I hiked in Friday after work and got camp squared away then by 6 pm I'm off to sit on a spot below a saddle that was well used in the past. I hear a couple hunters not long after talking loudly just up the drainage. SMH.......loud as hell an hour before the elk start moving and the elk are within hearing distance on the other side of the ridge.
I sit and wait.....cow call......location bugle....nothing. Dark arrives and I head back to camp. Before I get there I hear whoops and cheers across the drainage.....apparently you don't have to be quiet or set up early to kill and elk as it sounds like one of the late and noisy boys got one down. Yell a little louder boys.....
I'm glad I packed in my OR goretex bivy as it started to rain not long after snuggling into the hammock. The bivy did its job and I stayed dry. I was chilled all night.....gotta find a layer of insulation that is more than just wind blocker for the bottom of the hammock. The air just pulled the heat out of my back. brrr.....
I am up before first light and gear up to head to the spot that has been the best so far this year. I am back and in position by 6:30 am. I am raking trees, bugling, cow calling....making lots of noise to attract elk. At 8:30 am my cow calling sequence is answered by a bugle on my side of the meadow. Wind is quartering too me so I expect the bull to come in on this side and use the wind. I'm looking hard on this side while keeping an eye on the other.
Sure enough....he pops out....on the other side of the meadow....96 yards away. He eyeballs me and my cow elk pasted to my bow......and turns and fades back into the timber. I see where he is headed and I dash back into the timber behind me using a rocky outcrop to shield me while I move to intercept him. I get several hundred yards out in the direction and set up to cow call. I wait an hour......he is gone...not gonna fool him twice.
I stay out all day.....I try several locations with alot of calling and raking. I hear a vehicle......a white truck with a white topper is coming up the closed road. I figure it is the loud boys come to fetch their elk with their pickemup truck. You go boys.
I guess I'm going about it all wrong and Karma is sending a message loud and clear. Sorry....not listening. I'll stick to my way.
Long story short....I spent alot of quality time in the woods. Worked hard. Tried to be aggressive. Didn't happen.
The bulls were really sounding off last night. I have some targeted in spots I've had in my back pocket but wasn't sure the elk were using...now I know.
Weds night I will be back for a banzai evening hunt. Then the final weekend.
Best of luck boys....the water is nearly boiling for my tag soup. But it ain't over until the fat lady sings.
I'm still a winner.....lost 20 lbs since start of season.
If you get a day where the elk are bugling good, what I like to do is to NOT call at all, and sneak in quietly and close. If it's a herd, get close to a cow on the edge, and wait for the bull to come around. While calling and raking is fun, giving away your position puts you at a huge disadvantage. My experience is one or two days a season you run across a timeslot where the bugling is constant for hours and hours. That said, it is often triggered by cold, rain or snow and our forecast for the next week doesn't look helpful.
Good Luck, wish you the best!
I honestly cannot even begin to count the number of times it all happened in the last day..... last hour..... even the last few seconds of the bitter end of the hunt..... and..... it all came together and happened. Crazy how it works.... I honestly don't think I have EVER punched a tag on opening day. Not that I remember and I think I would remember...... My hunting partner just came back from CO and took a nice muley on the last evening of his last day.
Bowhunting in and of itself is a mental challenge.... much of the challenge is to hunt the last hour like it was your first hour....... and vice-versa.......effort and focus.... hard to maintain.... but likely as much responsible for success as shooting skills or any other part of the hunt. If not more.
I have Friday off now so that adds a full day.
I ran out of enthusiasm this last Sunday....I'll admit. I knew I was mailing it in. I went through the motions and really tried Sunday morning but I knew it wasn't in me to focus and be committed to the hunt. So I bailed. I was ready to see my family, eat real food, drink a beer.
Now its do or done time......no time to say if I'm not feeling it I can back out and come back next weekend.......this is next weekend. It is here. Go time.
Either way, I'll be going in with my other buddy to photograph, call and hopefully help pack out his elk. Bringing the DLSR instead of the bow on that trip! :) *giddy*