Contributors to this thread:
An Elk Story (pic heavy)
Thought seriously about trying to submit my 2013 elk story for publication but just haven't had the time to polish it. So, I'll give it to Bowsite as they'll take me as I am. Hope ya'll enjoy.
I always get out for the opener and this year I had the pleasure of having a couple of my best friends with me, one a lifelong hunter on his first archery elk hunt and the other an interested but currently non-hunter (not for long, boys) on his first ever hunt. We glassed a bunch in the 2 days before the season and had a good group located relatively close to a road. Little bulls were running things as usual per this time of year and we never did see anything nice that first weekend. We did manage to have some fun though! Here's my ex-non-hunter buddy catching the fever as we heard our first bugles of the season, love this pic. He's hooked on day 1!
We snuck in close to the herd we'd been glassing only to see some rags and barely legals (4X4's) pestering the cows. With my friend looking on I was quite tempted to end it hear with an easy shot at this cow, but just couldn't do it. Too much fun yet to be had
Sweet, looking forward to this! Teach me for I am but a grasshopper.
The next 3 days went by in a flash without seeing any good bulls but still great to be in the mountains with good friends, bow in hand. Here's a few more pics from opening wknd before I get on with the good stuff
My homeboy in his scibs crossing a flooded "creek". Haha, I'm sure he'd not approve of this particular shot but that's what friends are for!
This isn't going to unfold fast enough...!!!!
Smile says it all! Found this and two steps later...
Obligatory rub pic, ha! Saw some beautiful country, a bunch of cows/rags, and a lot of these but the big boys were ghosts that first weekend. That's ok cuz I got the last 18 days of the season to enjoy!
Enough messing around. Time for the real thing: The Rut
It was Sept. 9th at 5:00am as I pulled out the driveway. The flood had hit hard and WORK WAS CANCELLED! I was like a kid on Christmas before this but now I was like a kid who got a snow day right before Christmas break!! The skies were opening up like it was the end of days but you wouldn't know that looking at me. I wait all year for September and the next 18 days were mine to do what I love most, chase elk with the bow. 6 hours later I was setting up camp (i.e. pushing my gear to the sides of the killer subaru so that I could sleep in it). Here's a shot of my "camper".
The first evening I grabbed my bow and hit a spot that is an Old Faithful, easy access and almost always has elk. The sun even came out and it seemed the weather would hold for the pm hunt. As is elk hunting (here one year and gone the next), my "go to" was devoid of fresh sign. I stuck it out anyway, did a few cold call setups and managed to call in a torrential downpoor (called quite a few of those in during this hunt). Here's a shot of God's country before He decided I needed a bath!
oh, boy, I need this right now!
Glad my friends are enjoying!
" This isn't going to unfold fast enough...!!!!"
Bare with me though as I'll surely not get this all out in one shot! Gotta go to lunch now. Here's a sideways shot for all my crooked Bowsiters, a nicely carved trail in steep country, oughta make ya dizzy
July is such a slow month. Thanks for posting Will! C
You are not helping me focus on work!!!! If you drag this out too long I may have to send you a bill:)
Keep it coming.
You are learning well to keep up the suspense by going to "lunch". I use the "walk the dog trick".
Oh, by the way, thanks for posting the CBA sticker on your "camper"???
My best, Paul
This is perfect....thanks for posting.
These are so cool and we don't have enough of us writing these. Writing about your adventure is a great way to preserve the memories and share with your future generations to provide a snapshot in time of your life. This is what (your) history is made of.
Lovin it Will! Keep it coming. Sept never comes soon enough. Bringing back spine chilling memories of my hunt last year with identical conditions. Was so great.
Can't wait to see the rest
How long of a lunch break do you need?!!
it should go like this.
Went elk hunting.
Pic of successful hunt. Done:)
Thanks for the kind words guys.
I tried to wait out the storm under a spruce. This ended with me finally relenting and walking the 1.5 miles back to camp well after dark in a deluge. Good first day!
It poored all night and was still hammering when I awoke at 3:00am. This and the fact that I had some out of state buddies (whom I was quite dedicated to helping get their first elk) coming in a few days, made it an easy decision to drive around and glass some of my favorite spots. The first spot produced!! I saw over 30 elk in a basin that we've killed 4 in the last 5 years. Only issue with this spot was that it is a brutal 4 mile climb to get to and I wasn't sure my flatland friends were up to it. Here's a shot of the spot from the previous year when it wasn't raining all season. The look I got that morning was from a heck of a long ways off and I couldn't tell what caliber of bull was running the show.
Most of the locals know all about the elk up here and laugh when I tell 'em I hunt it. Yes, there are easier places but those spots all get pressure. After watching the herd long enough that I felt sure I knew what they were up to I peeled off to another spot a few miles away where I could glass from the road. For this, the parking is closer to the spot I was glassing and I could see them before I even rolled to a stop, 12 cows/calves and 2 bulls, good ones. This particular spot is quite a bit "easier" to get to than the other so its an easy decision that this is where I'll take the greenhorns when they arrive. With a great gameplan on two different groups of elk to hunt when the troops arrive, I took the rest of the morning to go over my gear and shoot in the pooring rain. I decided that if the rain let up even the slightest I'd head up about 1-2 miles under the larger group to an area where I'd never hunted but heard them bugling from quite a few times while hiking in and out in the dark.
