Mathews Inc.
My 2017 elk hunt- Pic and video heavy
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Bowboy 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Bou'bound 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
HUNT MAN 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Jaquomo 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
otcWill 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Bowboy 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Ucsdryder 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
jmiller 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
WV Mountaineer 10-Dec-17
HUNT MAN 10-Dec-17
Paul@thefort 10-Dec-17
Z Barebow 10-Dec-17
buzz mc 10-Dec-17
SBH 10-Dec-17
TreeWalker 10-Dec-17
elkster 11-Dec-17
pav 11-Dec-17
midwest 11-Dec-17
GotBowAz 11-Dec-17
APauls 11-Dec-17
Brotsky 11-Dec-17
Whocares 11-Dec-17
Destroyer350 11-Dec-17
Ron Niziolek 11-Dec-17
ElkNut1 11-Dec-17
ohiohunter 11-Dec-17
Charlie Rehor 11-Dec-17
IdyllwildArcher 11-Dec-17
Jaquomo 12-Dec-17
ELKMAN 12-Dec-17
Scoot 26-Jan-18
trophyhill 28-Jan-18
Treeline 28-Jan-18
LKH 28-Jan-18
OFFHNTN 29-Jan-18
elkmtngear 29-Jan-18
Mt. man 29-Jan-18
From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
My story will pale is comparison to HUNTMAN, but here I go.

I was fortunate to draw a limited entry elk tag in 2017. Immediately after drawing, I reached out to folks on Bowsite who may have drawn this unit, or know someone who may have drawn. I made calls to biologist and game warden. I was able to make contact with several folks who gave me some great insight into the area. I won’t disclose who. The intel will be treated with the utmost confidence. But they know who they are. Thank you! I had an out of state work obligation in July which allowed me to make a detour on my drive home and do a little scouting. I have found a scouting trip is always beneficial. I don’t worry about seeing critters while scouting. But seeing elk definitely is a confidence booster! It is more important to get a “feel“ for the unit and logistics (EX Road access). One of things that I confirmed is that an ATV would be beneficial. Many access roads were rough. I also confirmed that when your add rain onto those roads, they are HORRIBLE. (Firsthand experience!)

From: Bowboy
10-Dec-17
Keep it coming

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Camp Guardian Angel
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Camp Guardian Angel
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Once I returned, my game plan solidified. I set aside 3 weeks to hunt and bought a 4 wheeler.! Maps were bought, Google Earth was spun every which way from Sunday, and last minute contacts were revisited. Here is my camp maiden. September could not come soon enough. Truck was loaded and I hit the road immediately after work. I arrived at my camp site early Saturday afternoon. Once camp was set up, my plan was to set a tree stand. Since it was hot and dry, my early game plan involved keying in on water. There was a stock tank that I visited on my scouting trip and I was eager to see if elk were using it. (I had placed a camera there on scouting trip). Once stand was set, I grabbed the SD card and reviewed pics while in the stand. There were plenty of animals who had visited the tank in the preceding weeks, but not as many elk as I had hoped. Fresh elk sign was minimal as I walked into the location which confirmed what I was/wasn’t seeing on the camera. Last elk pic on camera was over a week old. I did have a bear come into the spring feeding the tank and saw a couple of deer, but no elk were spotted or heard.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 2- Got up early to glass. Smoke somewhat hampered glassing, (As well as sun). No elk were spotted but ran into a nice antelope buck who wasn’t terribly offended with me glassing on his hilltop. Dropped down and hunted a side hill. Bulls were bugling below me, trying to entice me down into their hole. But this was a bet for suckers, (And guys who have an army to help them pack out). I eventually found a spot for a snack and a nap. My snack was interrupted by footsteps. I tried getting into position, but the elk heard me. Turns out to be a cow and a calf. She barked her displeasure. Many times! PM- Glassed a basin where I spotted elk on scouting trip. It was full of moo cows. (Probably a couple hundred) No elk. Moved and glassed up a small bull in a park below. Checked out one more basin on the way back to camp. No elk could be seen, but they were screaming their heads off below. I think I found were I will hunt tomorrow!

