The Adventure Begins
Twelve-year-old Wilder Good goes on an elk hunt with his mentor in Colorado. The narrative is classic adventure story, in which an idealistic, modern ethos of hunting evolves—one in which hunting is not just harvesting a mature animal for food, but is a process for developing relationships with others and for becoming a stronger, more courageous individual.
As Wilder attempts to keep up, he seeks to prove himself a worthy companion to his older male mentor, Gale Loving. Gale takes Wilder on outdoor adventures because Wilder’s mother is struggling with cancer and his father is occupied with her care.
The two characters live in rural Colorado. They drive to the Sangre De Cristo Mountains for a one-day hunt for elk. During the hunt, Wilder is trusted with a rifle of his own. Both the narrative and the accompanying illustrations emphasize the importance of gun safety. During the hunt they have to face their fears and the limits of their strength as they deal with threats from fatigue, injury, and a wilderness predator. The story ends positively, and while The Elk Hunt is written with young readers in mind, readers of all ages will recognize and appreciate the characters and delight in the adventures of Wilder Good.