Carbon Express Arrows
Woooohoooooo!
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
orionsbrother 10-Sep-14
Nick Muche 10-Sep-14
standswittaknife 10-Sep-14
Medicinemann 10-Sep-14
elkmtngear 10-Sep-14
Ishpeming 10-Sep-14
wild1 10-Sep-14
mokiman1 10-Sep-14
midwest 10-Sep-14
Bowme2 10-Sep-14
Trial153 10-Sep-14
JW 10-Sep-14
Mark Watkins 10-Sep-14
nemobowhunter 10-Sep-14
DC 10-Sep-14
Test Man 10-Sep-14
fairchase 10-Sep-14
TREESTANDWOLF 10-Sep-14
PREZ 10-Sep-14
ozarkmanp 10-Sep-14
WhoCares 10-Sep-14
drycreek 10-Sep-14
orionsbrother 10-Sep-14
AZBUGLER 10-Sep-14
DaleM 11-Sep-14
orionsbrother 11-Sep-14
orionsbrother 23-Sep-14
Badlands 23-Sep-14
Badlands 23-Sep-14
Norseman 23-Sep-14
orionsbrother 23-Sep-14
orionsbrother 23-Sep-14
orionsbrother 23-Sep-14
Backstraps 23-Sep-14
Mark Watkins 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
XMan 24-Sep-14
WV Mountaineer 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
CowboyAl 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
orionsbrother 24-Sep-14
t-roy 25-Sep-14
orionsbrother 25-Sep-14
orionsbrother 25-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
Ishpeming 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 26-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
t-roy 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
WV Mountaineer 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 27-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
Nick Muche 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
JLS 28-Sep-14
TD 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
Mark Watkins 28-Sep-14
JEG 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
JW 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
Gene 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
ki-ke 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
gogittem 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
Don K 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
CowboyAl 28-Sep-14
midwest 28-Sep-14
orionsbrother 28-Sep-14
Scoot 28-Sep-14
itshot 28-Sep-14
Don 28-Sep-14
Hammer 28-Sep-14
WV Mountaineer 28-Sep-14
sureshot 29-Sep-14
JLS 29-Sep-14
Eagle_eye_Andy 29-Sep-14
gogittem 29-Sep-14
gogittem 29-Sep-14
gogittem 29-Sep-14
TD 29-Sep-14
trublucolo 29-Sep-14
orionsbrother 29-Sep-14
t-roy 30-Sep-14
Spike Bull 30-Sep-14
Ron Niziolek 30-Sep-14
ki-ke 30-Sep-14
Caddisflinger 02-Oct-14
Florida Mike 02-Oct-14
Elkman52 02-Oct-14
orionsbrother 02-Oct-14
HUNT MAN 02-Oct-14
Ace 02-Oct-14
cityhunter 02-Oct-14
Jaquomo 07-Oct-14
Z Barebow 07-Oct-14
Bullhound 07-Oct-14
Elkaddict 07-Oct-14
idacurt 07-Oct-14
orionsbrother 07-Oct-14
Barty1970 29-Oct-14
orionsbrother 31-Dec-14
Grubby 31-Dec-14
guins1971 31-Dec-14
IdyllwildArcher 31-Dec-14
Surfbow 31-Dec-14
huntingbob 01-Jan-15
Nick Muche 01-Jan-15
orionsbrother 01-Jan-15
lunatic 01-Jan-15
orionsbrother 17-Jan-15
Bullnbowcell 12-Feb-15
Ole Coyote 12-Feb-15
BagginBigguns 24-Feb-15
Rocky D 24-Feb-15
elkhunter-ny 25-Feb-15
Paul@thefort 25-Feb-15
orionsbrother 04-Aug-15
SteveB 04-Aug-15
tcosmic 04-Aug-15
JohnB 04-Aug-15
Treeline 04-Aug-15
orionsbrother 04-Feb-16
GF 05-Feb-16
orionsbrother 07-Oct-16
APauls 07-Oct-16
TD 08-Oct-16
EmbryOklahoma 08-Oct-16
bowfinatic 08-Oct-16
Kevin Dill 08-Oct-16
Lee 09-Oct-16
Whip 11-Oct-16
Brotsky 12-Oct-16
Ki-ke 14-Oct-16
Grubby 14-Oct-16
SteveB 14-Oct-16
Allheart 14-Oct-16
KHunter 15-Oct-16
Ki-ke 16-Oct-16
orionsbrother 27-Nov-17
10-Sep-14
During the last two years, I have endured the most grueling work schedule of my life. It's of my own doing, so I can't complain. Preparing for this trip, I have had minor problems, setbacks and mishaps crawling all over me like ticks in the spring. It makes today all the more sweet. I will have more time in my next two hunts than my combined time off in the last nine and a half months.

My reverse manscaping is done. The beard is rich. My gear is packed. I've been sent off with a pile of hugs, kisses and home-made cookies. The whine of the truck tires combined with the rotation of the Earth bring the mountains closer.

I can not believe how good it feels. I wish that I could bottle it.

I hope you are all experiencing the same right now, or in the near future. And if for some reason circumstances have conspired to force you to miss this season, know that you have my heartfelt sympathy, brother. I was there last year. I will do my best to comport myself well and bring back a story or two.

Have a great season! Best of luck to you all. Short bloodtrails.

Oh, and by the way... In line with the events of the past month of my life, if my truck blows up and one of you guys see me hiking West on 90 with my backpack and bow case, crying like a little girl with my thumb out, please give me a ride.

I'm on my way! Wooooohooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

From: Nick Muche
10-Sep-14
Good luck buddy! Have fun!

10-Sep-14
have fun!

From: Medicinemann
10-Sep-14
Be sure to take a lot of photos, so you can do a semi-Live hunt when you return.

Just don't drag it out for 5-6 days!!

Good luck!!

From: elkmtngear
10-Sep-14
Haha..have a blast, Rick!

Best of Luck, Jeff

From: Ishpeming
10-Sep-14
Very nicely said!

From: wild1
10-Sep-14
+1 Medicinemann

From: mokiman1
10-Sep-14
Dude I'm with you, leaving on my hunt this right now flyng into Bozeman, MT and am pumped! Best of Luck to ALL. People have no clue what it's like to be up in those mountains away from it all and its just you, nature and the Elk.

From: midwest
10-Sep-14
Cheer up, would ya? lol

Last week I was mildly distracted at work....this week I'm officially worthless.

From: Bowme2
10-Sep-14
Best of luck!

From: Trial153
10-Sep-14
I hear you brother....Good Luck!

From: JW
10-Sep-14
Go get em! Best of luck.

From: Mark Watkins
10-Sep-14
One of the best feelings there is! Good Luck!

Mark

10-Sep-14
"The beard is rich" --- LMBO!

Good luck, I've got one week. Meet up with a buddy in KC and we're headed to Colorado.

From: DC
10-Sep-14
All this talk of hunting has gotten me a little depressed. So I fixed some deer tenderloins and mashed potatoes and gravy with sweet tea and now I feel a little better. Good Luck.

From: Test Man
10-Sep-14
Headed down to Unit 15 New Mexico right now, definitely like a kid on Christmas Eve!

From: fairchase
10-Sep-14
Hunt hard and good luck.

10-Sep-14
Great post! Have a great time and hunt!

From: PREZ
10-Sep-14
Good luck...hope you get a stud. I'm heading out a week from today.

From: ozarkmanp
10-Sep-14
good luck...

From: WhoCares
10-Sep-14
Good luck to you and all Bowsiters! I was in Colorado all set up and a family emergency brought me home. all pretty good now but I'm bummed over missed hunt - my annual highlight. I'll get over it. Family member more important. You gals and gals have a great hunt!

From: drycreek
10-Sep-14
Just got back myself ! Go get 'em and best of luck !

10-Sep-14
Initial reports are that the bulls in the area are really heating up. One of our group is already up there.

When I finally get off the dang pavement and arrive, I swear I am going to drop to the ground and roll on the mountain like a dog on a dead fish!