From: Bou'bound
10-Dec-17
It looks like the bow is not the only thing bare in this thread

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 3- Dropped down into the bottom where I heard the elk the previous night. Walked up on a bull moose (25 yards) in the dark. He grunted at me! What did I do? Grunt back and try and take pics! Unfortunately it was too dark and I moved on. There are elk to hunt! I did not encounter any elk until ~ one mile in. I spotted a raghorn across the creek. He eventually worked away. I had a bull bugling further down the hillside from where the raghorn came from. My bugling queued him up but he was too far to draw him my way. (I figure he was 300-400 yards away) He was close enough to hear me raking a tree, but I suspected he had cows and wasn’t going to leave them. I crossed the creek and did some raking. He heard me but wasn’t going to budge, so I decided to slow play it. I found multiple wallows as I hiked up the hillside. I dropped back down the hillside and raked one last time. I went uphill and found a spot to set up and wait him out. I tried to mimic a bull who had checked out the wallows and walked away. I hoped the raking sequence would question his dominance near his playground. (There was no way I could sneak on him in his current position (Too thick and potentially too many eyes) How many times do these plans go nowhere? Almost every time but it is fun to try! After 20 minutes or so (After not saying anything) I hear him bugle. And he is closer! (150 yards or so) Then I see cows. They start piling down and stop to drink, right in front of me! (Approx 16 yards away) I have one 3’ Christmas tree on one side of me and larger pin on my right. I am sky lined. I can hear them slurping they are so close. Groups of 6 or so would barge their way into for a drink. As always, the bull pulls up the rear. He is a nice 6 by. Nice enough to shoot early in the hunt? If he gives me a chance, you bet! Good bull. He is about 30 yards out but I can’t blink with cows so close. It is the time of say when the thermals are getting erratic. I cannot believe I have been smelled. After a couple of minutes, a cow gets nervous and they start shuffling. This is my que and I move around the tree and come to full draw. The bull is broadside at 40 yards. He has a cow behind him and a cow in front, her body covering up to his mid line. Every elk staring at me. Soon there is an elk explosion and 25+ elk bust. No clear shot. And there I am letting down my bow as they tear out of there. Awesome but no bull.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo

Z Barebow's Link
I decided to check this area out further. Backtracked where the herd came from and found a choke point. Found a good spot to set up for a while. Around 4 PM I wake up to rocks getting kicked. (I will never claim to be the greatest hunter!) I open my eyes and there is a 5x5 getting a drink below. 28 yards. I decide to video him. Later I had a cow/calf come into the same spring. Saw another cow/calf uphill, but they never came into the water. I had 3 raghorns sparring behind me and they eventually came into the water also. (I had one of them at 16 yards). As I left, I saw 3 more elk. What a day! 5 bulls at 40 yards or less. But nothing to show for it.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
Turn up the volume.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day4- AM Hunted an area that I checked out on scouting trip. Plenty of potential. Springs, isolated and looked “elky”. Unfortunately fresh sign was not to be found during the hunt. I suspect they are in there at times, just not now. Too many other places to hunt to spend much time here. I one weak bugle way off and that was it. PM- I decided to have an easy afternoon. I went back to my stand and sit. Although I did not have much confidence on seeing elk there, it only takes one! I reviewed my SD card while in the stand. No elk visited since my hunt there 3 days earlier. But I did get a picture of a bear who visited the tank 6 minutes after I put the SD card back on the prior hunt!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
That was cool. But the best was yet to come. I spotted several deer. They seemed wired. Eventually a couple of them watered.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo

Z Barebow's Link
Around 6 PM, I spotted something out of place. It was at the spring that fed the tank. Holy crap. 40 yards away and it was drilling holes through me. I have never seen a mountain lion in the wild. This was the coolest thing ever. He would barely blink! He kept staring at me, hardly moving. It is one thing to tell someone you saw a lion, it is another to show them. So I slowly pulled out my point and shoot. It was hard to see if I was picking him up in the display. After a couple minutes, I thought “What do I do if he attacks me?” I should probably come up with a plan. Since he was 40 yards away, I figured he could cover that in ~ 4 seconds. Another 2 seconds to climb the tree. I will beat him with my bow! (I think the plan reflects the lack of time I put to formulating it as it took me between 10-12 seconds to come up with that idea!) He maintained his stance for almost 10 minutes (Verified camera time stamp). Finally he started to move. I restarted the camera as he readied himself, took a drink and moved on out.

