If I had an Indian name it would probably be "Scared of Bears." This new found fear that I'm now trying to conquer surfaced during our recent Mule Deer hunt. Opening morning I found myself wandering a short ways off from our little home on the mountain top - a humble resting place composed of a few tents nestled on a slope at the edge of timberline. The need for quenching my thirst due to climbing the mountain the night before resulted in a desperate need to escape from the single-man tent that I was confined to in the wee morning hours.
As I surveyed the beautiful view around me I noticed movement. With my decaffeinated state of mind, I stared at the object roaming across the tundra-like crest of the mountain. It was huge and tall which is probably why my mind didn't register what I was looking at. I'm not sure how long I watched him. It was a bit surreal for a moment. At some point the words, "Bear!" came out of my mouth. There was a rustle in the nearby tents. All the guys quickly appeared to check out my discovery. One by one I heard.. "that's a big F***ng bear!" Holy *#$! Excitement was in the air. My husband was wishing that bear season was open - the tag in his pocket was now burning a hole. Me on the other hand... the sleepless nights began.
I don't know what got into me but after seeing Mr. leggy Black Bear, every night afterwards I had a hard time sleeping. You should also know that my husband and I each had single tents. The plan was for the guys to sleep on the outside edge so that I would feel safe being nestled in the middle. They had guns in their tents. I didn't and I didn't feel safe. So, for the subsequent nights my sweet husband awoke to me whispering his name and me crawling into his single tent. We were 'sleeping double in a single tent.'
There was one night that I still remember vividly and pray that the memory will not fade away soon. One of my sleepless nights as I lay awake straining to listen to anything that roamed closely to "our" tent, the ritual began. I would hear something out of place and try as I might to be strong, at some point my husband was getting poked... "Did you hear that?" "Is that a Bear?" And the response... "No. Go back to sleep. You are fine." This night was different though. I could hardly take it anymore, I found myself praying and asking my Father in Heaven to please calm my nerves. I knew it was an irrational fear I was developing but still couldn't convince myself that Mr. Bear wasn't going to pay me a visit. So, like a child asking again and again for the piece of candy, I asked my God again... please comfort me. He is faithful. The next sound I heard softly in the distance... "meeewww."
Me: "Did you hear THAT?"
Me: "I think it is an elk."
We listened quietly nestled in the single-man tent. And then the chorus of mews drew closer. The girls apparently had a lot to talk about tonight. As the herd of elk literally surrounded our tents we lay in silence - we were like kids in a candy shop. In the cover of darkness I know we both were grinning ear to ear as we whispered to one another... "Can you believe this??" I didn't think it could get any better, but it did. CRASH! RAttLe! CRaSh! A war had begun as two bulls began to test their strength in the field right next to us. Amongst mews and antlers crashing I lay in awe as the sounds filled my ears. Laying there at the edge of the pine trees, I was content. A wave a peace washed over me. I couldn't see what was going on around my tent, but the sounds filled my imagination. As the star filled sky sprinkled down the only glimpse of light upon the timberline meadow I knew that God had sent the elk - just for me.
P.s. The one person who had an elk tag for this area slept through the whole event. In fact, as I tried to wake him up.. the "conversation" went something like...
Me: "Psst - Evan. Are you hearing this?"
Elk: CRASH! RaTtLE!
Me: "Psssstttt..... Evan!"
From the Draw
A website devoted to sharing bowhunting stories. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.