September 11, 2019

Today, we headed back to the area we hunted the first day. There was too much sign there to ignore, even though we didn’t hear any bulls bugle. The day got off to a good start when a bull screamed at us in the darkness.

We quickly scurried into place and waited for enough daylight to possibly see our pins to shoot. As we waited, the bull decided to head in the opposite direction, and we assumed he had some cows with him. It was a great way to start the morning, as I could hear the air coming from the bull’s diaphragm. It’s exciting to have a huge animal that close to you and not be able to see it.

The action continued as we made our way up a trail along the side of a mountain. When we stopped for rest, I heard a noise in the timber across a dip. Quickly grabbing an arrow, I saw a few cows making their way into the meadow in front of us. Three cows and two calves made their way past me in single file. I knew a bull was in the mix, but he hadn’t shown himself.

Looking in the direction from which they came, I could see more cows coming toward me. Three more of them ended up in my lap, no more than 20 yards from me. Handcuffed, I knew I could’t move. They seemed spooked and quickly ran past me. A big 6×6 suddenly ran into the meadow below me. He was following a cow. I knew that he was going wherever she was going.

In five minutes, the action was over. He never gave us a shot opportunity. A little bit of bad luck prevented us from getting a shot. If he had followed any of the other cows, we would have had a fairly easy shot in a meadow. The sight of a bull that big was incredible, something I’ll cherish for as long as I live.

We continued up the trail and made our way to where we found all of the sign the first day. As I was walking across a meadow, I thought I heard a cow call and a whistle. Then, I heard a horse. Since I knew I was near an outfitter’s tent, I instantly knew that the tent had clients in it, whom I met later in the day.

After hearing the commotion, we started in a different direction. Barely out of sight of the tent, a bull bugled, and I knew it was a good one. The bugle was raspy and throaty. I wanted to get a look at him, and it sounded like he was headed in our direction.

When I ducked into some spruce trees at the edge of a meadow, I was surprised to see the herd bull on the other side of it. He was a giant 5×5. As he bugled and tore up the dirt, I could see three satellite bulls in the mix and a pile of cows.

Suddenly, the someone let an incredibly bad bugle rip. I knew it was a person, and I knew the person had no experience with elk hunting. I got to watch the bull round up his cows and head in the opposite direction. He continued bugling as he walked away — and the person continued calling, not having a clue what was happening. The excitement was short-lived, and I was really disappointed.

By the time the day came to an end, we had encountered eight guys, and we were about 10 miles from our tent. We were in an area where you would expect to see nobody, and that is why we went there to hunt.

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