The sun was just about to break over the ridge of Turkey Feather Peak as we rode toward the edge of a large meadow ringed with aspen turning orange and gold. As if on cue, we heard the eerie bugle of a bull elk in full rut.
"Get down," I whispered to my companion. "We'll sneak up on him from here."
"What the (expletive deleted) was that noise?" yelled the fat man on the horse behind me.
"Shut up!" I whispered as loud as I dared. "It's what you came here for."
Twenty-plus years ago, I was guiding elk hunters for an outfitter in New Mexico's remote Gila Wilderness. At 8,500 feet above sea level, our fingers were numb from the cold, though it was only the first week of October. My dude for this five-day, trophy-bull hunt was Bob, an accountant from Pensacola, Florida.
We had picked up Bob and four other clients in town the day before. During our trip to camp, two hours in the truck and two more on horseback, I discovered that grumbling Bob had never ridden a horse, slept in a tent, or fired ...1