Monday, September 17, 2018

This morning, we decided to head to my favorite spot. Although there have been people all around it, we decided to give it a whirl. Brian had a feeling about it, and I know that you should trust those feelings when they arise in a seasoned veteran.

We made quick time getting to where we wanted to sit for a few hours. There’s a saddle between two mountains, and I have always had good luck sitting there for the first few hours of the day. Most people don’t know the significance of the place, so they overlook it and don’t realize that it acts as a natural funnel. Any elk on either mountain will usually walk through the area if it’s moving from one mountain to the next. It took years to figure it out, but after doing so, we have had incredible luck in the spot.

After splitting up, it didn’t take long for the action to start. I could hear a bull bugling in the distance, but it was quickly on top of us. The last time I heard it bugle, I thought it was within 100 yards of where I was sitting. Suddenly, I heard crashing timber all around me. The crashing started right after I heard what I though was an arrow striking an animal.

A few minutes after that, I spoke to Brian on the radio. He had shot at a big 5×5. Although the shot was taken from 35 yards, the angle wasn’t that great. The bull had his own herd of cows with it, including about 10 cows and calves.

We quickly found the arrow and realized that it had struck the elk but didn’t penetrate at all. It appeared to have hit the elk directly on the shoulder bone. The elk was definitely fine. It was really disappointing, and we all felt Brian’s pain. It’s such hard work to get a shot, and when you get one, you definitely don’t want to mess it up. Brian can’t seem to break the ice in the elk hunting arena.

After that episode, Brian and I headed back to the area where we hunted the first day of the trip. Everything was pretty quiet until the last few minutes of daylight. Bulls started teeing off, and we had to choose one of them to go after. When we chose the one in front of us, I thought we had him dead to rights.

Unfortunately, the bull came to within 40 yards of me as Brian was calling, but it wouldn’t step out of the timber and into the meadow. When it finally stepped into the meadow, I couldn’t believe the size of the animal. The bugle sounded like it was coming from an immature animal, but the 6×6 was one of the best bulls I’ve ever seen. It was a giant, both high and wide. It was surely a sight I will never forget………simply awesome.

As we walked down the hill in darkness, the bulls wouldn’t stop bugling. When we got to the trail to head out, bulls chased us through the woods and crashed timber all around us. We’re not sure if the lights were the cause of this or if it was because they thought we were one of the cows that was in heat. Either way, it was a little scary to have big bulls so close to us in the dark and not being able to see them. Instead, we had to listen to them breathing and huffing and puffing. The experience was exhilarating.

Dad hunted on the mountain behind camp tonight. He listened to one bugle, but the bull didn’t want to play any games with him. Today felt like a good day. It’s still hot as hell, so I’m unsure if the activity will increase or decrease tomorrow. The rut is in full swing. We can smell cows that are in heat.

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