By Shannon Rasmussen
Saturday morning we woke to a fresh blanket of snow and temps in the teens. We gathered all of our warm hunting gear and headed to the mountain. You see, Saturday was a very special day for our family. Our middle son Mason had just turned 12 last week, which is the legal age in Idaho to hunt big game. Mason had drawn a late rifle cow tag, and Saturday was the first day that he could hunt. It was a slow drive as the roads were ice packed, but eventually we made it to the hunt unit. We drove and glassed, glassed and drove. We weren’t seeing many tracks, and after a lot of glassing still weren’t seeing many elk. After a few hours we were about to head home for the day when we cut a set of fresh cow tracks crossing the road. We drove up the road a bit so that we could glass back towards where the tracks were headed. Sure enough there were four cows feeding across the snowy hillside. We decided that we would make a stock on them by coming up and over the hill above them. We drove around the other side of the hill, parked, and started the steep, slick hike to the top of the hill. The snow was crunchy and slippery, and there was a lot of thick brush that we had to make our way through. Eventually we topped out, and very cautiously and as quietly as we could be under the circumstances, started glassing the area where the elk had been. There was no sign of them, so we decided to climb up and side hill to see if we could cut there tracks in the snow and get on them again. As we started to hike all of a sudden my husband Shane whispered “Right there!!”. To our right a cow had jumped up out of the brush and was trotting away. Shane got Mason set up for a shot, and as the cow was about to disappear over the hill and out of sight, Shane blew a cow call. She stopped about 200 yards away. We whispered to Mason to be calm, make sure he was good and steady, and to squeeze the trigger when ready. Boom! We could see the impact of the bullet hit the cow. She swayed and started to slowly tumble forward. Mason shot again and she fell to the ground, sliding down the hill, coming to rest next to a bush. High fives and tears all around! Mason was so excited and Shane and I were so proud! This young man had harvested his first big game animal, and performed like a pro! I cannot think of a better way to have spent a Saturday in December with my family.