Well, it didn't take more than a few seconds from his bugle to the time he stood up from his wallow. I immediately put the cam in my pocket and again picked up my bow.
BB had taught me well to make sure I had a cow call in my mouth when they came in so I could stop them to get a shot. He'd had the misfortune of not having a way to stop that monster bull he had filmed in 2005 as he slipped back in behind the pines.
As fate would have it I never needed to stop him. The Screamer was on the move down toward the wallows and bugled right at the moment I needed to stop the Yodeller. He turned and stopped looking up toward where the Screamer had just bugled, quartering away from me perfectly. It was the moment of truth!
I had ranged the distance a number of times during the day and knew the exact 35 yard shot it was to the wallow. I split my 30 and 40 pins just infront of his second to last rib.
It was strange moment. Like time stopped still and I thought to myself this was my time. I was as calm as I'd ever been for some reason. I built back tension and the shot went off of it's own accord. Much like I'd imagined of myself shooting the final arrow to win the Olympics or Vegas it found it's mark perfectly and disappeared.
He arched his back and jumped from the wallow. Turned back the way he'd come and walked slowly for about 10 yards. He jumped over a deadfall about the time I got off two cow calls to stop him. He went another 10 or 15 yards, turned back to face the wallow, wavered and fell over a mere 55 yards from my stand and only an amazing 38 yards from the wallow.
Surprisingly the only sensation I had at that point was the lifting of an elephant, a piano and the monkey off my back! Just the sweet release of all the pressure a 25 year tag piles on you.
Even more amazing was the relief of a bull laying in sight of the wallow I shot him in.
Amazing what a bull can do to a wallow in such a short time.
I set about trying to get some pics of him, but being by yourself a long long way from civilization doesn't afford much help that way when there's only a few hours of light left.
I did get off a text to most of my buddies that my curse was over. I also got off one text to my wife and another to a few folks I thought might be close enough to lend a hand.
What to do with this mud caked mess? I actually contemplated washing off the mud, but after one trip to the creek for water and nothing more than a water bottle and a thermos to use I gave up on that idea
I did get a couple of decent hero shots. Here's the best of them.
About this time I tried to get off a couple more text's but with the poor service my battery was finally dead. I resigned myself to a long night of cutting up and hanging my bull by myself.
I worked on skinning the one side that was facing up. I was taking my time and about 9:00pm I heard shouts from above. Sure enough someone had gotten my text, knew where I was and decided I was probably in serious need of some help. At that point some excitement crept back into me! I would have some help after all!
Right then it dawned on me that I'd spent the last two and a half hours and only gotten one side skinned. I was a bit embarrassed at how little I'd gotten done so far. I thought if I hurried I could get a back strap off before they got down to see. A few more shouts later and I gave up on trying to make a good show of it and walked up the hill to meet whom ever had come to my aid late into the night.
In the end of the day it was Shad Pyper and Deen Lyman who were sent from on high to lend me a hand. After leading them back through the deadfall to my bull, the work commenced in short order. Needless to say these two saved my bacon and turned what would have been an epic night into a joyous occation.
Here's a few pics from the late evening as we finished up the cutting and packing of meat.
At about midnight it was time to head up the mountain. Dean and Shad had a front quarter and back strap each. I had the head cape and tenderloins. Luckily it was only about a 1/2 mile back to Shad's truck.
Finally got to the truck and here's Deen lifting the bull from my pack.
Back at camp about 1:30am we hung the quarters in a tree and Shad and Deen headed back south toward Kigalia to pick up Shad's trailer and bring it over to where I was camped. I went to text my wife and friends some pics and when they returned I was still up sending text's on the road where I had service. I was way to wired to sleep at that point still.
After setting up Shad's camp, we took a few pics and bs'd late into the morning hours.
About 4:30am I had finally had enough and needed some sleep. 15 days now on the mountain had taken their toll. Shad and Deen looked at the time and figured it was time to go hunting! They got cleaned up headed out before first light as I layed my head on the pillow for the first time in 24 hours.
I woke about 7:15am and was up and about in short order. I decided to try to take some pics of my bull in the light. This was about as good as I could get.
About 7:30 Deen rolls into camp in Shad truck and say's "Shad shot a bull, come on get your video camera". I said get out of here you liar! Deen was adamant and as I didn't know him that well I grabbed my cam a couple of pop-tarts and off we went. This is the next thing I saw! The All Nighter Bull !!!
After a few more pics and video we commenced to cutting up Shads bull.
About noon we had Shad's bull back in camp. As Deen and Shad hung the quarters in a tree I set about getting ready to go pack out my two hind quarters that were hanging down at the wallow still.
About 4:30pm the next day the job was finally done. I found that Deen was headed off home and I commenced to have a little celebration with a bottle of wine my wife had sent along with me for the occation. There's never been one sweeter lets just say
The next day I got to meet Paula (Ladyshooter) and Braden. Paula took some pics for us.
After some sorting of a shuttle for my bike and trailer that Braden so graciously agreed to take to town and store for me I was ready to head out.
I had a few stops to make going through town. Got to show all the video to Danny, Troy and their families. Then stopped one more time to show my bull to Kendrick in Monticello. He'd been waiting to hear from me the whole hunt and it was great to see he and his wife before I got on the road toward home.
After a long drive and a stop to show Kurt (KK) in Price I finally made it home on day 16 at 1:30am. After some hugs and kisses from my wife and junior I can say, sleep has never come so easily