I was hoping to get into some of the aspen/dark timber below the stuff in the last pic. The rain let up and the sun popped out around 3:30pm and I came busting out the subaru like a race horse out the gates.
Do trees always grow out of the ground at a 45 degree angle.?..ours grow straight up.
I made it up a gnarly bunch of switchbacks in short time and cut across a meadow and into uncharted territory at about 4:15. Stuff looked good right away. I stopped to glass some suspicous looking tan spots WAY up the top of a dangerously steep shoot and sure enough, there they were in the hardest place within 20 miles to access. I sighed and smiled as I had a snack and mentally prepared myself for the brutal climb. Here's a shot of one of hundereds of trails leading to my destination. This ain't no hiking trail!
No sooner had I finished my snack and stashed everything I didn't need to kill an elk, a bugle broke the silence. This was close! A shower had just passed leaving the woods with that silence you can almost feel and this was almost deafening, absolute music to my ears. My heart skipped a beat. This was the first good bulge of the year to hit my ears and this dude sure didn't sound like a raghorn. I estimated him to be maybe 200-300 yards away depending on topography and which way he was heading. I made quick use of the cover, staying in a creek bottom (these tend to have somewhat steady wind currents even at this particularly finicky time of day) until I thought I was about 100 yards away and waited for his next bugle, ready to cut him off. Arrow nocked, bugle at the ready, ambush set, I waited. About 10 minutes (seemed like forever) later he sounded off and I rudely interrupted, mimicking him as best I could. After that it was snap, crack, pop as he came crashing through the woods like a puppy through the kitchen at the sound of his dog bowl being filled!
As soon as I saw him I knew he was a good one, probably 260-270. He ran across in front of me so fast that he never even heard my nervous grunt. He stopped at 30 yards in one of the only places I couldn't sneak an arrow through and after assessing the situation for about 20 seconds he blew outta there. DANG! If only I'd had somebody with me he'd of run them over!! Believe it or not, before I could begin to feel the letdown of the close call, another bugle rang out. I know. This is like a dang Primos video, but its otc public land. Sometimes it just goes off!! This time I took my time and closed to within what I thought was about 80 yards, picking a perfect ambush spot. If he came this way he had to come right past me. I brought my bugle up waiting to cut him off. Facing away from him I did my best to intimidate him as he roared his next tune. As soon as I cut him off I turned, arrow nocked and snuck another 30 yards just in time to see a sapling hit the ground 40 yards in front of me as if a T-rex had stepped on it. He was bigger than the last one and on a course to come right where I'd hoped he would. When he dipped below the little knob I'd perched myself on I drew knowing that the next time I layed eyes on him he'd be inside 15 yards. He came lumbering over the rise now at 10 yards, still moving towards me. I was going to whack him as soon as he stopped with a frontal but before I knew it I was leaning back to give the arrow clearance as he strolled by at 3 feet!! I let him walk to about 5 yds and just when I was about to let him have it on the move, he stopped to bugle. He stretched his neck and got out a bit of a noise before my arrow founds its mark and took out both his lungs before cartwheeling through the woods behind him. He took two steps before I stopped him with a bugle (keep that diaphragm in your mouth). He turned slowly to look at me before going down. Maybe 5 seconds from when I touched my release and only 10 minutes from hearing my first real bugle of the season, he was dead. Perfect! Probably due to my lucky CBA hat, huh Paul?!
Check out the high end camo I used to make myself invisible! Learned this from Blacktailbob. Here's another shot of my bull that ought to keep you bloodthirsty guys off my case for a minute, but THIS HUNT IS NOT OVER!! My buddies haven't even shown up yet and I still have a bear tag. I'll update this tommorrow morning but might drag it along till next weekend when I've got the time to do it justice. There will be more bowhunting, I promise...
NEAT looking bull and a great story (so far)!
I'm glad you posted this one instead of publishing!
Best of Luck, Jeff
Thanks for the pics and story.
Wow great bull!!!! Congrats
You had to find that bull dead, NO WAY you were able to kill him with the lack of camo.....
Good job Will. Nice bull.
Great pics and read Will.
Looking forward to the rest.
Hey Will, LUCKY CBA HAT! You bet.
Great Story so keep it up. Your pre season elk hunt will surely stir a lot of interest and emotions.
Looking forward to the rest. Paul
Damn nice thread Will !
Thanks for sharing--
Good luck, Robb
PS Nice shooting Paul.
Man that was great. We need one of these a month during the off season.
Thanks Will. Come on September.HUNT
Will, congrats nice bull. The picture "steep enough" is a beautiful shot.
Damn been needing a thread like this. Thanks for sharing Will.
