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After not being able to do any hunts due to some personal issues, I was able to take my first trip in two years and got to Alberta for the opener on Sept 1. I flew up on August 31st and everything that could go wrong getting there went wrong. Between almost missing my first flight due to the woman behind the counter not knowing rules about traveling with a bow, my connecting flight being delayed and my bags never showing up once in Alberta, it was a long long day. We got back to my buddies house around 12:30 am and got a couple hours of sleep before we would have to be up before opening day. As the sun began to rise on opening morning, we found ourselves in some thick timber chasing elk. With it being early in the year, and the elk not typically being fired up this early, I wasn't expecting much. We called for about 20 minutes from our first spot until we decided to walk about a half mile away to try to call next to a field. On the walk to the field, my buddy heard a bugle, but to be honest I didn't hear anything. We got to the field and gave a couple cow calls and we immediately saw movement in the brush about 150 yards away on the adjacent side of the field. I quickly backed up about 10 feet from the field edge and my buddy moved down the field about 40 yards. He called and the bull looked our way, then walked into the field about 10 yards and walked down his end of the field to the corner of the field. At this point I was about 50 yards from him but I could not see him. My buddy called again and I heard him coming through the knee high grass and I immediately came to full draw. All of a sudden he was about 15 yards away in my small shooting lane. He was quartering to me and there was a small aspen covering his lungs. The wind was going from him to me and I was frozen at full draw but he looked in my direction, maybe looking for the cow he thought was near but I got nervous he was going to bust me. I immediately moved my pin to just inside his shoulder blade and let the arrow fly. The arrow buried to the fletching and the elk jumped back 3-4 jumps and tipped over dead! He made it about 30 yards from impact. Turns out I took out his esophagus and heart. The rage hypodermic did the trick. I had my first ever elk on the ground and we had only been hunting for maybe 45 minutes. We admired the bull and took pics and then started to walk back to the truck to go get a quad to take the bull out of the woods. As we were walking back to the truck another elk bugled and we called to him for a little bit. Meanwhile my buddies father and brother in law were hunting about a mile away so my buddy called him and told them to get to us quick. They got to us very quickly and we called again and the bull answered. Into the bush they went while we hung back and called. Each time we called the bull would answer and we could tell he was getting closer. After about 20 minutes we heard what we thought was an arrow making impact and then some cow calling. We thought we had a second bull in an hour on the ground. Turns out the bull came into his father about 15 yards but busted him and the noise we heard was the bull hitting a branch as it ran off. Close but no cigar. We then went and showed off my bull to my buddies father and brother in law and then went and got the quad and got the bull out of the brush, took him home and cleaned him up and hung him. We had a celebratory beer, had some food, took a nap and then it was time for chasing whitetails that evening.
At around 5:30 we left to go chase whitetails and I found myself looking over a small field that bucks were staging in before crossing a street to enter a large alfalfa field to feed at night. The bucks were showing up around 7:30-8:00pm (it gets dark there around 9:00pm this time of year) so I had some time to kill. As I sat there and enjoyed the evening, I couldn't help but think back about the last couple years and the difficulties I had but couldn't help but think how blessed I was to have close family and friends to help me through it all. I then thought about how blessed I was to have enjoyed such a great morning and how I was able to take my first ever elk which I wasn't expecting to happen.
Time quickly went by and at 7:50, I heard something in the corner of the field and about a minute later the big boy walked out. The 10 pt walked into the field and was 65 yards away. What are the odds that the first buck to enter the field was the first buck to show up? A spike quickly came out followed by a small 8 pt and a 4 pt. The 4 bucks were feeding between 60-80 yards away in this roughly 1 acre field and the wind was perfect, blowing from them to me. I had an hour and 15 minutes till dark and the big buck was heading my way as he had to come past me to get to the alfalfa field. If he continued to feed in the same direction I would have about a 40 yard shot. At this time a doe and 2 fawns walked in behind me and entered the field. They started feeding in the field about 10 yards from me. The thing that I could not get over was the size of their bodies. The doe had the body of the bucks that we had here in NJ. I would bet she was easily 150 pounds and her fawns were like our does here at home and were probably 75 pounds or so each. The bucks body was massive, unlike a deer I have ever seen before. Their heads were enormous as well. I know they are still whitetail deer, but I swear I couldn't help but think they were almost a different species.
