I spent Saturday morning doing something truly unforgettable. Picture it, a cold snowy winter morning. A horse-drawn sleigh with hay bales for seats. A group of friends, anxious for what they know they are about to experience. Two majestic draft horses pull the sleigh as it jolts forward down a snowy lane, deeper into the woods, then comes to a stop. There we wait. After several minutes the first silhouette appears in the trees, as if it had been standing there the entire time, yet somehow unseen by this group of spectators. Suddenly more and more bodies appear, making their way through the trees, brush, and deep snow. Then we hear it… a sound which will remain one of my favorite spine tingling sounds for as long as I live-a bull elk bugling. Then you see him, trotting in with the rest of the herd, as if a dinner bell has been rung, which in fact it has, only in the form of sleigh bells. Filing in one after another, cows, bulls, calves, what seems like an unending procession of elk.
Do I have your attention? Now for the best part!
The hay bales I spoke of earlier are what the sleigh bells have beckoned this massive herd of elk to come running in for. Dinner is served. One by one the elk surround the sleigh and start snacking on the hay bales, yes, right out from under our warmly dressed bums. As an elk hunter and admirer of these creatures I cannot think of a more surreal situation. Magnificent bulls mere inches away, not caring that we humans are sitting atop their meal. I can’t think of anything else quite like it!!!
Although we could have sat there amongst that herd all day, unfortunately it was time to go. So, once again the horses pulled on their reigns, jolting the sleigh forward, and away we went, knowing we wouldn’t see this herd of elk again until next winter when they are drawn in by the sound of sleigh bells in the cool, crisp winter air, ready to feed.