I tink I tah it.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
I did I did! I saw a putty tat!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
Although it was awesome to see bears and lions that is not why I am here. No elk were spotted or heard. As the evening drew to a close, I pulled stand and camera. Needless to say, I was wired on the hike out!

From: HUNT MAN
10-Dec-17
Well Huntman likes elk and pic heavy. Looks like a hell os a hunt so far . Thanks for posting . Hunt

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 5- Went back to drainage where I saw the elk 2 days earlier. Decided to set up at same spring. I had a cow/calf/spike come in but they got my wind. But that was it. (Later found out there was someone spiked into there and had been there since the day I hunted it.) Nice guy but I am thinking the elk didn’t like his camp location. On the hike out, it started pouring. Do I put on my rain gear and get soaked? Or do I just keep hiking and get soaked? I did the later. Pulled out my rain gear when I get to 4 wheeler for the ride back to camp. Looking like I might sleep in a little tomorrow!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 6- I got a late start. I hunted north of camp. After ~ a mile, I got a bull to answer. I circled around and side hilled to get the wind in my favor. I spotted the bull and his cows. 6 Point but not quite what I was looking for. After lunch, I bugled. Nothing. I moved no more than 150 yards and I jumped a raghorn. But that was about it. It started raining so I decided to glass some spots. Checked the drainage with all of the cattle to see if they moved out. No dice and no elk. Moved and more glassing. I saw 2 groups of elk, a bull in each herd. Still not the bulls I was willing to tag at this stage of the hunt. Rain continued. But there was now a winter storm warning.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 7- It rained all night. Around 5 AM, it switched to snow. Stayed in camp. The snow finally let up in the afternoon. I went to a glassing spot but that trip proved useless due to low cloud ceiling. Visibility from 100 yards to ¼ mile. Checked out some other glassing spots but unfortunately the visibility conditions were the same.

Day 8- COLD. And windy. I tried glassing a couple of basins. Nothing. With snow, I covered ground in an effort to cut fresh tracks. Finally cut tracks (herd) and followed them for a couple of miles before I quit. They were too far ahead and heading to lower country. I glassed up some cows below snow line, but they may as well have been on the moon. I sat at an ambush point for the PM but nothing. Not sure where I am headed tomorrow. Tough day.

From: Jaquomo
10-Dec-17
Great stuff! More!

I have that Bear Archery ad framed in my camper. My wife called it my "Boobie Bow Girl.. She brings me good luck too.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Moose Print
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Moose Print
Day 9- Headed back to ambush spot and cut some more tracks. Followed them east. Eventually I caught up to the herd. A small 6 point and 17 cows. Not what I was working for. Worked around them and jumped a raghorn. PM Glassed and saw a couple of bulls. One pretty decent. Also found a herd of cows/calves. (These elk are several miles away but inaccessible from current location)

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Lou

You are the one who inspired me to buy that Playboy!

