The Sage Grouse

They Are Just Elk

The Sage Grouse has picked an explosive topic.  People get excited about some things, but they get really, artery-busting, tea party expressive about elk.  Elk should be voted the state animal and maybe state god.    Everybody loves ‘em.  People spend insane amounts of money to buy camp trailers and four-wheelers and Weatherby rifles to hunt them.  Liquor too.

Hey, I love ‘em as much as the next outdoorsperson.

But, a bit of perspective about these 400-600 lb ungulates:

The Park Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, unleashes wolves on elk.  No value judgments here; this is a fact.  Those elk die hard.  And often.

The Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the U. S. Department of Interior, makes coal seam gas operators spend thousands of dollars per elk on studies and then refuses to let them drill wells; this costs the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars per year and deprives state and local governments of revenues.

I love to photograph them, but they are, after all, just elk.  There are few images more pleasing than watching a big stately bull elk leading a group of 20 cows across a wet wilderness meadow, except maybe watching a plump elk roast slowly brown in a hot oven.

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