wyoming | antelope hunt

** GRAPHIC HUNTING PHOTOS… PLEASE BE ADVISED**

i felt kind of silly writing the above disclaimer… but then i thought about it, and many of the folks that frequent my site are expecting beautiful landscapes, portraits, and *living* wildlife photography.

this post incorporates all of those elements, but it also adds photojournalism.  a documentation of what the vast majority of humans throughout the span of time have done in order to survive.  with graphic detail.

Elle and i are not big hunters, but we are both meat eaters and have a great respect for the people that go out into the wild to bring meat home for their families.

rarely, in this day and age, do we city-folk ever see the animals that we eat prior to their processing and packaging at our supermarkets.  i think it’s good for all of us to experience a hunt.  it gives us the opportunity to develop respect for the animals, and a thankfulness for the bounty of food that results.  to get our hands dirty.

so here is our first real hunting experience in the sagebrush sea of sublette county, wyoming with our good friends Mike and Ellen.

elle was excited and nervous when we hopped in Ellen’s truck that morning.

Mike and Ellen had already harvested one antelope of their two for the year, so they were just ready to get the meat that they needed for the long wyoming winter.

antelope hunting is unique.  there are tens of thousands of high mountain desert acres in wyoming.

antelope roam those plains, sometimes alone, and sometimes in groups.

because of that, it is common for hunters to drive miles of dirt road until they spot a suitable animal.  so we drove.  looking….

after a while of looking… we spotted a huge, lone male.  so Mike set up for the shot.

Elle loaded the 30-06 magazines.

it was a really long shot… probably around 750 yards.  needless to say, Mike missed quite a few times.

the one that got away.

more looking….

then, finally… Mike found ‘the one’.  it was downhill from us and still a very long shot.

not a clean kill, unfortunately, but Mike eventually got the kill shot…

now it was time to gut the antelope.

just as it sounds, gutting just means to cut out the insides in the field so that the internal organs don’t turn and spoil the rest of the meat.

really sharp knives are helpful…

it can be a messy activity.

all in all, Ellie was not a huge fan of the experience.  though she understands hunting for food and respects people’s right and need to do so, she feels it’s not for her.

i, on the other hand, am fully prepared to reap the harvest of wild game… if i need to feed my family… and there are no cows or chickens nearby to ‘hunt’.  though generally prefer to shoot animals with my camera.

we live in an interesting time.  one in which most of us never see where our food comes from, and many certainly like it that way.  ignorance is bliss, right?  and so is a fresh steak.

but still, there is something comforting about knowing exactly where your food came from.  and wearing the earth and blood to prove it.

i look forward to taking part in many more excursions with my frontier friends… to see how it once was, and still can be.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012