Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Piney Scents" with Dax Calloway, the religiously questioning outdoorsman

Dax Calloway is a wildlife enthusiast who loves to share his insights on the many sports of the great outdoors. Dax is also going through a period of profound change in his life that has led him to experiment with a number of different faiths. In his column, "Piney Scents," you'll get the full Dax, his wildlife expertise and his personal journey. Enjoy!
- The TUS Staff

Is Deer Hunting Becoming a Stag? Try Elk!

By Dax Calloway

Don't get me wrong folks, I love deer hunting. I love the smell of the forest, the thrill of the pursuit, and the satisfaction of a one-shot kill. But sometimes even I get bored shooting and stuffing the same old bucks. Sure, familiarity breeds a certain level of comfort, but at some point in your life you realize it's time for a change.

Maybe you try a new brand of jeans, or switch to diet cola, or finally get around to exploring that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints you've heard so much about.

In that spirit of discovery I recently ditched the deer in favor of their larger brethren, the Elk. Like deer, Elk are an antlered woodland herbivore known for their exceptional grace and speed. But don't bring the same old buckshot to hunt down these beasts, Elk can be nearly twice the size of an average stag.

I mean you wouldn't bring an American Indian to a Mormon ward meeting, would you? The infallible Book of Moroni tells us that they are inherently sinful beings!

When hunting the noble Elk remember to keep a steady hand. With a creature this big your first shot has to be precise, or else the frightened thing will scamper away faster than you can say "Brigham Young sired over 100 children."

An idle thought: Has anyone made magic underwear fit for an Elk?

When it comes to big game hunting, the Elk presents a unique challenge. Equipped with an ultra-sensitive sense of smell, Elk can detect hunters from even the slightest hint of gunpowder residue. Keep your barrels clean!

According to scared Mormon text, the Prophet Joseph Smith once slaughtered 1,000 Elk with a single bullet. 520 people witnessed the miraculous shot, but none could recount the event because the prophet wiped their memory clean with a magical silver sledgehammer.

Mormonism is chock full of great hunting stories. What about the time Brigham Young slew a dinosaur or when John Taylor decapitated 50 gentile pioneers at a Starbucks? No more caffeine for this woodsman!

Isn't it amazing how Mormon scripture transcends all space, time, and logic? Only God could come up with this stuff, it's just great. And like the mighty Elk, Mormon doctrine is a living, breathing thing, subject to major shifts in interpretation. 

Polygamy? Banned! Racism? Fixed! 

Finally, a faith that values conformity above all else. Isn't it about time? I mean we are living in AMERICA!

Ultimately, as with all hunting, the joy of tracking Elk comes not in the shot or the kill, but in those idle moments spent in nature's cradle. Sitting on a bed of leaves underneath an auburn-hued October sunset, the beauty of the hunt reveals herself in full color. Indeed my friends, this is the place.

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