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Hemingway Adventure

Big Sky, Montana

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureThe elk-shooting season begins today, and the bow-hunting season ends. I get talking to a group of hunters, all around thirty or forty, with very big moustaches, who are about to leave for three or four days of elk-hunting in the outback.

I tell them I’ve heard some pretty unpleasant stories of modern convenience hunters, would-be Hemingways who drive out to game farms and on payment of several thousand dollars, have a farm-raised moose or elk led out for them to shoot in a fenced-off area. Kill guaranteed. Maximum amount of money for the minimum of effort.

This group condemns such people vociferously. They’re not hunters. All they want is a trophy. The real difference between the two approaches seems to boil down to the same answer I’ve had from everyone who hunts. Respect for the animal.

‘I have more respect for elk than I do for most people,’ one of them maintains, which just about sums up this curious commingling of sentiment and slaughter.

They regard the tracking as an essential part of hunting, and they describe the delights of stalking their prey over difficult terrain.

‘You can find a nice fresh big bold track in snow, you know, fresh that morning and still steaming droppings, and you know you’re right on him and he’s walking five miles an hour and you’re only going three. You have to run sometimes. It gets pretty exciting.’
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Big Sky, Montana
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Big Sky, Montana
  • Book page no: 238

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