We were driving down to a ridge near camp to try and spot elk after a long day of back country hunting. On our drive, I was looking out the window in the trees for sign, animals, etc. I spotted a buck, we locked eyes, and I could see antlers, but I wasn’t sure how big he was. I had an either sex tag, and we needed meat in the freezer, so I didn’t care if he was trophy or not. We stopped the car and I jumped out with my bow and a range finder. I dove into the timber and started working my way back to where I saw him. He was still there, feeding. As soon as I knelt down, he saw me. I didn’t have a shot, so I waited. He started to feed again and I stood back up, he saw me again. I froze, until he started to feed once more, I then adjusted my footing and knelt down one more time. I had a small window, but I had ranged him at 18 yards. I could make that shot, easy. I drew back and placed my pin in between two branches, right on the vitals, and let it fly. He immediately tore through the timber, crashing through trees. I saw him run out towards a meadow, circle around through the timber once more and back to the meadow. I couldn’t tell if it was a good hit, or if I had even hit him at all. I started to make my way to the meadow where I saw him laying in the field. He had just picked his head up and laid back down. I snuck into 20 yards and put a second arrow right behind his shoulder, but he was already done. I broke down in tears. I had worked so hard for this moment, countless hours on the range practicing, scouting out our area, checking trail cameras, getting the best equipment I could. The gratitude, thankfulness, joy, sorrow, respect for this animal and his life, filled me with emotion. I wanted to fill a tag so badly, and in turn fill the freezer for my family. This was my first animal harvested, and a beautiful one at that, on opening day of archery season. This moment will stay with me for the rest of my life and I will have a mount to remind me of how special that moment was.
- Taken At: Routt National Forest
- Taken On: 08/25/2018
- With: Caitlin Turner