My brother and I just got back from our annual elk hunting trip to Colorado - and it was the most successful yet. We indeed got a bull elk - my brother put an arrow through it after I imitated an elk bugle to coax it into my brother's bow range. Enrique then put an arrow where it counted, and the rest is history.
A picture of the massive bull elk that we took
While taking a bull was a great time (it was our first), I considered this trip a success because our father was able to be there with us. Dad served as the camp cook, the director of our skinning efforts, and most importantly, our spiritual counselor on the trip. He took along his Magnificat, which we used to do morning and evening prayers.
The hunting trio was all smiles
After taking the bull, the fun began as we skinned and quartered the beautiful animal which likely weighed over 800 pounds. It took us a full two and a half hours to take most of the meat. We even got the tenderloins per my dad's insistence.
It takes some time to skin an elk
Next we packed one of our horses with close to 200 pounds of elk meat to take back to camp. We rented our equines from a local outfitter that has always delivered seasoned animals with good climbing ability and a gentle ride.
Our horses did an outstanding job
Finally it was time to make the trip back to camp through the beautiful early autumn terrain of the northern Colorado mountains. Majestic pines, rows of towering Aspens, and thick fields of grass cover the valleys and peaks of this country which is surely a foretaste of heaven.
Making our way through God's country
We were greeted the next morning with a light snow that convinced us to have an extra cup of coffee and recount the events from the previous day. My brother and I eventually headed out to look for a cow (a female elk). A couple of hours into the hunt we soon huddled under a pine tree to rest and take shelter from the wind and snow.
Taking a break from the hunt
The cow eluded my arrow that day and the next, though we did have fun watching a mule deer doe get confused by our camouflage and get within 20 yards of us. My brother was able to snap a picture of it as it stared us down.
This muley didn't know what to make of us
What made the trip most successful, however, wasn't the elk, the scenery, or even the company. It was God teaching us to trust in his Divine Providence. On the drive from Texas to Colorado, we started reading Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, a set of writings by a couple of Jesuit priests in the 17th century.
Fr. Baptise and Saint Claude were a couple of wise French priests
Little did we know how God would show us examples of his Divine Providence throughout the trip. We saw his hand in many of the occurrences, big and small, throughout the week. The Lord gave, and then he taketh away.
We wanted to bring back some elk meat from this trip, yet God providentially had it donated to needier people through no merit of our own. We didn't come home with the meat, but we came home with much, much more.