One of my favorite things is how excited a hunting client gets when he puts meat in the freezer. Here is a story from a few years ago that is one of my favorites!
We took my friend’s 83 year old grandfather hunting for his private land cow elk. Each year we think that it may be his last hunt because of his age and of course his health. This year was no different.
The thermometer read -18 degrees when we headed out to search for an elk for grandpa. We spotted a small herd over a ridge. After a very short uphill hike and a whole lot of huffing and puffing and stops to catch his breath grandpa got into position for a shot. Unfortunately, his shot missed its mark. The hike was a lot for him. He just was not able to catch his breath to get steadied enough. He was pretty upset about his miss and quietly walked back down the hill to the pick-up. We headed home for dinner and put him under the electric blanket to rest.
The second morning it was -23 on the thermometer. We were up early and grandpa was ready to hunt again. Grandpa was sore from the previous day and he told us he was worn out. He didn’t think he could do another hike like the previous day so we took him to a location that had easier access. Today the girls just were not co-operating. They were on the wrong side of the fence. We could not set grandpa out to wait for them to come to the property. It was simply too cold. We headed home for the day.
On our third and last day we got up early and took grandpa for his “last chance” cow elk hunt. That morning the temperature warmed up a little for us. It was -12 when we left the house! We headed to the same piece of property and the same herd was still on the wrong side of the fence. Grandpa was getting very discouraged. He wanted to fill his freezer. the cold temperatures were very hard for him. He was beating himself up for missing the first morning and for not being able to hike around as good as he once could. Fortunately we received a call and it was a land owner who said he had spotted a herd of cows.
There was a potential problem with this property. All the meadows were a long way from the house with rolling hills in between. We stopped and hooked up the snowmobile trailer on the way. When we arrived we loaded a bundled up grandpa on back of the snowmobile and headed up the deep snow-covered valley. We stopped over a hill hoping we had not scared the animals away and then walked to the top to peer over.
Sure enough, there was a small heard of cow elk!
Excitement began. We unloaded grandpa and he slowly hiked across the meadow and up a hill. He breathed and sighted in on a cow. I saw some hesitation in his eye. He was worried about another miss. Then he took a deep breath. There was a shot and hit!!! Grandpa stood there, trembling with excitement. It was the GREATEST thing to see the smile on that man’s face! Hunts like grandpa’s are a lot of work but definitely rewarding. Not only to him but also to his guide!
Many of us take it for granted a lot of the hiking, hunting and climbing we do. If we want to stalk an animal, we just do it. 83 years old, successful and happy as can be! Always remember to be thankful for everything you have, health, happiness and the ability to hunt!