Vortex Broadheads
400 Miles: A September Saga
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
tobinsghost 22-Feb-16
ElkNut1 22-Feb-16
LUNG$HOT 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
Julius K 22-Feb-16
Scoot 22-Feb-16
Bowfreak 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
midwest 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
NoWiser 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
ElkNut1 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
Royboy 22-Feb-16
Mark Watkins 22-Feb-16
orionsbrother 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
Shiras 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
Destroyer350 22-Feb-16
Zackman 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
drycreek 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
Florida Mike 22-Feb-16
Ed 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
AZBUGLER 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
John Haeberle 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
otcWill 22-Feb-16
trkyslr 22-Feb-16
deerslayer 22-Feb-16
ElkNut1 22-Feb-16
Nesser 22-Feb-16
Charlie Rehor 22-Feb-16
LWood 22-Feb-16
Jaquomo 22-Feb-16
IdyllwildArcher 22-Feb-16
buzz mc 22-Feb-16
Bowboy 22-Feb-16
Pyrannah 22-Feb-16
HUNT MAN 22-Feb-16
Ridge Wraith 22-Feb-16
trublucolo 22-Feb-16
buckfevered 22-Feb-16
Mark Watkins 22-Feb-16
drycreek 22-Feb-16
sfiremedic 22-Feb-16
FLGator 22-Feb-16
JohnB 22-Feb-16
kiwi 23-Feb-16
Trophy8 23-Feb-16
pav 23-Feb-16
JW 23-Feb-16
BULELK1 23-Feb-16
otcWill 23-Feb-16
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LUNG$HOT 23-Feb-16
otcWill 23-Feb-16
DoubleGunDennis 23-Feb-16
Beav 23-Feb-16
ElkNut1 23-Feb-16
Butternut40 23-Feb-16
AZBUGLER 23-Feb-16
CurveBow 23-Feb-16
Ron Niziolek 23-Feb-16
midwest 23-Feb-16
sitO 23-Feb-16
Grunt-N-Gobble 23-Feb-16
Ben 23-Feb-16
Z Barebow 23-Feb-16
Bowfreak 23-Feb-16
Labby 23-Feb-16
Jaquomo 23-Feb-16
FLGator 23-Feb-16
LUNG$HOT 23-Feb-16
JohnB 23-Feb-16
mountainman 23-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
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otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
Backcountry 24-Feb-16
JMG 24-Feb-16
Tracker12 24-Feb-16
PA-R 24-Feb-16
Carnivore 24-Feb-16
drycreek 24-Feb-16
12yards 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
Scoot 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
orionsbrother 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
TREESTANDWOLF 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
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otcWill 24-Feb-16
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Jaquomo 24-Feb-16
otcWill 24-Feb-16
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Txtrapper 24-Feb-16
ElkNut1 24-Feb-16
Medicinemann 24-Feb-16
Ben 24-Feb-16
Marty 24-Feb-16
Cazador 24-Feb-16
T Mac 24-Feb-16
Willieboat 24-Feb-16
Well-Strung 24-Feb-16
PA-R 24-Feb-16
Geno 24-Feb-16
Aaron Johnson 24-Feb-16
Scoot 24-Feb-16
Mule Power 24-Feb-16
simek 24-Feb-16
CO Elkaholic 24-Feb-16
CurveBow 25-Feb-16
weekender21 25-Feb-16
Julius K 25-Feb-16
Bowfreak 25-Feb-16
midwest 25-Feb-16
otcWill 25-Feb-16
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Treeline 25-Feb-16
Shiras 25-Feb-16
Old School 25-Feb-16
cnelk 25-Feb-16
buzz mc 25-Feb-16
Florida Mike 25-Feb-16
bigswivle 25-Feb-16
Mark Watkins 25-Feb-16
rooster 25-Feb-16
grasshopper 25-Feb-16
elkmtngear 25-Feb-16
Stan NJ 25-Feb-16
JLeMieux 25-Feb-16
huntmaster 25-Feb-16
otcWill 25-Feb-16
otcWill 25-Feb-16
Trophy8 25-Feb-16
otcWill 25-Feb-16
Elkman52 25-Feb-16
drycreek 25-Feb-16
trublucolo 25-Feb-16
KSArcher06 25-Feb-16
LUNG$HOT 25-Feb-16
Cazador 25-Feb-16
Paul@thefort 25-Feb-16
midwest 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
Barty1970 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
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otcWill 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
Scoot 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
orionsbrother 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
otcWill 26-Feb-16
Smtn10PT 26-Feb-16
OFFHNTN 26-Feb-16
hardcore247 26-Feb-16
LINK 26-Feb-16
Paul@thefort 26-Feb-16
Tracker12 26-Feb-16
Bowhunter374 26-Feb-16
2tuna@home 26-Feb-16
KY EyeBow 26-Feb-16
FLGator 26-Feb-16
tinecounter 26-Feb-16
midwest 26-Feb-16
hunt'n addict 26-Feb-16
Mitch 26-Feb-16
CO Elkaholic 26-Feb-16
venison 27-Feb-16
loopmtz 28-Feb-16
Whip 28-Feb-16
WV Mountaineer 28-Feb-16
ELKMAN 28-Feb-16
McDeer 28-Feb-16
HUNT MAN 28-Feb-16
IdyllwildArcher 28-Feb-16
huntaholic 28-Feb-16
otcWill 29-Feb-16
Reflex 29-Feb-16
CurveBow 29-Feb-16
Julius K 29-Feb-16
JohnB 01-Mar-16
otcWill 01-Mar-16
trkyslr 01-Mar-16
Swamp Buck 03-Mar-16
orionsbrother 12-Apr-16
bigbulls6 01-May-16
vthokee 02-May-16
SteveB 02-May-16
Brun 02-May-16
a'Lish 03-May-16
orionsbrother 25-Aug-16
otcWill 25-Aug-16
midwest 25-Aug-16
a'Lish 25-Aug-16
SBH 27-Aug-16
orionsbrother 29-Aug-16
orionsbrother 07-Oct-16
bowfinatic 08-Oct-16
BOWUNTR 08-Oct-16
joehunter8301 11-Oct-16
From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
“This isn’t normal, Bill”, my mother exclaimed to my father. “He’s OBSESSED!” They were watching their 9 year old son (me) sharpening the individual edges of the chisel tips on his Thunderhead 125s. I’d opted to do this in prep for deer season instead of going to soccer practice with my friends.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Nope, I’m definitely not normal, Mom; at least when it comes to bowhunting. I’m still that 9 year old kid.

To me bowhunting has become more of a religion than it is a sport or hobby. If there’s a place that one can get closer to God than in the high country, bow in hand, I have yet to find it. I love all hunting, but beyond the shadow of doubt, my absolute favorite is bowhunting elk.

I hunt and dream of it year round but right around June, as Sept. bears down on summer, I become overwhelmed with a kind of electricity. Anxious excitement gives way to a calm focus, a relentless determination. It’s a hard thing to put to words but I know quite a few of you understand this description perfectly. If you take hunting as seriously as anything in your life except family; if you prepare yourself and your gear much as a soldier preps for battle; than you share my passion. I spent close to a month in the mountains over the 2015 bow season hunting deer and elk. This is my story

From: tobinsghost
22-Feb-16
Bring it!!

From: ElkNut1
22-Feb-16
Sweet, looking forward to it Will!

ElkNut1

From: LUNG$HOT
22-Feb-16
Yessss!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I ended up drawing my 4th choice (insert thumbs down) deer tag this season in a unit I’d never deer hunted. The unit consists mostly of dense ponderosa forest. Glassing for deer here is virtually impossible. After a bunch of summer scouting in an area I’d seen deer in the past I located a nice old strip cut which deer seemed to be feeding through on their way to/from bedding. There were some good trails through the cut with better sign than I was finding anywhere else so I decided to hunt here out of my climber on opening weekend. I scouted a few other areas over the summer but really wasn’t too excited about my odds. I’d hunt the opening two days before going back to work for 3 days. Then I would head to my OTC elk area for the rest of the season. This might require more than a little luck.

I know. It doesn't look like much but this is the only clear spot between private feeding grounds and dark timbered bedding. My stand would be in the shadowed tree on the right come opening day.

From: Julius K
22-Feb-16
Been waiting for this!

From: Scoot
22-Feb-16
Woot woot! I've been waiting for this! I love your stories- your pros and passion are just great, Will. Thanks for taking the time to entertain us in the off season.

From: Bowfreak
22-Feb-16
Awesome! Today is going to be a good day of "work."

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
A week prior to the opener I came back to clip some limbs, do a practice climb and set a blind for my good buddy to sit in as a spectator/videographer. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked the cards on the two cameras I’d left. It would be a long work week.

2:00am Aug 27. Up to make the 2 hour drive from home to meet my good buddy Bertin. He’s strictly a gun guy but we enjoy tagging along on hunts together. This would be no exception. My stand was only about 300 yards from our parking spot, a gentleman’s hunt compared to what I was in for throughout the rest of the season. I was 15 feet up at least an hour before legal light, plenty of time to relax and soak it all in.