Good luck to all of you guys.

From: AZBUGLER
10-Sep-14
Love it! Good luck to you!

From: DaleM
11-Sep-14
Good luck to you. Have a safe hunt!!

11-Sep-14
Whocares - Sorry to hear about your hunt. Sorrier to hear that a family emergency occurred. I hope that all is well.

Jake - I'll try to post something up, but there is a high bar level that's been set here. Standards may require an attempt at quality that utilizes an extended time frame.

Midwest - I'm bleary from driving, but when I look in the mirror, I see my nearly demented grin that's big enough that I almost look like a dog sticking his head out the window on the highway.

Spirits are high boys!

Turns out, having a five year old fragment your sleep every night with commando raids to "snuggle" might just be perfect training for driving solo cross country.

Grabbing a few z's....the sun will be coming up soon.

23-Sep-14
Made it back home in one piece. Grabbed some sleep and poked around some threads while regaining consciousness.

Seems like the level of surly has increased around here. Maybe a relatively controversy free hunting story will be welcomed.

After I get unpacked and straightened away, I'll dump my pics on the computer and try to get something posted up over the next day or two. I think that I may have a story that some will find entertaining.

It was a great trip with some great guys.

I'll try to get my chit done efficiently and not drag things out Jake.

From: Badlands
23-Sep-14
looking forward to it.

From: Badlands
23-Sep-14
looking forward to it.

From: Norseman
23-Sep-14
looking forward to your story!

23-Sep-14
I’m going to do my best to tell this story in an entertaining way for the guys who ended up stuck at home for whatever reason. When I was sitting out last season, some of the quality stories on Bowsite helped with an itch that I couldn’t scratch. I’m striving to square that debt.

There will be specific details that are left out regarding my friends and their hunting area. I would protect their privacy and their hunting area had I not given my word. And I gave my word. So, many of my pics can’t be used, or will need to be redacted. Please be understanding and bear with me.

23-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

orionsbrother's Link
“I can’t stop and I can’t stop. Gotta keep movin’ or I’ll lose my mind.” Doobie Brothers Rockin’ Down the Highway.

My last post before the hunt, I was still rocketing Westward. The windows were rolled down on the truck regardless of the temperature. My rationalization was that the fresh air and bracing wind would help to keep me alert. In reality, I think that I was just fed up with having glass between me and the world.

The music of John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Pinetop Perkins, Santana, Allman Brothers, Little Feat, The Stones, The Who, Koko Taylor, Shemekia Copeland and many others poured from the open windows accompanied by me practicing my diaphragm calls.

I had toyed with the idea of amusing myself by taking a few practice shots with my bow in each state along my route. That whim was jettisoned for speed.

Gas stops were a model of efficiency. If I hadn’t filled up, taken a leak, purchased coffee and gotten back on the highway in less than twelve minutes, I felt as though I was betraying my mission.

I ate a left-over pork chop once I crossed into MN. The bone sailed into the median to be bait for a coyote or crow. In WY, a sandwich was slapped together from the supplies in my cooler. I eschewed the condiments in the cooler as time-sucking frivolity.

When I found myself flagging, I’d gas up, park the truck and flip into the back to grab some sleep. Invariably, I’d wake in forty five minutes or so, chomping at the bit to be rolling. It just felt too good. Almost as though the recent aggravations, worries and angst were roiling out in the wake of the truck like the dust on a dirt road.

23-Sep-14
I made it to my buddy’s place in good time. I’ll call him “Chuck”. We had dinner, took care of a few things and I grabbed some sleep before we finished some packing and preparation.

In my somewhat sleep deprived state the next morning, I apparently cocked my head slightly to the side like a dog and made a puzzled face when his wife declared that in spite of not feeling well, she was heading out “because it was yoga day”. I thought everyone knew it was “go to the mountains day”.

Little did we realize that during the exchange of heartfelt handshakes, hugs and pleasantries of my arrival the night before, some microbes were swapped as well. My buddy’s wife had spent some time with some infected kids and we’d both just been dosed.

From: Backstraps
23-Sep-14
Well written, please go on!

From: Mark Watkins
24-Sep-14
"some microbes were swapped"?????

yikes!

We are still here!!!

Mark

24-Sep-14
Reentry to work has been a little rough, in flames right now. I'll post up more later.

From: XMan
24-Sep-14
oh, come on.... we need some good hunt stories :)

24-Sep-14
Dude, I was around some kids with those microbes this weekend past and this homie is SICK. Dear Lord I hope it treated you better than it has me. God Bless

24-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

orionsbrother's Link
Having completed our packing, we were about to climb into our respective vehicles and head out. "Chuck" asked me if I'd mind that he needed to do a twenty five minute or so detour on the way to run an errand for work.

"No problem. I'll just make some phone calls or something."

"Chuck" looked at me out of the corner of his eye and smiled, catching me in my white lie.

On the way, snow on some of the mountains amped me up a little more. Once his final official work task was completed, my excitement may have fueled his own. He began to drive with a sense of urgency. We may have peeled some paint off the hoods of our trucks.

In spite of our velocity, the comparatively short distance to my travels and the varying terrain, it felt like the drive took forever.

As we drove past different mountain ranges, I was afraid that I might develop some sort of facial tic.

"For Pete's sake, those mountains look like they'd be full of elk!"

"What about those over there?"

"How many mountains are we going to drive past?"

I stuffed a diaphragm call in my mouth to pacify myself and shut myself up. And I pressed down on the accelerator a little more firmly to try to keep pace.

24-Sep-14
Finally, tires left pavement and guard rails behind. I could taste it. Literally. The dust churned up by "Chuck's" truck forced me to roll up the windows.

We made it to our base camp site and set to work.

24-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
I had set to organizing my gear that had been hastily packed and was pulling out my block target to take a few shots when "Chuck" bounced past my truck and said, "We can still take a shot at this evening's hunt. Change. Grab your pack and bow. We gotta be out of here in seven to ten minutes."

Clothes flew. Boots flew. The carefully honed broadheads replaced the practice broadheads.

Closing the hatch on my truck, I looked in the back at my pad, my quilt, water bladder, scattered stuff sacks, camo, base layers, socks, bow case, Nalgene bottles...an explosion of gear.

I shook my head, turned away to find "Chuck" and coughed.

24-Sep-14
We side hilled on an old logging road for a ways, sliding past some mule deer does and then caught a ridge and headed up. Crossing over to the other side of the ridge after a bit, we followed the seam of a fresher cut and the timber. Once we got up to where the fresher cut adjoined a much thicker, older cut "Chuck" peeled off to set the decoy and waved me towards the timber a bit higher up.

I found a pocket of pines that I felt gave me good cover, checked my release, nocked an arrow and shivered.

I pulled my jacket from my pack and quietly put it on. I took in the view, checked the distance on several trees, dialed up my ears and settled in to become a hole in the timber.

From: CowboyAl
24-Sep-14
Keep it coming!!

24-Sep-14
"Chuck" started calling about twenty minutes later. No elk responded that night and none came in.

A white breasted nuthatch was fairly intertested in me though. He kept flitting from tree to tree around me. He'd fly off for a minute or two and then return, landing on a branch 14-24" from my head. I'd roll my eyes to whichever side he was on and confirm that, yes, it was the same bird.

He had been pecked on the head by another bird or something. He had a tuft of feather that stuck up like an off-kilter mohawk. I kept still, waiting for him to be bold enough to land on my shoulder or hat, but it never happened.

Then I realized that I heard something behind me. I slowly and quietly turned to see a mule deer buck about seventy five yards away coming towards me through the timber. He was pretty much perfectly downwind. A little fork-horned two pointer in velvet.

I smiled, thinking of backstraps. Surprised that he continued coming in spite of the wind, I drew my bow as he passsed behind the pines that I was next to. When he stepped out from behind the pines, he was within eleven yards and my top pin was a little low on his vitals.

I winked behind my mask, held my draw and let down as he continued his way behind another pine that blocked his view.

