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Elk Success Stories

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by scarps23, May 5, 2015.

  1. scarps23

    scarps23 Die Hard Bowhunter

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  2. JGD

    JGD Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Thanks fellas. Wish I could draw another tag. :(
     
  3. Eatonantlers

    Eatonantlers Weekend Warrior

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    Last September (2014) my good friend Scott and I traveled to Idaho for elk. The following is the account of our first outing the day we landed and just hours after getting camp set. We climbed a steep ridge that gave us good vantage points in to 2 separate drainages. Scott watched the west side and I took the east.

    After Scott and I separated to glass I continued up the ridge we were on to get a better vantage point to view the drainage to our east while Scott glassed the one to our west.
    About the time I thought I had just the right vantage point and settled in, I would get frustrated that I couldn't see around the side of the mountain so I'd move further up. This happened several times until I found myself about 1/2 mile from Scott and completely out of eye and ear shot.
    The top of the canyon I was glassing flared around to the west at the top end and I was side hilling a very steep mountain side that had lots of loose rock and sheer rock walls. Navigating it in the daylight was treacherous enough and I wasn't thrilled about the prospects of the return trip in the f dark or fading light. I eventually came to a spot on the side of the mountain where I could get my feet flat on the ground where there was a semi comfortable rock to sit on. There was also a small pool/wallow directly below me in the bottom of the canyon and it appeared to be a hub of activity. I settled in and hit the glass.
    As the sun settled behind me and shadows began to engulf the valley I started to entertain the thought of making my way back to reconnect with Scott. About that time I caught movement coming out of the timber across the valley approx. 3/4 mile away, THIS was what we came for, ELK!
    For the next 15-20 minutes 14 cows and calves filtered out of a small stand of spruce into a high basin and feed in the lush grass just below the MT state line. I stared intently trying to find the bull that HAD to be accompanying this group. Eventually a satellite bull appeared from the right, covered from top to bottom with a fresh coat of black mud from the wallow he just departed. It was an awesome sight!
    As the bull approached the herd they paid in little attention and he showed no aggression in trying to chase or check the cows. As I watched he attacked defenseless spruce trees one after the other all the time bugling with multiple deep chuckles at the end of each series.
    I continued to scan the immediate area of the herd and eventually locked on to the king of the mountain, a very large bodied 5x5 herd bull that was content to keep the other bull at a safe distance.
    I decided to give my new Primos Bugle it's first work out so I gave it a high pitch bugle without any chuckles to imitate a JV bull looking for a herd to join, I immediately had the attention of the satellite bull as he locked on to my location and started to make a b B line in my direction.
    As he exited the hi basin through some sparse timber he hit a long narrow rock slide. As he ran down the slide he was jamming his antlers into the rocks causing him to spin around and run backward down the mountain, it was hysterical to watch and it continued all the way to the bottom as he would stop occasionally to bugle back at me. He would eventually disappear behind a patch of timber in the bottom briefly before emerging near the water hole I was watching. As he proceeded toward the waterhole I continue to bugle back and forth with him, his temper was at a fever pitch and I could tell he was all pissed off. He stopped at the water hole to drink and I let him have it again with the bugle, instant aggressive response.
    I was now at a crossroads and considered the thought that I may have worked my way in to a no win situation. The object of my affection was the big 5x5 herd bull and I was game planning in my head how I would approach him the next morning, but I had this satellite bull locked on to my location and coming hard. Do I lay off in hopes he loses interest?
    There certainly couldn't be any realistic way for this rambunctious bull to climb the steep canyon wall I was perched on, heck, it was nearly vertical. Would I be able to slip away without buggering the entire herd?
    The bull made up my mind as he continued to work up the hill in my direction. At this point I took out my Hoochie MaMa cow call and gave him some sweet talk. That was it! He was on me like flies on a cow pie and was closing the distance...FAST!
    At this point I decided this might actually happen and that I should probably unsling my bow, nock an arrow, and prepare myself for a possible shot opportunity. I had a bleached white spruce tree stump approx. 12" wide and 6' tall right in front of me to break up my silhouette and to hide any movement I might need to make.