“When a hunter is in a treestand….that hunter is 20 feet closer to God.” Fred Bear Sure feels that way, Fred!

I was hoping for one like this but, truth be told, I would take the first decent buck that gave me the chance.

From: midwest
22-Feb-16
LOL....ditto Bowfreak!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
A bugle tore through the perfect silence as dawn crept up on the Colorado archery opener. I snapped out of my daydream, heart pounding. This is living! As darkness turned to grey light I scanned my surroundings for movement, fully expecting to see elk, if anything. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!!” A nice buck was feeding my way, only 15 yards from Bertin when I spotted him. Bert’s blind was set about 60-70 yards from me. I checked my watch; legal, but still a little too dark to see my pins through my peep. Take your time, deer! I quickly ranged all the likely places he may cross while going through my pre-shot ritual in my head. “Aim small. Relax into the shot. Perfect release.” The deer was currently at 80 yards feeding slowly in my direction. Preseason scouting has paid off and this was shaping up to be a quick hunt. As he closed the distance I noticed he’s got a buddy, wider and probably 10 P&Y inches bigger. I made the quick decision not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I’d take the first quality shot I got. He was on course to cross by me at 40 yards. When he hit my lane I drew, anchored, and he turned straight at me still feeding. He took what seemed like forever to get to 25 yards, still feeding, now slightly quartered to me. At this point, I’d been holding for a good while (probably 2 minutes). I settled on a hair on his “shirt pocket” that’d put my arrow through all the good stuff and the bow went off. WHACK! The buck never even flinched. He tipped over backwards on impact and died as fast as any animal I’ve shot with an arrow. UNREAL! I was 10 minutes into opening day in a unit I was bummed to have drawn, never hunted deer in, with my buddy sipping coffee watching the whole deal! Life is Good!!

From: NoWiser
22-Feb-16
Awesome!! I love your stories. Thank you for taking the time to put them together for our enjoyment.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I took this crap pic, while still shaking, before getting out of the tree. The deer is laying dead directly behind the tree in the foreground.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Bertin and I exchanged a few backslaps and some punches, laughing and retelling the story, high on life. It doesn't get any better. This picture will be on my wall forever!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Not a giant by any means but a heck of a way to start the first few minutes of the Colorado archery season!

From: ElkNut1
22-Feb-16
Sweet Will, congrats on a fine buck! Nothing like have a good friend along as well, he looks as happy as you!! (grin)

ElkNut1

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: Royboy
22-Feb-16
Good story,thanks for sharing

From: Mark Watkins
22-Feb-16

"Nope, I’m definitely not normal, Mom; at least when it comes to bowhunting. I’m still that 9 year old kid."

"Success is where preparation and perspiration meet"

Congrats! We are all ears!

Mark

22-Feb-16
Congrats! Always enjoy your stories. Hoping for more.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Thanks, friends! For all that Bowsite has done for me, this is the least I can do. And, yes, there will be MUCH more. A morning like this is the perfect excuse for a beer before 8:30am :) We got the deer cleaned up and on ice and stayed to camp and celebrate that night.

From: Shiras
22-Feb-16
Very cool and look forward to the rest. By the way, your friend looks a lot like Ned Beatty in Deliverance in that picture. HA

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Here's a pic for the autopsy guys. The 125g shuttle T shattered the vertebrae before passing through the front/top of the left lung and the center of the right exiting thru the stomach on the off side. Head was down at the shot which makes the entry pic look slightly off.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
One more trophy pic and then lets go elk huntn!

From: Destroyer350
22-Feb-16
Awesome job! Excited to hear more. I have refreshed this page prob 100 times to see if there is any updates! LOL

From: Zackman
22-Feb-16
Nice buck! Congrats

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Fast forward through a painful, neverending work week and I was on the road. On Labor Day weekend I was set to meet my buddy Joe and another friend and first time bowhunter, Jeremy. I beat them to camp on Thursday and took a short walk with my bow not wanting to spoil any of our best spots before the team arrived. We had high hopes that Jeremy would have the chance to kill at least a cow in one of our "go to's" the following morning. It was a quiet evening and after a short mile hike out, I was having a drink with the guys and discussing the plan for the a.m. I had glassed some elk on a distant ridge that afternoon. After confirming that Jeremy was up for a brutal day, we decided on hunting one of our toughest spots; 6 miles in, about a mile of hunting and 6 miles back to camp.

Photo from first day's juant.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We left camp at 3:45am and made the hike in a downpoor. We were climbing, hands and feet, up a steep sloping aspen forest in grey light when we spotted our first elk of season. 35 yards. Jeremy could have shot her but we wanted to make sure there wasn't a good bull with her before whacking a cow in the first few minutes of our hunt. We held tight as a few more cows milled around. No sign of a bull and they were starting to get around us at which point they'd catch our wind. Well, that's exactly what happened while we were standing there debating whether Jeremy should shoot one or not. Oh well. That's bowhunting!

From: drycreek
22-Feb-16
Keep it coming Will ! I have to go do my taxes now, ( groan ), but I'll be back for the rest of this.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We continued on to our planned destenation, a strip clearing with high grass in an otherwise monotonous spruce/fir forest. As we neared the spot a gnarly bugle ripped through the rain, maybe 200 yards up. We definitely weren't expecting this (normally the first few weekends have little to no bugling) and a couple of seasoned elk killers turned to bug eyed newbies in a matter of seconds. We never really made a plan or designated a shooter. Huge mistake. We just moved up, FAST. Joe and I have been hunting elk together for years and make a heck of a team but something about this, first day suprprise action, had both of us comeing unglued. This encounter pretty much sums up why I love bowhunting elk.

From: Florida Mike
22-Feb-16
Great adventure Will!

From: Ed
22-Feb-16
Will, your season recap is the highlight of the bowsite off season!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
Joe moved up and was gone in a flash. I moved down towards the bottom of the opening. I immediately wished I'd stopped Joe to find out exactly where he'd be. As I moved to the edge of the meadow, I saw a great bull dogging a single cow across the top of the opening. If he made it to the dark timber chances were he'd be tough or impossible to catch up to. I had to hope Joe was in position as I whipped out my bugle and fired my nastiest scream at him. He turned on a dime like one of them T.V. bulls and came right down the middle of the meadow towards me. He was on course to give me a chip shot. I ranged a few trees near where I thought he'd end up; 40 and 45. When he lumbered in he was a good 10-15 yards in front of the 40 yard tree. As I drew I heard "MEH" and knew immediately that Joe was ready to shoot. I held off and waited to see Joe's fletchings disspapear in the goods. WHIFF! Joe's arrow flew right over his back. The bull ran aobut 10-15 yards at the shot before I could stop him with a nervous grunt. At this point, I'm drawn but have some bows obstructing a clear shot so I stood up, bull staring right at me, and walked right out to clear my view. The bull just stood there. I'd never processed the 10+ yards that he ran when Joe shot. In the heat of the moment I'd gone into kill mode when I decided he was going to be at 30 yards and never thought beyond that. I centered my 30 pin in the V and pulled through. CRACK! I knew as soon as I saw the impact that it was a non lethal hit, low by at least 4-6 inches. I was overwhelmed with dissappointment as I stopped him again; 65 yards quartering to. I'd have put another one in him if I'd thought the first was going to kill him but, though I stopped him 2 or 3 times before he walked off, he never offered an angle/distance I liked. Oh yea, I forgot to mention he was a PIG, probably 320+ . OUCH!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We waited about an hour, going over our mistakes before splitting up. I'd still hunt/track the bull in hopes he'd bedded close. I knew this was unlikely as he looked relatively good walking away but wanted to follow up regardless. After a few hours of searching we grouped back up to hike out. On the way out, we spotted a cow feeding in a perfect position for a stalk, 30 yards behind a small knoll. Joe and I watched anxiously as Jeremy moved in to take his first shot at an amimal. Everything went great except for the shot :). The arrow flew harmlessly over her back. Within a few hours of the first day of the hunt we'd all 3 missed! Tails tucked, time to head back to camp and do some shooting. First a.m. hunt: just over 13 miles

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We all shot our bows at camp prior to an eating contest and a nap. At 1:30 we were back at it, heading to another spot, probably our favorite. One day into what would be a 23 day hunt for me and we were getting pounded with rain. Everything we'd worn was soaked. We all had good boots as well as backups but if you've hunted in this much rain before you know that no boot will prevent blisters on soggy, swollen feet. The show must go on..

We made the 2 mile hike straight up to our favorite basin. The rain never let up that afternoon and we found ourselves tucked under the thickest spruce we could find at 11,000 ft waiting for the afternoon winds to become more predictable.

Might as well sit somewhere Elky!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
After sitting for an hour or two we started sneaking our wa y through the bottom of the basin scanning for elk in some smaller avalanche shoots. First shoot: nothing. Second shoot: nothing. Third shoot: Bingo, 6 cows right on level with us. Jeremy would have second chance in his first day of bowhunting.

