How many present-day elected officials have been elk hunting? If you’re asking the question of politicians around the greater Yellowstone area, the answer is probably “quite a few.” Hunting is a part of the local culture around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. But not so much in America’s urban areas today.
It’s no secret that Theodore Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman and enthusiastic big game hunter. But in a great excerpt unearthed by author and historian M. Mark Miller, Roosevelt conveys a passion for hunting that few holding high office can match. He describes catching a whiff of an elk while on the hunt in 1891. (Roosevelt even offers an account of the animal’s differing aroma while in rut.)
The tale is from Roosevelt’s book, “The Wilderness Hunter: An Account Of The Big Game Of The United States And Its Chase With Horse, Hound and Rifle.” T.R. tells the story of hunting an elk on Two Ocean Pass, just south of Yellowstone in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. He writes:
“In a moment I saw him walking through an open glade; he had not seen us. The slight breeze brought us down his scent. Elk have a strong characteristic smell; it is usually sweet, like that of a herd of Alderney cows; but in old bulls, while rutting, it is rank, pungent, and lasting.”
For the rest of the tale, visit Miller’s wonderful blog, where you’ll also find other great tales of Yellowstone’s early days.