by Edward on Dec 2, 2013
in Rustic Home Décor Times
Many years ago now, but I remember it like yesterday…. I drove the 30 hour trip for a second time to the Teton National park, Wyoming from Indiana with but a single 4 hour sleep break in the back of my Chevy Blazer at some no name rest area, thinking of meeting my dad, Lew, friends, and the big elk hunt that would start once I got there. I drove through the day and most of the night getting to the camp about 430 a.m. full well knowing that everyone would be getting up and getting ready for the opening day and they had already started heading out.
The plan was to have everyone spread out along a road several miles from camp and slowly hike towards camp and look to see what happened. Having got to the camp late, everyone else had jumped out on the far end of the dead end road and dad and I were closest to the highway. After about an hour into it we hit the highway road…I was some disgruntled with that, feeling like we were wasting our time and we took pause to think of a plan and hatched one. We decided to walk the highway road double time, loop around and hopefully have our string of hunters push elk toward us or dad and me to push elk towards them…We both thought this to be a great idea!
Another hour in, we were making our way up steep country and dark timber hugging the ridge line when we came to spot where the ridges split, we chose to take the ridge to the right and we slowly continued our assent. We did this for another hour and then Lewis said, “We should stop and eat”. I was dumfounded…angry, and frustrated.
“It’s 930 AM opening day Pop”, “we have just packed, driven, hiked, practiced all those days shooting, and otherwise prepared all year for this one morning and you want to stop and eat right now”? “Yep”, said Lew. I knew my dad and arguing this issue would be pointless. Surrendering I said, “Fine” under my breathe, “But we are not taking time to cook anything”. This was my one condition in that I knew if he broke out an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) and used one of the built in heaters that came with it, this stop would take an hour, but maybe we could move on in 20 to 30 minutes if he just ate something that he did not heat up. So I watched Lew slowly break out his pack and start going through it. “Hmm.. what do we have here”, “crackers, peanut butter, cheese, biscuits…and lookie here, peaches”. “That sounds good”, Lewis reported. I was agonizing by the way watching him do this. “Aren’t you going to eat anything?”, Lew asked “No, I am not hungry”, I replied quickly, still in disbelief we were wasting time…prime hunting time…peaches…I can’t freaking believe this.
“I am going to scout ahead”, I said, I looked up the hill and walked up the hill a ways… sulking as I went. I started back and then sat down on a log several feet from Lew, watching him finish his peaches. He looked up at me and said, “These peaches are really good”! I nodded not saying a darn thing. He finished and policed up his things, put on his pack and had just started to get to his feet…when it happened.
We heard a loud deep blow in the distance, much like a horse will blow when climbing up a steep grade when it stops. I knew it was no horse, I never heard an elk make that noise before, but intuitively knew it was a bull elk….and a big one. It came in from below us to our left into the other canyon we passed. If we had not stopped when we did, we would never have heard this. I could feel my pulse in my ears and quietly whispered to dad that we should slowly work our way down the way we came maybe we would catch up on him. We back tracked and got to the other ridge and made it up maybe a thousand yards of slow climbing and taking our time to stop and peer into long open lanes between the dark timber.
Suddenly, we heard a snort and loud crashing from about 400 to 500 yards away. We could hear the bull coming our way and we both nodded at each other as we both shouldered our rifles and peered through the trees…That is when we got a glimpse of the huge animal, with huge horns, and moving faster than I thought anything that big could move through this rough country and then he came to a stop into the shooting lane I was looking down, about 90 to 100 yards quartering to me, looking over his shoulder back in the direction he just came from. Time froze and the memories are burned into my subconscious.
I pulled my rifle up quick and slowed down my process, took the safety off the rifle, held the cross hairs behind the bull’s shoulder, thought follow through and make the trigger squeeze and surprise when it touched off, the whole process took about 2 seconds but felt like minutes…the gun went off…and nothing. The bull did not move! I was incredulous as I cycled the action of my rifle when I heard the roar of dad’s 300 H &H touch off and the bull was already moving when he pulled the trigger. I made one last shot through the next clearing and the bull was gone bashing and crashing as he went. I looked at Lew and he shrugged looking as bewildered as I. My heart was dropping and spirit drooping when we heard “CRASH”! Which could only mean one thing…our Bull was down!
Over the next five minutes we discussed how long we should wait before walking down to check on the bull when one of our party yelled, “Oh Lordy”! Look at the size of your Bull! Hearing this, we both bounded down the hill and then the celebrating began. The rest of our hunting party came in the next hour or so, as we butchered the bull, the horses packed the meat out, and the telling and re-telling the story began. Hearing the telling of the story a second time, my buddy Jeff started smiling and looked at Lew and said your new nick-name is “Peaches”. The name stuck for several seasons after that.