I don't know why I didn't take advantage of that opportunity. I had a deer tag. I was thinking of using that tag for the freezer moreso than looking for a trophy.

I suppose that I was happy collecting the experience and thought I'd chase one down later. But as with many things in life, I got busy. Later didn't come.

24-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"Feeling Bad Blues" Ry Cooder

"Chuck" and I quietly worked our way back down in the dark and in hushed tones he commented about how cold it got. I agreed and knew something was wrong. I just don't get cold easily.

We got back to our base camp and squared a few more things away and I told him, "I'm thrashed. I'm not even throwing up my tent. I'm just climbing in the truck."

He offered his space, but I could feel the congestion in my chest and clambered into the chaos of the back of my truck. I was like some hoarder sleeping in a pile of laundry and stuff, with a nice quilt on top of me.

It was the right decision. For at least two and a half continuous hours that night, I hacked and coughed until I almost puked. I would've kept "Chuck" up for half the night and everyone would've been miserable.

I finally passed out hard around 3:00 or so. "Chuck's" headlamp hit the window of my truck at 4:15 and he laughed when I moaned. A large cockroach of an idea to remain laying still crawled across my mind. I quickly stomped it to jelly and roused myself from the laundry and gear pile, kicking off the quilt.

From: t-roy
25-Sep-14
Great story so far! keep it coming

I'm not sure, but you just might be the first guy to ever use the term "eschewed'' on here in the history of Bowsite!

Maybe TBM on accident once;>)

25-Sep-14
"L'enfer, c'est les autres." Jean Paul Sartre (Hell is other people.)

We met up with "UpChuck" another friend. A garrulous guy with a handshake firm enough to be bordering on a challenge. He has a smooth slightly crooked gait matched by his slightly crooked smile. The tilt of his grin dependant upon the position of his dip.

He had been up a few days earlier in the snow and reported that the bulls had really been heated up. We were heading to the timber bordering a serpentine park where he'd seen quite a few active bulls. "UpChuck" wasn't going to hunt with us for more than a few days because of work.

Because of the wind, we had to take a more circuitous route...and we had to hustle.

We moved quickly through the timber with our green and red headlamps cupped in our hands to limit the light escaping. We hopped over to the other side of a ridge and followed it down.

As a primarily whitetail hunting guy, I am accustomed to moving stealthily, but I was amazed at the speed at which they could move through the timber quietly.

In the predawn, we surveyed one tail end of the park where "UpChuck" had been recently. The decision was made to set up a bit further up and across the drainage in the timber near the curve of the park or in an adjoining finger of timber.

We set off quietly only to realize a few minutes later that a guy was standing in the park about thirty yards from the opposite edge of the timber. He was looking at his gps and turning on one leg as though to use it as a compass.

He and another guy had hiked in paying no attention to the wind.

We spun on our heels and bailed out of the drainage after speaking with him briefly. "Chuck" and "UpChuck" engaged in a hissed conversation about non residents, their acumen and ancestry. As a non resident FNG, I moved along silently, working to stifle any coughs from my increasingly congested lungs.

We checked some wallows and springs on the way out. A half hearted set up proved fruitless.

25-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"(Hunters) be wise. Keep your mouth shut! Don't advertise your (land)! Modified Bonnie Raitt and Sippie Wallace

We returned to camp to grab something to eat for lunch and met up with "Little Chuck" a wiry, compact guy who listened raptly to the story of the guy standing in the park and testified to the number of non resident vehicles that seemed to be driving back and forth, back and forth. Their pocket of untrammeled ground had obviously been found.

"Chuck", beginning to suffer from the same ailment that had been gifted to the two of us, wanted to talk to "UpChuck" about the guy that he'd brought up hunting the week before without prior discussion.

"UpChuck" pointed out that he wasn't the only one to bring someone up. An accusatory finger drifted towards me.

"Chuck" laughed.

We decided to break out the mountain bikes to move farther faster and get beyond the traffic.

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"Something in me, dark and sticky.." Peter Gabriel

We used the bikes for the next few days. We went down, across and up, searching for more active bulls. The weather was warming up and hunting was difficult.

We'd heard some bulls, moved on them and got them to move toward us, but not commit. They'd hang up, just out of sight, just over the fence...just not cooperating.

In spite of taking cold and sinus medication, my chest was just gooey. I'd make a slit mouth grimmace behind my mask with every elevation change. I was hoping to breath in a way that would get oxygen into my lungs without roiling the phleghm in a way to make me hack.

I hadn't packed my uninsulated boots. I was making do with what I had and had developped an aggravating hot spot on my right big toe.

We were up earlier, back later and going farther. I was having a blast, but I was running out of gas. Pedalling up the last slight rise, coming out on the fifth night, I had to dismount and push the bike. As much as I tried, I just couldn't dig any deeper.

From: Ishpeming
26-Sep-14
Nicely written. Well told. Thank you

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
Taking a break to regroup and come up with a new plan.

26-Sep-14
Good. It posted. I had some trouble posting pics because of the server error problem and whole posts got eaten. I'll post up more tonight.

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

orionsbrother's Link
The next morning was a bust, though we heard several bulls in the distance.

A friend had seen a nice bull headed up early and said it looked like it was going way up to escape the traffic. We thought, "What the heck? Why not?"

We grabbed the bikes and hit a logging road going up. And up. And up.

We actually went higher than "Chuck" had ever been before.

We found a nice park up there with water, good grass, several beds and two to three day old sign, just no elk. It still felt good to discover something in the area that "Chuck" had hunted for years.

The view was incredible. I'm sure that those pictures would be identifiable though.

Bombing down that logging road by headlamp in the dark was a blast! The disc brakes were sizzling hot by the time we got down.

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

orionsbrother's Link
We awoke to a cooler morning with misty fog that gave an ethereal feel to the mountains. Things felt different. Everything in my chest felt like it was loosening up. "Chuck" was beginning to feel like he was gaining on the chest cold as well.

We had a bull come in and hang up maybe sixty to seventy five yards out in some thick stuff.

"Little Chuck" had spent some time with another friend, but was hunting with us that night.

The decision was made to "go down". The idea was to hit an area near some private land where "Little Chuck" had spotted some elk while travelling.

We got down to where a smaller ridge was tapering off and had a park to our nine o'clock. We heard a couple of active bulls nearby to our eleven and one o'clock.

We set up quickly with "Chuck" calling from the four o'clock position and "Little Chuck" moving toward eleven o'clock, hugging the edge of the ridge with a small opening to his right and a small timbered bench to his left before the edge of a park about forty five yards away.

26-Sep-14
"Chuck" started calling and the bull at about one o'clock started moving closer and to twelve o'clock.

"Chuck" motioned for me to move up to where "Little Chuck" was.

"Little Chuck" had moved a little further forward. I started sliding toward him, but his body language became focussed and he knelt behind a downed tree next to some small pines. He pulled his binoculars up. I hesitated and tucked into a gap in some small pines near me.

I could hear the twelve o'clock bull moving closer.

Suddenly, "Chuck" flashed across the small opening between us. He jabbed his finger emphaticly toward where "Little Chuck" was and disappeared into the small pines.

Torn between what I was seeing of "Little Chuck's" body language and "Chuck's" frantic direction, I rolled my feet towards "Little Chuck" with my eyes trying to burn holes in the brush.

And again, "Chuck" reappeared. "Move up here!" He hissed quietly, pointing to a spot that was in the other direction, on the edge of the small opening and, to my eyes, totally exposed to the direction the bull was coming from. "Chuck" flew to the other side again and called some more.

When he moved, figuring that the bull that was coming in from one o'clock to twelve o'clock would follow the left side of the small ridge, moving up the bench along the park, Chuck saw a decent five pointer silently bee-lining across the middle of the park behind us at about our seven o'clock. He was heading our way.

26-Sep-14
From "Little Chuck's" vantage point, he could see a raghorn in tow as well.

Unfortunately, those elk must've seen the bulls that were below us. They moved down, right through the middle of the park, staying eighty five to one hundred yards away.

