Well I’ve dabbled with a recurve for about three years now but have never committed to it for hunting. Going into this year I decided to go all or nothing and stick with the stick bow fir deer season. I also happened to have a Colorado OTC/DIY elk hunt planned with my best friend for this past week and decided to take the recurve for it as well. Some thought I was nuts but I decided to stick with what I’ve practiced with all year. I honestly felt more comfortable with it as the hunt approached. Over the coarse of the first 6 days we called in 4 bulls to under 30 yards but either the terrain or cover impeded a safe and ethical shot for either of us. As the 7th morning dawned we were both feeling the miles and miles hiked and we’re slow getting out of the tent. After we got our gear packed up and ready to go my buddy recommended me to fire off a bugle down the hillside by camp. I shot off a short locator bugle and after a few seconds we heard a faint answer back. We grabbed our bows and approached the edge of the saddle we were camped on and threw out one more bugle. This time the answer came back in half the distance. We looked at each other and knew it was game time. We dropped off the side of the hill to get a consistent wind and got ready. My buddy was set upwind about 20 yards to my right and offered up a few whiny estrus calls. As he did this he could see the bull approaching less than 100 yards away down the hill. I slide to a spot just in front of a small pine and got some good background cover. The elk was approaching a long shooting lane and I got ready to stop him. As he entered the lane about 25 yards from me I let out a short cow call. He stopped slightly quartering to me to search for the sound. The arrow was sent and unfortunately I hit him back farther than I had planned. He whirled and ran approximately 40 yards and stopped. Due to trees in the way I could not send a follow up arrow. I could barely see him as he walked down the hill. My friend and I regrouped at the top of the hill and discussed the plan. We waited and hour and with the wind still in our favor searched for the arrow. A short distance from where the elk had stopped we found the back 10 inches of arrow. It had dark blood and as I had feared smelled faintly of guts. At this time it was about 11 o’clock and I had a tough decision to make. Do I proceed after him and risk bumping a gut shot animal in the dark or wait until the morning. After looking at the weather and seeing that it was going to drop into the high 30s I elected to wait and be safe. It was a long day and night but as the sun came up we were on the track. With zero blood and only a few hoof prints to follow we grid searched a likely area. After 2 hours we found him 175 yards from the shot in his 3rd bed. It appeared he had died sometime during the night and I felt good about my decision. After four hours of quartering and deboning him I was happy to only lose a couple pounds of meat due to spoilage near the wound channel. We got the meat prepared for the long hike out and celebrated our success and recovery of the animal. This was by far the most rewarding and challenging hunt that I’ve ever done and will likely never top it. I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to do a backcountry backpack hunt like this. The fact that I was able to bring back an amazing animal is just icing on the cake! Thanks for reading my story and good luck to everyone out hunting this fall!!