Here's a shot of where they were

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
They're 75 yards away at this point. You can lead a horse to water.....

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I hung back hoping for the best and ready to call if signaled. At this point I was thinking this would at least result in a shot. Nope. Jeremy might have gotten a little too cautious at this point. Either way, they rolled out and left us behind.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The next morning we headed the 6 miles back to the same spot as the day before. As elk hunting can be it had gone from magic to mud over night. Not a peep. After a slow, wet morning and over 28 miles in the first 1.5 days, we decided to split up for the afternoon to try a few "easy" spots. At this point our stuff is all soaked and this is the best I could do to dry it.

Home, sweet home! This beats living in a Subaru. RIP old girl

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
What happened to me on the afternoon of Sept. 5 still haunts me. I decided I'd hunt a spot that has a ton of trails leading from bedding to some nice ponds and seeps. I picked a spot to sit where a couple of great trails came together but was really just hoping to hear a bugle to move on.

Saw this track on the way in. I already had a bear in the freezer thanks to good friends and Bowsite so it'd have to be a booner to catch an arrow, but still had a tag.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
At 4:30 I ripped off a locator and the forest below me lit up. At least 4 bulls answered from below me, including one that sounded like a mix between a steer, a donkey, and an elk. They were all coming from straight down valley off what was nearly a cliff. So much for an easy afternoon.

This is a shot of where I was sitting. Its flat before dropping into some of the thickest stuff I've hunted elk in.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
I checked the wind constantly for about a half hour before deciding it was safe to drop in on what was surely a bedding area. THICK. Any shot would be from spitting distance. The bulls never shut up after my first bugle. It was relatively easy to move into position. I focused on the scary big sounding bugle and after about 30 minutes of crawling through blow down, I was as close as I dared get; maybe 50 yards from the bull. This stuff was dang near impenetrable except for one muddied elk trail. Normally I might try to sneak all the way in for the shot but it was just too thick to do this silently. I'd need to either get lucky or bring him to me. I nocked an arrow, whipped out my old trusty dog chewed bugle tube, and waited for him to sound off.

At his next groan I ripped into him with my meanest challenge. Almost as soon as I began my bugle I caught an antler move and before I capped it off with a grunt I could see he was on his way. I saw a few other elk moving around (to thick to see what they were) as he dropped his head and began glunking his way towards me. GOOD LORD, he's HUGE, every bit of 340" if not closer to 350". He swaggered up the very trail I was on (the only place that offered any type of shot in any direction) knocking over small trees with what looked to be a spread near 50". 20yds. 15 yds. His head was blocked as he approached 10 yards. I drew. His current path would bring him around a blow down for a frontal at about 5 ft. He's still coming. 20ft, 15ft, 10ft; still no shot. I caught movement to my left, very close. A 5x has snuck right in to about 8 yards. The big bull whipped up his head, catching the same movement and smashed past me at about 10ft chasing the lil 5 point like a dog chasing a cat. Even at point blank I had no shot. I nervous grunted but he didn't even hear it. The two bulls crashed off leaving the herd nervous and sending them down the mountain. Man, what a bull! I still can't believe he's not in my freezer. If not for the poor timing of the smaller bull I'd be showing you pics of him right now instead of telling a story about "the one that got away". I stayed with the herd well after dark that night in order to have a good idea of where they'd be in the morning. It ended up being about an 8 mile evening and at about 10pm I headed back towards camp.

I pride myself on staying positive no matter my situation but tonight I wanted to bang my head against a tree! Two opportunities in two days blown and I wouldn't have much time to hunt for myself this season with two friends heading out back to back.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
At least there was whiskey in camp. I was gonna need it.

On a positive note I'd left them screaming in the dark. The next morning would be more of the same

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We found them well before light the following day. His bugle was unmistakable. They had moving even further from camp and were leading us even deeper. We moved. They moved. We moved. They moved until they were getting dangerously close (maybe 200yds) from private, 7 miles from camp. As they slowed a bit, we had no choice but to set up and call, which I was sure wouldn't work on the big boy from outside 150 yds. Nevertheless, we might be able to call one of what sounded like 5-6 satellites. We set up, Joe and Jeremy out front 50 yards apart and myself 50 yards behind them. Right away I got a response to some whiney cow calling. It wasn't the herd bull but Jeremy wasn't picky. I kept calling as he approached bugling the whole way. I shut up when I figured he was about 100yds as it was relatively open. Like clockwork there he was walking straight at my shooters, 80 yards and closing. From what I could see, he appeared to be a young but legal bull. He came to within feet of Jeremy before stopping. I waited for the shot. Nothing. Quickly he busted and I stopped him again still well within bow range of the guys. This time I could see he was a 3x3 without brows; not a legal bull. Jeremy was pumped regardless and a bowhunter was surely born that weekend.

This is a shot of where the bull was taken from Jeremy's point of view. He stopped just on the other side of the downed trees

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Took this shot later that morning while listening to a couple hundred bugles coming from "the other side of the fence". We came back that evening hoping they might follow the same route that led them there. No luck. 24.4 mile day

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Jeremy and Joe had to take off after the morning hunt the following day. I had the Sept 8-10 to try to fill my tag before my good friend Dennis arrived from Jersey. At that point I'd take a backseat and do everything I could to put him on a bull. I didn't know whether I'd shoot the next elk taht gave me the chance, with limited time for "selfish" hunting.

That morning I made the climb into one of my favorite basins. The elk were there and moving high above treeline at first light. I didn't have time to catch them that day but I'd be there in the dark the following morning.

Truly spectacular country!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
That afternoon I hiked the 6 miles (hopefully your starting to get the "400 Miles" and the "Saga") back into the drainage I was in a day before. I made a huge loop and heard a few faint bugles but never could get close.

Saw some cool stuff though. This was carved on a tree in the middle of nowhere

From: AZBUGLER
22-Feb-16
Loving it! I can almost hear the bugles and taste the Makers.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Too much blabbing, Will. Not enough pics of elk country

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I'd be at the top of this the next morning. This shot is taken from half way up and does it no justice. The stuff that looks like a sloping putting green near the top is dangerously steep. The elk are bedded at the VERY top in the last little fir trees on the rt at treeline. How 'bout another 3:00am wake up?

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Well, I made it up. I fell once hard before reaching the spot I'd been seeing the elk cross. It was tough to find a place flat enough to sit without sliding or falling. As elk huntn goes, I saw a few cows and a small bull cross about 500 vertical feet below me :). I took a few pics on my way out to show the stuff I climbed in the dark.

Could have used my safety harness!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Hang on to the trees! I ought to intsall a rope for this particular spot. No dudes up here. Just me

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Hopped in the truck and hunted about 15 miles away that evening. Here's a few pics

Can't have too many quakie shots in an elk thread.

Saw some cows that evening but couldn't shoot; wanted to, but couldn't;)

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
This trail was about 3-4ft wide and torn up. I was a day late though as there wasn't much around. Looks like a great spot for you treestand elk hunters

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Sun sets on another day in paradise. I love bowhuntn!

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
One of my favorite shots from this season

22-Feb-16
Will ... maybe I missed it early on, but is this the first week of the season you're hunting?

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
The next morning I'd sacrifice the a.m. hunt in order to do some glassing and have a good plan of attack when Dennis arrived. The first spot I checked was full of elk so I hopped in the car to glass another of my best spots 10 miles from the first. It was also loaded with two large groups, probably 70 head total. The only problem was a digicam clad dude with his Swaros on a tripod in MY secret glassing spot. I recognized him immediately as he has graced the covers of some of my favorite elk mags. He's an absolute killer of public land elk with a bunch of 330+ bulls under his belt as well as a 380" OTC giant. Little did I know they were all taken in the same unit I frequent. We hit it off immediately and talked huntn for well over an hour. He wasn't interested in the 280ish 5x which was the biggest we could see in the basins we were glassing so we exchanged numbers and I left with a new friend and a plan for that afternoon.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16
It all melts together a bit John , but I started the second week and stayed until about the 26? A marathon for sure

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I slipped into town for a couple sausage egg and cheeses and the local gas station, loaded my pack for 2 days and hit the trail.

From: otcWill
22-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
That's it for today. I'll try to update this a bit each morning before work this week but likely won't finish until next Monday as I'm out of town this weekend. Apologies for dragging it out but a month of hunting can't be paraphrased in a day. It'll be worth the wait. Strong finsh. Thanks for reading!

From: trkyslr
22-Feb-16
this is awesome!!! keep it rolling.... making my day!

From: deerslayer
22-Feb-16
Oh yeah!!!! Been waiting for this!

From: ElkNut1
22-Feb-16
Thanks Will, I certainly admire the miles put in & your determination, good stuff!

ElkNut1

From: Nesser
22-Feb-16
Really cool! Enjoying this!