26-Sep-14
We ran out of light and started working our way back up and out. I was concentrating on not hacking. With everything loosening up in my chest, that was a challenge.

I stepped on an unseen stick and was rewarded with a crack that seemed deafening. Elk started barking around us. I cringed.

"Chuck" "mooed" like we were some cattle and the elk calmed down.

The three of us filed uphill in the dark and headed back to camp.

26-Sep-14
Upon returning to camp, I told the two of them that I appreciated that they were working hard to put me in front of an elk, but that I did not make the trip to screw up anyone's season and did not need them sacrificing their efforts.

I'd been set up in the primary "shooter" position repeatedly and things weren't coming together. We needed to stop that. We needed to change things up.

"Chuck" commented about my being his friend and guest...and went on about how much more time he had to hunt...and listed numerous instances where he as a caller had opportunities at bulls...

I took off my RMEF hat that "Chuck" had gifted me and reached into my truck. I pulled out a pink headband that a friend's daughter had left in the map pocket and put it on. I told them that "the princess" has been getting an awful lot of undeserving special treatment and it needed to stop. I was putting the hat back on in the morning. If I was cracking sticks or half a step behind or anything, I'd hunt by myself and not blow their hunt.

"Little Chuck" said he had to deal with work the next day and didn't care what was on my head. He smiled. "Did you really just refer to yourself in the third person as 'the princess'? That's a problematic image."

"Chuck" decided we were making a change. We were going to plan B.

26-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
Up extra early the next morning, we climbed into the truck to head to his backup area. It was thankfully uncrowded. He pointed out his various entry points from over the years, commenting on the fact that very few trucks, campers or tents were visible.

Stories that went with those trailheads followed forth. The day felt very different. We were both feeling much better. It was easy to see that "Chuck" was excited.

No signs of any vehicles around where he wanted to go in.

"We should've come over here sooner."

I was excited. I had a feeling. I woke up early and spent some meditative time with my diamond hone and broadheads. My head was clearer. It was my oldest's birthday.

26-Sep-14
We spilled down the left side of a good sized ridge, crossed a bench on a diagonal and caught a cow path around the head of a good sized park. We could hear bugles in the dark.

What sounded like a good bull was working his way up the opposite ridge from the bottom. We quietly bounced across a few small creeks and carefully rock hopped a couple of slides.

We came up to a smaller finger ridge before the main ridge. It sounded like the bull was going to be moving up the other side.

"Chuck" and I set up and tried calling, but the bull didn't seem to want to leave his cows. We slowly and quietly eased our way up the side of the small ridge.

26-Sep-14
Up near the top, at the point where the more level part of the finger ridge tapered down to the point, we stopped again. Calling softly, we got no response.

But then "Chuck" who was to my left, upslope, could hear the soft mewing of the cows. He pointed to his ear and pointed in an up and over kind of motion.

The wind was perfect, so we held tight for a bit.

"Chuck" turned his head downslope, cupped his hands over his call and called softly.

We could hear something moving around, coming our way, slowly.

Arrows had already been nocked. We froze.

A cow peeked up at the crest of the ridge and then she ambled back down a bit.

"Chuck" figured that the bull had bedded down and his cows were bedding between us and him. He thought we should back out and come back, rather than risk blowing them out.

We slid away carefully.

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"I'm gonna run 'til my feet are raw" The Who Slip Kid

Once away from the small ridge, our pace picked up. Boots rose and fell as we gained elevation without speaking.

We'd been covering a lot of ground and the hot spot on my right big toe was getting hotter, but spirits were high and climbing with us.

Returning to camp, I ducked into my tent and attempted to reconfigure the tape on my toe to make it more comfortable. I was somewhat perplexed because the blood streaked blister was underneath a respectable callus. I decided that it must have been caused by the movement of my boot while side-hilling. In spite of the temperature, I threw on some liner socks as well.

Then I set about to re-hone my already well honed broadheads.

In spite of what my wife says, I do have feelings. And I was getting one. Just not her kind.

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"Well, they say, time loves a hero, but only time will tell if he's real..." Little Feat Time Loves a Hero

We returned to the small finger ridge that evening. The wind was good. "Chuck" set up the decoy at the end of the finger where it dove down to a small creek.

A narrow ravine ran up drainage between the finger ridge and the large ridge defining the drainage. It was thick, relatively green with a small trickle stream flowing down the center. A trail ran along the near side of the small trickle stream.

I quietly headed up about eighty yards to where there was a bit of an opening in the small ravine and headed up the side of the finger ridge. I hesitated where I had good cover and good shooting lanes into the ravine, but then moved around a wide juniper to be a little higher and be able to better cover the top of the finger ridge as well.

I gently swept the small sticks and pine cones from where my feet would be, shed my pack, nocked an arrow and checked the distance on some trees.

I had a fleeting thought of grabbing a sip of water, but it was 6:57. "Chuck" was going to start calling soon. I could hear a raven croaking above the bigger ridge.

I set my feet and clipped my release onto the loop, mentally running a few scenarios through my head.

"Chuck" blew a cow call of moderate volume. Before the pitch dropped down, I could hear an elk charging down the small ravine. He was maybe one hundred yards away at the call and closing fast.

Thirty five to maybe forty yards up from me, behind some thick brush, he button hooked up the finger ridge and charged down the spine.

I spun 180 degrees and saw that it was a spike bull flashing through the small pines. I made the decision that, given the opportunity, I would kill him. I'd be more than happy and "Chuck" and "Little Chuck" could focus on their own hunts.

I was at full draw and rock solid when he burst into the small opening on the ridge. He was at thirty three to thirty four yards, facing me, when he came to a sudden stop because he'd seen me against the pine next to me.

I upgraded my bow in early February for this hunt. For the last seven months, I tried to shoot at least half a dozen arrows every morning before work and after work. The distance that I could shoot inside where I had light...thirty four yards.

It was a frontal shot, but I felt confident. He ground to a halt with my pins on him. I was calm, somewhat detached in the moment. My muscle memory flowed. I released the arrow, focusing on my follow through.

It seemed as though time slowed down, as it always does with me when I loose an arrow at an animal. Nothing else exists. While I am aware of sounds and scents and tactile sensation and find them calming leading up to a shot, when an arrow is in flight, that all falls away.

Because I lightly touch the tip of my middle finger to the backside of my grip, my bow doesn't tip forward after a shot. And though I was focused on my follow through, not the arrow, I remember seeing the circle of my sight frame the elongated helical flight path of my white cock vane. It disappeared into the chest of the bull.

27-Sep-14

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
The spike reacted to the shot and started to run down the finger ridge. I cow called with my mouth as I readied another arrow. The bull hesitated behind some pines presenting no shot, bobbed or wobbled and thundered down the ridge towards "Chuck" and out of sight.

I heard "Chuck" call to the bull and then heard it charge off heading towards the opposite ridge of the drainage, where we had hiked in.

Like I said, I have been fortunate to have always been calm "in the moment" with things slowing down and have never struggled with target panic or any kind of "fever", but after the shot, I seem to feel as if time is compressed to equalize things. Kind of Newton's Third Law of Archery Motion. Elation washes over me, followed by waves of doubt, concern, happiness and curiosity.

I stood there for a few minutes allowing the emotions and sensations to wash over me, living the "rush". It took a bit for me to notice the birds and the smell of the pines again.

I returned my second arrow to the quiver, quietly slipped my pack onto one shoulder and slowly ghosted over to where the bull had stopped. I could see his churned up tracks where he took off after the shot.

Still somewhat jangled in my post shot frame of mind, a momentary wave of panic washed over me when I saw no blood amongst the churned up initial tracks. I looked to my left, downslope. There it was! Gouts of arterial blood left in a stretched coil pattern on the ground as the elk's heart pumped and contracted. Excitement washed over me.

From: t-roy
27-Sep-14
awesome!

27-Sep-14
"Chuck" told me that when the spike blew past him, he was a little deflated. He thought, "Man, we've beenn working it hard. Why couldn't that bull have run past Rick?"

