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Every hunter has in his or her Own mind a definition of what elk hunting means.

Many hunters enter the woods with one thing in mind – a single objective to harvest an animal. This is fine, and at first, this was my only objective as well – to banish a large rack back at camp. Creating a story larger than life as you relive the moments over and over with each person you meet. Nevertheless, deep down inside, something else lurks. A void that can never be filled while living in the city. Could it be the desire to get out of town, leaving behind the sounds and pressures of city life? Or is it the silence and big open space of elk country that makes this forest golden, and the hunt just a good excuse to wear thick your soul? Every hunter has in his or her own mind a definition of what elk hunting means. For some it is a freezer full of tasty meat, the smell of jerky smoking out back. Others are looking for a branch-antlered bull to mount on the wall, and to reminisce for the rest of their lives. Still others go to be in the company of like-minded hunters and friends. They love sitting around the campfire, telling and listening to the stories as they circulate. Some desire all of these things. A culmination of solidarity and camaraderie, of bugles and sunsets. Maybe this is the magic we purchase when buying our license, and a downed elk, only a bonus. After that first hunt, that first kiss, my blood became infected. The disease produced a weird feeling in me. One I crave every night as I lye in bed awake, busy-mind. And with each hunt, it progresses. Like a cancer growing, mutating, it controls thinking until you’re addicted. We do it over and over. Not knowing why, but the feeling we get is good. The mystique of the land, the bellows of elk in the night, they call to us, to come. It has been going on for generations. Fathers taking their son and daughters out to hunt. Sons growing up, marrying, and then taking their children hunting too. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandchildren, all hunting together as the years grow old. It has been going on with the rise of the sun for as long as men have walked. And when we do not hunt, we plan for the next. We dream about the past. We scout for the future. Elk hunting is planning all year for a two-week event. It is making camp with friends and asking them, “What’d ya see today?” It is getting up at 3:30 in the morning to go to your spot; wondering what you’ll walk into as you move through the dark. It is the sound of that first bugle, floating through the air like fresh baked bread. It is being rained on, seeing a rainbow, with no there one to show it too. It is heavy breathing as you climb, the pain of screaming leg muscles. It is freezing in motion, holding your breathe, because you just walked into a herd of elk. It is a morning sky on fire, a nap later underneath bending trees. It is time alone with oneself, to reflect; making me want to talk to God. Arizona Elk Society 27

Tracker Third Quarter 2012  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hun...

Tracker Third Quarter 2012  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hun...

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