Day 10- More rain and snow. Slept in. PM Hunted north of camp but spotted one cow. From ridge top, I glassed a bull and 3 cows down below. But not the size I was looking for. Looking to move base camp tomorrow. Day 11- Hunted AM. Cut tracks for a small herd. Never spotted them but they had bailed off into country unknown. Time to pull up stakes and move base camp. Drive out was HORRIBLE. After a couple of attempts, I made it out. Tires were burning and snow and mud were flying. Set up camp on some lower ground (which had a better road) and to avoid the daily snow falls. I talked to fellow hunters. We all shared stories of elk and weather! We hit it off. One of the hunters was leaving and shared several spots. (He is a great guy and passionate about archery. Loved listening to his story) I just needed some decent weather to access/hunt them.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 12- There was an area that I scouted that I set a trail camera. BUT, the best way to access this spot is via 4 wheeler. Unfortunately the snow was too deep on the access road. But I didn’t let this deter me. I wanted in there. So I planned on hiking in. But this meant a long hike. Terrain change pretty mild and trail access so I considered it doable. I expected a 2.5 hour hike. Unfortunately some wrong turns made it longer. But it was nice to be in new country. The last couple of miles, there was a herd every half mile or so up the hillside with a bull screaming. But they would not come down to play. I really wanted to get into get my camera as I didn’t know if I would get back again. I pulled camera and kept hunting further. Sign was good. Low cloud ceiling and no wind made for good conditions. Bumped a herd and I pursued them. I think only a cow saw me so I chased them for almost a ½ mile. The bull was only a couple hundred yards ahead. I would let out a lost cow call and I appeared to be gaining ground. That is until I bugled (Mistake) That kicked them into gear! I checked out a hidden tank, but with the weather change water was no longer a key draw. There was bugling! There was a canyon to the south that had 4 or 5 bulls in it. (By the bugling) One of them was a dragon breather! Even if I could kill one in there, it was a non starter to a solo hunter. Way too steep and far. I decided to set up in the saddle (Where I had my camera) to sit/rest. After a couple of hours I heard a bugle from the hillside, but due to clouds/fog I couldn’t see him. He came out of the fog and it was a nice 6 point all by himself. Unfortunately I was set up in a spot where I couldn’t shoot. (He passed by at 60 yards). I couldn’t call him back. The bulls bugled all day long. I cannot guess how many I heard (100-150?) I think I had only one hour where I didn’t hear a bugle. It was best day of bugling I have ever experienced. I had a LONG walk back to camp. I became temporarily “misplaced” which made my hike even longer. I had rain, the trail was slick and to top it off, my headlamp went out. Luckily I carry a spare. I used the backlight on my GPS to dig through my pack. It was so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face. I grabbed my 2nd headlamp, a Snicker bar, and plodded on. I finally made it to base camp 2.5 hours after sunset, logging ~ 18 miles, cold, tired and wet.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 13- I slept in. One of my neighbors killed a cow elk. I told him I am ready to pack meat. Eventually his brother made it back to camp and we all headed out. We had 2 choices. Either pack a little over 2 miles down hill, or ~ ½ mile uphill. He chose the latter. (Good choice IMHO). We had to blaze through a drifted in road, but made it w/o much trouble. With 3 guys, we packed it out in one trip.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Mossy Tree
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Mossy Tree
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 14- I worked my way up from camp and hunted a couple of drainages within a couple of miles of camp. As I neared the top of one drainage, I got an answer. I suspected he had cows and I worked my way up. I saw the flash of a cow. I set up. I had the bull at 30 yards but no shot. Eventually one of the cows winded me and they blow out of there. I chased another bugle, but he was moving faster than I could close. So I turned and continued with my plan. I stopped for a break and a Snickers. Ready to move, I let out a bugle. Nothing. I take 3 steps and I have a 5 point barreling in at 50 yards. Figuratively standing there with my pants down. No shot if I wanted him. Did several hours of bow hiking with only one bugle in the thick timber. Late in the day, I checked out an area that held elk during the summer. As I leave the area, I glassed a bull from almost a ½ mile away. Medium 5 point walking the ridge I am on. I take cover to see what happens. He walks to within 80 yards and peels off.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
Day 15- Back to the area I hiked into several days ago. I spotted a bull raking an aspen. I see the rest of the herd. I worked around him w/o spooking him, and moved on. Before I reached my spot, two more are bugling uphill. I chase after them but I cannot get them to turn around. I move on to my target area. I hear a bugle back where I had the 2 bulls, but something is off. I glass. Turns out it is a couples on horses with their Terminator. The chase up the hill after the same two bulls I chased. I hope I don’t sound that bad! They eventually ride their way past me further down the ridgeline. I set up in a saddle. Around 12:45, I heard a new bugle down the hillside. I checked the wind and it was iffy. I shuffled to try and find a better location. As I moved up to one last Christmas tree, I looked up to see the lead cow staring at me 60 yards away. Jig was up. Gosh that bull sounded nice! Today was the first day in 7 days w/o snow.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 16- Hiked back into where I was the day before. ~ ½ mile before I get there, I walk up on a screaming match. I tried circling but they and the herd were on the move. They passed through the same saddle I was using to attempt an ambush. CRAP. Well I set up and waited to see what the day would bring. I had a cow, but she just wandered and turned around. And my one day snow free streak was over! It snowed ~1.5”. This pic shows where ~ 50 elk passed 10 minutes earlier.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
PM-I had a group of 5 elk come over a knob, working my way. The lead cow passed at 12 yards. Eventually they got my wind and spooked. Eventually another group of elk come out on the hill. The cows came my way. The bull, a 5x6, was coming head on. I wasn’t sure if he would pass right or left. I ranged a tree, 40 yards. He came to my left. As he stopped behind a sage brush clump I drew back. He come forward and I gained my composure and settled in. I dropped the string and watched my finely tuned arrow sail just over his spine, directly over the boiler room. Unfortunately, I fixated on the 40 yard number I had ranged seconds earlier. The terrain profile hid the distance change. The bull was closer. Much closer, actually 22 yards. I cannot believe it. I have shot this same distance in my backyard for a thousand+ arrows, and now I airmail it. I try and gather my thoughts and tried to collect myself. I eventually grabbed a Snickers and fuel up for the hike out. The noise from the wrapper spooked an unseen elk! Dang it!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17
Day 17- I have the 4 wheeler loaded and planned on utilizing a spike camp for four days. The 13 mile round trip was wearing on my and it looked like the weather was going to break. I thought I could bust through on the access road and cut my hiking distance. Plenty of snow and mud, but I made it. Talked to a couple of guys at the gate. They were into elk also, but they were snake bit. (I found out later the hunter killed a good bull several hours later). I could tell there were several other hunters into the area that day. But I brought in a treestand to set up in the saddle. Although it was late in the afternoon when I got the stand hung, I decided to just stay up and hunt. After an hour or so, I heard hooves. I initially thought it was hunters who were coming out. (They were on horses). But I saw flashes of tan! The cows were pining through the timber ~ 25 yards below me. Too thick for a shot. But another section of the herd started streaming even closer to me. There was a narrow gap that they were passing through. I saw a glimpse of antlers in the timber. I came to full draw and started try to follow the cows through the opening to get the timing. As the bull hit the gap, I was on him and dropped the string. Everything felt good. At the shot, it is mayhem. Elk busted to the right and busted to the left. The bull double backed to the left. I could see him standing ~ 80 yards away. I marked him. I was waiting for him to tip. After a couple of minutes, he looked up hill and bolted (Along with several other elk). The bull looked way too peppy as he ran. I look down at the arrow and I couldn’t believe it. The white fletching told the story. It did not pass through the boiler room. (By the hair on the ground, I touched the bottom of the brisket) The bull was close. Closer than I ever practice and I blew it. BTW. The elk spooked from a couple of hunters coming out. No one had a clue that the elk (Or I) were there. There was another herd ~ a mile away. I glassed them and continued my walk of shame back to spike camp. Lots of bugling tonight.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 18- Crunch time. Sat in the stand all day long. One cow early. Hundreds of bugles. There is a herd above spike camp, (Same area as a few days ago)

