Contributors to this thread:
With round one in the books my Son's Idaho bull was now in the cooler! It was so steep it took us two trips to get him out, we generally do it in one! I think I'm using the steepness as an excuse, fact is I'm getting older! (no grin)-(grin) Ha Ha!
So, Paul ll also has a WY elk tag in his pocket so we head out there to see what trouble we can get into! We took a 1-1/2 day scouting trip to WY in early Aug. We saw quite a few a elk in the open sage & heard a few bugles but no branched bulls, just spikes & smaller raghorns. It was a fun trip with my Son as usual as we put on as many miles as we could becoming as familiar with the lay of the land as possible in a short time frame, we also sat behind the glass for a few hours! Man it was a lot of driving up & back in such a short time span but it helped us out in where to camp & start the hunt & where to avoid.
We headed out there a day before the Sept 1st opener to check things out & to see where the camps & pressure may come from, it helped some but it appeared our worst enemy was the heat, man it was brutal in the 90's! I do think that every hunter out there owned an ATV as there were countless ones everywhere! Definitely more pressure than anticipated but there were both Deer & Elk hunters as both seasons were open! Couldn't blame them with ATV's as it's really the best way to get around in that country besides we had our own side by side as well! It's the kind of country with roads that look like a well scripted maze, no way to get a mile away from one without another being somewhere close by, this was going to be a challenging elk hunt but aren't they all! (grin)
Use those roads and atvs to your advantage, let them push the elk to you. You'll be surprised how a little finger of timber can be the travel corridor for elk. Good luck!!
Wytex, thank you for the tip! Yes it can certainly play out that way in those roaded pressured units! Thanks!
On the opener we headed to a spot we had pre-scouted with a small pond 2 miles in, we were there before daylight listening intently for any bugle action taking place. After 30 minutes of pure quietness we decided we'd leave the area & try another spot where we could do some glassing. As we were walking away I decided I'd at least bugle once before we left, I did & received an instant response back! Wow, where did that come from? We were standing behind a small sage & juniper knoll in front of the pond that didn't appear to hide much of anything but low & behold out pops this nice 300" class bull with 1/2 dozen cows. They did not head our way, they stayed 300 yards out, I didn't call anymore but instead we noted their direction of travel to get an idea where they may be heading, they were not running but sorta leisurely walking & feeding along. So with Longbow in hand away we go to try & get around them. It took us nearly 2 hours to go around this mountain & into a drainage they appeared to head into. We glassed & scoured that country for the next 3 hours to no avail, we never saw them again! Temps hit 87 deg there at over 9000' - Oh well, that's elk hunting but off to a decent start with one bull sighting!
Day 2 of our hunt found us 10 miles from our base camp glassing some of the north & north east facing slopes, this area held some of the taller mountains to be had. (nothing like our Idaho mountains) After about 10 minutes of glassing we spot a large herd of elk 2 miles away with several bulls in it heading towards an Aspen patch, it was surrounded by sparse pine trees & sage brush. We decide quickly to head towards the South end of the Aspen trees for a possible ambush. We can see a small 2 track road just under them but had no idea how to get to it so we shouldered our packs & took off. It was surprising how quickly we covered that 2 miles, it wasn't bad at all, we covered maybe 200' in elevation. We get to the Aspen patch & quickly realize that this is no small patch it's actually huge! We wait & listen for a few minutes. 3 muley doe's & a small 3 point buck jump up & spook off while we are there, bummer! We didn't want them to spook these oncoming elk! After a few passing minutes we hear a bugle well above us then another & another so the deer weren't an issue as the elk were still over a 1/4 mile above us & in another unseen thick patch of Aspen, Juniper, Pines & all sorts of thick brush.
We head over their way through chest high sage, we check the wind & notice it is heading east so we slip in with it in our face which put us on the side we wanted to be on of this small mountain. We are doing everything possible to stay concealed through the sage on our approach, we haven't found the need to call since these elk are plenty vocal themselves & provided us with a solid direction. We get to the edge of the Aspens & silently slip up the mountain staying to the left of all the cow calling & bugles we were hearing, we still have not seen an elk since glassing them over 2 miles away. As we slip up the mountain we notice an old wooden fence line 20 yards to our left that is barely seen in this thick covering, it's heading straight up the mountain, the elk are to our right so we slowly follow it up listening & looking intently for any movement. Out of nowhere steps a cow at 90 yards up the hill, she approaches the fence & jumps it, then another cow & another. Looks like the elk were heading that direction so we cut the distance 10 yards very quietly & one of the cows jumps back over to our side? I have no idea why but she did & a second one did the same thing! We are kneeling motionless seeing what the rest of these elk are going to do?
