So day 1 opens and it was just game on.
The bulls were not very vocal, but there were a few that would talk in the morning and respond to my calls.
I had many of encounters, many close calls, many new lessons or experiences and so much fun.
Between calling stuff in, stalking in on stuff, or setting up on them, I was able to see and get into a lot of elk.
The first few days the dots would just never connect. I have a max of a 50 yard bow shot and even with that, I won't shoot it half the time (Prefer 40 or less).
So I cannot tell you how many elk I had at 59 yards, 55 yards, 52 yards, etc and they had to get the pass.
There were lots of new experiences for me out there too. Being from the east, I never had to deal with cats before....
I'll tell you what, I was a little nervous on this day, but I made the best of it.
Notice the time difference. About an hour.....
The time on the camera was wrong, so it was 5 the cat came in and 6 is when I came in....
Never the less, I still hunted my tail off and didn't let the cats stop me. I would still go in well before sun up and hunt until well after the sun was down.
After many of days of hard hunting, a few failed connections and some rough patches, I was finally able to make it happen.
I was up in the burn area bordering the timber that leads to a few water holes. I knew bulls were heading there in the morning to go bed down, so I wanted to try to cut them off.
When I got to my spot and first light started showing, the bulls were already on their way. Most of them were cutting up the mountain a few hundred yards before my timber pocket, so I watched them crest the ridge.
When I thought all of them had gone over, I took a few steps forward and froze. I saw a great bull about 300-400 yards ahead of me feeding.
I looked at the route ahead of me and started stalking in. After about 30 minutes I had cut myself down to 59 yards.
He stood there perfectly calm, in a great lane, at 59 yards with his head hidden behind a tree... only issue is I ran out of coverage to stalk in straight.
My only option was to cut left of him a bit in hopes of him continuing forward and giving me a 40 yard shot in a lane I found.
Well, hunting being hunting.... he cut directly up the mountain where he was. Wind was partially in my favor so I followed him for a while maintaining about 100 yards between us. Finally around 830 he decided it was time to lay down. I marked the spot on my GPS and pulled out.
When I got to my truck I realized he was bedding above a water hole I had some action at the night before (3 or 4 bulls, 2 cows, and 1 ape crazy bull in the woods screaming his head off)
So my plan of action was to sit on the waterhole that night and see if he would come in.
I got in at 530 and started my wait. Sundown was at 7:26 and that meant legal shooting hours was until 7:56.
At 7:23 I had some stupid road hunter drive in, park about 400 yards away from me and make the most pathetic bugle i've ever heard. He waited 57 seconds and left....
I was livid, but it's public land, so that's that.
At 7:35 I saw movement. Low and behold, I see rack.... "IT'S MY BULL"
He came into the waterhole, got into the water in front of me, 40 yards broadside.....
This is where it got a little frustrating, but I am constantly reminded that no matter how much your prepare or practice, its still bowhunting...
I had plenty of time to watch him come in and I was perfectly calm while I started going through my motions....
Draw, picked the hair I want to hit, sight is level, finger on release trigger, elbow back....arrow flies.....
and the bull drops in his place....... :problem:
I am not sure if he was dropping down to roll in the water or cool his belly, but the arrow spined him....
I've had the buck fever before, but I know I was calm for this, so it drives me nuts.
I sent another arrow down at him right away hitting a lung and he died out quick, I was not about to have this thing suffer in front of me.
I got over to him and sure enough. The arrow I shot was right in line with where I wanted behind his shoulder crease, but somehow he had dropped 5-7 inches and it hit spine....
I hate it, but it happened and I assure you I did not let him suffer.
This is when the happiness began. 2nd elk hunt ever....with a bow.... and I have my second elk down. He is certainly a great upgrade from my spike last year and once again it just goes to show that hard work and determination pays off. I scouted my tail off all summer, prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually and was able to make it happen.
With a few hundred lbs of elk in the freezer and a new rack for the wall, I would say I am off to a good start for 2015.