When I slowly eased my way toward him, he realized that I'd shot that spike. Once I was in a clear sightline, I pantomimed shooting an arrow to reinforce that understanding. He immediately put his hands up in a "Stop!" signal.

I was moving slowly and quietly on a ridiculous bloodtrail only with the intention of making contact with him, but I shrugged and stopped, pointing at the ground.

After a bit, I crooked a finger at him and moved a little closer as he moved toward me. I pointed again at the wide, dashed loops of the blood trail.

I whispered, "Look at this! He's dead!"

"Chuck" looked down again. "He's dead. But you can be surprised how far they can go sometimes."

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"Don't let it bring you down. It's only castles burning." Neil Young Don't Let it Bring You Down

We waited another fiteen minutes and then took up the trail to try to take advantage of the little bit of daylight remaining.

I was very confident. It was a bloodtrail that could've been followed in a thunderstorm. There was an old cow track pressed into some soft earth that was full of red blood and pink foam, like a bowl. We followed it, maybe, a hundred yards into a small grove of aspens to the confluence of several trails. At that point, the elk had hit the ground. There was a large splash/smear of blood where his chest hit the grass and a large smear of blood on a log on the ground with a fine sprayed mist of blood on a bush, grass and some sticks just on the other side of the log.

Then nothing.

I checked the trails at 11:30, 9:30 and 8:00. I checked the trails at 2:00 and 4:00. "Chuck" checked them. We backtracked thirty yards or so to see if the elk got up and headed back down his initial path and we missed where he peeled off.

Nothing.

We pulled out our headlamps and rechecked logs and grass on all of the trails.

Nothing.

I started doing some arcs in hopes of picking up the trail.

Nothing.

We were out of light.

"There's no way a bloodtrail like that just stops!"

"Chuck" said, "It's cooling off nicely. We can't see enough with our headlamps. We need to come back tomorrow morning and take advantage of the daylight."

It made no sense to me. The shot played over and over in my head. I repeatedly replayed the bloodtrail in my mind too. WTF?!?! I turned another loop around where the elk hit the ground.

"Chuck" whispered, "C'mon man, let's go."

My thoughts made no sense. There was nothing that I could do and there was no way it would help, but I wanted to pull the small tarp out of my pack and bivy right there so that I could THINK! I almost started an argument with "Chuck".

"C'mon, man let's go. He's dead. We'll get him in the morning."

27-Sep-14
YYYYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
That hike out was tough. It felt much longer than it was. I was concerned about the elk. I was concerned about letting my friend down. I was concerned about the meat. The coal burning in my big toe angered me. The lingering effects of my cold pissed me off.

"That's not possible."

"It makes no sense."

The memory of a big deer that I'd killed that ran on empty for longer than was rational came to mind.

"I found him."

Getting back to camp, I crawled into my tent only to realize that along with my concerns about my elk, everything that I left on the road heading out of town, every worry, every aggravation, every doubt, they'd all found me.

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
"Bring it on." Slaid Cleaves

I didn't sleep much that night. I was concerned about the elk. But I think that spurred on a reassessment of several larger issues in my life. It was a long night, but I came to some important conclusions about the future.

And at 4:15 in the morning, I was chomping at the bit. I was determined to find that elk. And I was determined to figure out just what happened.

I was tired, but I was much more myself. I didn't give a chit about my toe. The lingering crud in my lungs didn't matter.

"C'mon, man. Let's go. I gotta find my elk."

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
We headed down and in. We were on the edge of the larger park up drainage from the aspen grove where the bloodtrail stopped. What sounded like a good bull bugled below us. The sun was just coming up.

"Chuck" dropped down inside the edge of the timber. I moved up a bit and slipped into the shadows.

"Chuck" answered the bugle and we cow called, but we were too far outside the radius of where he'd be interested. It sounded like there were some different bugles as well.

I tried to stifle the ticking of the clock inside my head.

We broke out our binoculars and looked over every aspect of the general direction the elk had been headed. And we looked again as our vantage points changed.

27-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
We ended up back at the mysterious end of the bloodtrail and checked and rechecked the trails. We backtracked again. We crawled on our hands and knees in arcs from a line of scrubby bushes at one o'clock all the way around in a circle to the other side of the bush.

Nothing.

I was starting to think that an alien beaming the durned elk up to some spaceship made as much sense as anything we were and weren't seeing.

I was mentally running through a plan to start grid searching.

"Got it." "Chuck" said.

He was standing in the bush. There was a fine spray of droplets.

The elk had gone over the bush and through the thick line of scrubby bushes heading off to one o'clock.

We had to crawl along for seventy five yards or so and into the park grass following the atomized blood.

And then the blood trail was back. We were on our feet, pointing and leap frogging each other, whispering to identify the next spot with blood sign.

"Log."

"Rock"

"Dried cow pie"

"It poured out in the dirt here."

The bloodtrail made a gentle arc to the treeline, perhaps fity yards or so from where "Chuck" set up just a while earlier when we heard the bull.

My bull was at the base of three good sized Jack Pines. It felt really good to get my hands on him.

Man, that's an understatement!

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
He was a little bloated, but not bad. It had been cool enough apparently. We broke him down quickly. The only meat that was suspect was the inside tenders.

My sight picture of the shot was a little off. He must've jumped the string a little. The arrow impacted right on the centerline, my aim point was about two inches to the left of that, just on his right side. And he dropped some, my aimpoint was about five inches lower than actual impact.

The entire arrow penetrated into his body.

I think that he spooked when he ran up on "Chuck" and ran into the aspens to the intersection of trails where he dished out. His bloody nose rubbed across the log next to where his chest smeared the blood that poured from his chest. He must have coughed the spray of droplets on the grass, sticks and small bush.

Maybe the impact helped expell the air from his lungs and atomize the blood.

And perhaps the impact caused the arrow to move, cutting more and making him go on a death run.

If the adrenaline was in his system from seeing "Chuck" and there was an extra jab when he crashed, that could explain his going over the bush and exploding through the line of scrub leaving only fine droplets for seventy five yards or so.

I don't know if he slowed down in the park, or if some membrane or fat moved releasing a temporary plug. From the bloodtrail, it was obvious that the blood just started pouring out again, though the volume was diminishing. I still can't figure it out.

From: Nick Muche
28-Sep-14
Congrats man!!

28-Sep-14
The two of us packed him out in one trip. It felt great. Easiest hike of the trip at that point.

And I was happy that the "warm-up band" was moving to the wings. It was time for the "headliners" to take the stage.

We had noticed something and had a plan.

From: JLS
28-Sep-14
Congratulations! What's with the foil on the antlers?

From: TD
28-Sep-14
Cool, great story so far..... Congrats on some fine eating!

Sometimes the bloodtrail starts petering out because they start to run out of it..... pressure drops.... etc. higher hit, bet he had a bunch in him too.... had lots of them start thinning out from a stream to just drops and you get that tight feeling of doubt that starts creeping into your gut.... and then there they are.

keep it comin' Hemingway.... this is good!

28-Sep-14
JLS - I used a space blanket as a clean surface for breaking down the quarters. I de-boned him, but I was concerned about the meat and time, so I took the extra step of taking the quarters off as quickly as possible to separate them from the rest of the carcass. Stripped the backstraps, neck meat, ribs etc. Then went back to do the quarters.

After the meat was in game bags and in the pack, I used the space blanket to wrap up the skull to minimize the "juice" absorbed by my pack.

From: Mark Watkins
28-Sep-14
Hey! Congrats! Great story telling!

Mark

From: JEG
28-Sep-14
Great story thanks for sharing!!

28-Sep-14
That night, we took the truck to a spot with some cell phone service. I couldn't send any pictures, but the call went through.

I told the wife and kids about the bull and that it was a birthday bull having been killed on the eldest's birthday. The excitement, enthusiasm and pride expressed by number one really made me smile. Dad had done a good job in the eyes of the kids.