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's Link
Day 19- Sat in stand again. Plenty of bugling. A raghorn and some cows passed through the timber, but no shot opportunities. There was a large herd up (~60) above late in the day. Too far to see how big the bulls were. As I wrote in my journal that night, I had a bull bugling outside of my tent less than 100 yards away.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 20- I decided to put a play on the herd above camp. I saw them do the same thing a couple of days in a row. I climbed the 900’ vertical and moved to the south. My plan was to try and ambush them as they lingered above the treeline before they eventually filtered into the timber to bed. I moved and I could hear the bull bugling over the ridge ~ 300 yards away. I kept moving south in an effort to guess where I might be able to intercept them. I kept moving up as the bull bugled. I eventually was pinned down by cows filtering by. Unfortunately the bull passed unseen and out range. Instead of loitering like they had done in the past 2 days, they immediately bailed into the timber/deadfall. They settled in for the day and shut up. Here is an elk trail off of that ridge. Impressive!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
I glassed across and spotted these elk. (They are a little over a mile away) They are ~ 3/8 mile from treestand. Herd bull is at the top of chute. And no raghorns. Lots of girlfriends looking out for him.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
I went back to treestand and decided to ride it out until mid afternoon. My plan was to sit until 3PM and then call it a hunt. The weather was sunny and warm. This gave me time to reflect on what a great time I had over the past days. I didn’t see any elk so I pulled down stand. I moved no more than 10 yards and I spotted elk! I had 5 cows come by at 25-30 yards. It was a nice end to an epic hunt. As I approached spike camp site, there were 2 cows out in the sagebrush flat. They were not very tolerant of me being there. I messed with them for ~ 10 minutes before I finally pulled the plug and moved out into the open. My hunt came to an end. On the drive out, I ran into some locals that I had befriended. (Earlier in the hunt, they had invited me over for supper. ) I will say that everyone I ran into on this hunt was top notch. The locals understood the non residents will not likely draw a tag any time soon and were willing to share knowledge. I would like to thank them. (While gently ribbing us about drawing “their” tags)! Like virtually any area in the west, drawing tags is not the same as it was 20 years ago. I also respect the knowledge that they shared. They live and breathe this country. They know more about it than I will ever know.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
I arrived back at base camp and found I had a visitor while I was gone! The claw marks were ~ 1’ from where my head would be as I slept. Well, this is the 3rd time my tent was damaged on this hunt. (The first incident was from a squirrel and the 2nd was from a mouse)

