The Big Tree

It took me a while but I tracked down the photos that go along with this story.

I first heard the story in 1983 while living in Arkansas.

It’s about a young hunter making his first kill on opening day and vanishing while the entire family looked on.

The Elliot family owned a 200 acre tract just west of a small town named Bee Branch. Over the years they hunted and harvested all forms of furry critters on the farm.

Two State record bucks have been brought down by the bowhunters in the Elliot clan.

Family tradition requires that upon the day of their first kill, which is the turning point into manhood, they must have their picture taken with their quarry in front of “The Big Tree”. This was a very big deal in the family because that meant your photo gets added to the wall of fame.

This is where young Eldon Elliot joins the story.

Eldon had watched, listened, and learned well from his Father the ins and out of reading the game trails. Eldon had spent many hours in the woods with his head full of dreams of this year being his year to have his picture put on the wall and if the size of the footprints were any indication he just might be putting the mounted head of another State record on the wall as well.

Opening day of deer season found Eldon waiting for sunup sitting in a tree stand, waiting for that big buck to show up.

His work and perseverance paid off at exactly 8:33 AM that day. Eldon held his breath as the biggest buck he had ever seen in his 14 years walked out of the woods into his line of sight. He ever so slowly drew back his bow, adjusted his aim for the distance to his target, and began to relax his grip on the bow string to let the arrow fly. That very second a twig snapped and the monster buck dropped flat to the ground and vanished as they often seem to do. The arrow took flight on what would have been a perfect clean kill shot and came to rest in the shoulder of a young spike buck that was standing behind the big guy.

Eldon watched in disbelief as his dreams went up in smoke.

Well not all of his dreams. His picture was going on the wall because the spike buck dropped about 20 yards from where it was shot.

One twig snap changed his fate from a 250 pound monster buck to a yearling not much bigger than a German Sheppard. Shear utter disappointment and embarrassment was what Eldon felt the moment that little tiny buck dropped. All the walking, watching, planning, and bragging went out the window with that shot. The bragging…… how would he ever live down all of the bragging he had done.

Eldon’s Father was still proud that his son had made a kill and the family loaded up the trucks to head over to the big tree for the official photo session.

The following photos were the three shot burst that his Uncle Bubba Ray took the moment they heard the shriek and Eldon vanished before their eyes……..

Eldon by the big tree (I cropped out the dead deer for the squeamish readers)


The Slender Man?


Eldon’s gone!!!!!


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