Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tangentially Speaking (or) How to Waste 20 Minutes In No Time Flat

I read a brief article earlier about a local man who is facing several years in prison and up to $100,00.00 in fines for picking up a Rocky Mountain Big Horned Sheep skull, possibly cougar killed, and trying to sell it without getting it "plugged". It doesn't sound like the man poached the ram. It sounds like he may not have been aware of the rules. I feel sort of bad for him. If he doesn't hunt, he may not know all the rules surrounding a specific species. I hope he's allowed to simply learn from what sounds like an honest mistake.

Bachelor Herd

Now, I had no idea what a "plugged" skull was; so of course, I spent the next 20 minutes trying to figure it out. We have some Pronghorn skulls with horns, and I want to be on the right side of the law.

Plus, I like to know what I know I don't know. And I really like minutiae - details are everything. 


/insert 20 minutes of Googling here/

A plugged skull means that the Division of Wildlife has tagged it in a way that allows the skull to be recorded with the who/what/when/where/how details. It helps assure it wasn't poached, and tells the DoW a bit about the distribution of the animal, how it died, how it lived, etc. Usually, the plug is an aluminum thingy (it's a technical term, I swear) placed in a hole drilled into one of the horns. 

Yay, knowledge!

Bachelor Herd laying in a meadow. 
They walked right past us, as if they hadn't a care in the world.

The law doesn't seem to apply to Pronghorn, not that we would sell our mounts anyway. They were earned the hard way: getting up early, standing in the cold, trying to get close enough (which is still several hundred yards away) to take a shot. Track, clean, deliver to the butcher, pick up, tada! You're in flavor country Pronghorn country.

So, good to know, but it took at least 20 minutes to figure all this out. 

Whoever said the Internet saves time/effort clearly doesn't know me at all.

There are a couple of pictures of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep (and Dan) a few miles from our house in a local park in this post. Taken a few summers ago, there were dozens of rams, and they calmly walked right past us on all sides, then nestled down in the meadow uphill a bit to snooze. I think this is what is called a bachelor herd, because they are all male (see the horns?). Until a male manages to start his own a harem of females (really, it's called a harem), they live alone or in bachelor herds. We didn't make any sudden moves, and they reciprocated by not goring us or stampeding. 

Bachelor Rams and Dan

Good times.



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