson.

You are absolutely correct... I've not taken shots as well because I did not want the season to be over so quickly only to eat my tag later on. Good thing there are pheasants and waterfowl! :cool:

10-31-2012, 05:18 PM
even worse as a non-res 900 bucks for an elk tag etc...

I've eatin more tags than most I bet... but you don't shoot big ones by shooting little ones.

10-31-2012, 06:19 PM
One of my best hunts was a solo hunt on Kodiak Island several years ago. I camped on one side of a deep canyon, on the other side I spotted a great billy. Early the next morning I took my bow and made the trek to make a go of him. The stalk turned into one of the few that turned out perfectly. I was able to get within 10 yards of the billy as he fed towards me. As I drew on him, he spotted me and made one big jump that put him on the edge of the canyon, then stood broadside to me. I held at full draw knowing that if I released, he would jump over the canyon and I probably would not be able to retrieve him. I didn't shoot and he jumped into the canyon and ran off. The moment was perfect, the stalk was perfect and the day was perfect.
When I got back to my camp that evening and was having my supper that same billy came up on my side of the canyon and laid down within 300 yards of my camp. He had no idea I was there. I had a .300 Weatherby in camp with me and thought briefly of shooting him with it. I decided not too. The entire hunt had been great to that point and in my mind was one of my most successful hunts and memorable days. Killing that goat would not have added to the sheer joy of the experience.
I ate tag soup that day but I'll feast on the memories of that hunting experience forever. It's why I hunt.

10-31-2012, 10:38 PM
I hate the taste! I can't stand it! I would rather go to the dentist or get a prostate exam!!!!! Tag soup might sound ok but it puts the worst taste in your mouth ever! Yuck!!!

10-31-2012, 11:49 PM
I have eaten 5 out of my last 6 tags and those 6 are my only tags I have gotten. I won't shoot little animals, I want big ones. I live by, you can't shoot big ones if you shoot small ones. But I am only 15 so I have lots of time.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

11-01-2012, 12:03 AM
Funny story.

A couple months ago we were hunting Sambar (elk like animal from India, introduced into Australia in the 1800's) about 3 hours south of where I live.

I went down there with the thought that it would be wonderful to get to see one, and if I got one it would be a bonus. I had a Vicorian hunting license (Victoria is a state in Australia $60), and was using my buddies Kimber 7mm-08 with a Kahles 3-9.

We saw 3 on the drive into camp, as it was well past dark in the headlights.

First thing in the morning I head up the hill outside of camp into the very thick bush of Fern Gully hoping to get one. Within 100 yards of camp an adult bust me in the timber and all I saw was fur.

I spend about 3 hours weaving around the jungle trying to get set up and saw the biggest fox I have ever seen in my life. Of course I shot at the fox and my buddy calls me on the radio to ask how big the sambar is. I missed and no sambar.

About an hour later, I hear shots and my buddy has a big cow down on the other side of the gully. I hike up to wear he is and help him pack her out. I carry 3 quarters, he carries one and we are off.

I want a big sambar in the worst way, a huge bull. But honestly this was one of the greatest hunting days of my life, and by far the best day I have ever had in Australia. Heck I even made it home for dinner.

In the end we saw 7 or 8 Sambar, and we split the meat so I ended up with over 200 pounds of sambar in the freezer.

Ate tag soup, but it tasted fine.

Got home and back at work, i was discussing with a friend of mine from Texas that we had a heck of a good time. He being a Texan has paid for 3 high fence hunts in Australia, and killed 2 Rusa deer and a red stag. To him hunting is to put animals on the wall.

There is more to life than antlers. And honestly I am pretty happy I missed that fox.

11-13-2012, 02:03 PM
I have never had a year where I filled ALL of my tags. Heck in 2009 I had 3 premium tags. Nevada Archery deer, CA archery late season deer, and CO archery antelope. Never filled a single one.
I missed a feral hog at 20 yards. I missed a turkey even closer. Didn't even draw blood. that stung.

But I called in a turkey for my daughter that year, and that made it ALL better.

I really had to look at what it was I enjoyed about hunting and I discovered that I still enjoyed the time afield, even if a didn't have a full freezer to show for it.

Anyone who has never NOT filled a tag hasn't really hunted.

11-13-2012, 10:52 PM
Anyone who has never NOT filled a tag hasn't really hunted.

Failure always helps the taste of success.

Good wordsmithing Rocky.

Musket Man
11-14-2012, 07:50 PM
This is the first year in quite a while that I filled all 3 tags I had. There have been some years I didnt fill any. I decided a few years back if the day ever comes that I cant go home happy with the tag still in my pocket I will quit hunting. Hunting is about alot more then filling tags.

11-18-2012, 09:11 PM
Tag eating update... well, yesterday wrapped up my big game seasons here in Wyoming. Ofer on elk, prongies, and deer! Found a (insert T.V. tag line here) buck two weekends ago and hunted him both of the last two weekends. Long story short, I helped two of my buddies fill tags while I struck out. The buck was either too far (huntin' with old school heirloom rifle) or as in the case this weekend just never gave me a shot opportunity. Ohhh well. On the other side of the coin my eight month old lab puppy is becoming a great pheasant and duck dog! There are bigger things.

11-18-2012, 09:32 PM
Dad ended up with a Wyoming antelope, limited entry elk, OTC deer, OTC wolf, OTC bear for Wyoming. He got a moose though so that's pretty cool.

My Victoria hunting license expires 1 January in Victoria, I'll have to shell out another $60 for 2013's license. Pretty cheap. Best part is unlimited hunting for $60.