22-Feb-16
Great stuff as always! A late winter highlight for me! C

From: LWood
22-Feb-16
Following Will, keep it coming!!!

From: Jaquomo
22-Feb-16
Really great stuff, Will!

Love the carved buck. All the aspen carvings in my area are XXX rated. I have a big collection of the

:-)

22-Feb-16
Awesome so far Will.

Dang, you told me you saw a 340... you didn't tell me you had him run by at spitting distance!

From: buzz mc
22-Feb-16
Great start. I'm looking forward to the rest of the morning read.

From: Bowboy
22-Feb-16
Great pictures and story. Thanks for sharing!

From: Pyrannah
22-Feb-16
thank you for taking the time to put this together...

how do you not get lost in that stuff? id probably still be out there... lol

really cool

From: HUNT MAN
22-Feb-16
Obsessed is a good word for it. Only took me about 5 minutes to realize Will was the real deal and we could be twin brothers . Can't wait for the rest of the story. Great so far and what Bowsite needs. Thanks for posting. Hunt

From: Ridge Wraith
22-Feb-16
Nice! I've been waiting for this. Perfect timing as I hope to find I drew a great WY elk tag Wednesday :)

From: trublucolo
22-Feb-16
Thanks for sharing Will, great story and pics.

From: buckfevered
22-Feb-16
Will, wonderful pictures and story. Puts us right there on the mountain with you.

From: Mark Watkins
22-Feb-16
Crazy good stuff Will! You are a master of the art of story telling telling!!!

We have time (but not much)!

Bring it!

Mark

From: drycreek
22-Feb-16
Just caught up, good stuff ! This is the only way I'll ever elk hunt, so thanks to all you guys who do it and share your adventures with us wannabes.

From: sfiremedic
22-Feb-16
Very cool! Thank you for sharing...

From: FLGator
22-Feb-16
Awesome recap! Really appreciate you taking the time to tell your story and share pics. Great stuff.

From: JohnB
22-Feb-16
Thanks for the pics and story Will always enjoy it. Hope you get one too and imagine you will with all the help you give others karma should come your way I hope anyway, thanks again.

From: kiwi
23-Feb-16
Great read, thanks!

From: Trophy8
23-Feb-16
Good stuff Will!!

From: pav
23-Feb-16
Next Monday? I'm already suffering from elk hunt recap withdrawal....LOL!

Good stuff Will.

From: JW
23-Feb-16
Awesome story! Thanks Will!

From: BULELK1
23-Feb-16
Pretty cool Will---

Thanks for sharing

Good luck, Robb

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I made the 4 mile hike that afternoon with plenty of time to spare. Experience hunting this area told me the elk wouldn't move before about 5:00-5:30 so I set up where I had a good view to glass some of the best looking elk country there is. Here's a few pics of the climb to get there. I'm assuming this is the reason I have almost never seen anybody in any of my spots ;)

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Careful. You might have to "pay to play".

I had "camp" (a sleeping bag and heavy duty garbage bags) set up in minutes and was glassing for only a few minutes when I spotted 3 absolute slammer bighorn rams touching the sky. I was supposed to be elk hunting but all I could do was dream about what a difficult, dangerous and amazingly rewarding task it'd be to bowhunt them in that terrain. One day......

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The sheep were dang near at the highest point in this pic.

I snuck as close as I dared to where I knew the elk were bedded at 4:30. At 4:45 I heard my first bugle of the evening. Upon investigation they were already on their feet, feeding out and up from the highest patch of spruce/fir on the mountain; probably at 12K and climbing. With little to no cover to work with, this was going to be tough. I was jacked! I began the ascent, hands and feet. A slip here could be my last. I LOVE this sh!#!!

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The big 5x had about 30 or so cows and calves with him as well as well as a few smaller bulls. I was already wishing it was a group of 4-6 elk rather than a whole dang field full of 'em. This was my point of view only there were elk scattered all over this meadow. I closed the distance on my stomach holding grips of grass in one hand and my bow in the other, trying not to slip (again, its steeper than my pics relate). I made it into bow range of the closest members of the herd without stirring them up. I ranged a cow at 45yds and was very tempted to shoot her completing what had already been an awesome hunt. I nocked an arrow, still unsure of what I'd do. "Make up your mind, Will!".

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16
The cows popped their heads up. I notice antlers coming over the knob above me. A small 4x5 comes trotting over to pester the cows and the big 5 screams his disapproval from just out of sight. Should I shoot the "bird in hand" now? Nope. At this point I'd followed the feeding elk up and was near the highest point in my last pic. I slithered to the last clump of fir on the mountain. This gave me about 7 more yards and very well would be as close as I could get. By this time legal light was fading fast. I checked my watch; 15 minutes left to finish this. If I'd been in the timber, it was already past seeing my pins.

I could now see the bull. He was running around frantically trying to keep track of all his cows and fend off 3 satellites. I ranged him a handful of times: 100, 90, 75, 80. I knew any calling in this wide open scenario would only result in putting them on edge. In the last few minutes of legal light I was still considering shooting a cow, just couldn't do it. I stayed put and slipped out in the cover of dark, bulls firing off at 12,000ft above me. The herd wasn't spooked. The morning hunt should be good. I slipped back to camp for some peanut butter, granola, and whiskey. Life is good

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Feb-16
Good morning Will! I'm with ya. You might make me late for work posting this early!

From: otcWill
23-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
As I eased into position predawn on Sept. 10 a bugle rang out just below me. My heart raced. This is living! I sprinted cautiously up the steep, dark timber covered ridge paralleling the herd. I knew the exact saddle they would cross. I just had to get there and get a little luck. I quickly reached the perfect ambush spot at the point of the last trees in the basin, wind steady. Perfect. As I got my first glimpse of the herd I realized that the two herds I'd glassed the morning before had become one. The good news: there were two more bulls I'd be glad to put my tag on. The bad news: there were at least 60-70 cows and calves. I'd never seen groups of this size in this area at this time of year. I was going to need more luck than I thought.

As I made the last few careful steps to where I needed to be I already had 20+ cows/calves and two scrapper bulls well within range, feeding my way. Still, I was haggling with myself over whether to end a spectacular hunt right here. Funny how I never really know what I'm going to do until I do it. What I did know is that I was absolutely dying to let an arrow fly!

I was sitting in the highest patch of fir at the top middle of this pic, covered up in elk. More coming.

Time for work

23-Feb-16
OH YEAH WILL! Nothing more enjoyable then walking into work and going onto Bowsite to reading your and my elk hunting adventure! AWESOME!

From: Beav
23-Feb-16
Absolutely awesome so far!

From: ElkNut1
23-Feb-16
Will, good stuff! I love how you rest for half time here! (grin)

ElkNut1

From: Butternut40
23-Feb-16
Great Thread. Keep it coming.

From: AZBUGLER
23-Feb-16
Sometimes it's good not to be working! Lol. Sounds like an uphill battle with so many eyes watching.

From: CurveBow
23-Feb-16
Is this a TV time out??!! :)

Keep em' coming!

>>>>-------->

From: Ron Niziolek
23-Feb-16
Great stuff Will. Love your hunts!

From: midwest
23-Feb-16
Really enjoying this, Will...right there with you!

From: sitO
23-Feb-16
This is great OTC action! Thanks for taking us along sir.

23-Feb-16
Fantastic!!!! Waiting for more..........

From: Ben
23-Feb-16
Will, This is great! Keep it going!

From: Z Barebow
23-Feb-16
Apparently otcWill has to work for a living. Dang it.

Keep it coming Will. We will be waiting!

From: Bowfreak
23-Feb-16
Will,

Call in sick tomorrow and finish this! :)

From: Labby
23-Feb-16
Gotta LOVE IT

Cant wait till September

Lab

From: Jaquomo
23-Feb-16
I want to know more about the aftermath of gas station sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches!

From: FLGator
23-Feb-16
Oh boy....lol

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Feb-16
"I want to know more about the aftermath of gas station sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches!"

AKA roadside Russian roulette!

From: JohnB
23-Feb-16
Old guys trick not to be constipated!

From: mountainman
23-Feb-16
Great story so far. Thanks for taking the time share it.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
Soon I had cows/calves within 15 yards, still coming. C'mon! Just walk on past, girls. No such luck. A couple of calves meandered right to me. One came to about 3-5ft. I was tucked down hoping for the best when she finally trotted out back to momma putting the whole herd on edge. The herd went alert and, after a long staring match, the lead cow turned and took back the way they'd come from. I did my best to sound like a cow being hooked by a smaller bull in hopes the big guy would turn and come looking but it was too little too late. They knew something wasn't right. DANG! Another close call. Time to go pick up Dennis at the airport

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Dennis' flight was delayed twice but he finally arrived around 8pm on Sept. 10. We made the long drive back to camp high on life, expectations even higher. I'd glassed some elk in one of my "go to's" that morning. A plan was made over whiskey and lies. We were on the trail the next morning at 3am. This would give Den time for a leisurely hike in with lots of breaks. We arrived at the mouth of the basin in the dark and made our way to our glassing spot fully expecting to see elk near the top. No dice. We decided to check some smaller parks below the basin. This is what we saw

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
There were a few cows and a spike. Den quickly says, "No cows for me this year". Myself, with friends to help for the rest of the season, I'm thinking it might be in my freezer's best interest to take this opportunity. That and I absolutely love shooting stuff with my bow!

