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But then they will hear the crunch of leaves, the crack of a twig. All heads will turn to look that way. The rack of a large bull, tethered to your back, will reflect in the light of their campfire, the one that guides you in. “I knew he got one,” the first will then say. “Where did you shoot him at?” will beg the second. It will sprout from your face; a smirk to a grin, a smile will then lay wide. Inside, a tidal wave of joy, abounding emotions will start to spill out as you begin to tell your story. You’ll want to scream and shout as your buddies come over to touch the antlers, and help you unload the weight. But you don’t mind feeling heavy. You’ll just stand there, smiling, nodding your head to their responses, as if holding back a secret, because Victory knows your name. There are no better feelings than the ones you’ll caress tonight. It is hard to hold them all in, so you share them, letting them percolate and filter out, making room for more to come in. Then you’ll do it. Look up into the heavens, for just a moment, to gaze at the stars. You feel like there is something you should say. It’s right on the tip of your tongue. A sort-of hello, goodbye, and thank you, all wrapped up into one thought. But you say nothing, just stare. You feel the mountains, the hunt, the elk, and your friends, all bonding and living forever inside you. The joy you hold comes from the journey you have just traveled, the getting from there, to here. This is the kiss of elk country, and you, the proud recipient of something magical.

An Arizona native, Patrick Weise has been living and breathing elk since his first arrowed bull in September of 2000. He sleeps in the Phoenix metro area, most nights, but his home lichens outdoors, somewhere north, between the dry desert floor and a pine tree canopy.

Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Conservation License Plate By purchasing this plate you will be making a contribution to Arizona’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Seventeen dollars ($17) of each twenty-five ($25) special license fee will go to AZSFWC’s Wildlife Conservation Committee (WCC). The WCC will review and approve all grants from the special license plate program revenues. These grants will fund important outdoor recreational and educational opportunities and on-the-ground wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement projects.

These plates can be purchased online and can also be personalized. To order an AZSFWC Conservation License Plate go to: www.servicearizona.com Arizona Elk Society 29

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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