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

Z Barebow's embedded Photo
The first of many
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
The first of many
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
Day 21- I pulled up base camp and headed east. I am not a critter killing machine like others are on Bowsite. I hope the readers are not disappointed that there was not a grip and grin at the end of this story. I wish it were different also. I had my chances. It was an epic hunt for me. I was ~ 10 miles down the road and I starting thinking about how I can get back! I doubt the elk lottery gods will smile upon me again to return. But that still won’t stop me from dreaming and scheming! General thoughts. I bugled a lot on this hunt, rarely cow calling. The bulls I was looking to shoot had cows. Many cows. Most herds were 20 cows or larger. I was told the elk in this area are wimps when it comes to snow. I would agree. If you add that on top of hunting pressure, elk location can be fluid. They might be in the area for a day or two, and then gone. Might be back in 5-7 days. Many may wonder why I spent so much time in a treestand. It was a choke point into a really good area that held a lot of elk. This trail cam pic sequence might give you an idea.

From: otcWill
10-Dec-17
Heckuva hunt Brian! You did good. Thanks for the story!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Z Barebow's embedded Photo
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And some more

From: Bowboy
10-Dec-17
Great pictures, story, and videos. Sorry you didn't get to punch your tag, but looks like you had a great overall hunt. Thanks for sharing!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Z Barebow's embedded Photo
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And some more

From: Ucsdryder
10-Dec-17
Great story! Thanks for taking the time to post. As the previous elk season gets farther away I really enjoy these stories!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17
I could keep going as I have another 18 pictures over the next 4 minutes as they continued streaming by. I don't know how many the camera did not pic up. I think you get the point, there were a lot of elk in the neighborhood.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Here are some trail cam pictures and videos you might enjoy. 2018 cannot get here soon enough!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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I have about 600 pictures of these
Z Barebow's embedded Photo
I have about 600 pictures of these

Z Barebow's Link
More

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Moose.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Raven
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Raven
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Could be the same kitty I saw on my hunt.
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Could be the same kitty I saw on my hunt.

Z Barebow's Link
And here are some other critters at the tank. Another bear video

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Bear
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Bear
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Bobcat
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Bobcat
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Other trail cam pics.

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Other folks who like the area

From: jmiller
10-Dec-17
Awesome Brian!

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17

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Some bull pics

10-Dec-17
Looks and sounded like you had a great hunt. You might not consider yourself a critter killer but, you had 2 opportunity's to kill a bull. As a non resident. That tells me you gotta be a pretty dang good hunter. Nobody here can say they haven't experienced tag soup. Here's hoping you get another chance to even the score on day! God Bless

From: HUNT MAN
10-Dec-17
Great post. Looks to me like you had a great hunt. Hope you get a chance to go back. Hunt

From: Paul@thefort
10-Dec-17
Brian, Like my 25 day bow hunt for elk here in Colorado, you experience every thing the elk county could provide and throw at you, and the only item we both lacked was a dead elk. Being there, back in, where you can actually hear a tree fall in the forest, an elk bugle, a coyote howl, a bear growl, a hawk scream, the memories are every lasting; lasting a lot longer that a freezer full of wild game meat. (if you close your eyes, and really think about it, you can almost taste that grilled back strap.) Thank you, Paul

From: Z Barebow
10-Dec-17
Paul- That un notched tag is sitting out so I see it every day. And I agree. I think back when I was at full draw on the bull on day 3. If I would have dropped the string and killed that bull, what experiences would have I missed out on? What people would have I not met? I still have a little elk meat left. I won't starve since I didn't kill an elk. Although I was prepared to grill a tenderloin!