Apparently, the five year old had taken on the task of protecting my interests while I was gone. If the refrigerator was opened, number three would take up a supervisory position and speak with authority.

"You can't drink that. That's daddy's. He's going to want that when he gets home. Leave it alone."

From: JW
28-Sep-14
Love the writing! Great pics and story. Thanks for taking us along. Congrats!

28-Sep-14
"Little Chuck" joined us back in camp that night. He listened to the recounting of the shot and the confounding details of the tracking job.

"Chuck" shook his head and repeated that it was the oddest track he'd been on. I thanked him again for climbing into the tangle of bush where he picked up the bloodtrail again.

"It was the only damn place that we hadn't looked."

The conversation turned to what we'd noticed the past couple of days.

"Chuck" offered, "It's not like we can pattern them. There's no guarantee that conditions will be the same, but no one's been in there recently, except for us. They haven't been disturbed. I think we've got a shot."

"Every day, we've needed to be a little farther, a little lower. We've been hearing bulls and we've gotten some to move, but not commit. I think we've got to be more aggressive and take a run at 'em." said "Little Chuck".

I could feel the shift in temprament. We were done playing it cautiously for the sake of the FNG, trying to increase the odds. I swear they moved differently in camp. A little quicker. There was a "vibe" of energy.

I couldn't help but think of a bird dog at heel, muscles twitching, eyes focused.

The next day these guys were going to be unleashed. This was going to be fun.

I had a feeling.

From: Gene
28-Sep-14
Great writing! Oh yeah, Congrats on taking your elk!!!! I'm sure it was a long night for you waiting to get back on that blood-trail. Will this story continue?

28-Sep-14
Yep. But I'm at work again today. There's more coming.

From: ki-ke
28-Sep-14
"You can't drink that. That's daddy's. He's going to want that when he gets home. Leave it alone!"

I love the story and your writing style and was waiting for you to wrap up prior to commenting, but this line made me pi$$ my pants....

O yeah, great story. Congrats on the bull!

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
We were all up early, moving with purpose in the morning. The activity was almost frenetic.

I washed a granola bar down with some coffee that was in a "go" cup. I think the coffee was from two days prior.

I had my pack and bow in the truck already. I was wearing my bino harness. My headlamp was in my left pocket. My mask and gloves were in my right pocket.

I slid alongside "Chuck" outside of his truck.

"Listen, man. I've got a feeling about today. I'm going to throw my bigger hauling pack in the truck unless you think that'll be bad juju."

His face was lit by the glow of the dome light filtering through the dust on the window of the truck door he'd just gently closed. Distorted gray speckled shadows floated on his cheeks like war paint. He hesitated for a moment, thinking.

"Throw my frame pack in back too."

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
We moved quickly down the trail on the ridge. It was feeling very familiar, having hiked it several times. I don't think any words were spoken. We were in a comfortable rhythm.

We started looping the head of the large park, moving towards the big ridge on the other side of the finger ridge where I'd shot my spike. The sun wasn't up yet.

"Chuck" spotted some cows far below in the meadow below the trees. We picked up the pace.

As we came up the side of the big ridge and had the beginnings of some diffuse sunlight, binoculars came up again.

There was a good bull with the cows. He had dark horns and a bit of a limp. He was running off some other bulls. They were heading into the timber of the bottoms below, heading toward an intersection with our path.

Things started happening very quickly. The big ridge nose-dived down in a big grassy knob with scattered pockets of trees. It was steep enough that you could hike straight up, but going down, couldn't help but doing slight switch-backs. The grass on the face grew in a slight, ribbed, corduroy pattern.

Elk butt decoys popped out of packs, were hastily placed and we scattered in our own directions and started calling.

The elk were coming, but we were too high still!

From: gogittem
28-Sep-14
Drinks up to a job well done and documented!

28-Sep-14
The decoys were snatched up and we shot diagonally across the face. Another quick set up. A few more calls.

"Chuck" and "Little Chuck" shifted again. The decoys were left behind. I shot straight side hill to some trees and looped slowly downward on the opposite side.

They leap-frogged again. I held tight in the shadows of my little clump of small pines. We were running out of ridge. I could hear the elk moving through the timber of the bottom just below.

"Chuck" was at my 10:30 as I looked down. "Little Chuck" had moved farther out in about the same direction.

I had tagged out. I wasn't shooting, but I experienced the same odd dilation of my senses.

A five point and a six point turned up the slope. From my vantage point, I could only see legs and the bottom half of the bodies. "Little Chuck" later said that another five point moved through the other side of "Chuck" as well.

"Chuck" called in a way that was a pre-arranged signal that told me he had a bull in sight and needed me to call to try to bring it into position.

I gave my best cow calls, hoping that I could help in a small way. I couldn't stop the thought, "Big Dan would probably slap that diaphragm out of your mouth."

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo

orionsbrother's Link
Like I said, I was experiencing the same weird alteration of my senses. It's almost some kind of defense mechanism to calm me when I feel like I need to perform an important task.

I remember the feel of the pine needles under my knee and left hand. The flash of the incredible orange underwings of a red shafted flicker flaring to land on a branch just down from me. Behind me, I heard a woodpecker that I thought was hammering out the base line from "Cissy Strut."

I heard the sound of a bowstring and it all fell away.

An elk bounded away a bit. There was a cow call from "Chuck". Then the sound of a bowstring again. An explosion and a crash at about my 12:00.

Everything went quiet.

Then I heard "Chuck" quietly move off further to my 10:00, catching just a glimpse of his camo moving away through the trees.

"Chuck" called a few more times.

I held tight, silently for ten minutes or so.

Hearing nothing else, I picked a quiet line, put my extra sneaky feet on and took an arc up, around some other trees and crept down from tree to tree. I scanned everything with my binoculars and very slowly moved in the direction of a patch of "Chuck's" camo.

He was surprised when I blew a very soft cow call from thirty five yards behind him. I had no idea where "Little Chuck" was.

"Chuck" was looking into the botttom with his binoculars. I looked at the sightlines and rolled my feet as I slowly and silently slid a little closer with cover.

We stood for about ten minutes, about ten yards apart, each of us scrutinizing the timber with our binoculars.

He then ghosted up towards me.

"You shot that elk, right?"

"Five point. He's down over there."

"I lost "Little Chuck"

"He went after the other bull in the bottom."

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
It was a really long pregnant pause. Eventually we started to move slowly and quietly toward where the downed bull was. He was lying in a stand of small Jack Pines.

The right side of his rack was broken up and his body was huge. The picture doesn't capture it well.

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
A series of cow calls announced "Little Chuck" coming up from the bottom. He stepped out of the timber and held his bow high as well as his other hand.

He had slipped into the timber in the bottom, letting the other bulls pass him. He saw the herd bull about 130 yards away.

Apparently exhausted from trying to run off the other bulls and protect his cows, he bedded down with his cows just on the other side of him in a little dip.

"Little Chuck" carefully belly crawled seventy some yards shielded by some scrub pines, checked the range, raised up on one knee when the bull stood and took a fifty eight yard quartering away shot. The bull tipped over quickly.

After a little more wait, we quietly moved down to see. We checked him out with binoculars, crept in, confirmed he was done and shared celebratory handshakes, clasps on the back and hugs.

"Chuck" and I required that he reenact part of the crawl for pictures, pose at full draw from where he shot and told him that he had to pack out both bulls by himself.

We took a series of pictures of him with his bull and "Chuck" and I with him with his bull. I hoisted him up, sitting on my right shoulder for a picture of the two of us with the bull.

28-Sep-14
So, now we had two bulls down within two hundred yards of each other and a good hike to get them out. We got to work. I took the first boned out hind quarter, dropped it onto the meat shelf of my day pack and cinched it down.

The idea was for me to head up the spine of the big ridge, catch an old trail, get to the road, drop my pack, hike to the truck, bring it back around to the big ridge, grab the bigger packs and water and bomb back in while they broke the elk down.

It seemed like a good idea.

