The Hunt of a Lifetime

May 20, 2012
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The Hunt of a Lifetime
John opens up his mailbox. He looks inside and sees an envelope. He opens it and it’s a paper saying he had been drawn for an exclusive elk hunt in South Dakota. He had never been so excited in his life. John is fresh out of college and 25 years old. He is six feet tall, has black hair and loves to hunt. A few days later, William Oswald calls him to talk about what he will need on the hunting trip and how to get to his lodge. John packs his stuff and is ready to head for South Dakota the next morning.

When John arrives at camp he meets William Oswald. “How are you doing, son,” William says. “Oh, I’m fine,” John replies. William is a big man at six feet, eight inches. He has black, buzzed hair, a full beard and has a southern accent. Since John didn’t get to camp until supper time, they head inside for dinner. Inside John meets Bill Hancock, William’s assistant. Bill is a fairly small man at five feet, eight inches, 45 years old and looks and smells like he hasn’t taken a shower in ten years. They all sit down at the dinner table and start to eat. John was a little worried about how the food was going to be but it was one of the best meals he has ever had. Buttery corn and the sizzling sound of a freshly grilled steak filled John’s plate. “We’ll head out and try to get you an elk first thing in the morning,” William said. It was getting late and John wanted to get a good night’s rest so he headed for bed. John lay in his bed thinking about how great this trip was going to be.

The next morning, John was up at 4:30 a.m., getting his camo on and his bow situated for the hunt. William, Bill and John then head for the spot they will be hunting first. It is pitched black out, there is nothing in sight. John can feel the rumble of his horse’s breathing. The sound of rocks crashing down the mountain side make John a little scared. He is reassured when he hears William’s voice through the heavy darkness, “We’re almost there boys.” It is about 6:00 a.m. now and John is ready for the hunt.

William and Bill tell John where to go, and then John heads off into the thick unknown South Dakota forest. He heads right for the spot William and Bill told him to go. He had been waiting there for about an hour and a half when all of a sudden he could hear the deep rumbled breathing of an animal. Branches were crushing and leaves were rustling right behind him. John had no idea what it was so he stood still, hoping it was an elk he had been waiting for. Out of nowhere, a giant black bear came out right behind the tree John was on. Not knowing what to do, John started to run. He turned around and saw the ravage bear right on his heels. He ran as fast as he could, the feeling of thorns ripping through his skin like a butter knife. That didn’t distract him. He kept running until he hit a waterfall. He decided to jump. John landed in the rocky river below. He swam to land, not knowing where he was or how his day could get any worse.

John managed to find a trail in the woods; he was hoping it would take him back to camp so he could tell the guys what happened. John had lost everything; his bow, matches, compass and his lunch. He did still have his knife though. It was about midday when John saw movement through the trees. Hoping it wasn’t another bear he ducked. As he looked closer he could tell they were people. They were wearing camouflage and carrying guns. He knew it wasn’t gun season so that made him a little wary. He knew if he didn’t get help he would die out in the woods so he started yelling, “Help, over here.” The unknown men started saying, “There he is.” and shot their rifles at him. John could hear the whizzing noise of the bullets going past his head. John started to run. When he thought he’d lost them he climbed a tree as high as he could. The men ran right under his tree. John recognized it was William and Bill chasing him.
John knew he needed to find something more than the knife to defend himself. He began sneaking through the forest back toward the river. It was getting dark when he stumbled into a pit full of bodies in various stages of decay. He was about to start screaming when he heard William and Bill coming. He hid among the bodies, trying not to even breathe. The stench from the decay was enough to make him pass out but he held it together while Bill shined a flashlight into the pit. The movement and sizzling sound created by all the flies in the pit disguised John and Bill never saw him. John did recognize one of the faces of the bodies however. It was a young man that he had seen on William’s webpage advertising his hunts. The webpage showed the dead man with a six by six elk and said it had been bagged the previous week. John remembered being excited that he might be the next hunter shown on the webpage.
John scrambled out of the pit as soon as William and Bill had left. He couldn’t believe what was happening to him. After all the years he had been a hunter, he was now the hunted. In one day he had been hunted by two of nature’s most deadly predators, bear and man. He had survived the bear, could he survive man? It was getting late so he decided to wait until morning to find his bow. John climbed another tree and sat thinking about all that had happened to him. He was totally exhausted, both physically and mentally. He kept wondering if more people were involved in the human hunting. The number of bodies in the pit led him to think that there might be more than just William and Bill. He hadn’t met or seen any others but he was afraid they might be hiding somewhere in the woods. He decided he didn’t have any choice. It was time to turn the tables again and once more become the hunter.
It was about 10:00 p.m. when he heard footsteps under his tree. A putrid smell filled the air so he knew what was there. He slowly pulled out his knife and looked down. He was right, it was Bill Hancock. John knew this was his shot to get back at them and possibly save himself. He was going to throw his knife at Bill’s head from the tree. He knew it would be a hard thing to do but he had no choice. He threw his knife. It felt like an eternity until the knife hit Bill. When it did, the knife stuck deep into Bill’s skull. He instantly collapsed. John climbed down from the tree to make sure Bill was dead. He wanted his knife back in case William showed up. He slowly pulled the knife out of Bill’s head. The sound of smashed brain and hard skull on the blade of the knife made John puke. John wanted to take Bill’s gun for protection but the stock was damaged when Bill fell on it.
The sun was just rising at 6:00 a.m. and John had no sleep, knowing there was someone hunting him. He needed water and his bow. Since he knew he lost his bow when he jumped into the river, he headed that way. He followed the trail back to the river very cautiously. When he got to the river, the hard part was finding his bow. He looked and looked until he saw the fletching of an arrow sticking out of the mud. He was lucky he had found his bow and it didn’t appear to be damaged. John found a good spot in the forest to hide and wait.
He was having trouble staying focused because of his hunger. He hadn’t had anything to eat in two days and was overwhelmed by what had happened to him. Then out of the blue he saw William walking through the woods. John got ready but he accidentally broke a twig, alarming William. John drew his bow, intending to kill. William and John both shot simultaneously. A bullet pierced John in the lower leg. He looked up, expecting to die, but saw William on the ground with an arrow through his chest. He had defeated all odds and saved his own life. He didn’t know if he was going to make it out of the forest alive but at that point he didn’t care. He was the hunter again.
As John lay staring at the sky, relishing his victory, he heard the pounding of numerous horse hooves. Were William’s friends coming after him now? He grabbed William’s gun and just as he was about to shoot, he noticed the riders were wearing police and game warden uniforms. As John sank to the ground, an elk bugled off in the distance.





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