Hiking for elk
August 24, 2009
My husband and I had only been married a short while before we went on our first hunt together. Elk season was going on and I had a tag for a cow elk. The aspen leaves were falling, letting us know fall had arrived in Wyoming.
We left early in the morning, bringing along plenty of coffee, so we could begin hunting at dawn. The morning was crisp and cold; thankfully, I had worn my secondhand wool army pants to keep warm as we hiked to find the elk.
Before long, we had found a large herd of elk. We crawled on our bellies to a small gathering of rocks where we could hide and get set up for our shots.
We were so close to the elk I could hear them talking to one another; the bulls were bugling and the cows were chirping amongst themselves. I was amazed with the number of elk around me and how close we were to them.
I set up to take my first shot. I had a cow in my scope. I aimed, and then I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger at the same time. … Crack!
The shot rang out and I had missed. All of the elk that were surrounding us took off, leaving the area as quickly as possible. Although I had missed and made a huge mistake by closing my eyes, the site of over 300 elk charging up a hillside was one I will not soon forget.
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At that point, my husband told me there was only one thing to do – start following them. I had been working at an office job and sitting at a desk most of the day; so, hiking up and down the valleys of the mountain we were hunting on soon began to get to me. As the sun began to warm the earth around us, the scent of the fallen aspen leaves and warm evergreens helped me to forget my aching legs. We finally caught up to the elk, only to spook them, which meant we needed to keep going further across the mountainside.
After what seemed like days of hiking, we caught up to the elk. This time I aimed, pulled the trigger, and did not close my eyes. The cow elk I had aimed at fell, and we knew the hard hiking had paid off and that our fall was complete.