Through the dense underbrush the hunter silently creeps along the forest floor. Every muscle on edge as the hunter creeps on moccasin clad feet toward the elk. The wilderness has hardened the hunters lithe body through countless trails walked and innumerable mountains traversed. The bow is strong in the hunters hand as the elk steps into a small clearing at the edge of the forest. Strong arms pull the string to full draw, a razor sharp broad head tips the wooden shaft of the arrow. Turkey feather fletching along the back of the shaft will guide the deadly projectile toward the elk when the hunter releases the string of the bow. The elk is completely unaware of the danger lurking just inside the timberline. As soon as the bull nears the center of the clearing, the hunter releases the deadly projectile. The arrow slices through the air impacting with the old bulls body with an audible thump. The hunter knows the hit is good and stands up in the shadows along the tree line.
She stares in the direction of the mortally wounded bull, the sound of the large animal falling to the forest floor leaves no doubt that the magnificent animal has succumbed to the arrow. With practiced stealth she approaches the downed elk, after saying her prayers of thanks and honoring the fallen prey she begins the arduous task of butchering the carcass and carrying the winters supply of meat back down the mountain.
With a full pack of elk meat, the old bulls antlers crowning the final load, she will bring down the mountainside this year, she surveys the countryside. Aspen groves alternate between towering spruce and pines along this ridge. A cascading creek flows down the mountainside creating a small but beautiful waterfall near where the old bull fell. Four trips down the steep mountain so far with boned out meat and this is the last one. In a nearby tree hangs the arrow which took the old bulls life. An offering to the spirit of the hunt and a token of respect for the fallen elk. She shifts the heavy pack upon her pack and begins her descent back to civilization and the comforts of home. On an adjoining ridge she spies movement, four horsemen followed by several heavily laden pack animals are heading up the mountain, they have enough food and gear for fifty men and are making enough noise to run every elk clean out of the country. She begins walking back down the mountain on strong legs, muttering to herself about the foolish boys who feel compelled to come to her mountains every year. And as usual they are just a little too late, the elk herds have already crested the summit early today and will be in the high basin by this time tomorrow. Her blue eyes sparkle as she grins to her self, and enters the dark timber with her hard earned trophy. Boys will never learn.
I this modern world of ego driven males and their desire to be the greatest of the great hunters, we must not forget the wild women with which we share the forest. Only one on fifty of our fellow hunters is of the feminine variety, yet many of our wives , girlfriends, daughters and even mothers and grandmothers would gladly join the ranks as fellow hunters if they felt they were welcomed and accepted into the sport. Some of the finest outdoorsmen I have ever known were in fact ladies. So next time you head out into the wild places ask your special lady to come along, you may just find that she is a huntress just waiting for the chance to stalk the wild places.