Mark, thanks, you bet I'll keep it coming!
It doesn't even matter that I know how the story unfolds, you guys rock !
After 2 minutes & no more sightings in this jungle (we still hear countless bugles & cow calling this whole time to our right) we move forward & range a fence post to 60 yards where we saw the cows jump the fence. As we settle in 2 cows show back up & jump the fence followed by several more as if leaving the area. We can hear the bugles getting closer, they are no more than a 100 yards to our right but heading straight for the fence, it's way too thick to see anything but this fence-line in front of us. Man do I have the burning urge to call but know patience can be a virtue here so of course we stay silent & undetected. I whisper to my Son that if the bull we are interested in doesn't follow the cows path I will Lip Bawl him trying to pull him our way, he has an arrow nocked & is ready! We know we have to get to at least 30 yards from where these cows jumped the fence to be in longbow range if the bulls show so we slowly crawl forward while no elk are there, we are getting very close to that spot when all of a sudden we hear a Bugle just above these elk & to their right! It was a Primos special without a doubt! Not only did a hunter slip in from above but his wind is now going right to this herd!!! Not 30 seconds goes by & the mountain erupts with elk running like hell out of there heading in the direction we just came from over two miles ago! My Son & I look at each other with that are you kidding me look on our face! (Grin) It is Public Land so things like that can be expected! Only issue I have is at least they can get the wind right & THEN proceed!
We back out of there in time to see these elk exiting the area at mach 10 speed! Back down the mountain we go in 80+ deg heat! When we get back to our rig we look back & see a white Toyota pickup driving that road we didn't know how to get to, it was coming exactly where all the elk were. Thanks bud!!! -- It's so hot this first week we decide we are heading back to Idaho for a few days then return back on the 10th-11th. During our absence in WY is when my Son took his Idaho Bull in the previous story!
We've just covered our 12 hour drive back to WY, it's Monday a week later, it's pitch black when we arrive to where we want to set base-camp & everything goes smooth in setup! We are prepared to stay the rest of the season to get this done! We have our sights set on a large timbered area.The temps seem to have settled down some & the highs are in the 60's now, nice, we look forward to 10+ days or so of exciting elk hunting! We have a couple cocktails this evening load our packs & are ready to head out well before daylight to see what this new area has to offer! We are excited about this area as it's one with timber, timber/cover is our fort'e! My Son mentions he's going to go with the compound over the longbow this trip because of some of the more open country that we may catch the elk in, I say cool whatever you want it's your hunt!
We head out in the Razor to cover ground quickly as it's a 10+ mile trek on some real crappy dirt roads to where we need to be. No glassing today in this area. On our way to our spot we see a couple of cows & a -300" bull head up the mountain in front of us, they are running like hell & seem to melt into the timber to our right. We stop wait one minute & I toss out a bugle to check the temp of this bull. He responds immediately, nice, good sign but we move on. After another 1/2 mile we see more elk heading across this two track road, hard to tell what they are at a distant but the bright side is we see elk heading to the area we intend to hunt. We decide to head up another 1/2 mile or so & get in front of everything we've seen so far, who knows what else may be on this mountain that we haven't set eyes on. We get to a spot just as its getting lighter & like what we see. We park there & shoulder our packs for what the day has to offer & what an offering it has in store for us! (grin)
This is good stuff. Keep it coming man.
Damn... I hate getting screwed up by guys turkey hunting. messing up an elk hunt pretty much trumps them all...... We'll be looking for more of the story... Good luck/Congrats on bull #1..
The blue reed strikes again!
LOL!! So true! (grin) No problem about other hunters, they too are trying to fill a tag as well, they just need to hunt smarter! (grin) Thanks!
Another awesome hunt , keep it coming. Forrest
I figure before we head up it would be a good time to toss out a locator bugle so I do just that, the woods did not light up as hoped, not a single response but that sure didn't deter us & up we went! Our plan was to get to a height of a 1/2 mile off the road & side-hill across. We head up through some of the thickest pine forest we'd seen in a long time, you'd be lucky to get a 5-10 yard shot in this stuff (where's that longbow-grin) but that's part of the hunt, I guess I need to call them in close enough to touch them! (grin) We head up a 1/2 mile & pass some great sign & 5 different wallows that show use within the last few days, this could be good! -- Sidenote, we ran into the wallows because we followed a small creek up the mountain & saw how marshy it was in the 1st 100 yards. I decide to bugle 50 yards above the wallows & receive a raghorn response, not what we hoped for! This bull seemed to be several hundred yards away so no big deal he should just move on if I bugle a bit more & head towards him. We head up another few hundred yards & I bugle again, this same bull bugles back with his wimpy I'm over here bugle. I figure we'll just call every 100 yards or so until he pushes out of our way so we can continue on & look for a real contender!