From: buzz mc
10-Dec-17
Great report! I enjoyed that.

From: SBH
10-Dec-17
Awesome Thread. Awesome hunt. Good job and thanks for sharing. That was a great read

From: TreeWalker
10-Dec-17
Nice write up. I have been tricked by distance while set up on hills. Makes me appreciate the hunters that had longbows without neon sight pins, arrows made from wood, fixed points of would or hammered metal, and hunted pre-rangefinder era.

From: elkster
11-Dec-17
Thanks for taking the time to post. Its a very entertaining writeup.

From: pav
11-Dec-17
This thread got my day off to a nice start....thanks for sharing!

From: midwest
11-Dec-17

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Great to hear the stories again, buddy!

I spent a week hunting with Brian in the cold, windy, badlands of ND and I can tell you he is a fearless, die hard bowhunter and just a heck of a nice guy. Would share a camp with him anywhere.

From: GotBowAz
11-Dec-17
Great read Brian. I felt like I was right there with you. This is what its all about and you captured it very well. Cool videos as well. Thanks For sharing your story.

From: APauls
11-Dec-17
Excellent read - thanks for sharing the hunt with us! Great Hunt!

From: Brotsky
11-Dec-17
Awesome read and a great hunt! Thanks for sharing your stories and pics with us Z! I'm a firm believer that a hunt doesn't need to end in a kill for it to be successful. Congrats!

From: Whocares
11-Dec-17
Enjoyed the hunt! Thanks for sharing the daily adventure and Pics.

From: Destroyer350
11-Dec-17
Awesome story!

From: Ron Niziolek
11-Dec-17
Great write up and photos Brian! That was a long adventure and one you'll remember for a long time.

From: ElkNut1
11-Dec-17
Nice job Brian! Heck ya you were into elk more times than a guy could shake a stick at, that's a memory builder in itself! Bottom line you had a very successful hunt in my book, congrats & thanks for taking us along bud! Great photos, not sure I would have believed you on the mountain lion encounter without the footage! (big grin) Just kidding, that alone was worth the price of admission! (grin) Thanks for the write up!

ElkNut/Paul

From: ohiohunter
11-Dec-17
Nice recap, not all successful hunts end with a harvest.

11-Dec-17
Thanks for taking the time to post! Enjoyed it a bunch!

11-Dec-17
Thanks for taking the time to post!

From: Jaquomo
12-Dec-17
Great story, Brian! You were on an elk hunt. That's how it works sometimes. Your story is very similar to my WY General hunt this year. I have an unpunched tag too and still sick of hunting in snow and mud, over two months later. Thanks for posting this for us!

From: ELKMAN
12-Dec-17
Very cool!

From: Scoot
26-Jan-18
I have no idea how I missed this thread when you posted it, Brian! Congrats on a great adventure. I hope you get lucky and pull the tag again soon!

From: trophyhill
28-Jan-18
Thanks for the write up Z! When we give it our all, there's nothing to hang our heads about. You'll be back!

From: Treeline
28-Jan-18
You gotta be happy with the experience, Brian. You had a lot of action with a lot of different critters! Great pics and videos! Love your close encounter with the big kitty!Thanks for sharing.

From: LKH
28-Jan-18
Thanks for the story. I've eaten many more elk tags than elk and if I defined success as a dead elk I would have quit years ago. You had a great hunt.

From: OFFHNTN
29-Jan-18
I agree with Scoot! How the heck did I miss this?! GREAT story, pics, and video's Brian! Sorry about not punching a tag.......but it looks like it was a successful trip anyway! Thanks for sharing this!

From: elkmtngear
29-Jan-18
Wow, I missed this one as well, great Story Brian, and some really cool photos !

Best of luck this Season, sometimes we win, sometimes the elk win! I'm still munching on my 2017 tag as well.

Best of Luck, Jeff

From: Mt. man
29-Jan-18
Looked like success to me. Grip and grins get way more praise than necessary as a measure of success! Congrats!

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