Following is a hunt story shared with us by RMEF supporter Fred Space detailing how he overcame bouts with vertigo to help ensure his family enjoyed their Colorado Elk Hunt. The account is published in its entirety.
I turned 89 years old in September of 2017. I still planned an elk hunt in October with my son, grandson, 2 great nephews and a great-great nephew, which was four generations of family hunters. I was the only one with a cow tag. Our enthusiasm for the Colorado Elk Hunt was high.
My son, Parker and grandson, Hunter were going to drive their pick-ups with four wheelers and our gear. The rest of us were to fly to Denver and rent a car to drive to Pitkin, Colorado where I have a cabin.
I had been having some ’bouts’ with vertigo over the last year. I awoke on the morning of our departing flight and the whole world was spinning.
NO WAY was I going to make the hunt. I told my wife to call my nephews.
I couldn’t make the trip. I felt so bad because I knew the area and could help them find elk. I was really dizzy. My dear wife insisted I should go, that I would feel better. NO WAY! I could not stand up. Still She insisted… She even put on my socks and shoes on for me.
We got to the airport, a 2 hour drive, and my nephew asked for a wheel chair. They took me right through security to the departing plane. I was still pretty dizzy. Upon arrival at Denver there was an attendant with a sign with my name on it. The wheel chair took me right to the bus to the car rental area. I still could hardly walk.
We got to camp by dark, and I was completely exhausted. Before I ’hit the sack’ I told the boys to go hunting in the morning without me. No way was I able to hunt.
The next morning I got up about 10 a.m., had coffee and felt a little better. The hunters came back to camp, had a bite of lunch and reported that with four inches of fresh snow, they had not seen elk or tracks.
There is a big ridge up from my cabin. I knew an old road to the top. I drove my hunters to the top and they would walk down . I’d be at the bottom waiting for them about dark. I found a nice spot about 100 yards away from the car. I found a log to sit on, leaned my head on a tree and took a nap, (not hard to do when you are 89!).
When I awoke I thought I was in Heaven! A herd of elk were coming toward me. I picked a big cow in the crosshairs. Kaboom! She only went a few hundred feet after the shot from my old Model 70, 300 Win Mag. I had bought that gun in 1950 for $97.50 from the local hardware store. I carried that old gun on trips to Alaska, British Columbia, and most western states taking all North American big game, except desert sheep.
However this cow elk was special. I stood by her and shed a few tears, thanking a Greater Power for this opportunity to spend this time with my family and thanking my wife for insisting that I go on this hunt.
Fred T. Space
P.S. I have applied for my elk tag for this years hunt. I will be 90 by October’s hunt.
P.S.S. I am Lori, Fred’s daughter and typist. I anticipated the phone call to come that I was to pick Dad up at the airport due to his vertigo. I was giving a speech to about 150 non-hunting type people when Dad called me right after his great shot. So I answered my cell phone in the middle of my hour speech, thinking it was an emergency. I explained that possibility to the crowd. I was so glad to hear his joyous voice telling me all about his great shot! “The best elk of my life, the last elk of my life!” He was sooooo happy. I chuckled, congratulated him and told him I was speaking and had to hang up. I apologized to the frowning crowd, explained that Dad just shot an elk and that Dad was 89 years old. The crowd of frowning non – hunters suddenly also cheered, sharing the joy of the accomplishment of a man of his age. You don’t have to print this PSS I just wanted to share the joy I had that Dad called me. I was not on the hunt, but I got the first news and will always remember the joy in my father’s voice.