150 sneaky yards later I was in bow range, 50 yards, arrow nocked. Again, I decide to pass. There's just been too much action to kill a cow. I've said it before and I say it again, the old "don't pass up on the first day what you'd be happy with on the last" is the BS of all BS!

No sooner did I put my arrow back on the quiver, a bull rips off from near where I left Dennis. I eased that way and caught him in full ninja mode, arrow nocked, release on string. I gave a few soft mews. He's coming! I got my bugle ready and cut him off on his next scream. At this point the bull was maybe 75 yards away and just out of sight. I was about 30 yards behind Den hoping he'd stay put. This bull was committed and I tried to whisper to Den to hold up as he made his last few careful steps to where he wanted to be. Too late. CRACK! Bull busted! I stopped him with a bugle but no clear shot; just clear enough to see he was a perfect 6x around the 300" mark. SOB! Good first morning for Den

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The bull got back with the other elk and calmed down a bit. We decided to leave them for the evening hunt. I told Den, its time to head down for some food and we'll head back in for the pm hunt. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and said, "You gotta be @#$%ing kidding me!! If I hike outta here there ain't no way in hell I'm coming back up this afternoon!" LOL! I left him on a good trail near a wallow and told him I'd be back in 3-4 hours with breakfast and lunch. I was back up by noon with antelope steaks, egg and cheeses, and plenty of candy. I also brought up some medical supplies to treat the nasty blisters Dennis already had. Dude's a beast, though and pain won't slow us down.

We ate well and talked about the afternoon plan before passing out in the sun for a well deserved nap. The lucky CBA hat doubles as sunscreen :)

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Not a lot better than naps in the high country in the September sun!

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
That evening we glassed the herd near last light. They were calm, feeding right back into the basin we'd expected them in. There was a great bull amongst them with 50"+ mains and a good spread. He was short on tine length but would likely go in the 315-325 range. They were way to high above us to get on that night with limited time so we planned to be back in the a.m. We were excited to say the least.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Another 3am wakeup the next morning and into the basin in the dark. The plan was to glass before light and Dennis would head up solo as soon as we confirmed the elk were up there. 45 minutes before shooting light I could see quite a few light spots in the top of the basin. I told Den where he needed to be soon after first light and wished him luck. The elk up here move fast at first light and bed around 8am. There would be a small time slot to get to the target destination before the wind goes sour. I would enjoy the show from the bottom as two people would only make an already very difficult stalk near impossible. There are a solid 25-30 elk in this photo. The target destination is just above the little rock outcropping on the right, 3/4 of the way to the top. This is a hands and feet climb. Most hunters could make it to the spot given they were in good shape and wanted it bad enough. Few could get there in the narrow timeslot available and without spooking the herd. It was going to be a "careful sprint". I love this stuff!

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Dennis made it. (I'm proud of ya, brother!) He got to where he was pinned down and out of cover. He passed a cow at 15 yards. The big bulls just didn't quite cooperate. That's bowhunting. I can't get enough of it!

The elk never showed again that evening though I was pretty sure they never knew we were there. The following a.m. we stayed closer to camp as we both needed a break (a break in my mind is a 4-6 mile morning :)). We glassed a large group WAY up high in some avalanche shoots and made a plan to be there in the dark the following morning; easier said than done.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
It took us 2.5 hours (in the dark) to get to the spot the elk had crossed the day before. The top was a heck of a lot steeper than it looked from the binos. It was difficult even to find a place to stand without slipping or rolling rocks. Dennis went about 80 yards above me. Wind was perfect. Here's a shot of my view up to where Den was set up.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I saw 2 cows cross below me but that was the extent of the elk action. At around 730 I caught something dark moving across from me, a black fox! I thought, "Oh, heck yea!" I'm gonna whack this dude." The more I watched him, the less I wanted to shoot him. I guess I've gone soft in my "old" age cuz I whipped squeaked him in to close range and only shot him with my camera. In all honesty, the fact that I didn't really have the money for a quality mount of such an awesome critter definitely played into my decision to pass. I got some great pics including what is probably the best one of my season.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
My passion for high country adventure has left me with yet another "trophy". I'll have this picture on my wall forever

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
That afternoon we went for a long haul, over 6 miles one way with very few trail miles. We made a huge loop cold calling/bugling hoping for a bull that was ready to play. No luck. I believe this was the only hunt, morning or evening, which we didn't see elk while Den was out. No complaints. Dinner. Whiskey. Sleep. Ok, maybe it was whiskey, dinner, whiskey, whisky, sleep, but we deserved it. To put some of the hiking into perspective, we never did less than 11 miles any day and the most I got on my gps watch was 23.5 in a day. Joe was back down to join us that night.

Here's a shot of Den that afternoon. We were BEAT but still grinding

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
The next day we'd head into what had become one of our favorite spots though we'd yet to kill an elk in there. For those who've read my reports in past years, this is the spot the drunk Minnesotan told us about a few years ago. This bowl is as secluded and beautiful as country gets and we'd never once been in here without seeing elk. Also, we've never seen another hunter or even a boot track. The only negative is that its a 35 minute drive from camp which required about 45 minutes less sleep than most of our other spots. 2:45 wake up call, a bit of coffee (yes, even us "Sitka army Neanderthal" types enjoy some leisurely camp comforts:) and we were on the road.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
It rained that morning; HARD. This wasn't in the plans. A half mile from the truck found us shopping for the best tree canopy to huddle under. The rain would let up to a steady drizzle, we'd get back to hiking only to have it start pooring moments later. This cat and mouse with the weather kept up until we were too wet for it to matter. We stomped out the rest of the hike in the rain making it to our observation point about 20 minutes before legal light. Just like every other time we've hunted this spot, there they were right in the middle of the bowl and heading, as usual, ti the dark timbered cliffs on the far side (left). There was a good bull amongst 10-12 cows. The bull was big bodied with less than average head gear, but a definite shooter. I didn't realize it at the time, but he was a very old bull, on his way downhill.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
We knew immediately that this would be a sprint to get to where we needed to be in order to head off the herd. We were off on a dead run without hesitation. Joe and I were encouraging Dennis to keep running. Mind you, Dennis is in great shape and tough as anyone I know, but nothing can prepare an easterner for this type of race. Den was heaving. I told him a few times, "It's just pain. Let's go!". We scurried up the slope on the far side of the bowl just in time to see the bull and his cows moving above us into the timber at 75 yards. MAN! What a hunt! Nobody's dejected though we know how close we came. We live for this!

Time for work. If I was reading this I'd be ready to see some bloody arrows but all these close calls will help paint the picture of elk hunting at it's finest in my opinion. Hope you're enjoying and thanks for all the comments. Lots more bowhunting to come. And pics, Dennis just sent me 80 more

From: Backcountry
24-Feb-16
This is one thread I 100% look forward to reading every year. Incredibly inspirational and motivating! Can't wait to see how this plays out

From: JMG
24-Feb-16
Thank you, otcWill, this is a great read.

From: Tracker12
24-Feb-16
Great looking country just to be in ley alone hunt. And the Fox sighting would be worth the trip out west for me. I am anxiously waiting to here that I drew my Bighorn Elk tag. This thread is not helping cure the anxieties.

From: PA-R
24-Feb-16
Will, your the best, enjoying the hunt, Many thanks.

From: Carnivore
24-Feb-16
Thanks for sharing. Your pics of elk country are just what I needed this month.

From: drycreek
24-Feb-16
At first, I was ready to get to the meat of this story, but now, I'm not really wanting it to end. Good stuff !

From: 12yards
24-Feb-16
Dang it all otc! You are making me want to elk hunt again!

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
Lunch time.

Here's a few more pics. I just might get this done before the wknd.

Joe and I after the morning's chase. Drenched

Can't get pic to upload. Oh well

From: Scoot
24-Feb-16
Will, I know of at least a couple different types of teases and being an "elk tease" is the second worst kind of tease! No fair offering pics that don't show up!!!

Great stuff, Will. I'm lovin' this! I predict one of you guys shoots an elk in the next two days of the hunt...

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
As if we hadn't had enough fun for one morning, on the way out a gnarly bugle rips off from less than 100 yards. Long story short: we came very close to killing a great bull. Dennis passed some cows again and the bull stayed a tree branch or two from riding home in our packs. I stayed back behind the guys and was able to bring him back but no shots. Unbelievable action and still no bloody arrows. We saw a few cows that evening and planned to go back to the basin we'd seen the 320ish bull two days prior for the next morning. Joe would go his own way as time was limited to fill his tag before our buddy Phil arrived from IL.

