Elk the Hard way

 15 years ago my dad set out on a quest to kill an elk with a Recurve. It was simple enough said that there was no reason it should not be a quest he could not complete. 15 years later we sit here and he still has the same goal. Most people do not understand what it takes to kill an elk, let alone try to kill one with a Recurve. We have elk hunted the same place in Glenwood Springs, CO for 4 years now and every year we get into elk, we just can’t seem to close the deal. For 3 years now we have watched elk feed in the same meadow and last year we finally found a way to it. We built a ground blind and I unfortunately missed a cow out of it. This year we had the intentions of building our ground blind as soon as possible so we could hunt it opening day. After spending an hour gathering all our necessary material, we put it all together and it was ready to be hunted.
Opening day came and my dad was up first and I was behind the camera. I knew he had dreamed of killing an elk with his Recurve so I really wanted to see him get it done. He hunted the first day and a half with no luck. So I was up and ready to hunt. We got setup about 4:30 and anticipated everything happening close to dark. With about an hour left till dark, a huge black bear strolled through our meadow and I was convinced that evening would be a bust. We stayed on the lookout for the bear the rest of the evening and as the light faded so did our hopes of killing an elk on this day. We began doing our closing interview, but still had enough light to film and shoot. As I was just finishing up my interview, my dad saw two bulls walking down the hill behind us and headed right for the upwind side of our blind. I grabbed my bow and waited for the bigger bull to walk behind a tree. I came to half draw and waited for him to step out. All the years my dad had chased those elk for this one moment was coming to life before my eyes. Almost in slow motion the bull takes two more steps and I knew right at thenall of his hard work and the knowledge was about to pay off for me. I waited for his leg to move forward and I came to full draw, picked my spot and the arrow was gone. It all was so instinctive that I had no doubt when I drew back the arrow would be perfect and it was. The bull ran 45 yards and stood for two minutes getting weaker every second. He finally bedded down and that was it. A quest my dad had set out to do so long ago actually happened for me. But you may be wondering “Why it is so important that this was what my dad had set out to do and the story is about my elk?” Well here is the reason. Over the past 15 years my dad has gained an abundance of knowledge and has put himself in the right spots but due to other factors has not got it done. Without my dad setting out on the journey, I never kill this amazing elk. He has passed down his knowledge to me and without that knowledge of how elk act, where to setup, and when or when not to call; we do not kill this elk. I am always one to give credit was due, but this time I really don’t deserve the credit. I drew back and made the shot, but it is the hidden hero in the story that made this really happen.
We walked up on my bull and I think it was at that moment when I realized how amazing an elk is. As I put my hands on him for the first time a sense of accomplishment rushed over me, but also an overwhelming amount of respect for that bull. I think today many people really look at an animal as just something to kill, but to most hunters it is so much more than that. As I sat over him I thought of everything that led up to this and everything that brought this elk to this point. And then I bowed my head, put my hand on his chest and said a prayer….
Robert North

Hunter: Robert North

Cameraman: Steve North