When Chaos Arrived

What was that? Dad turned to hear a furious noise behind him. With limbs breaking and leaves crackling his anticipation grew. The closer the noise the more anxious he became. This was, after all, his first time. He didn’t know what to expect. Grunting grew to point that he felt as if the animal was going to attack him. Dad heard each hoof hitting the ground and the dogs continued their incessant barking. The animal feared for his life and ran as fast as he could.

Dad raised his gun. All he needed was for it to appear in his site. The louder the confusion between man and beast, the more intense and passionate he became.

Deep bulging sounds—panic in the air—chaos was about to debut. The noise stopped. Where was he? Dad eased his gun to left, nothing. Questioning his whereabouts he moved back to the right, nothing. He took his eyes off the site to look around.

The dogs got louder and Dad wondered if he had missed his objective. Chaos burst through the Colorado Spruce and ran toward Dad. He turned his gun for a perfect shot. His finger was on the trigger. He lowered his gun. The Elk ran a new direction.

Bugling Bull (male) Elk Yellowstone National Park Wyoming near the Madison River ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Google Photo

Dad had hunted in the Louisiana woods his entire life, but never like this, or for the largest land mammal in North America. He had just moved to Denver to pastor the South Denver Church of God. The men in the church invited him to go Elk hunting. They took him to the license bureau to apply for a hunting license and Elk tags. He was told that to get a tag you must first sign up, and then wait on the lotto drawing. If you were lucky you might get a bull Elk or cow licenses. If you didn’t get either, you got to stay home, or at the camp while the others hunted.

Dad was excited when he received his tags in the mail. He hadn’t won a bull tag. There was not a cow tag inside either. His tag said he could hunt both. When he told the men of the church of his luck they were amazed. One of them told him they had lived in Colorado their entire life and never won both tags. They patted him on the back and assured him he had won the Lotto.

When hunting day came he was taken up in the mountains and placed on a big flat rock. He was told to, “Sit right here, be still and wait.” He would soon hear the dogs and they would run the animal toward him. “When you hear all the commotion, get ready.”

Dad did as he was instructed and sat patiently. Even with the bull Elk in his site he could not pull the trigger. He stood in awe of his beauty. The display of power and dominance impressed him with an indescribable reaction for the animal. In view of vigorous muscle, huge antlers, and breathtaking presence Dad lowered his gun.

When Dad told us this story he said, “He was too beautiful to kill.”

elk-2Google Photo


28 thoughts on “When Chaos Arrived

  1. I agree that was a great story, Andy, but the ending especially touched my heart. Not because I’m one of those folks who think you shouldn’t hunt. I grew up in an area where hunters abounded and still do. No, what touched my heart was your father’s comment, “He was too beautiful to kill.” It tells me a lot about your dad. He had a heart for the Lord and he recognized God’s beautiful creation in that elk. You were blessed to have that man for your dad. 🙂

    • Hi Mama! Thanks for such a nice comment and compliment! Like you, I hunted for years along with most of my family. When Dad shared this story with us about 30 years ago I learned a new appreciation for wildlife. Each has its own beauty. It was after this story that I put down my gun and have not hunted since. I still go with others who hunt but my gun is my camera and most of the time I get better shots than those hunting, lol. Dad was indeed a very special man, he was an oak and I miss him terribly. Some day I will see him again! Blessings to you Mama!

  2. A great yarn with a happy ending. I know exactly how your Dad felt. I used to shoot kangaroos professionally. One day I looked at our magnificent animals and just could shoot them again.

  3. My husband grew up in a family of ‘hunters’ who trodded off every friday after Thanksgiving to the family camp in quest of the illusive white-tail. In all those years he went he often joked he’d have been more successful at capturing the coveted prized-animal, had he taken his camera than the rifle he sited in each year! I do believe my husband’s heart is akin to your Dad’s. Hugs to you for sharing such an endearing family story.

    • Thank you Dawn for such a nice comment. I believe your husband should pick up a camera and take it with him every time he goes to camp. There is so much to capture and will create wonderful family memories of the others who go with him. Perhaps its time for new camera this Christmas as one of his presents. Give him my story and your reply in card when you give it to him. Let me know? Blessings to you and your husband!

  4. I didn’t understand animals until I researched great apes for a novel I’m writing. Then, it became clear to me that many animals are cerebral and cognitive, just not the way we humans are. I don’t expect them to abide by mankind’s cultural values, but they have their own that are equally valuable. I don’t think I could ever shoot an animal. I struggle with remaining non-judgemental over others who can.

  5. So happy with the ending. I was dreading the death of the elk! And thanks for following my blog. I am going to check yours out also!

  6. This is a beautiful story!

    I’ve never thought of elk as beautiful, but perhaps if I was confronted with one in the wild I’d have a different perspective. 🙂

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