    The bull continued to squeal and chuckle as he climbed the steep rock walls trying to find me. It was SO steep that I could not see him until he was just 47 yards below me as his antler tips appeared behind a lone spruce tree. The bull was standing on the side of a steep rock and appeared to be standing straight up, I gave him another cow call, and at 47 yards his harsh squealing bugle sent shock waves through my entire body.:cool: This was one of those magical moments that archery elk hunters live for but few ever experience and life seemed to move in slow motion as the bull lept up a rock cliff and approached to 37 yards where he stood on a small bench facing away behind a small spruce tree slightly to my right and directly below me. I put the range finder on him again a couple of times to confirm the first reading of 37 yards because I would have sworn he was further. The reading was true. I grabbed the cow call one last time and spun the bull 180* in his tracks. He proceeded to walk a few steps along the bench he was on until he went behind a large spruce tree directly in front of me. As he emerged out from behind the tree he was exactly 35 yards facing left and perfectly broadside, it was time to execute the shot.
    With the long drawn out encounter I had plenty of time to steady my nerves and the memory of the miss from 2 years previous was forefront in my mind as I talked myself through the motions.
    Is the bull stopped?
    Do I have a solid range on him?
    Are my feet secure under me before I draw my bow?
    Am I torqueing the string on the draw?
    Is the arrow firmly on the rest?
    Do I have a clear line of sight through my peep?
    Am I breathing when I settle my pin on the target?
    And finally, DON'T punch the trigger!
    It all happened fluently as my arrow raced through both lungs and clanged in the rocks after pass through. The bull flinched only slightly as he spun back around and took 3-4 steps. I could hear the blood gurgling out of the near side of his chest (exit side) as he staggered to keep his footing as his hind quarters began to fail him. His nose raised in the air as the last gasps of life left his body. It was over!
    As the beast hit the ground gravity took over and I watched and listened as the bull tumbled, and tumbled, and tumbled down the sheer cliffs and rock slides we occupied antlers crashing against the rocks and boulders being dislodged and joining in the chaos. And then it was silent.
    I stood in stunned amazement at what had just transpired. I was only 4 hours in to this adventure that I had spent months preparing for and I was still in a fog at what had just taken place. My first thought was to verify the rest of the herd was still where I had left off with them and that the commotion hadn't sent them fleeing, after all Scott still had a tag to fill and the 5x5 was a worthy target. The elk fed unaware of what had taken place and the bull was content with his harem.
    I cautiously made my way down to the kill location and recovered my blood soaked arrow and then walked the narrow bench the bull stood on before collapsing. It was crimson red as were the rocks that covered the canyon wall where he made his final decent.
    At this point I still could not see my prize but I knew he was down there somewhere so I picked my way down the cliffs and rocks until I came upon the beast a couple of hundred feet below me. He had landed upside down with his antlers underneath him against a sagebrush bush still on a steep rock slide. I grabbed his hind leg and rolled him over to expose his antlers and to admire him. Now what?!
    Light was fading fast and I knew Scott would be wondering where I had wandered off to. I also knew that he would never believe what had just transpired. I laid my bow in the bulls antlers and snapped a quick picture then made my way back up to the top of the mountain to rendezvous with Scott.
    By the time I got to Scott it was dark. As I approached Scott enquired what had taken me so long and I asked him to shine his head lamp on my quiver to make sure I hadn't lost one of my arrows.
    As his lamp illuminated the blood soaked arrow a bewildered look came over his face as he said "what the heck did you just do?" to which I replied "don't worry, I saved the big one for you!" :) Congratulations ensued as we made or way back down an unfamiliar mountain in the dark and planned for the coming day and the work of getting my bull off the mountain.

    Eatonantlers
     
  4. Eatonantlers

    Eatonantlers Weekend Warrior

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    ID 14 Ts bull 3.jpg

    My prize!
     
  5. Oldcarp

    Oldcarp Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Thanks for sharing. Nothing like bow hunting elk.
     
  6. soccerdan90

    soccerdan90 Grizzled Veteran

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    Thanks for sharing.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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