Generally as you bugle every 75 to 100 yards once a bull is located these unwanted bulls or cows will move on & out of your way. (don't do this to a bull you're interested in taking) We attempted to do just that. After 3 different bugle spots (no challenges) covering a few hundred yards this bull was accommodating us nicely! As we side-hill around this mountain we notice a burn in front of us, it was open for 5-10 acres then back to the thick pines again. He was just on the other side of this burn 200-300 yards away in the green timber. I said to my Son, let's see if we can call him into the burn & show himself & we'll get eyes on him & size him up! He was for it so I proceeded to call this guy in for an interview! (grin) I didn't have high hopes he would be anything special but it couldn't hurt at this distance to check him out! -- My Son had a decent tag but nothing real special. We had talked with the game warden in the area on our first trip & he said this area isn't like it was once noted for. He mentions you used to see 350" plus bulls here but not any longer as of a few years ago. He says if you see a 320" bull these days you'd better seriously consider him! We had already decided that the first 300"+ bull we called in was going for a truck ride back to Idaho! (grin)
With our intent to check this bull out I needed to set the table with this guy & slowly rattle his cage, anything aggressive out of the gates & most bulls like him will keep their distance no matter if they have cows or not. Why? Because there are no hot cows around this day, we can tell this by no rutting action going on, this bull was a lone bugler. I followed a similar game plan as my Sons Idaho bull, we will see how this goes!
With the bull still 300 yards out I wait for him to bugle! He will eventually because he wants to know if we are still a safe distance! It takes 2 minutes or so & he bugles, I wait a minute & respond with a lazy bugle. This is repeated a total of 3 times between the bull & I, he hasn't moved & neither have we. This is good & what we expected. Now I wait for him to respond to our last bugle & this time when he does I am ready to cut him off mid bugle, this raises the ante real quick! I bugle quickly & he responds within 10 seconds, sweet! I again cut him off mid bugle & this time he cuts me off! I start raking a tree pretty violently so it can be heard at his distance. He immediately appears at the edge of the burn & the green timber & starts racking this huge tree shaking it like it was a spindly Christmas tree! (grin) My Son throws up his binos to size him up & looks over at me 30 yards away & motions to me that he's a good bull. I'm like 'really'!! OK, if he says it's a good bull then it is, no 2nd guessing from me! I proceed to work him closer for a shot!
My Son & I
My Son & I
Frontal Entrance Wound!
Frontal Entrance Wound!
I now give him a Round Up Bugle, this asks him to come over! He moves quite a bit closer to around the 150 yard mark & gives me the same bugle! He wants to physically see me to size me up. I continue to rake & toss out 3 voice pants through my bugle, this shows excitement coupled with frustration on my part. The raking is to draw him closer, it's not a challenge but more for asking him to come over & size me up in a displaying action. He doesn't buy it so hits me with a short round up bugle again, this shows more of a demand now for me to come out, I can't of course so I retreat 15 yards more into the timber & rake & give him a nervous grunt & a round up bugle all in one breath, this sound carries some serious weight to any bull & demands him to get his butt over to me as I want to see HIM. He does just that! He covers that 150 yards in seconds as he comes to the edge of the burn & the green timber, this puts him 20 yards from my Son who is already at full draw & only a couple yards inside the timber, it's a full frontal shot in his face at 20 yards, the bull never sees him or the arrow! I hear the arrow fly as it leaves his bow & the loud impact of the arrow sinking into the bull, no doubt that was a solid hit with no bone being impacted.