I watched the deer feed for about 15 minutes when out of no where all 7 deer whipped their heads up and looked into the woods on the opposite side of the woods, which was up wind. They all stared for about 5 minutes and didn't move a muscle. Nothing ever came out into the field and I never heard anything but something had their attention, perhaps a coyote, who knows. After about 5 minutes, the 8 pt which was closest to that side of the field decided to trot directly to my stand which brought the big buck and two smaller bucks right to me. All of a sudden I had all 7 deer within 15 yards from me and I was not prepared to shoot as it happened so quickly. All the deer I had a clear shot at other than the big buck, which was blocked by a small aspen. I knew the opportunity was about to happen and as I slowly moved my bow from sitting across my lap to upright, the doe looked up and I froze. As she looked up for a minute I didn't even dare to breath. She knew something was up but luckily for me the wind was perfect and I was tucked into a huge spruce tree and had plenty of cover. She knew something wasn't right though and after a minute she walked to the back corner of the field where the bucks came out and took the fawns with her. The 8 pt, 4 pt and spike quickly followed leaving the 10 pt the last deer in front of me. He was about 12 yards away and blocked by the aspen and I knew the second he turned I would have a second before he walked through the small window and back into the brush. It was now or never. He turned and at that point I was immediately at full draw and settled the pin on him as he quartered away. I don't remember releasing the arrow but the arrow hit perfect and I knew immediately I heart shot the buck. He ran off and seconds later I heard a crash! I text my buddy saying "Bring beer" and he quickly text back not to mess with him. I got my stuff together, lowered my bow and took the stand down and then went to look at the arrow. The arrow was covered in blood and I just happened to look in the direction he ran and there he was, only 30 yards away. I waited for my buddy to get to me and we went and admired this majestic animal together. What an amazing day, not only did I take my first ever bull elk but I also killed my largest whitetail to date! Will be a hard day to top for sure. I cant thank Dayne enough, not only is he a hell of a hunter but he is an even better person and couldn't be a nicer guy.
We spent the next couple days enjoying the days, doing some fishing, having some beers and trying to help one of his friends kill a big bull, but unfortunately that wasn't in the cards. We did go on a jet boat ride which was a really fun time as well. It was a short but super sweet trip and I flew back on Monday night and was back in the office on Tuesday. Now its time to get ready for the season opener here in NJ on Saturday, which after taking such a great buck, I am going to have to get my mind ready for chasing our much smaller bucks that call NJ home.
Wow. Count those blessings cause we all know days like this are rare. Congrats!
Great write up BTW!
What kind of fishing?
Great hunt! Beautiful whitetail! Congratulations!
Should have bought a lottery ticket that day to. Everything was going your way.
Nice shooting. Congratulations
Did you do the "Hunter/Host" deal?
Dream day for sure! Congrats! C
Very Cool man, congratulation on two great animals! That buck is a stud!
Awesome day of hunting! Congrats!
Very good way to kick off your season. Good job.
Wow.... what a day! 2 species in one day is hard to top!
Alberta has some slammer whitetails for sure. Great job.
I couldn't imagine a better day! Well done...congrats!!!
Congrats on a great trip and on your success as well.
UNREAL DAY!!! Congrats. Alberta is a fertile hunting ground in a league all it's own. Well, Saskatchewan is a close second, but doesn't have mountain species.
Congrats! That's some serious freezer fillin right there!
I've been meaning to call you and get the full story. Then, I just saw this. Awesome start to the year. I'll give you a shout tomorrow.
"What are the odds that the first buck to enter the field was the first buck to show up?" Maybe I am reading this wrong....but I would guess 100%? Either way, congrats on the bull AND the buck!!
You were due for a great hunt! Congrats, Rob.
Very nice!! Great story!
Like jake I felt those odds were very good!
Congrats Rob - very happy for you. Good luck in Jersey.
Great day to say the least...Congrats!
Man... definitely "one of those days"! Great write-up. Congrats. Alberta is one of my favorite places:-)
Unreal!! What a great day!! I'm in such awe and speechless. CONGRATS!! I am so happy for you!! Super to hear everything went your way after the airport fiasco and esp what you have been thru in the past two years...good things come to those who wait!!