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's Link
I headed up the steep grassy slope of the knob at the end of the big ridge. "Little Chuck" later named this stretch of the pack-out "The Gauntlet".

It was getting warm. I wanted to hustle.

I followed the spine of the ridge and picked up an old trail. Problem was, I picked up the old, "old trail" that followed the left side of the ridge, toward the road and eventually the truck. What I wanted was the "old trail" on the right side of the ridge.

The trail I was on eventually headed into a blowdown. We'd had to traverse countless blowdowns during this trip. Not fun, but you just pick up your feet and keep going.

HA!!!

It sucked me in nicely. Not too bad at first, until I was comitted. Then each hundred yards became more ridiculous. It stretched away as far as I could see in every direction. Satanic Jenga. I was crawling, over, under, through.

Around was off the table.

At least four times, I knocked the quiver off my bow which was strapped to my pack. The internal swearing count was in the millions.

I kept the pack on my back and hoofed to the truck. No way was I going through that again!

Dumping my pack at the truck, I grabbed my large pack and strapped "Chuck's" frame pack onto it.

I grabbed the extra knives that "Little Chuck" wanted and rummaged around for anything useful.

I groaned.

I hadn't refilled my Nalgene bottle and none of us had tossed extra water or Gatorade into the truck. We had half a small bottle of Gatorade and a third of a Nalgene bottle of water for three guys packing elk out on a warm day. My filter was back at base camp.

From: Don K
28-Sep-14
Great story and great way of telling it. Makes you want to leave Illinois and live out west doesn't it? (does for me anyway I want out of here bad)

28-Sep-14
I headed back down the long way.

I felt like an idiot upon learning of the trail on the right side.

We packed up all of "Little Chuck's" bull in meat bags. We quartered "Chuck's" clydesdale of a bull and hung the front and hind quarters in the stand of Jack Pine. We removed the rest of the meat from the clydesdale, it went into separate meat bags and joined the rest in our packs.

Up "The Gauntlet" we went. The trail on the right side of the ridge had some blowdowns, but they were nothing.

Getting back to camp, water tasted pretty good. Then Gatorade tasted good. Then some juice tasted good. Then a nice cold beer slid down.

28-Sep-14

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
We slept in a bit the next morning. We headed in to get "Chuck's" bull at first light.

Spirits were high. Chops were busted in hushed tones. We had water.

"Chuck's" quarters were squared away in pretty quick order. The last of the meat bags went into the packs.

We climbed "The Gauntlet" for the last time and took a series of pictures of each other at the top. There was a good deal of cutting up.

I was looking hard across the drainage, reliving some of the trip, taking it all in. "Little Chuck" wandered over.

"You coming back next year?"

I smiled and gave a nod of my head.

"You earned your keep."

We turned and started heading up the ridge.

I opted to hike out wrapped up in my own thoughts. For the third time in three days, I had almost half an elk on my back. It felt good.

I hiked along sweating under the pack in the warmth. The breeze wicked the sweat away from the back of my neck. Pine cones and small twigs crunched nonchalantly underfoot. A camp robber, a Clark's Nutcracker, eyed me from a deadfall.

I thought about what hunting and trips like that mean to me. How hunting trips seem to provide a "time lapse" series of images of friend's lives. Friends that you seem to just mesh with again as though there'd been no interval. New friends. The gift that I'd been given.

I thought about the serious life decisions that I'd made while sweating under a pack, or in a tent, or accompanied by the hiss of a lantern, or in the glow of a headlamp.

I remembered my first child being baptized with water that came from a hole in the ice and the next two who were baptized with water from trout streams.

I thought about the streak of my arrow, the highs and lows of the bloodtrail.

And I found myself at the truck.

"You want a hand with that pack?"

"Nah. I'm just going to drink some water for a sec."

I didn't want to take the pack off.

From: CowboyAl
28-Sep-14
Excellent story and pics! I enjoyed every word.

From: midwest
28-Sep-14
Perfect, Rick!

"You earned your keep."

A true hunting PARTNER. Thanks for the excellent story telling and pics...that was great!

28-Sep-14
One last thing.

The morning that I was leaving from "Chuck's" to go home, I woke up early. I packed up the few things that I'd brought in and took them to the truck. I checked out the fluids etc. and pulled out my toothbrush.

I was standing on "Chuck's" gravel driveway brushing my teeth, imagining my reception upon my return, when I glanced at the stars. There was Orion. Like Orion, I am an archer, large and, the darker it is, the easier it is to look at me.

At 5:32am a shooting star streaked through Orion. It could've only been more perfect an ending if it would've been going in a direction like it came off his bow.

When I was on the sidelines last year, I was jonesing for stories. I ached for more details to try to scratch my itch. I made a vow that I'd do my best to put up a story to try to salve that for someone else.

I'm not a wordsmith like Jaquomo. I don't kill bulls like BigDan. And I don't pack bulls up big cliffs, pursued by grizzly like city. But I did the best I could.

In my opinion, elk hunting can be hard. At times, with a few other challenging factors, it can be real hard. I think everyone should take up golf instead.

:>)

From: Scoot
28-Sep-14
Great read! Thanks very much for sharing!!!

From: itshot
28-Sep-14
top notch, Rick

Thanks for taking the time to let us read about it, and congrats to all three of you

From: Don
28-Sep-14
Ok, I give up, why no face pics?

From: Hammer
28-Sep-14
Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

28-Sep-14
Best thing I've read in a long time. I'm more somber now but, just as excited for you and your friends. I'm just humbled by the story. It felt like I was there. It reminded me of the hunts for elk with my buds as I was reading this. My goodness, I miss doing this. I was thinking yesterday from my deer stand maybe next year. Now I'm certain if the Good Lord gives it to me, I'll be chasing bugling bulls again. Once again, congratulations to you and your group. And God Bless

From: sureshot
29-Sep-14
What a great story! I really enjoyed your writing style, the added emotions almost puts me in your shoes. Congrats on a succesful trip.

From: JLS
29-Sep-14
Very well written story! Congrats to all of you.

29-Sep-14
Awsome story and trip! I can relate to your feelings on kids back home and the return reception! After reading that I'm def selling all two of my golf clubs to help save for an elk trip! ;)

From: gogittem
29-Sep-14
Hard to pick a favorite part, but I can really relate to your "Satanic Jenga." Great description!

From: gogittem
29-Sep-14
Hard to pick a favorite part, but I can really relate to your "Satanic Jenga." Great description!

From: gogittem
29-Sep-14
Hard to pick a favorite part, but I can really relate to your "Satanic Jenga." Great description!

From: TD
29-Sep-14
"Ok, I give up, why no face pics?"

I'm guessing witness protection program..... =D

LOL! I gonna bet he hasn't shaved off the mountain beard yet either.... I know when I come home I hang onto it just as long as I can. Sometimes longer.

Thanks again. Great story. Congrats on a great hunt. Heck, ya even got invited back... can't beat that with a stick.... heheheheh....

From: trublucolo
29-Sep-14
Nicely done Rick, kudos!

29-Sep-14
Thanks again, guys.

TD - No one is wanted by the FBI or claimed to be having an appendectomy to take off work. Just keeping my word to my buddies. Plus, chicks dig them more, so it's fun to scribble on their faces..."Take that you little Leonardo DiCaprio looking bastard!"

But you're right. The beard is ever present and coming into its full glory. I'm cutting meat, scrambling with work and household duties...and prepping for my trip to WY.

The wife was falling asleep and I gave her a kiss. Some whiskers poked her in the nose and she freaked out. It was hilarious. I realized that I need to kiss my wife more.

A beard with good juju and built in entertainment!

From: t-roy
30-Sep-14
I'm glad I didn't "eschew" the rest of this thread! GREAT story! I think Jaquomo would be proud.

30-Sep-14
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From: Ron Niziolek
30-Sep-14
Loved it!

From: ki-ke
30-Sep-14
Enjoyed that immensely. Way more than an elk hunting story.

Thanks for sharing.....

02-Oct-14
Excellent story and congrats on a great trip and some nice bulls.

