As my family and I were headed over the pass, I was so excited to be on the way to my first elk hunt. Of course I had been elk, antelope, deer and bear hunting with my dad, but this time my dad was hunting with me.  I was really excited because this was the first time that I was the tag holder for elk.

 I completed hunter safety the year before, when I was nine, so I was super exited to put what I learned to use. My dad and I had been shooting before we went so I was pretty confident with my shot.

My family and I arrived two days before the opener, so we had plenty of time to scout. As we were loading up to go scout that night, I couldn’t believe that the time had come. I couldn’t stop thinking that now it’s my turn to shoot an animal.

             That night we found a group of elk that would be a pretty easy pack out. They were in the same spot that my dad shot his bull the year before. We found a couple other groups, but the morning before opening day we found the group that we decided was the one to go after. The next morning my dad woke me up early. We drove to the base of the mountain and then hiked the rest of the way. When we got to the top, where they were the day before, we glassed for a minute, but they were gone. We hiked all over the mountain, but still nothing.
After a few times of the same thing happening, we began to get frustrated.

Four day later, my grandparents came and that night my mom and dad went to glass. I wanted to stay back with my sisters and grandparents.

My mom and dad came back to camp with good news: there were elk right up behind our camp. It was completely God because I had prayed that, if I got something, my entire family could be with me to help pack it out.

The next morning I woke up, even more excited than before.
My mom, dad, and I hiked from camp to where we thought they were. We didn’t see them. We decided to hike over another hill where there was a little creek that they might have been watering at. When we got to the top of the hill we looked up the ridge and there were two cow elk just standing there, looking at us. My dad had my gun. I was so excited, I half-walked/ half-ran to him and grabbed it. My dad was holding the gun up while I was trying to get the elk in my scope. All I could see was sage brush. By that time, they were running away. We hiked up to where they went; they were gone. Disappointedly, we walked back to camp.

The next day we went to the same spot but came in from a different direction. When we got to the top, my dad heard cows barking, so we rushed to where we heard them. The shot was too far for me, but my mom had a tag, so we thought she should take it. She hesitated and ended up passing, because she wanted me to harvest first. I was unsure if that had been the right decision, but my mom was certain it was.

        As it turned out, she was right.
The following day, we headed over a new little ridge.
 All of the sudden my dad whispered ‘’There they are, let’s make a move on them.’’
I was eager to go after them, but also nervous, because there wasn’t much shooting light left. We had to hurry.

         We slipped into a little cut and walked through the trees. My dad peeked his head out of the trees and said ‘’they’re in range, Colson. Come here and try to get a shot.’’
        I was so excited that I almost forgot to be quiet. I anxiously sat down and put a cow in my crosshairs; I was just waiting for her to turn. The first one in my sites walked into the trees. I didn’t get a shot at that one.  Another one finally turned broadside. My dad was watching them through his binos.
      “Dad, that one is broadside.’’ I said.
      “Yup, take her when you’re ready.’’
      “Ok, dad I’m ready. I’m shooting.’’ I was so excited.
      “Do it, ’’ my dad said.
I was shaking so badly that I could hardly hold the crosshairs on her.
 I SHOT!! 

         As I watched her fall, tears flooded my eyes. I was overcome with joy and relief. Hunting isn’t always easy, but hard work pays off.

             As I waited for my parents to gather our packs, I could hear the other cows mewing and the bull bugling. I sat there marveling at God’s beautiful creation.  

Tagging and breaking down the elk on the hillside that night was awesome.

As we hiked back in the dark, the adrenaline died off and I was so tired.

We got back to camp and
walked into my grandparent’s motorhome, holding the elk backstraps.
We sat down and told the unforgettable story.

The next day my dad, mom, sisters, and I went back up and packed her out. We had a great time laughing and working together, as a family.

Two days later, my mom and dad went out
and my mom shot her elk.
           Those eight days will never be forgotten.                        

Gen. 1:28

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