As I hiked through the deep snow, trying to be as quiet as possible, I was shaken from the winter silence by a crunch. The sound was up slope from me. I stopped in my tracks holding my breath and trying to focus on the sound’s location but it had ceased. I had to wait, though waiting meant having the cold set in. The sweat under my clothes would begin to freeze soon but I had no choice.
The minutes passed, I slowly exhaled. My frozen breath lingering in the air. That’s a good thing, no wind. It’s only midday but up here, the minutes can quickly turn into hours and the daylight doesn’t last long this time of year.
Crunch, Crunch I Hear it again! My heart speeds up, I scan through the Douglas Firs and Alders looking for the source but seeing nothing.
There’s movement out of the corner of my eye! 45 degrees uphill to my right. I slowly turn my head, my face covered in camouflage paint shouldn’t draw attention. I see tan through the trees. The minutes are flying by now, my breathing slows as I see the deep brown and the ivory colors I’ve been searching years to find.
I prepare my bow, slowly I draw back. Looking down the shaft of the arrow I see the exact spot , the perfect shot just behind the front leg. The Elk is facing slightly uphill and I have a shooting lane through the trees. The perfect bow hunting scenario.
Deep breath in, hold it, exhale, I blink and the bull turns his head towards me as if he could feel my eyes on him. I see he is at least 6 points of magnificence on both sides with the tips of his antlers easily 8 feet off the ground.
I unconsciously shudder, the arrow falls off the rest. The tiniest of sounds, but the Bull knows it didn’t belong, he gives out one long snort and in a cloud of snow dust he is gone.
His breath and mine linger in the mountain air as I contemplate the story, one that no one will believe.