by Dan Simmons
Have you ever met a charming twenty-seven year old lady power lifter with a Doctorate who likes to hunt and fish? I have, and this is her story of harvesting a deer and her first elk this past year. It all started with her drawing both tags. Jessie Peterson’s dream elk hunt began in Ely, Nevada, but the hunt didn’t start off smoothly as she drove north to meet her parents at their camp. She blew two truck tires near Alamo and her dad back tracked to get her hunt started.
They had a fairly good idea where the Elk might be hiding out from a friend who lived in Ely. Jessie hunted alone and found herself hiding in brush cover on a dark, cold morning as it began to snow heavily. By late morning she felt the need to move around and thaw her cramped legs a bit. She headed to some thicker timber and found fresh tracks in the new snow. As she carefully carried on following the tracks she heard the sound of antlers crashing as two elk were fighting a short distance ahead.
Slowly moving forward crouching she was able, due to her athletic abilities, to follow them up a long steep hill that would have most of us huffing and puffing, not so stealthily. As she gained the ridge top and continued crouching forward the two bull Elk she was following walked across a trail in front of her.
Having researched Elk habitat, behavior and characteristics she was able to pick the more mature of the two bulls. The first shot from her 7mm/08 Howa rifle hit just behind the shoulder; it was quickly followed by a second just above the first and the bull dropped. The adrenalin rushed as she stood over the often dreamed of trophy, but this was no dream as she sat next to the downed animal and let what had just happened return to reality.
Next objective, call mom and dad who were anxiously waiting for word of the hunt. Upon their arrival and following the celebratory hugs and high-fives the work began. They field dressed, quartered and packed the elk out. Jessie’s athletic abilities allowed her to pack a full quarter on each successive trip to the distant truck; power lifting training does have its advantages. Five hours later they were back in camp with more hugs and high-fives.
Jessie’s earlier deer hunt was less dramatic, but showed her patience, tenacity and skill. Again in Ely, she saw deer in a permitted alfalfa field. Jessie spotted a good buck and belly crawled to get closer, but they spooked and were gone into the deep brush. Following up nothing more was seen as they moved and glassed the rest of the day, but (there is always a “but”) on their way back to camp the same herd appeared and were moving away again. With just ten more minutes of legal shooting time the buck stopped at 300 yards; Jessie was on him, shot and he dropped. It was field dressing and packing in the dark time and another classic hunt.
Is Jessie a remarkable young lady? A girl to make her parents proud? I think so and I’m proud of her too. She was raised in rural Moapa, Nevada by a mom and dad who both hunt and have a passion for the outdoors. They raised their daughter to appreciate and share their passion from her earliest years as she accompanied them as an observer and participant on their adventures.
Jessie passed her Hunter Safety course at age twelve and shot her first deer at age sixteen at the end of a tough, but successful three-day hunt. Then it was unsuccessful draws in the Nevada hunt lottery system and serious studies which led to her Doctorate in Physiotherapy and starting her new career.
Now she has revitalized her original passion and priorities to focus more on travel, hunting and fishing as she continues balancing these activities with her new work, while sharing her love of the outdoors with her parents and friends. A positive lesson for us all; good luck and good hunting.
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- 2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Flour
- 2 lbs. elk stew meat
- 4 carrots
- 2 onions
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. marjoram
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 cup burgundy or any dry red wine
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- Blend soy sauce with flour in baking dish (2-to-3 quart size dish). Cut meat into one-inch cubes. Add meat to soy sauce mixture and toss to coat the meat cubes.
- Cut carrots into chunks, slice onions and celery, and add minced garlic along with pepper marjoram, thyme and wine to the meat.
- Stir gently to mix.
- Cover tightly and simmer in a slow 325-degree oven for two hours. Add mushrooms and stir gently.
- Cover tightly and bake one hour longer or until meat and vegetables are tender. Serve with fluffy hot wild rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.
By Roy E. Weatherby, from “Ol’ Ern Simon’s Cookbook”, published by permission.
“Dr. Jessie’s First Elk” first appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Pahrump Valley Times