We found the big bull just after first light right in the same little slot meadow we'd last seen him in. He'd gone completely silent. He was about 150 yards away when we spotted him. I'd hang back and call only if necessary. Dennis removed his boots and made the stalk to the edge of the meadow, cows and a dink well within bow range already. This pic was taken after the fact from about where the cows were. The big bull was above and to the left. Dennis was straight across the meadow on line with him

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I watched through my binos from about 75 yards behind Den. The bull already appeared to be within 50 yards of him to me but I knew I must be misjudging it. Den was pinned down where he was, cows all around him and not a shred of cover left. When I saw the bull following the majority of the herd into the timber I ripped off a groan followed some agitated cow sounds. He whipped around and closed the distance between us by about 15 yards. The bull stood straight upslope from Dennis at 68 yards, a shot he might have taken had his range finder had angle compensation (I ranged the spot after the fact to determine this). I rolled rocks, borke sticks, let out some whiney cow sounds and cut him off when he growled. He wouldn't budge. It was just not a scenario where he needed to come any closer. He stood in the open waiting for the challenger to show. He finally turned and went with his cows. We knew from experience not to push them any further in this particular area. They would bed very close to where we left them. If this hunt doesn't help people understand what kind of mental toughness is needed to do this day after day, I don't know what would.

We were back up there that afternoon. Crickets....

24-Feb-16
Still enjoying your story Will. Don't stop.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
With only one more day to hunt, Dennis wanted to go to the place he killed his first elk years ago, the same place I was after the big 5x. The area was torn up but sign was a day old. It wasn't to be on this trip for my friend. We had a heck of a hunt and left it all on the field. I'm proud of him for passing a bunch of cows and for having the mental and physical stamina to keep after it day after day. We spent our last evening giving Thanks while watching the same 3 giant bighorns I'd glassed earlier in the hunt. We couldn't ask for much more.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Dennis barely broke stride when this happened after a slip in steep rocky country. He just shrugged it off, center punched a little pine bow at 50yds, and kept hunting. The guy is a trooper and a pleasure to hunt with.

The guys I hunt with are like brothers to me

wrong pic but I don't mind another plug for the CBA

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
This goes with the last caption

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
My buddy Phil and his pops would arrive from IL the following afternoon. I spent the next day taking Dennis to the airport, driving almost back to camp, and then all the way back to the airport when I heard he missed his flight :); the things we do for good friends. He bought me dinner and caught a later flight. Truthfully, I was ok with taking a day off, the only rest I got in 24 days straight. Back to camp, tank near empty....

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
One last try posting the pic of Dennis' mishap

24-Feb-16
What a great thread Will. Well written for sure.

Very much enjoyed the part about throwing rocks and all the calling sequences....fantastic!

Thanks for taking the time.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
When I got back to camp Phil and his dad were there. We spent the evening catching up, talking of big bucks and bulls. In the morning we'd take Phil Sr. about 1/4 mile from camp to a treestand we'd hung for him earlier. He was done chasing these lunatics around in the mountains and was happy to enjoy camp and sitting in a tree. Once he was settled we'd head up into one of the basins. When we got to our glassing point we saw at least a dozen elk with one good bull moving right to left (looker's left). Just another 500 vertical feet to climb and we'd be in perfect position. I took Phil up left and Joe went to hunt some of the parks below the basin.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
As Phil and I eased up the avalanche chute the elk were feeding in things looked promising. I've hunted this spot enough to know exactly where these elk were heading to and where they'd cross. We were just about to the spot we needed to be when a couple of spikes bumped from in front of us and trotted back to the herd. This was just enough disturbance to turn them. They slowly fed up and out of the opposite side of the basin. All these "almosts" are getting old. Phil and I still hunted a bit doing a few cold calling setups to no avail. The elk just weren't responding much to calling this season for whatever reason. I've killed almost all of my elk via calling but this season would be different.

Here's a shot of our approach that a.m.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
When I told Phil it was time to head down for breakfast he had the same reaction that Dennis had. Ha! I went down to cook up some eats, leaving him on a good trail. When I got down to camp Joe was already there. I found out that he'd stalked to 55 yards of the same bull we'd been seeing up there and shot under him. WHAT?! In all the years I've hunted with Joe and all the critters I've seen him shoot (dozens), he has missed very few shots. We were both bummed. It happens.

That evening was slow. We heard a few bugles but had no real action. Over the next few days, Phil had a few close calls, a coin flip away from letting one fly. One afternoon we had 2 cows and a 4x5 come by at 40yds. Phil was draw and ready to stick one but nothing we threw at them would slow them down. Another morning we were right on top of a good sounding bull. Everything seemed perfect until he went silent and disappeared. Wind, I suspect. If I had $1 for every time the wind killed an elk hunt I'd be a rich man.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
After a few days of chasing us around, Phil would take the next morning off to go get a shower and some food from town. Joe and I planned to head to the "Drunk Minnesotan Bowl". We were up and in my brand new truck (first new vehicle I've ever owned) cruising to our spot when, out of nowhere, a muley doe jumped right in front of us. I barely had time to hit the brakes (swerving was not an option on this particular road) before hitting her square with the front bumper. This hunt is kicking my ass!

We hopped out to assess the damage, just a cracked bumper. I'm not too vane. I can handle it. We were back on the road. Once parked, we flew up the ridge the 2 miles to our listening spot well before light. We decided to make a big circle to approach the bowl as every time we'd been in here they exited the same way. It was a bit of a debacle. The way around was a slash covered cliff. We made a ton of noise in the dark and went WAY further than we needed to. When we popped out, there they were. We had the same sprint to make that we'd made with Dennis a few days ago. We charged up the mountain making it to the ambush point in minutes.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We scanned for movement. Nothing.......

CRACK!! CRASH!! There he was, 20 yards away raking a tree. It was the same we'd been close to the other day. We'd decided earlier that a.m. that I'd be the shooter that day. Joe looked at me and said, "It's your turn brother". I had an arrow on the string in a flash. The bull sauntered right out at 25 yards. I was already drawn when he stopped in the only spot I couldn't shoot him, a small fir tree blocking his vitals. H was staring right at us. I held forever thinking about flinging one through the thin branches, knowing better. Finally he took a step. I had to crouch and cant the bow to shoot under some downed trees. I centered the pin on the V. Whack! The bow went off just as he was going to take a step. His on-side front leg moved back just as I released. I knew right away it was a shoulder hit, good penetration nonetheless. He stumbled 30 yards. I had another arrow nocked without a thought. I drew and centered my 50 high guessing him at 55yds. He stumbled and died with me at full draw.

I was overwhelmed. Never in my life have I hunted so hard.

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I took this right after the shot. He's laying dead in the back left. The bull didn't make 35 yards

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Humbled. Stunned. Blessed.

From: Jaquomo
24-Feb-16
Awesome, Will!!!! Great story, now comes the work.

Hopefully you had a little whiskey left in camp.

"High on life.." Yeah, that's Boulder talk for ya! ;-)

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16
Thanks, "Uncle Louie", plenty more whiskey!

From: otcWill
24-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
This ain't over yet. More tmro

From: Txtrapper
24-Feb-16
Awesome story Will............

From: ElkNut1
24-Feb-16
Wahoo! Success is sweet my friend! Hard earned & well deserved, congrats on a fine warrior there!

ElkNut1

From: Medicinemann
24-Feb-16
What a great thread to read while eating dinner and enjoying an adult beverage. You made my night!!!

From: Ben
24-Feb-16
Love this thread! Stay the course! To cover that much ground day after day you are in great shape. Before you end the thread let us know your training you did for this hunt.

From: Marty
24-Feb-16
Awesome, I think I feel blisters forming on my feet just reading this! Keep it coming. Kevin

From: Cazador
24-Feb-16
Flipping sheep hunt for elk! Nice!

From: T Mac
24-Feb-16
Great story and bull congrats Will

From: Willieboat
24-Feb-16
Sweet read !!!

From: Well-Strung
24-Feb-16
Great stuff Will. Glad we got to meet you finally.. Birds of a feather buddy. Some people are into it and some people are all about it. Great bull and hunt I'm really enjoying the story. Drew and I hunt like you all.. Easy visioning being there.

From: PA-R
24-Feb-16
Will, only one thing to say, relentless pursuit. outstanding!

From: Geno
24-Feb-16
Wow! Keep it coming! Love it!

24-Feb-16
Good stuff my friend!

From: Scoot
24-Feb-16
Woot woot! WTG Will!!!

From: Mule Power
24-Feb-16
Man Will that was a great way to burn some time while I wait for draw results. Thanks and congratulations.

From: simek
24-Feb-16
Bad....azz...

From: CO Elkaholic
24-Feb-16
Great thread Will! It's always a highlight of the off season. Only 6 months, 2 days and 8 hours till Colo archery season opens--not that I'm counting!

From: CurveBow
25-Feb-16
Awesome! Congrats!

