September 18, 2019

We headed back to my favorite mountain today. Since we hadn’t hunted there much, we decided to see what it had to offer. When we crested the hill on the opposite side of the box canyon we had descended into, I looked at Brian and said, “I really wish this would be like the old days when I got to the top of this hills and bugles could be heard all through this drainage.”

The words barely finished coming out of my mouth when bulls began bugling. Within minutes, I heard four different bulls. Finally, we picked one to chase and went after it.

We were never able to get in front of him to serious challenge him, and he disappeared over the mountain in front of us. Deciding not to stir things up, we went in the opposite direction. We had high hopes that the bull might return in the evening.

We heard bulls in the distance throughout the morning, but never laid eyes on one. After resting for a few minutes in the early afternoon, we formed a plan and began walking. After less than 100 yards, we ran into three guys. We had heard them bugling earlier in the morning, but we went in the opposite direction to avoid them. After talking with him, Brian and I headed back to the area where we chased the bull around in the morning.

When we got in the timber, we spotted some elk coming our way. Within seconds, they were all around us. We tried to remain as still as possible, but a cow got to within 10 yards of us and began getting a little spooky. Finally, she trotted up the hill, arming the herd bull and satellite bull that had come in a little further down the hill. At 35 yards, they stood motionless and didn’t know what to do. I knew they were going to get out of Dodge, so I drew my bow. When they started walking up the hill, I followed the herd bull and began activating my release. When it fired, I saw the arrow on its way toward the hollow area behind the front shoulder. Seconds before it found its mark, I saw a small twig rapidly fluttering up and down and the arrow off its mark, just missing the ass of the elk. Although the distance was about 50 yards, I made an incredible shot on it, just like the shots I’ve made to win some big tournaments. I knew I had him… then it all fell apart. That’s how fast things can change when you’re hunting. Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield. Unfortunately, I played the role of the bug on this day — this elk hunt.

Dejected, we made our way out of the woods and back to camp… one day left.

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