I was now looking down at what the camp had dubbed Steve’s pond, where our hunting companion from Massachusetts had killed his initial bull that first frantic afternoon. I had a pretty good field of fire. If the bull did not choose to follow the hollow dip between the rocky knobs below me there was visibility and shooting alleys between the varied contours for at least four or five hundred yards.
I wiggled the seat of my camo pants into the damp loose moss, leaned against the rough warm surface of a rock tall enough to conceal my form, and got myself comfortable. I wrapped the sling around my left arm to steady the rifle and brought the weapon up to my knees, ready to raise it for a shot. Minutes went by. I heard a small clatter of rocks behind me. Kerry had scrambled down to watch the excitement.
“Go further, go further,” he whispered with insistence.
“No, I have a feeling this is exactly the right spot.”
It was only a second later the great antlers began to materialize as the bull worked its way up the swale. I slowly lifted the rifle which I had carefully sighted in after the fiasco of our first day. He was coming right at us, his head down, browsing. He was accompanied by three cows. The angle of approach was so straight on that I had no shot without ruining the cape. I waited.
Kerry let out a low almost inaudible whistle, “Boy that is an (expletive) good bull, eh? Take a shot, pull the trigger,” Kerry whispered excitedly.
Still I waited. At about seventy five yards, the bull finally angled slightly sideways. I squeezed the trigger. Several minutes later, Kerry and I stood silently over the caribou. Each of us in our own way paid respect to the animal, and the moment. As I always do at time frozen memory etched frames of life like that, I breathed in deep, trying to capture every tactile sense of the second for eternity, and reflected on the primordial primal circle of it all. Then we shook hands with wide smiles and slapped each other on the back. It was indeed a grand animal, and a textbook hunt. The spot, the stalk, a clean kill, a big old bull that probably only had a year or two of life left. The whole scene drenched by sunshine, punctuated by the sparkles of tundra green, highlighted by glistening jewels of water bodies far below and framed by the blue of a cloudless sub arctic sky. Picture perfect.
To be continued….