The hunt was finally here! After months of anticipation and hard work trying to find that bull of a lifetime, the day was here. I had a tag in my pocket and a rifle in my hand, I couldn't believe it!
I got up at 5:00, got my gear, and jumped in the truck. I made my way over to the area that we had seen the big bull the night before. It was about a mile hike down the ridge, so I headed down in the dark tring to position myself before light.
As soon as it was light enough to see, the silence exploded with screaming bulls. Bulls bugling thier heads off all over the mountian. Behind me, in front of me, and below me. I couldn't go any further down the ridge without running into bulls.
I sat down, got my shooting stix out and steadied my rifle. I let out a few cow calls with my Hoochie, and got a very close response. About 30 seconds later a bull comes crashing in to within 40 yards. I put my binos up and could easily see that he wasn't a shooter. Pretty sweet none the less
The bull made his way down the ridge and about 5 minutes later I heard a shot right where the bull was headed. Not sure if a hunter shot him or not, but after that shot the whole mountain started shooting. I must have heard 20 shots in less than a half hour. Either people are terrible shots, or every tag was filled that morning in that canyon.
The bulls calmed down after all the shooting, and I could only hear a few bugles here and there. I made my way out to the area the big bull was in the night before but there was nothing. I got a hold of my friends and they said that they had spotted a nice bull in the next canyon.
I started the hike into the next canyon (About another mile or so). I got halfway over there and started hearing a few bugles in the bottom of the main drainage I was hunting. It was a steep drop, but I knew that's where the big boys were hanging out. I was getting pretty close to the area my trail camera was in, so I kept my eyes peeled. I kept hearing bugles, so I sat down and waited for something to happen.
I looked down into the drainage and spotted a few cows feeding in the pines. Then I heard a blood curdling bugle and saw a bull run out to meet the cows. I pulled up the binos and low and behold: "THE COLONEL"
I couldn't believe my eyes!! It was one of the bulls I had seen and filmed on Labor day. I also had him on my trail cam a few times. And more important, he was on the "LIST"
He was about 800 yards down the canyon and moving into the deep creek bottom with his cows. I made my way down into the bottom and found the trail they had been on. I found a few fresh urine spots in the dirt and knew I was on the right path.
I figured the bull usually pushes his cows from the rear, so if I followed them I might get a shot at him. There were a few more bulls in the bottom making thier way up the canyon toward the "Colonel" and his harem. I could hear them bugling and trying to catch up with the cows.
He was moving up pretty quick trying to get away from the fast approching bulls trying to steal his cows. I was right on his heard and could hear him bugling right next to me. He had to have been less than 75 yards from me. I kept moving forward and eventually bumped a few cows. They didn't seem to scared so I waited for them to move ahead and then I kept following.
After about an hour of stalking the "Colonel", I heard loud BOOM of another rifle. I knew I was less than 75 yards from my dream bull, and at that moment my dreams were shattered.
A guy acorss the drainage had taken a sniper shot (800+ yards)
at the "Colonel". The cows scattered and I could hear elk crashing through the trees everywhere. I had no idea if he was hit or not, but at that range I was pretty sure it was a solid miss.
After a few words to myself and some kicks in the dirt, I pressed forward. I could hear the two bulls still coming up the canyon bugling. They could still smell the cows and were heading up my way. One of the bulls was a growler, I hoped he would come around the corner and be some 400 monster or something.
I got down into the bottom and found a little outcrop over looking the creek in the bottom. I cleared a spot in the bushes, got my rifle and stix out, and got ready. I sat there getting comfortable and waiting for the growler to show himself.
As I was waiting, I spotted something across the creek about 100 yards. It looked like a pair of elk legs. I pulled my binos up and could see that it was an elk standing in the pines. Upon closer examination, I spotted some antler. It was really thick and he was standing right in the pines not moving. I wondered how long he had been standing there watching me.
After a minute or so he took a step forward and I caught a glimpse of the back end of his rack. This is more or less what I could see:
It was the freakin "Colonel"!!!! He must have separated from the cows and headed across the creek.
I pulled up my rifle, put the crosshairs right behind his shoulder and..............................................