Well let's hear what your hearing! Just a state, a general region ,and what's the general herd dynamic and vocals of your Elk. They have been bugling lightly here (Around Helena) in the evening for the last 10 days. But nothing to heavy. Two bulls were calling back and forth across a big park in the evening 7 days ago, so their thinking about it. This oppressive heat is not helping.
Northern Colorado Labor Day weekend about the only sounds were me crunching through the crispy woods and the group of 13 (yes 13) guys that hiked into a meadow and blind called heavy for an hour and a 1/2 before hiking out. Opening weekend was fairly vocal.
We've been hunting (always opening 7 to 10 days) one certain area in North Central CO since '93 and could count on one hand how many bugles we've heard over those years - virtually non-existent.
This year, for what-ever reason, right from the get go we heard bugles, beginning on Wednesday, 3 days prior to opening (August 26th), 7 or 8 until last Friday afternoon / evening, we then heard over 25 bugles on 3 sides of us. What a rush.
We normally see 8 to 10 elk on our 7 to 10 day hunt. This year, every time I returned to camp I would write down how many I saw and how many my partner saw.
He saw a total of 41 elk.
I filled my tag (nice big cow) on the afternoon of opening day and did a lot of scouting / walking after that, and saw 97 elk. Other than 2 big herds (21 in one group and 25 in another) every time I did see elk there were always more bulls than cows. When I shot my cow there were 8 bulls and 4 cows together - ALL spikes or fork horns, nothing legal. Another group, couple days later had 7 bulls and 7 cows. Many times I saw 3 or 4 bulls together - no cows.
I would attribute seeing this many elk to this being the first time EVER when the sheep were NOT in our area. They came in on Tuesday and after talking with the sheep herder, he agreed to keep them out of "our" hunting area until Friday - which he did.
Got bulls to bugle Saturday through Thursday. Not real fired up or aggressive and not coming to calls. Just would answer once or twice then shut down. Interesting all but one was cow'd up already. It's coming soon but still a little timid in my neck of the woods. SW MT.
Had one respond to me at 9pm weds night. Had one bugle above me as I made a racket piling logs and deadfall some a hole atv rider had used a chainsaw and atv to clear closed roads the day before. He found alot more than he cleared. Hope he loved it. I called to the bull but he was bedding I think. It was after 10am.
My buddy was 50 yards from this bull with no shot in the morning. Backed out to try him again that evening. As we got set up glassing that evening we were surrounded by guides and glassers on every ridge and knob. Turned out the $100K Heritage tag holder was called up from AZ and had arrived to shoot him from right in front of us with a rifle that evening during the archery hunt. Rumor has it, it scored 434 and 437 on the first two measurements! Painful pill to swallow as the bulls stopped bugling until the last couple days leading up to last Saturdays closing of the bow hunt. Here's all the video from 300 yards in the morning
Not sure I'll get another chance again in my lifetime to see a free range public land bull like that, much less get the chance to hunt or film one like him again. I'm counting it a blessing even if it was a tough one to watch happen to us :(
Wonderful video. loved that classic song by the outlaws. thanks for sharing, we all most likely will never see a bull like that...sorry for your misfortune with the outcome. as you said, bitter pill...