By Richard Gappmayer, Jennifer’s father
In Utah permits to hunt elk were obtained by participating in a lottery. My father would pay the fee, enter the lottery, and hope to draw a permit. To my knowledge he went elk hunting only once. Here is what happened.
I was just old enough to go on this hunt along with my brother. The entourage included several of my father’s brothers, brothers-in-law, and others. The truck was loaded with horses and enough supplies for an army, and off we proceeded to the hunting area which was on Mount Nebo in central Utah. This mountain was a short distance from where we lived. The road up the mountain was steep and rugged, and the truck proceeded slowly up the narrow and scary road until we reached the camping site.
We slept soundly that Friday night and then in the morning after a little breakfast, the horses were saddled and mounted and away we went. After trekking for several miles up and down and around this formidable mountain, my father finally spotted a very big bull elk. After stalking the elusive elk for a short time, my father took aim and fired. The elk dropped with the first shot. We all proceeded to the site and were amazed at the size of this animal. We cleaned the elk and made ready to haul him back to the truck.
My dad estimated it weighed about 1000 pounds. It was too big to put on one horse so we quartered it and loaded it on four horses. This was still a very big load for each horse. The hike back to the camp site took some effort, and by the time we got there, we and the horses were exhausted. The elk was loaded into the truck, and we came home that Saturday evening. On Monday my dad took the meat to a processing plant where it was cut, wrapped into meal-size portions, and frozen.
My mother put the frozen meat into a freezer for our winter supply. On Sunday a week later, she took a roast from the freezer and cooked it. When it was done, she sliced it and put it on the table. The meat turned out to be very tough, and it smelled terrible. My mother refused to cook any more of it. No one would eat it anyway.
A few days later, my father had me load all of the meat onto the trailer behind the tractor, haul it into the pear orchard, dig a big hole, and bury it. End of story.