My Son & I located a bull just after daylight with a location bugle, it happened to be a Full Moon so this bull was already in his bed! He bugled one time in response, we heard him while 350 yards away & he had aprox 200'-300' of elevation on us. Yes it was super steep country where he was well hidden! He was on a small bench above us the best we could guess. We headed his direction with no more calling, we were able to get to about 175 yards before we were concerned with being spotted if we called, we did not want him to get up & start looking for us even though it was thick timber & brush. We had partial concealment if we used it correctly & we intended to do just that. The plan was to have my Son move up ahead of me 30 yards, I headed to a dead tree with lots of branches & concealment to setup to see if I could get this bull to an aggressive state, I knew that was going to be a challenge in itself with only one half hearted bugle to work with, he was not presently in an aggressive mood which isn't unusual early Sept. His bugle in response to mine was more in the category of advertising his presence! I decided to see if I could peak his interest with cow calling, I started with a few soft mews as if I was entering the area, I repeated after two minutes with 3-4 soft mews with no response from the bull. Basically he could care less!
I continued with several more sets of mews & whines over the next 5 minutes, he finally bugled again but with little interest. I decided to up the ante so injected a few Contact Buzzes which asks him to come my way, 4-6 of them a 1/2 second long each, I did 4-5 sets inside two minutes & the bulls next bugle had a bit more excitement to it but he still had not moved! I did another set of Buzzes & he immediately bugled, I was ready for him & started to rake a tree & snap branches during his bugle. I raked for a solid minute & then panted 3 times through my bugle, he immediately bugled back & I cut him off with my own Challenge, he instantly bugled over me! Awesome, I'm getting him fired up! 8- 10 minutes has passed since I started to work him up! I continue to rake & thrash around along with foot stomping & mid volume excited mews as I changed pitch. This enticed him to bugle with more intensity, I could tell he was now on his feet & had come 30-40 yards closer, no doubt he's looking down the mountain for these elk but my setup was good & it did not give him the luxury to see where the calling was coming from without coming much closer to my position which would hopefully pull him by my Son!
More in a bit! (grin) ElkNut/Paul
There's no holding a 60# longbow at full draw & waiting for him to appear like you can a compound. I can see small glimpses through timber & willow brush of my son to my left & the bull to the right, they appear to be inside 30 yards from one another with sparse willows separating them, the bull is fixed on my calling & antics he has no clue of my sons presence. Out of nowhere I hear the soft thud of the arrow released from his bow & the bull goes crashing through the willows & the dark timber. 25 minutes have passed since I started calling, this bull had me pulling out all the stops, he just didn't like the idea of coming off the bench but we were fortunate that he did!
I start bugling the second I hear the bull crash off in an effort to slow him down. I headed over to my son to find out what happened!!!! He has that 'Oh Crap' look on his face as I approach him?
He's sorta shaking his head in disgust! I'm like Uh Oh, I know that look & it's generally not good! He says on the last bit of calling when the bull committed & ran down to range he was getting ready to stop him with a nervous grunt as he cleared the last bit of brush but instead of clearing the brush patch the bull stopped just inside of the willows, he felt there was plenty of window to get a cedar shaft tipped with a Snuffer head through it as the bull was 100% broadside to him. 3/4's of the way to the bull he sees the arrow glance off a limb & hit the bull low, he thinks it may have been in the upper part of the leg but not sure?
More in a bit! ElkNut/Paul
Roughly 1/2 an hour to 45 min has passed from him being hit, we are still on his blood trail. Out of nowhere my son says do you hear that? I say what? My son hears a cow mew, then another & another, they are coming from the same spot as the bugling! At first I did not hear them but then listened closely & heard a couple more, the elk were still in their bedding area along with the wounded bull! I looked at my son & smiled, I said I think I can call him back in, he looked at me like I was crazy! (grin) He was right too, calling a wounded bull back in is something I've never done, I have to try though with this new set of circumstances, there are cows present, in my opinion & experience that's advantage hunters! (grin)
We now know we are dealing with a herd bull that has several cows alongside him, that's a game changer & will now tailor my calling to this new situation! They are still in the bedding area as it's only about 9:30 a.m. We form a plan now to attempt to call his cows away, this can work but is risky because it's obvious there are no cows in Heat/Estrus because there are no other bulls around bugling for the cows attention. If there were our odds would be much higher for all intensive purposes. We have nothing to lose here being he's already hit so we go for it hoping for the best. We will know which way this is going to go with my first bugle but prepare with a positive attitude that this will work! I'm not going with the same calling scenario that was first used! This time I'm going to employ both a Lip Bawl & Challenge Bugle as needed, his response will dictate how I choose one over the other Between the two, it could work!
The bull bugles as anticipated! Before he can finish I cut him off with the Lip Bawl, HE COMES UNGLUED, he is screaming a warning like I had not heard him do until now, what a sigh of relief, he's All In! I close the distance as quickly as I can by 30 yards to a tree which offers cover & something I can rake/thrash in an attempt to impress & draw his cows away. -- This is crazy as this is a wounded bull with a partial arrow in him!!! I push hard now as I get to the tree screaming as coarse a Lip Bawl as I can & rake like hell. He comes right towards us splitting the two of us to aprox 80 yards, I see a flash of him but just parts & pieces, I'm hoping my son has moved up as I did as I cannot see him at all, it's too thick! At the 80 yard spot the bull hits me with a single nervous grunt & a Round Up Bugle, this tells me to come on out, he wants to see me to size me up! I'm able to move up another 10 yards to the next tree, I quickly hit him with the same nervous grunt & a shorter version of the round up bugle showing intensity which insists for him to come over my way, he does just that & runs right towards me, he stops at 35 yards & I can now see him through the tree branches.
I see him sorta pacing & he bugles a Challenge which seemed like it was right in my face, I Challenge him right back now that he is this close, good thing I have just enough cover to do so!! I'm quickly thinking where is my son? About that time I hear the arrow release & the solid impact as it contacts the bull, the bull blows out of there heading straight back to his cows, this time he didn't quite make it! As I hear the shot I bugle instantly to slow him. I now head towards where I think my son is & this time he's smiling! (grin) I get to him just in time as he points up the hill & I see the bull rolling down it towards us! I'm actually in disbelief that a 2nd shot opportunity took place inside an hour! This time the bull only traveled 45 yards uphill & was done!
We found the 1st arrow embedded high in his front leg wedged next to his leg bone! Man that had to be uncomfortable. As the bull came in the 2nd time he didn't have so much as gimp, it was as if nothing was wrong! We had a little lady luck shine on us that day! (grin) All in all it was an awesome hunt on OTC ID public land.
The other Paul.
Paul, you say the word Sir! I'd be honored to call for you any day, not that you need it but there are situations where it can make a difference! Not sure I could hang with you for as many days as you can bivy hunt? (grin)
How about a video explaining each of your elk sounds and how you did it?
There wouldn't be any elk left if he gave away his secrets!!!
Inshart, I did mention about the 1st head being high in the elks front leg. To take him out he hit him where he lives! (grin) Thanks!
Congrats to you both!!