This story really begins two years ago. A couple of guys I know were out hunting elk in Wyoming with a guide they'd gotten to know over the years. This wasn't their first trip, but for one of them, it presented an extra challenge this time.
Six months before this hunt, he had three bleeds inside his brain from a traumatic brain injury. Laying in the hospital, he wasn't worried about potential brain surgery, he was worried about missing this hunt. Hunts like this only come around so many times in one's life. Luckily, he was able to go.
They were out in God's country and everything seemed to be going great. A gorgeous 5x6 bull presented an opportunity for a great shot, and he took it. The shot was clean, but looking down the canyon after the recoil of the rifle left his head spinning. He wobbled on the edge of the mountain, the guide's hand gripped his shoulder to keep his feet on the right side of solid ground. They did their best to track down the bull, but to no avail. The bull was gone.
Two years later, they're with the same guide in the same area. This would be their last hunt together, as the guide was retiring.
With one's head a little clearer, they were out stalking the big boys once again. Glassing the area, the guide spotted something white down in the bottom of the canyon.
After taking a closer look, they realize it's the antler of the bull from their last hunt. Its distinctive tine on the one side made it a dead giveaway.
It looked like the bull had run into the bottom of the canyon and gotten tangled up in a thicket. Glad to know what happened, but realizing it was a good two hours out of their way, they decided to leave him.
The next morning they were out scouting in roughly the same area. The guide sent them up over a ridge, telling them he would try and get around the herd on the other side.
As the guide disappeared in the mountains, they noticed this particular day he had a saw strapped to his back.
When the group met back up, the guide had gone down into the thicket and brought back the antlers of the bull shot two years ago.
This was a grueling hike through rough country. This guide had literally gone the extra mile to bring back a great memory to a good friend.
In case you're wondering, they did get another bull this year. They all said it was probably the best hunt of their lives.
But one member got to take home two trophies, one just a couple years past due.