The One That Got Away

Randon Hunter


I could smell it in the air the rut was in full swing, dressed in full camo bow in hand and my best friend by my side, life couldn't get better than this. It was the last evening of the 96' bowhunting season in Idaho. I could taste the big one and I knew I would get my trophy Elk.

As we approached the peak, a thunderous bugle shook the mountainside. I have never heard anything like it, a shrill went up and down my spine. I bugled back and got a shrill bugle and then another and another, but it wasn't the "The One". Finally he Roared again silencing the satellite bulls, they all knew who was the boss. I let out another bugle, and got a response from him. I sat down and raked up and down a tree with a pair of branches. Night was coming soon so I knew I had to act fast. As I stood up to shorten the distance between us. I heard a rolling thunder roll down the mountain. I couldn't believe my eyes it was him! I could see my heart beating.

The One

I was standing in the wide open holding extremely still as he searched for his trespasser. As I counted his points, I couldn't believe it, 8x7, sure I have seen it before on videos, but not live. His antlers touched his rump, he was majestic and beautiful. He now was about 100 yards away and closing quickly. I noticed a clearing 30 yards away that he would cross. I set my bow accordingly, (my bow has a cross-hair sight once you choose your yardage and draw there's no turning back). He looked away for a brief moment long enough for me draw my bow. Everything moved in slow motion, but the bull was moving fast I had to slow him down. I let out a cow call with my diaphragm (never pull back a bow without one of these jewels in your mouth). Instead of slowing him down he turned and came charging straight for me through the clearing. I didn't dare let out another beep, by now I was in cardiac arrest! 30, 20, 15, just 10 yards away. I was getting scared thinking this massive animal almost in arms length was going to throw me around like a rag doll, my mind racing faster than an Indy Car. Finally he offered me a shot, my bow set for 30yrds I thought this would never do. I tried to frantically calculate where to place the sight. I thought I'll aim at the level of his knee, NO that's too low I'll aim in-between. As I released my arrow, I saw a glimpse of my fletchings skim his back. We made eye contact for a brief moment and then he was gone. My arrow now imbedded in the dirt, my heart sank. I was sickened, and my cousin was laughing at this whole ordeal, and all I wanted to do is cry.

A trophy elk less than thirty feet from me now gone. It isn't everyday you can see such a creature as the "Elk" and become one with them. Bowhunting is the only way you will ever get to know this magnificent creature. I have returned there to settle the score, but he keeps on forfeiting.

That truly was "the one that got away".

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