Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Today was one for the ages. Brian and I put on a lot of miles today. Our day started off with some bugling action right out of the gate. We decided not to chase the bull because of where he was at, but the bull quickly made us realize that he was going to come to us.

When another bull out in front of us began bugling, the one we decided not to chase began to cover a lot of ground quickly. Before we knew it, he was within 100 yards of us and coming to fight the other bugling bull. We were caught between the two of them and joined the music with our own set of calls. Both of them closed to within 50 yards but wouldn’t show themselves. We tried our best to lure them in, but we never succeeded. In the process, Brian had a spike bull come right to him. Since spikes aren’t legal in this unit, he gave the young bull a free pass. A little out of range, he saw a nice 5×5 go down toward the other bulls.

After that action was over we headed to the top of the mountain to get some rest. While up there, Brian did some snoring and I waited for afternoon to get back in to the action.

In the mid-afternoon, we could hear a storm rolling in, and before we knew it, a few cracks of lighting directly above us scared us to death. We quickly dashed for cover and found it under a few small spruce trees but not before leaving our bows under a tree about 40 yards where we hid. We left them there to avoid being struck by lighting since it was crackling all around us.

As soon as we found cover, the heavens let loose, and hail rained from the sky. After the hail let up, the ground was completely covered. When I began crawling out from under the cover of the spruce trees, I heard a stick snap. Looking to my left, I saw a line of elk filtering through the timber. Watching them closely, I waited for the bull to stroll by to add insult to injury. Fortunately, I didn’t see a bull before the lead cow stopped and sniffed our bows. After getting a whiff of them, the elk became alert and dashed away.

A few seconds after they disappeared, a few bulls began singing in the rain. We quickly got onto them and followed their tracks, which led us to a huge meadow above tree line. When I peeked over the top of the knob, I spotted about 60 elk in the meadow in front of me. A herd bull was pushing seven satellite bulls into the timber on the far side of the meadow to keep them away from his cows, but he left a few rag bulls in the mix with his cows, including two spikes, a 4 point and a 5×5.

We got the herd bull to come to within 125 yards of our hiding place, but he never got closer. Finally, we packed up and headed down the mountain to make it back to familiar ground before it got dark.

On our way down the mountain a bull cut loose right next to us. We dashed for cover and let out a bugle. The bull came charging in, but we couldn’t get a shot to save our lives. Brian was at full draw when the bull was 35 yards away. I never got to full draw, but I got a good look at the 6×6 at 40 yards.

I haven’t experienced many days of elk hunting like this in the past, and I’m not sure if I ever will again. It was simply awesome. It’s all about the experience and the people you share it with.

Here are a few pictures of the big herd bull in the meadow after the storm. It was hard to get good photos since we were trying to stay hidden.


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