Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh Boy!

I better watch out or I might start developing a reputation...and then there are expectations and then ultimately, disappointment...One of these days the luck will run out. I'm quite sure of that.

This bow season has been fun. I've been out four times now--twice after doing half-days and a couple mornings and every trip I've been into elk. I literally bumped into this guy yesterday morning walking down the trail.

I was hiking into one of my favorite spots. We had bugled a couple bulls near there a few days ago and I got into them a couple nights later. I actually took a shot at a cow but a branch reached out and knocked my arrow down. They hadn't spooked out of there so I figured I'd give them a day off to get compfy again and then try a morning hunt.

So as the sun was just starting coming up, I heard a soft bugle down this ridge; probably a quarter mile away or so. I was in some heavy brush but there was a little knob that looked out over the ravine so I stepped up to get a look and gave a cow call.

I heard a snap above me and then I could actually hear antlers tinkling off the brush. I look to my right and all I could see are antlers moving slowly away from me just ten yards away. He was walking parallel with the trail but since it was so thick, I couldn't really even make out his body.

I knocked an arrow and waited for him to show himself. When he didn't, I started following him up the trail hoping he would walk into a clearing or even better; cross the trail.

I kept hearing branches break and it sounded like he was getting further and further out so I kept walking up the trail and then ducking behind saplings and cow-calling just hoping I could get him to either respond or turn back to investigate.

I stepped out from my hiding place behind a juniper and looked up the trail and there he was staring straight at me. I hadn't fully stepped out yet so I leaned back behind the juniper and guessed him standing about 55 yards out. I drew my bow back and slowly stepped out and put my 50 yard pin mid-way on his body just behind his shoulder. I let it fly.

The bull jumped the string slightly and was turning as the arrow hit. It looked good and sounded good but at that distance and in that light, it was tough to tell. I cow called to stop him and a few seconds later, I heard him go down. He only went 40 yards.

I bought a new bow this year. My old bow needed a new cable and since that was going to cost $100, I figured that money would be better spent on an upgrade. I bought a used Hoyt Alpha Max 35. I would never have even thought of shooting 50 or 60 yards in the past but with the Hoyt, I've been practicing at 60 and I know how deadly it can be.

I ranged the bush that he was standing behind and he was actually 62 yards out when I shot. The arrow went in just behind the front shoulder and passed through. That's crazy. I've shot four elk in the last six years. The first three were all within 15 yards. I would never have even thought to shoot 62 yards in the past.

As they say on TV when they're standing over an animal like this; now the work begins. I ran to town quickly after dressing him out and started texting buddies. With everyone at work, I could only get a commitment from Jason from MRO. I borrowed a game cart and headed back to quarter and pack him out. We had to work quickly because it was getting warm but fortunately, he dropped in some deep dark timber with a lot of shade and had cooled down a bit.

Jason couldn't get there until afternoon so I started working on quartering the elk myself. As I was getting finished quartering, I heard a yell and just assumed it was him coming up the trail so I yelled back. As I brought the first load up, low and behold I see Toby fricken Shannon and shortly behind him pushing another game cart was JJ Olson.

As we headed back down to the bull, Jason showed up so it only took one more trip to bring the bull up to the carts. With two carts and four of us, the walk back to the trucks was pretty easy. We were back celebrating with a cold one in less than a half-hour.

I can't tell you how grateful I am for having buddies that will move their schedules around to help a guy out. Even John LaRue, who was teaching when I texted him called his dad to bring up a game cart. It's good to have friends. Thanks a lot guys.

Keep 'em where they live...

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