>>>>-------->

From: weekender21
25-Feb-16
Excellent, congrats!

From: Julius K
25-Feb-16
Will, you are the man! What a great hunt.

From: Bowfreak
25-Feb-16
Good question TBM. Will never kills elk so maybe that is what he is doing wrong.....

From: midwest
25-Feb-16
Steepness never shows well in pictures. These pics look steep, so it must be REALLY steep!

Excellent morning read!

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16
Thanks guys!

Bighurt, If we were hunting while covering ground, I'd say yes, we are going too fast. We don't look for elk. We know where they are so we simply fly in, hunt em, and then walk out. Yea, we bust em coming in/out sometimes but we've got these areas dialed pretty well. Once we get to an area we want to hunt. We hunt slow and quiet. Joe and I have it down to a science to the point our feet hit the ground at the same time.

Ben, I'll post some workout stuff that nobody will want to read :)

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
He was a big bodied bull, but not much for head gear; weird antler configuration with single brows which I've never seen in this area. He's actually my smallest bull and also the one I'm most proud of. Its the journey and effort along the way that defines the trophy for me. This guy was special.

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Couple more trophy pics and we got to work

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Shot was right in the shoulder. It bounced back off the opposite side leg after passing through near the top of the leg bone right where in connects with the shoulder. I try to prepare for the worst but I just missed this one. I suspect I lost my anchor while bending and tilting my bow to get a clear shot. Either way, it was a crappy shot at least 4" in front of where I wanted to hit him

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Upon inspection the broadhead had absolutely destroyed the thickest part of the leg bone. There was barely any bone left. It looked like a dang grenade went off inside it. The only thing holding the leg on was the hide and a bit of meat. I'm not big on debating BHs but I doubt I'll ever change mine.

72# Hoyt Nitrum 34, 30.5" draw, 125g shuttle T, 492g total arrow weight, flying about 287fps

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Time for some work. We quartered and deboned him, debating the whole time how much we should take on the first trip. The more I packed in the Kifaru, the more apparent it became that there wouldn't be a second trip. Here's a shot of me with well over half a bull in my Mountain Warrior. I wore this pack for over 400 miles in 25 days and shot my bull wearing it. Honestly, I forget I'm wearing the thing while hunting. I have no affiliation whatsoever with this company but I can't say enough about this thing. My old pack would have exploded with this amount of weight in it. I had to roll over on my knees to stand up. Time for the homerun trot

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I wouldn't recommend this. We were in so much pain coming out, we couldn't help but laugh. This was our climb out. After we got to the top we had a bunch of blow downs to get over. At one point Joe got slightly off center. It looked like the worlds strongest magnet pulled him, pack first, to the ground. He was laying there arms and legs flailing like a turtle that got turned on its shell. We laughed hard about this but in retrospect we should have probably taken two trips :). Good times!

We met Phil back at camp around 1pm and made plans for the evening hunt within 1.5 miles of camp. No rest for the weary....

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
That night we glassed some elk in the top of some avalanche chutes. I couldn't believe it when Joe said he didn't have it in him to go up there. Ok, then lets go celebrate! Its been a long day. Our friend Chase made it down that afternoon for the last few days of the season.

The following morning I'd go back for my bull's rack and the rest of the group would hunt together. Clock is running out

From: Treeline
25-Feb-16
Totally awesome, Will! You are definitely capturing the spirit of archery elk hunting with the story and pictures! Keep it coming...

From: Shiras
25-Feb-16
That was a hard earned bull. Congrats!

From: Old School
25-Feb-16
Thanks for taking the time during your hunt and after the hunt to capture your adventures for the rest of us. I really enjoy tagging along via bowsite. Just reading about those daily hikes in the mountains makes me tired. Congrats!

--Mitch

From: cnelk
25-Feb-16
Good read and pics buddy!

You're right, that was a saga!

From: buzz mc
25-Feb-16
You've outdone yourself with this years hunt recap. Thanks for bringing us along.

From: Florida Mike
25-Feb-16
Awesome story Will. Great bull too. Mike

From: bigswivle
25-Feb-16
you are one bad a@@ dude!!!!! Great story man

From: Mark Watkins
25-Feb-16
Will,

Congrats on a very well deserved bull!

400 miles!!!

Mark

From: rooster
25-Feb-16
Truly awesome story! Congratulations on a very hard earned bull. Thanks for taking us along.

From: grasshopper
25-Feb-16
Nice write up Will, thanks for sharing the adventure. congrats on another elk in the freezer.

From: elkmtngear
25-Feb-16
Thanks Will. Victory is sweet when you earn it, and you earned that bull tenfold!

Congrats on a great Season, and thanks for the timely entertainment.

Best of Luck, Jeff

From: Stan NJ
25-Feb-16
Haven't posted in some time but if EVER there was a thread to post about...its this one.

Great pictures and re-cap...thoroughly enjoyed it. Couldn't wait for the next days posts. Thank You and congratulations.

From: JLeMieux
25-Feb-16
Man that is awesome. I'm amazed at the amount of ground you covered daily. But, like I've read on here a ton of times, it sucks packing camp into an area and committing 100% just to realize the elk are gone. Your write up is an inspiration.

From: huntmaster
25-Feb-16
Cool story Will! Congrats on your bull!

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Thanks guys! This still ain't over. Here's a few more pics. I'll wrap it up tmro.

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I can't imagine a prettier place to hunt

From: Trophy8
25-Feb-16
Great stuff Will!! Congrats on the hard earned bull!!

From: otcWill
25-Feb-16
Tmro is the last day. It would be a good one....

From: Elkman52
25-Feb-16
I thought "Beast Mode" was that guy from the Seattle Seahawks....He has nothing on you,very impressive to say the least!!

From: drycreek
25-Feb-16
I don't know how you do it, but you do it ! Great write-up and a well deserved reward ! Thanks again for sharing this with us flatlanders.

From: trublucolo
25-Feb-16
That last pic^^^^^^is stunning.

From: KSArcher06
25-Feb-16
This is an awesome story I have never checked a thread so much, thank you for taking the time to do this will!

From: LUNG$HOT
25-Feb-16
Holy crap Will! That last photo is beautiful! Gets the blood pumpin for sure.

From: Cazador
25-Feb-16
Jesus, I kill elk every year it seems, but I hunt the ugliest place in Colorado. That is a hell of a photo!

From: Paul@thefort
25-Feb-16
Hey, Will, it is hard to mask the pain with that half-ass smile.

We get it!

Nice. Your goose hunting friend, Paul

From: midwest
26-Feb-16
Will is hunting on top of the world!

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
A few more pics and then I'll lay this saga to rest

From: Barty1970
26-Feb-16
'Carlsberg don't do elk hunt write-ups...but if they did...they probably wouldn't be as good as OTCWill's...'

Thanks for sharing...great reading and learnt a lot

Good luck and good hunting...September is only 4416 hours away ;-)

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I could have shot a bear right here one afternoon. Hiking in, I caught a flash of brown in my peripheral. I looked up to see a decent bear coming full speed right at me. He was down the opposite side of the drainage and up my side barely giving me time to get an arrow nocked and draw. I actually thought he was attacking me for a second. He stopped at about 5 yards when he finally saw me. I thought about it but, as my buddy HUNT would say, it was "just a bear". He got the pass

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16
That evening Phil, Joe and I hopped in the truck and hunted a new spot 20 miles away. It was good. We were on bugling bulls but, again, couldn't quite close the deal. I had suggested to Chase that he check out the spot I killed a good bull solo in 2013. At about 6:15 I got a text from Chase. He'd shot a nice bull but was losing the blood trail after about 75 yards. I asked him a few questions about the shot before telling him to back out. I'd go back with him in the morning to help him track.

After a long night, we hiked in and were waiting in the dark below where Chase shot the bull the night before. Joe headed WAY up above us to try to fill his own tag. Chase, Phil, and I would see if we heard anything for Phil to go after before going to track the bull. Well before light a bull screamed from not 300 yards away. We eased towards him in the dark with a perfect wind. The idea was to be on top of him with the cover of predawn and surprise him at first light. We got within 100yds and split up, sending Phil up a steep embankment. Chase and I went down about 60 yards and waited until we thought sure Phil would be able to see his pins before starting in on some calling. The two of us ran around cracking sticks and stomping while giving our best rendition of "drama amongst the herd". I cut the bull off a couple times and hit some pleading cow calls. Chase did some raking and some excited herd talk. The bull lost it. He came well within bow range before hanging up behind some brush. We had a bugling match for 10 minutes over which we gave him the kitchen sink. He just wasn't going to leave his girls for another. He was a step away from getting his lungs punched but finally turned and moved off with the herd. I can't believe how many times we almost killed bulls this season. SO close to filling all our tags. That's bowhunting at its best! Lets go find this bull

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The story was that Chase had gotten in close to a couple of bulls bugling and gotten a 30 yard shot. He said he thought the shot looked good. We'd brought him to this area about 5 seasons ago. He'd been hunting hard but this was the first time he'd drawn his bow on an elk. Chase and I left Phil to still hunt some dark timber, wanting to be as quiet as possible in case the bull was alive. Chase is color blind, but if there's one thing I'm good at when it comes to bowhunting, its blood trailing. If he was dead, I'd find him.

