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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)

TITLE: Ten (Preference) Point Wife
By Marijo Phelps


Around our house autumn is not spelled “fall” but “hunting”. My husband hunts with a bow and arrow in September. My hunt for elk comes a bit later during rifle hunting time.

I am pushing 60 and have been saving “preference points” for 10 years for that really BIG hunt. Some units are so wonderful you can’t just get a tag and go hunting, you have to save points for years to be able to maybe be drawn to hunt there. I think those resident elk have a special deal with the wild life biologists to limit the amount of hunters who ever get close.

My hubby and “hunting guide” said it was my hunt so I got to pick and choose. After finding out that renting an RV would be twice as expensive as a cabin with hot showers and you still had to “feed” the RV, it became a no brainer.

My husband would have had me tent camping in the sleet, going to bed cold, getting up cold and the shower? not on his list.

We arrived in Montrose and at our cabin, which was delightful and had its own ponds! The aspen had dressed up for the occasion of my memorable hunt. They were wearing their fall finest of brilliant yellow and orange, shimmering in the wet weather. Yes, it was raining.

Early the next morning, ok, it was the middle of the night when we left the cabin at 3:30, to drive to the hunting spot we found the preceeding day. Ut was now sleeting.

We pulled off where we were going to enter the public land. Mist was rising from the ground, the sleet, well, it was sleeting with some rain thrown in. The aspen were dancing in front of the backdrop of aromatic dark pines.

We slid down the hill to the tune of elk bugle sounds – FOUR of them. Wait a minute, they sounded sort of amateurish, sort of like, hunters….

“Honey, I am not sure I want to hunt right here if every hunter in the county is here too…..” Was I whining in the sleety rain?

By now there was hail mixed in and it was cold enough to see your breath.

“OK, let’s go back to that other road in,” said Mick as he turned to go back up the hill.

Since we built our current house with vaulted living room ceilings as a permanent home for some elk and deer this was my time to do my part! “Beef in the freezer” was always wonderful too.

He went first and offered to take my 7mm08 rifle. I looked down at the chocolate ooze my feet were imbedded in and handed him the gun. After slipping and sliding back to the bottom of that hill a couple times I finally grabbed some nearby bushes and pulled up, hand over hand.

We took a short drive in the four wheel drive truck and we were in a more moderately inclined valley. The aspen were magnificent. Did you know they even have a different smell in the wet fall?

We heard buggling and this time saw the bull. He was right there, neatly behind those huge aspen trunks with his taunting, six point antlers sticking out. Well, you don’t shoot at the antlers and the rest of him was tucked behind those pesky trees.

Mick made a perfect bull elk call. The bull backed up but called back. I wonder what my husband “said” – must have been intimidating.

I voiced some eeee-owww’s like a cow would sound and that huge bull picked up his head and came forward, still hidden behind those white trunks. The wind was right and the bull couldn’t smell us, so more of the above ensued.

“Honey, can you tone it down? Whatever you are “saying” is making him think you are king of the bulls, I want him closer not all backed up…”


Some months later, there is a beautiful elk in the dining room. Yes, I know you thought I said the ceiling was vaulted in the living room. That’s because the dining room has a picture. And that artist must have been frustrated just like me because his elk was also barely showing from behind the aspen.

What, you thought the BAM was my gun? Nope, the elk finally turned and galloped through the woods Making a lot of noise. He must have winded us after all.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sunny Loomis 09/08/09
I like this. I'm not a hunter, but you gave good descriptions. I like the part where the aspens had dressed up for the occasion. I chuckled through several areas. Good job!
Karlene Jacobsen09/09/09
This was fun to read. Your descriptions are incredible. I felt a chill when you talked of the rain, sleet, hail, and middle of the night? Yikes! Good story.
Mariane Holbrook 09/10/09
What a great piece of writing. You'll place high with this one! Kudos!
Lisa Johnson09/10/09
When I read the "BAM," I thought some other hunter had shot your elk before you got a chance to...sorry your elk got away, but maybe next time you'll bag the limit.