Got selected for a depredation elk hunt this winter/spring. Just ended. It was an antlerless hunt and was motivated by elk damaging crops/cropland. To my fascination this was quite a difficult hunt. I had illusions of elk crowded into a field and only being scared off a ways by numerous fellow elk falling at their sides. I should have remembered - elk are elk. First - after the first couple of their fellows were felled in different fields - they vanished, and were back to their normal tactics of moving and feeding primarily at dark. Second, the hunt was limited to essentially a couple sections. In minutes the elk could, and did, move well off the hunt unit. But we stuck with it. We did a lot of exploring until we figured them out and they started lingering back into the area we could hunt. What a fantastic way to get into the outdoors during a time of year I am normally only at a desk. Saw new country -met new landowners, etc. The nice thing is that you are working with landowners that make a living off their crops - and would just assume all the big game be shot. Oh, third, that's one of the other things that makes it tough - the landowners are in their slow time of year - so they wait in their pickup trucks before light with rifles ready - for the elk to show. IFG gives them some landowner tags but requires they also let regular sportsmen/license holders get some tags.
About 3 weeks into the hunt we got them figured out and I got a nice `antlerless'.
A couple people have been sceptical of the meat. Some of the same people are sceptical about the deer recovery in the area (and we saw an average of a hundred deer an evening). Interestingly, the young cow I got didn't have one gram of fat left on her (mid-March) - but nonetheless a beautiful animal. The meat is beyond fabulous. The elk around here have it pretty good ... in the winter spring they have winter wheat and blue-grass in the fields, and whatever they can find the the woods. As the year progresses - garbanzo beans, lentils, peas ... quite a menu. Also, winters have been mild.