Mark Hackbart writes, "The October of 2008 was one I had been waiting for, for a long time. It started when I was 14. I detasiled corn all summer and earned enough money to go to a gun auction with my dad. On the way their we talked about what kind of rifle I was going to try to buy. We lived in Wisconsin and the first two years that I went deer hunting, I used a 32 Winchester Special lever action. So, I was leaning to a 30-30 lever action. I have pretty bad eye sight and I also wanted a scope. My dad said that I should consider the future and consider a larger caliber rifle. He said, "you donít know where you are going to end up living". If you end up out west you might want to go elk hunting some day and you will need a bigger gun. I ended up getting a Remington 30-06 rifle and a nice scope. I was in heaven! I told my dad that if I ever got to go elk hunting he had to come to.
Well, it took us 23 years, but we finally went. We drew 1st season either sex tags in Colorado and we were going to area 24. We also rode horses in and out every day. But, with 60 degree temps. and full moon, it was not going to be easy. My best friend also came along and he also has never gotten an elk.
Day one...all we got was wet. We didnít see anything. It rained all day. The camper looked like a laundry with everything hung up trying to dry. On day two, we had a guide set up. In the morning, I sat on a hill overlooking a creak bottom. My dad was on a meadow, and Tim was overlooking a pond. Then in the afternoon we sat on different places. For some reason our guide found it necessary to take a nap every afternoon. We had found a small wallow that a couple of elk used in the morning. My dad was set up to see a small meadow and the wallow in the bottom. Then my friend was just over the hill to his east and I was just over the hill to the west. I told the guide that my dad was the priority and if an elk came out and was heading to my dad that I would let it go and so did my friend. The guide said that he was against this, but our minds were made up. Just before dark I heard a twig snap to my right. Suddenly, out walked a 3x3 bull. It was beautiful! Then, right behind him was the 5x4. They were both walking the opposite direction of my dad. I was hoping they would turn and go his way, but they were not. I put the crosshairs on the front shoulder and at 43 yards I took the shot...he didnít move. I thought, "How did I miss!" But he was just standing there. The other one took off. So, I ejected and reloaded then fired again. He fell right there. When I walked up to him a few minutes later, I turned on the radio and heard my friend calling. By this point I had the shakes and was ecstatic. When I got the elk skinned and it was all hanging, I hiked back to my dad and after he asked if I had hit it and I told him we had our first elk, he had tears in his eyes. A couple of days later I got to experience the fun of packing out an elk on mules, but that is another story.
The rest of the hunt my friend only saw a glimpse of a bull and could not tell how many points, or even determine if it was legal or not. But my dad, unfortunately, never saw anything. He was just hoping to see one. Bull, cow, calf, anything. But he never did. After the hunt and on our way home, I asked if he would ever go elk hunting again and he said he probably would never go again.
Later in Colorado, my best friend got a doe mule deer and then my dad back in Wisconsin go the biggest whitetailed deer he has ever gotten (pictured below). I hope I can change my dadís mind and get him to go elk hunting again. I am going to make it my mission to help my dad and my best friend to be able to feel the same feeling that I have now had the chance to feel. This was all only possible with the direction of God. He truly has blessed me."