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
This was the scene of the crime. I thought sure we'd find him when I saw this. Looks like liver maybe?

After about 300 yards I wasn't feeling as confident. the trail went quickly to pin drops. It was taking me at least half an hour between drops. It was beginning to look hopeless. I questioned whether the hit was where he thought it was. A well hit elk couldn't possibly go this far. Could it?

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16
The trail was every bit the "saga" that this hunt has been. After about 3 hours and well over half a mile, I found the last drop. We had low expectations when we split up to start grid searches. We'd comb the area for a few more hours before meeting up with Joe and Phil and continueing the search. Ten minutes later as I was picking my way through some slash, I heard Chase peel off a "war cry". We got him!! Chase had killed his first elk! YEEHAW

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Happy dude with a great bull. What a great way to end my season seeing a good friend with his first elk. Not bad for a first bull. Well done, Chase; proud of ya, kid.

Smile says it all...

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I took a bunch of pics for him and more than half of them show him looking at the rack. LOL! Good times. Chase has been running around for 5 seasons trying to help his old man get an elk, sacrificing his own success. Never has a bull been more well deserved!

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
This archery elk hunting is one humbling pursuit...

Giving THANKS

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We bugled Joe and Phil in and made quick work of the cleanup. Having 4 guys is pretty nice for breaking down an elk; first time I've experienced this luxury.

Shot of Phil getting cleaning up the skull

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I still can't believe this bull went over a half mile and hadn't been dead long when we found him, another testament to just how tough these critters are.

From: Scoot
26-Feb-16
Awesome! Way to go Will and crew!

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
One happy guy! The rack was dang near as tall as Chase

26-Feb-16
Congratulations to Chase!!! Nice bull! Fun story!

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

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otcWill's embedded Photo
An easy pack out and the cherry on top of a spectacular hunt

From: otcWill
26-Feb-16

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otcWill's embedded Photo

From: Smtn10PT
26-Feb-16
Great write up! Im curious as to what organs were hit on that bull at the end. Looks like the shot may have been a touch low possibly going behind the heart and below the lungs.

From: OFFHNTN
26-Feb-16
Great thread Will! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

From: hardcore247
26-Feb-16
Great write up Will! I think guys looking into OTC elk hunts should look at this thread. This is a very real experience other than hiking 400 miles. That is just nuts.

If you look at the weeks broken down even though they are in elk every day it seems as if the shooter only has one opportunity with bulls in range. I have always believed in a week of OTC elk hunting you are going to get one opportunity if you hunt hard. The guys that are successful make good on that chance.

From: LINK
26-Feb-16
Well done as always Will.

From: Paul@thefort
26-Feb-16
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My best, Paul

From: Tracker12
26-Feb-16
Nice post. So how does that Mountain Warrior handle as a day pack?

From: Bowhunter374
26-Feb-16
I remember this all like it was yesterday!! I don't think anyone could have beaten the smiles off our faces on that mountain!! I don't think you will ever understand how blessed I feel that I met you and Joe and Chase years ago at that trail head!!! Looking forward to many more pack outs with you guys!!!

From: 2tuna@home
26-Feb-16
Bravo! Off the hook.

Even as a vicarious experience it's exhausting enough that I need to lie down and have a beer.

From: KY EyeBow
26-Feb-16
Thanks for taking the time to put that together and let us experience it through your words and awesome pics!! Well done

From: FLGator
26-Feb-16
Hahahaha! What a great hunt!

From: tinecounter
26-Feb-16
Congratulations! Great adventure. Well written. Exhausted from just reading it.

From: midwest
26-Feb-16
Thanks, Will...that was worth the wait!

26-Feb-16
Congratulations on a great season. Thanks for sharing and getting us excited for September.

From: Mitch
26-Feb-16
Congrats on a great season! Thank you for taking the time to bring us along.

From: CO Elkaholic
26-Feb-16
Awesome story. Congrats on 2 great bulls and great memories. For most of us it sounds like a hunt of a lifetime but I have a feeling there will be a sequel coming out next year!

From: venison
27-Feb-16
Congrats ! Great pictures ! Thanks for sharing !

From: loopmtz
28-Feb-16
Sweet!

From: Whip
28-Feb-16
What an epic September! Simply beyond comprehension for most of us. Congratulations and thanks so much for taking the time to bring us along.

It sure has made it tough for me though. For the first time in many years I probably won't be elk hunting this year. I'm expecting a great mulie tag and then have a moose hunt scheduled. Just can't figure out how to squeeze elk in between. Reading this just drove home what I am going to be missing.

28-Feb-16
Best dang read in a long time. Hunting by the real deal hunters. Great stuff and Congratulations to you all. God Bless

From: ELKMAN
28-Feb-16
Awesome hunts! Definitely done the "Right way". Very cool. You guys are welcome in my camp anytime...

From: McDeer
28-Feb-16
Thanks for the time and effort you put in sending this story. Guys like me who will never be able to do this really appreciate it. Will if you don't mind I would like to know what bow and broad heads you use and were you in Co. Thanks again. McDeer

From: HUNT MAN
28-Feb-16
Great job my friend! Can't wait for our next adventure ! And congrats on your next adventure . Huny

28-Feb-16
As always, great thread Will!

Grats to you guys - some great memories there.

From: huntaholic
28-Feb-16
Absolutely amazing! And a beautiful write up.

From: otcWill
29-Feb-16

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Big Thanks to all! These threads are the best thing about Bowsite. I hope I've inspired at least one other hunter to post their story. I may not be able to post my escapades next season as Meredith and I are expecting our first child in May. But, the word is 2017 will be one to remember ;) Thanks again

Smtn10pt, not sure what vitals it hit. We do the gutless and I don't do any autopsies. I'd guess it hit some vital "connection" between the heart and lungs

McDeer, I shoot a Hoyt Nitrum 34, TT shuttle T 125 broadheads

From: Reflex
29-Feb-16
Amazing story. I didn't get to it until now. I'm glad I didn't have to wait and that I could read it in one shot! I'm still a bit in awe as to how many miles you put in. That's unreal. I would be curious to see how much you train in the off season as well. Thanks again for sharing your story and congrats again on your success!

From: CurveBow
29-Feb-16
Will - 1) Congratulations to Chase!; 2) is it possible that the shot was quartering "to", so the arrow angled rearward?

>>>>-------->

From: Julius K
29-Feb-16
Great write up will

From: JohnB
01-Mar-16
I would guess liver hit as well. Congrats to Chase hope to get my first these year as well. You really do a great job with the story and pics thanks again congrats on that baby maybe something good will happen where you can get out for a few days if not watch out 2017 maybe 500 miles!

From: otcWill
01-Mar-16
Curve, Shot was dead broadside. Pic is actually of the exit. The blood sign was arterial I believe. I'd never have guessed that he could have gone that far unmolested.

From: trkyslr
01-Mar-16
Awesome will! Is it September yet? ;-/ great write up and great pics! Thanks for the thread!

From: Swamp Buck
03-Mar-16
Such a great write-up!!! Can't hardly believe that you are in OTC Colorado close to the truck and have no other hunters around you. Best of luck with your first born. That will be your greatest adventure!

12-Apr-16
Bumping to the top so a friend can find and read this great story more easily.

From: bigbulls6
01-May-16
Great story thanks for sharing the hunt!!!

From: vthokee
02-May-16
Will thanks for a great read. Really enjoyed it and the pics.

From: SteveB
02-May-16
Will, not sure how I missed this.....but glad I found it!

Congratulations on an amazing hunt and well earned success. Big admiration!

SteveB

From: Brun
02-May-16
I missed this earlier also. Great story and incredible effort. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Only problem is now I'm all jacked up and still have almost 4 months to wait. Congrats on the upcoming baby!

From: a'Lish
03-May-16
OtcWill; Fabulous...just fabulous!!!

25-Aug-16
Had to bump this to the top to make it easier for a friend to find and read this story.

From: otcWill
25-Aug-16
Gonna do this on one leg with limited time and a baby at home this year :) Good luck to all and thanks again for all the kind words!

From: midwest
25-Aug-16
Careful out there and good luck!

From: a'Lish
25-Aug-16
A fabulous story...just fabulous!

From: SBH
27-Aug-16
Great read. Like the way you hunt. Well done and thanks for posting.

29-Aug-16
ttt for a non-Bowsiter

07-Oct-16
Bump for a new hunter to read

From: bowfinatic
08-Oct-16
Ty orion. What a great read!

From: BOWUNTR
08-Oct-16
Wonderful.... Great read for a rainy day. Thank you. Ed F

11-Oct-16
Good stuff Will. One of Bowsite's best. Congrats

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