I quickly bugle 3-4 times (this is more out of instinct) to slow the bull down & head over to my Son, as soon as I get there with a look of wonderment??? You know like what was that all about? It's less than an hour & a half into the hunt on our first day & you shoot!!!! He says it's a pretty good bull over 300 & maybe up to 320. I say wow, perfect!! I would not have guessed that wimpy sounding bugle came from a bull like that? I was fooled! I wasn't there 30 seconds & I heard the death moan, we knew we had him then & he wasn't too far! My Son said at the shot he saw blood flow from the wound instantly, that's generally a good sign! He pointed to the direction the bull had headed & it was straight for the closest sage & timber. We talked for a few minutes there on low volume & were excited at how quick it all happened & about the calling sequence! I will tell you all right now that my Son has ice water in his veins, he has pulled off shots like this countless times in high adrenaline encounters & it doesn't phase him a bit, he's like a rock under pressure! I usually get a bit more excited, heh it's my nature! (grin) Man what an awesome hunt I had the privilege of sharing with my son once again, it doesn't get much better than that! The bull measured out to 345 4/8" -- Very good bull for us!
Check out that broadhead wound channel, it's no wonder blood flowed out so freely on impact! ElkNut/Paul
My Son With His WY Bull!
My Son With His WY Bull!
Way to go! Awesome bull and hunt! Just goes to show that sometimes a big bull can sound little and a little bull can sound big! Congratulations to you and your son! Thanks for taking us along on two awesome elk hunts!
Loved it. Loved the first story too. Talk about “speaking the language”. Thanks for sharing, do you have a YouTube video of the “round up bugle”?
One very cool story and the action very well described. What a nice bull- a super trophy there. CONGRATS !!
Congrats on a great bull. Nice calling work dad.
Awesome man. Good stuff right there. God Bless
Sweet hunt and great time to share with your so. Was that an Exodus.
Excellent write up I love the narrating of what the meaning of your call is. Congrats to your son on an excellent bull and congrats to you as a fine mentor and Dad.
Experiencing and carrying on a father son/daughter hunting experience never gets old!
USC, no youtube video that I'm aware of has that round up bugle, only our App does.
Tracker, yes that was a 100 grain exodus standard head with a total arrow weight of 410 grains. The nock of the arrow was 8" inside of the bull. The broadhead was darned near reaching its rear. Plenty of penetration! Thanks!
Damn!!!! Awesome. Congrats and well deserved.
Awesome , was right there with you guys!
Congrats again boys! Thanks for the story
Awesome hunt, thanks for taking us along. Forrest
Great hunt and successful on so many levels! Congrats! I may have missed it but what poundage and speed were you at with that 410 grain arrow?
You had me right in your front shirt pocket for both hunts. Thanks for taking me along, and a great narrative as well. my best, Paul
Awesome job Paul. Thanks again. Question: When you mention you are bulging to this bull and he is probably bedded or at least staying in the same location, not too fired up, no hot cows in the area......how long are you "waiting" for him to bugle back when he is in this state of mind? 5 mins, 30mins...more? Just curious as to how patient one needs to be in waiting for a response on this type of bull. I think we have left the area too soon in the past so wondering what your position is on that. Thanks sir.
Thanks for all your great comments guys, It's great to see your thoughts & participation! It is fun to share details of hunts so guys can really follow ones path of decisions & why they're chosen whether they work or not! (grin) It would be great to hear others stories as well! Thanks!
SteveB, the bow was an Elite Energy 32 @ 70# & 28" draw. The arrows were Victory RIP .340 with a 50 grain insert tipped with 100 grain Exodus Qad heads. The arrows top out at 410 grains. He's taken a few other bulls with this setup with most being pass-throughs! Thanks!
SBH, each encounter can vary somewhat. However when I get a bull to respond to my Location bugle I do my best to listen to his message sent, this aids in what I should do next! In the case of this bull he responded back initially rather quickly but not in a confrontational manner. I waited to see if he'd bugle again on his own within a minute, he did not. We moved forward his direction simply because he was where we wanted to head. I ended up bugling again a few minutes later & he responded back a couple minutes after that, he was in no hurry & certainly not worked up because of my presence mostly because I wasn't Challenging him! A Challenge on my part too soon would have not fit at all & wasn't needed, no doubt I could have pushed him with it but I did not resort to it. Initially I wasn't wanting to call him in I only wanted to push him aside.
I would usually wait 10-30 minutes once a bull bugles on his own or responds to me if it's a lethargic or lazy bugle. A lot can be gathered by his bugle, it shows his present state of mind. I do my best to evaluate that then proceed according to what may fit next. I would hope when he did bugle back no matter the time length that he was still in the same spot if I was interested in him! That would fall heavily into a hunters favor!
I do agree that in so many instances hunters do not wait long enough & more important they do not read the bulls bugle well so things turn into a crap shoot & most hunters resort to cow calls trying to receive a response in hopes of not pushing the bull away! Understanding a present bulls desire will tell you whether cow calls will be effective or a waste of time!