2015 Elk Hunt | Northern British Columbia

They say there is no more resounding sound than silence.

Or at least those prone to the poetic do.
This means different things in different parts of the world. In the heart of a city the noise mixes together so completely as to create a type of silence. A blend of smells and sounds that together form the constant motion that gives the city its life. Car horns and cross walk indicators, the steam from sewer vents and the mingled conversations of a thousand microcosm meetings as people pass each other on streets and in shops. The blend of noises is almost pleasant in its continuity, and for those that live in these places it becomes such a regular part of life as to go unnoticed for its uniqueness.
However, contrary to common thought the days in the valleys and mountainsides of the north are not as silent as expected. It is merely a different form of noise. The faint crack of deadfall timber settling to earth, the crunch of frost underfoot after a cold night, and the wind shaking leaves from the trees as summer sheds its clothing in preparation for winter.
And then, if you are fortunate enough, the bugle of a bull Elk will break the silence. It starts softly, building in intensity as your head swivels to try and find the source of the sound echoing across the valley. It ends with a roar, followed by the staccato grunts that are so indicative of the animal.
This sound is addictive, and when heard you can almost feel thousands of years of hunters turning their heads to the same sound at this time of year. The rut is close to beginning, and the bulls are journeying their solitary paths to find mates; offering challenge in the form of their cry to others that might cross their path.
These moments are why we hunt, the moments that connect us to our past and ourselves, generations of men and women following fathers and mothers into the wild places of the world to test themselves against millennia of evolution. Hunting has so very little to do with killing, and so much more to do with living.
That thought is hard to explain to those that do not find their peace in the quiet places. I lack the words to adequately express it.
This brings us back to silence. When we leave our cities and towns, we leave behind the noise and complexity of the city. We connect to a time when hunting was not just a pastime, but also a necessity. Connecting to a place that surrounds us with its own version of silence that can be deafening in its own right.
So I suppose, in retrospect, maybe there is no more resounding sound than that.



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