A Dream Elk Hunt or Tooth Implant

Kim Bryant // November 13

It all began when I started hunting whitetail deer. I would see these big deer on camera, and think to myself, “I want to hunt a monster one day.” I’m not sure about all hunters but I can speak for myself; you get to a point after hunting for several years you want something more than the year before.

I was in the mountains at Cades Cove and saw an elk for the first time. He was majestic and huge, and I knew from that moment I wanted to hunt elk.
The next real encounter with an elk in the wild was when I was hunting in Kentucky. I saw cow elk and young bulls; it was so awesome. It just stirred my desire even more, an elk was #1 on my dream hunt list.

I began applying for an elk tag in Kentucky every year in hopes of getting drawn. It has not happened yet but I can guarantee you I will continue to put in for it. The first bugle I ever heard was at a deer farm in Tennessee, it was rut and this bull would bugle and the cows would call, and he would bugle even more. Although it was in a fence, that sound would make your hair on the back of your neck stand up.

I kept telling everyone my dream hunt was elk, I just knew one day I would get my chance.


I reached out to a long-time supporter of one of the women's organizations I’m affiliated with. I told Jeremy, I needed to get ready for the mountains and with the help of his program, I began slowly preparing. I am a firm believer in faith and getting what your heart's desire is but it’s not going to be handed to you. Little by little I began working toward my dream, still nowhere even close to my goals, but we walk by faith and not by sight.

A couple of weeks passed slowly, but I started with Fit to Hunt; I had my goals set for next year.

On this one day, I was supposed to be paying for my tooth implant – two weeks prior to my appointment. Something just kept telling me to reschedule and not pay for it just yet. So I called the dentist and rescheduled my appointment, had some errands to run, and as I was sitting in the parking lot of the bank, I saw this Facebook post about a cheap elk tag with an outfitter and friend I have hunted with before. Are you kidding?

Here was an opportunity to hunt elk and I needed details.

So I immediately reached out. Sure enough, the landowner had a tag and it was still available. This was on a Thursday at 4:30. She told me the price and I could not believe it. It was exactly the amount of my tooth implant. Was this really why I had the feeling of not paying for it? I text my daughter to tell her this hunt has literally fallen into my lap and I may be gone in five days but I think I need to jump on this. She said, “Momma, it's been your dream to hunt elk.” So I texted my boss and told them what had happened and if was there any way I could take my vacation. I knew it was literally the last minute but this had been my dream. They said go do it!

It was happening so fast that I really didn't have time to process it.

I had 30 minutes before the ban closed, so I confirmed with the outfitter I was coming and would be there Friday night. I ran into the bank, made out-of-state preparations, ran home, packed my camo, and was on my way to Kentucky. I had to borrow blaze orange and a rifle because my gun was not ready. I have not shot it since last season.

I don’t think I have ever shown up to hunt totally not prepared. I am the one who has everything you could need. It was so surreal. All I could say the entire time was how thankful I was for this opportunity and how unexpected and fast everything happened. Saturday morning came early, and here I was with a borrowed gun and borrowed orange heading to my dream hunt.

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The plan was to drop me off, I could watch this crossing while the outfitter took the other hunter. We headed out to the spot where I would be dropped off. I was so grateful and excited for this moment. I looked at Tina and said I feel like I better go ahead and chamber a bullet. We turned the curve. I said “Cow, cow, cow. Bull bedded!” I grabbed my binos. This bull was in no way the bull I envisioned myself shooting. I saw his left side was crazy looking and he had some mass and I asked, “Is he old enough? Do I shoot him?” I wasn’t looking at antlers or even had time to count points. I wanted to know if he was old enough, but one of the cows turned to walk away and stood up.

He turned broadside. I took the shot. He was hit and down he went. I instantly became emotional. I have hunted many animals as most of you know. Kudu was my favorite big game hunt, but I’ve never cried after killing an animal.

I just fulfilled my dream hunt.

He is not the 300-400+ bull I always envisioned myself hunting. But y'all I did it. 2023 has been a hard year, full of losses, heartbreak, change, and do-overs. This was the first season I was not going to get to hunt. This was the first season I had no planned trips.

That Thursday when I was supposed to pay for a tooth implant, I chose to chase my dream instead and I will never have another hunt come together like this hunt did.

I am writing this story with every emotion of that day still fresh. I just got the call that my elk meat is ready for me to come pick up. Now the joke at elk camp is instead of a tooth implant I have ivory!

Never stop working and believing in your dreams. God knows the desires of your heart and he knew what was about to unfold in my life and that I may not get another chance at a hunt like this again. I know he will provide the money for me to get an implant when that time is right.

Keep hoping, keep dreaming and never give up.

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About the Author

Kim Bryant

Kim is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is a hunting, fishing, and traveling enthusiast. Kim has two teenage daughters who love to hunt, travel, and explore the outdoors as much as she does. Kim's dad taught her the love and respect for the great outdoors. She grew up hunting, fishing, camping, and just all around enjoying the outdoors. Her passion is traveling the world and sharing her experiences and what she's learned with others.