THE POP OF A TWIG
I approached the spruce pocket from the downwind side. It was very dense but I thought that perhaps if I came in on the hill above it I would be able to look down among the trees and see the elk. Unfortunately, just as I was almost close enough, I stepped on a twig beneath the snow and it snapped with a loud pop.
Immediately the ringing challenge of a bull elk came up out of the spruce. The herd bull had heard the twig and thought the sound was made by another bull. He was ready to do battle.
Without my bugle, I could only stand perfectly motionless. He bugled again. Since there was no answer after his second challenge he became suspicious. I heard him start his harem away. I saw brown bodies moving beneath the fir branches but I couldn't see any of them well enough to shoot. If I'd had my bugle along I'd have killed elk that fall.