Elk Fever…it’s a Real Thing!

Elk Fever

Every fall hunters around the country get excited for the awesome privilege of participating in the great adventure of hunting. I used to get excited about the football season approaching, but I’ve probably only watched one complete game all year. The reason (or main reason)…ELK FEVER.

I don’t know what it is about this majestic animal (you’d think it was a unicorn or something) that makes me so crazy…perhaps it’s because I’ve never shot an elk or because they are harder to hunt…I don’t know exactly, but I do know I have the fever. 


Hunting Little Belts - Montana - Elk

Do you or somone you love suffer from elk fever?

Case in Point: 

I went to scout a place to hunt elk in the Lewis Clark National Forest last Tuesday. I left work early on Tuesday afternoon and arrived about 4:30 to the place I wanted to scout. After hiking into a beautiful hillside where I thought the elk might be traveling through I sat and waited. Nothing came, but I decided I would come back the next day to check it out again.


I headed back to town so I could call home and figure out where I was going to stay the night. I ended up at the Checkerboard Bar and Inn. The small cabins were perfect for a good night’s sleep and they served Digiorno’s pizza—win-win.


The next morning I got up at 5:40 and headed back up to the mountains. I was 20 miles up the road and a half mile from where I was going to park when it happened. I came down a steep north facing hill and couldn’t stop. Instead of hunting I ended upside down on top of a creek. The day before, I drove the same road and had no trouble, but overnight that particular part of the road turned to ice.


As I found myself upside down in my truck, I quickly (and sadly) realized I probably wasn’t going to be doing any hunting. Although the thought did cross my mind to go hunting as planned since I was already up there, but I knew it was going to take a while to hike out and get a tow truck in there. Now a normal person would be really upset about rolling his truck, but when you have elk fever you’re more upset because you aren’t hunting.


Rollover - Hunting Little Belts - Montana - Elk

Jim’s Truck Upside Down

Good People

Fortunately, I didn’t have to hike the entire 20 miles back to the highway. I got about a mile from the rollover and a father and son from the Great Falls area rescued me. They drove me to the Checkerboard Bar and Inn where I was able to make the necessary calls. I’m very grateful for the kindness of complete strangers.


After I made the call to my insurance company, Sheriff Jon Lopp of Meagher County came and picked me up and drove me back to the truck. He stayed with me until we were able to get a tow truck out there. I am thankful for the good men and women who serve the public in law enforcement. The people of Meagher County and White Sulphur Springs are fortunate to have such a good sheriff.


What does this have to do with my work as a lawyer? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s nice to get out of the office and be in a place where my clients can’t call (or anyone else for that matter). I really enjoy every (almost every) moment I’m outside exploring and enjoying God’s wonderful creations.


I am grateful to have walked away from this accident with no injuries (with exception of a little soreness). I’m grateful for good people coming to the rescue and for hard working public servants. I’m grateful to be in Montana!


Stay safe out there!




Side note: If you or someone you know needs help culling elk herds let me know. I can’t say my fever will go away completely until I shoot a bull, but a cow in the freezer will help.