From: Florida Mike
02-Oct-14
Somebodys a wanted man that doesn't want to go to jail so no facials... Its ok but your a brave man hunting with criminals...Mike

From: Elkman52
02-Oct-14
Wanted man or living legend which is it??Congrats!Good choice in friends and good choice in music!!!

02-Oct-14
Ha! The wife might substitute "tolerated" or "endured" for "wanted" depending on the day.

And I'm not even near a legend in my own mind! I do have a temporary exalted status with the kids, but I'm told that they grow out of that by their teens.

From: HUNT MAN
02-Oct-14
Very Very nice congrats. HUNT

From: Ace
02-Oct-14
GREAT job on that story, you certainly are a wordsmith. You have a terrific writing style, and paint excellent word pictures.

It occurs to me, that not only do we have a lot of amazing hunters here on Bowsite, but quite a few excellent storytellers as well.

Thanks again, and congratulations on the bull.

From: cityhunter
02-Oct-14
nice going woooooohooooooooo!!

From: Jaquomo
07-Oct-14
Rick, I just returned from my marathon elk adventure and a brutal moose guiding fiasco and read this end-to-end. It really perked my spirits! Fantastic job with the story, the hunt, and in painting portraits with your words.

Yours is a keeper. Congratulations, my friend!

From: Z Barebow
07-Oct-14
I can't believe I haven't been following this thread. Great hunt and great story telling. Thanks for sharing.

I didn't elk hunt his year and I am still worthless, reading all of these great write ups.

From: Bullhound
07-Oct-14
fabulous job!!!

From: Elkaddict
07-Oct-14
One of the best written stories I've read. Thanks Orion.

From: idacurt
07-Oct-14
Great job! are you guys in witness protection or something?

07-Oct-14
Thank you very much, guys. Your kind words mean a lot.

Lou, PM coming.

From: Barty1970
29-Oct-14
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the story as the hunts unravelled; congratulations to all three of you.

BTW deleted faces = Special Forces Ops, surely?!

31-Dec-14
Ttt for Eric

From: Grubby
31-Dec-14
I just read this one again the other day.... I wish there was a spot for all these Epic hunt threads so they would be easier to find.

Thanks for the time you spent making it.

From: guins1971
31-Dec-14
I just found this today. I've wanted to try hand at elk for a long time. This really stoked the fire. What a great read. I felt like I was there with you through the whole story. Thank you

31-Dec-14
This post's first go-around, I missed it cause I was hunting. The 2nd go around, I saw it and meant to come back to it cause I was at work and didn't have time to read it.

I'm glad it came up again now that I'm off work. Grats and nice write up Orionsbro.

"Satanic Jenga" is a classic that's gonna have to get borrowed.

From: Surfbow
31-Dec-14
Man, that last bull is a beast!

From: huntingbob
01-Jan-15
One very good read and it all sounds like a very authentic journey. Thanks for sharing it. Bob.

From: Nick Muche
01-Jan-15
I'm a bit upset I didn't retire. If I had, I'd have gotten a supreme bottle of scotch. Instead.... I got a book! (That taught me more about LIFE than I thought possible).

Great hunt bud. Awesome in fact!

01-Jan-15
Nick - Ha! And the translation is nowhere as smooth. If I can ever make it up to AK, I will certainly apply a liberal dose of good scotch while I pick your brain. I promise to leave some in my wake to provide additional lubrication for your philosophical vehicle as well.

Happy New Year, brothers!

From: lunatic
01-Jan-15
Congrats and great story. I really enjoyed it :)

17-Jan-15
Another bump so a buddy can access this with the links active. Hope you enjoy it Bill.

From: Bullnbowcell
12-Feb-15
fantastic story i really had a great time reading that thank you! the wordsmithing was top notch and I really loved how you added some auditory ques to a magazine-like story. I have to ask though, was it a camp robber or a clark's? That right side of lil chuck's bull is awesome!

From: Ole Coyote
12-Feb-15
The old saying is you get lucky just before you check out1 Well looks like I may be checking out late summer as I just got lucky for once in my life! I have tried to book a trip to fish for salmon in the Alta river for over 25 years now and finally they have an opening and I booked it! Wish me luck!

24-Feb-15
Man, this was a great story. If there's a more skillfully written chronicle on this site, I've yet to stumble upon it. Well done, orionsbrother!

From: Rocky D
24-Feb-15
Great thread and great music made me excited excited about the upcoming Tedeschi Trucks Band concert with blues. EXCELLENT!!!

From: elkhunter-ny
25-Feb-15
Love the pictures, you guys in witness protection?

From: Paul@thefort
25-Feb-15
Not sure how I missed this but I must have had my head in the sand somewhere.

Nicely done guys!

My best, Paul

04-Aug-15
Here you go Tara

From: SteveB
04-Aug-15
Why the camo face?

From: tcosmic
04-Aug-15
Why are the faces blocked out?

From: JohnB
04-Aug-15
Thanks much better read than about some lion, gets my juices flowing!

From: Treeline
04-Aug-15
Been way out of it for way too long. This one really got me. Could smell the woods and elk in your tale, Orionsbrother.

Work really is killing me here - on the other side of the world from the places and things that mean the most to me for the last several years.

Looks like I should be able to have a week in September this year - was hoping for all of it and more!

Awesome story. Well done.

04-Feb-16
Reviving links for a buddy to read and listen.

From: GF
05-Feb-16
Loved the story, and the play list... Day Um!

I'd say you must be a long-lost brother of mine, except I am nowhere near "large". And I'm DAMN good lookin'!!!

At least my wife says so! LOL

Do this again some time. The hunt AND the tale. Feb is a good time for such things.

07-Oct-16
TTT so a friend can read and use the links

From: APauls
07-Oct-16
What GREAT story! Thanks for putting the time and effort in

From: TD
08-Oct-16
I could be an uncle if I was a bit more furry..... =D

Great thread to re-read, hope ya got out this year.

08-Oct-16
3:45 in the morning as I sit on the pot. Getting ready to head south and hunt some whitetails. How I missed this in 2014 is beyond me. You are quite the wordsmith, Rick. Great read!

From: bowfinatic
08-Oct-16
Thank you for sharing this is what makes bowsite so great. You paint a great story that we can relate to and envision our selves with you

From: Kevin Dill
08-Oct-16
Nothing better than a story which authentically replicates the energy and feel of an adventure. Being somewhat sick, I haven't been doing much reading (of threads) recently but sure glad I found this one. Impressed with your hunting persistence and success. Just as impressed with your ability to take us to the mountains without ever leaving the house. Thank you.

From: Lee
09-Oct-16
Great read!! Sucked me right in - Congrats!!

Lee

From: Whip
11-Oct-16
There have been some well written stories around here over the years but I put this one at the top of the heap! Outstanding! You could write about a gopher hunt and I'd be enthralled. The fact that it was a highly successful elk hunt made it absolutely magical. As one who spent an unbearable September sitting on the elk hunting sidelines I can't thank you enough for bringing me along on your hunt.

From: Brotsky
12-Oct-16
Awesome story Rick! I missed this as well back in 2014, looks like it posted when I would have been mule deer hunting. I enjoyed it immensely! Thanks for bringing it back up!

From: Ki-ke
14-Oct-16
One of my favorites of all time. when I started reading it, I thought Rick had hunted again this year. When I realized it was the same hunt, I kept reading it anyway and loved it as much as the first time!

Thanks again for a great read...

From: Grubby
14-Oct-16
This is a phenomenal thread!

I would love to see all of these epic hunt tales put in one spot so they would be easy to find.

From: SteveB
14-Oct-16
What a great hunt! Thanks for sharing with us!

From: Allheart
14-Oct-16
Great writing style, very unique and pulls you in. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to be out west.

From: KHunter
15-Oct-16
why on earth are you blotting out faces?

From: Ki-ke
16-Oct-16
K

Did you actually read the thread or just look at the pictures?

27-Nov-17
TTT for a new bowhunter

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