When I first got into hunting my father took me elk hunting in the Starkey unit during the early 90’s in eastern Oregon. I believe this was my second or third trip elk hunting when my dad, his long time hunting buddy Dave, and myself were up at our favorite spot we call the ‘’monuments’’. We hunt this particular spot every year with great success and this was the spot where I killed my first spike the first year I hunted elk. I have been hooked on hunting elk ever since that very first trip.
On this particular trip I remember the weather being nice for a late October hunt. For a change it was not raining or snowing and the temperature was mild. The morning had been slow with only seeing a few cows earlier that morning. We had all decided to move onto another spot when to our left flank a small group of elk were running full speed straight ahead. Being new to this hunting thing and not much practice I did not get on the spike quick enough before Dave shot one time. The group of elk then made a dogleg right and were still running full speed ahead. Roughly about 100 yards in front of us was an old man sitting in a small group of trees that the elk were running by on the far side of him. We were unable to follow up with another shot with him sitting in the group of trees when he shot one time and the spike ran about another 20 yards and came to a crashing stop.
We made our way over to where the old man was standing next to his spike he had just anchored. He was excited as I was two years earlier when I had shot my first spike. We looked over this nice spike and saw where he had been hit twice in the vitals knowing that if the old man had not been there to anchor the elk we would be celebrating with high fives.
Instead we all congratulated the old man who by his looks had to be in his late 70’s or early 80’s, asked him if he needed any help field dressing or anything which he replied ‘’no’’. We then made on our way a little bummed thinking what might have been if he was not sitting there in the group of trees.
After a short while our spirits were lifted thinking and talking about how happy he was and how happy we would have been at that age if that would have been us.