Like Hunting Elk At Starkey

I suppose if I'm honest, I need to admit that the reason I'd planned to go east in January was because I figured the pickings would still be pretty easy then. The more time that elapses, the lower my odds of bagging him.

Truth be told, I probably overestimate my chances.  He'd probably tell me to get lost now, let alone two months from now.  But it's a nice thought, being able to walk into my married lover's office and surprise him, sweep him off his feet and go make mad passionate love for a few days.  You know, as I'd hoped to back in September before he took a powder.  Well, not the office part.  Just the mad passionate love part.  We'd planned it, complete with a non-cancellable hotel reservation.  But as time went on, I'd realized I'd have to settle for mad passionate cyber love.  Then even that was denied me.

The thing about January is that it's the month that the most divorces are filed.  Many people wait until after the holidays to split.  Let's give the kids one last time of us all together.  It's important to share those times.  My dear late father told my mother he'd hang on until after we visited them over Christmas before dying.  He kept his word, although it wasn't easy.  He was more dead than alive that December.  Still, we got to say goodbye.  Saying goodbye is so important, don't you think?

I suppose I have a bit of obsession about that.

Even if there aren't children, people tend to want to enjoy the fun of holiday parties together, to see if celebrating and gathering with friends and family will make a difference to how they feel about their mates.  Or perhaps it's because the holidays fall so flat that come January, they decide they've had enough.  If you can't enjoy your marriage over Hannukah or Christmas, the cold grey days of January aren't likely to be any different. 

And so I'd set January as the time I'd seek out GV.  It was a strategic decision, you see.  But the more I thought about it, I wondered if it was the right thing to do.  It seemed rather poor sportsmanship to pop up in his life then, to take advantage of the dismal weather.   The term "shooting fish in a barrel" crossed my mind, and once it did, I couldn't get the image out. 

I've never known someone who actually shot fish in a barrel, but apparently it was a real thing to store and transport them that way in the days before refrigeration.  I doubt anyone bothered to shoot them, though.  It'd be such a pain to remove bullet fragments.  When we were in Ireland, I ordered a pheasant once, and the damn thing was loaded with shotgun pellets.  I almost cracked a tooth. 

So I'm guessing that no hunter/fisherman - no sober one, anyway - ever blasted away at barrels.  But I do know of some hunters who sought an unfair advantage over elk in an enclosed forest.  Starkey Experimental Forest in eastern Oregon is a rather unique spot.  Forty square miles of the place were enclosed in ungulate proof fencing.  Ungulates, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, are hoofed mammals like elk.  USFS tagged a bunch of the wild critters with special transmitters to study their movements in relation to logging operations and road traffic and such.  I visited the facility many years ago, and was taken with the beauty of both flora and fauna.  Eastern Oregon was unlike any region I'd previously lived; I was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and traveled extensively on the east coast.  I'd resided for a time in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.  That's a very different sort of place from Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

New York, even upstate, is a far less wild area than Oregon.  It's so much more populous back east, and the mentality of the human creatures there reflects a greater level of docility.  The west has a less tamed feel to it.  I like that.  It makes me feel like I must live by my wits and can enjoy a more uncivilized existence.  But sadly there are still plenty of men and women who seek to take the easy way, who try to attain mastery by unfair means.  And so it was that I learned from a forest ranger that some of the hunters who had applied for permits in the special forest wanted to increase their odds for success.  I don't know if they were bow or rifle hunters.  Both are permitted.  What I do know is that they proposed having access to the telemetry tracking data.

A forty square mile area is hardly a barrel.  That's still plenty of room for the elk to roam.  But pinpointing their location using technology seems awfully unsporting to me.  I don't object to hunting, and god knows I love the taste of elk.  Steak, stew,'s all delicious.  I adore game meat.  But the age old traditions of hunting demand the animal have a fair chance to avoid capture.

I'm pretty much reconciled myself to waiting.  Going in January feels a bit like I'm using telemetry tracking data.  But I won't wait forever.  Part of the calculation is being able to actually enjoy what I've hunted.   The closer I am to leaving my marriage, the better.  I deplore the practice of bagging a prey only to let the meat go unused.
milkynips milkynips
46-50, F
2 Responses Dec 5, 2012

Question is if that hunting (Ungulates in their case, GV in your) is about sport or about something more (love, ego, success). If sport then I agree it is not fair. If something more ...

"The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war." - John Lyly's 'Euphues' (1578) => that is if my internet resources are not mistaken

And I can imagine few more suitable situations beside love and war.

It's love. At least, it is for me.

This was so well written. Your ability to spin two (three in some parts) equally scintatin storylines and then merge them at the conclusion...

Well, you don't need me to tell you that you are a fantastic writer. Besides, I teach middle school. Different styles, abilities, etc...

Thanks, LM. Much appreciated.