Very cool! Just a matter of time!
great pics screw the mags they wont let u post all them pics !!Nice bull
I can almost smell em
Awesome! Just Awesome! God Bless
What a great story...thanks Will. Impeccable timing too!
Outstanding, Will! That's the way it's supposed to happen....spittin' distance! Love it!
Great story! Can't wait for the rest. Thanks for posting.
Great job, Will! Killer bull and a killer story. Congrats, and more to come??!!
Looking forward to that!
TBM, where I was scouting last week, on a high ridge, all the trees were tilted at an angle and very few had any branches on the west side. The ones that did had their branches wrapped around the tree facing east.
Year round wind does this up here.
Oh man Will, This is just what the doctor ordered. Thank you for waiting to post this! Semi live elk hunt in July..... you can't beat that....
Thanks Will, I think we all needed that!
Keep it coming. Love the pictures.
BTW - what were those GPS coordinates? You can PM them to me. Lol
Man, Awesome, Thanks Will!
Will, thanks for sharing and great pictures! You tell a good tale, and it seems you always end up with a nice critter.
Thanks guys! Glad I can brighten some bowhunters' days.
I've got about 30 minutes before I'm on the clock this morning and my dang computer won't access the wifi network which will keep me from posting pics until this evening. I know, thats the best part. I'll dig a few up that are from the area but not this particular hunt to post this morning.
My bull was down at 4:45 and I just stood there dumbfounded, THANKFUL, ECSTATIC. I said a quick prayer, took the obligatory blood trail/scene of the crime pis for BOWSITE, and got to work. I had him deboned and hanging by 6:30 and was on my way back to the trailhead (left my pack at the car, good thing I'm in shape). My local buddy had just arrived when I reached my car and we had a quick toast before heading back in. When we got back to my bull I'd already done 7 miles back/forth that day and who knows what elevation change. Its STEEP. I absolutely love packouts though! We got him out in two trips (minus the head) and were back at camp by 2:00 am the next morning. Oh yea, it poored the entire time. Normally we can get any cow and most bulls out in one shot but this dude was huge in body. Slept in the next morning and didn't hit the trailhead until 7:00am, in the rain. I had high hopes of finding a bear on the carcass as I eased up to the spot. No luck. I grabbed the head/rack and was off to the processor. Total 12 miles up and down in 18 hours and in the rain, all the out trips with over 80lbs on my back. Be ready for this, greenhorns! Photo is of the same area the year before, spikes always beg to be shot.
Can't wait for the rest! Thanks.
Here's a few shots of the bull I wanted to hunt this season. I spent countless hours scouting/glassing him. I only ever saw him on public land two other times both during 4th rifle. This unit is one of those feast or famine areas and I just couln't sacrifice getting into elk every day in order to try to break a record. I know some may not understand this but to me the experience is of much more value than the number of inches on my wall. Awesome bull, nonetheless! He's still alive and lurking on private land (mostly) in a 0-1 pt draw unit
These shots were taken on opening day of deer (and elk) season 2 years ago. Alot of guys woulda probably stuck their OTC elk tag on him. Unfortunately, quite a bit of that crap goes on here in CO.
I'll get back to the story this evening when I've got access to my pics from this hunt.
Great stuff Will! Congrats and will take another helping please!
Awesome Will!!!! Thanks for the elk hunting fix.
Great story and pics. Keep it coming.
What a beast of a bull.....
Awesome, can't wait for the rest. Thanks for sharing!
Yeah Will! Always bringing the story to life and makes you feel as if you on the adventure with him. Will is as hard core they come. He grew up as a low lander in Jersey and is a fantastic whitetail hunter as well. After moving to CO, his thirst for big game hunting exploded and he has evolved into a high altitude athlete in order for these adventures to look like a Sunday stroll in the park.
I am extremely proud to be a called a good friend of his and he has taught me some great elk hunting tips.
Can't wait for the rest of the story to be posted. I will not spoil it bc it's worth the wait!
Pic is from my trip with Will back in 2011 - Taken at the place where all the local chuckle when we tell then where we hunt at.
Gnarly old sway back of a bull!
Heck yea Dennis! That hunt will always be one of my best memories. You are always welcome! Post up the pic of you standing with your fists in the air on "the spine" and any others. See ya in November brother
Can't wait bud! Nothing like Rutting Bucks in November! Thinking about it - Yeah there is - Rutting Bulls in September! :D Call you soon brother!
Great story, great bull and pictures. I look forward to the rest of the story.
Thanks for sharing! Great story. No camo and a Subaru may get you a visit from the industry police. If word gets out that you don't need all the stuff thats advertised anarchy may break out.
Next you are going to tell us you guys wore some cotton and somehow survived :^)
Cracking read so far; thanks for sharing keep it coming
looking forward to "the rest....of the story" (Paul Harvey voice)
A couple photos from "the scene of the crime". Two of the 4 fletch stayed in a rib
Shuttle T unscathed. I know, I should ditch the outserts but they still manage to get the job done.
Hit em here and watch em fall!
Oh man.... I was just headed to bed.
Great pics and story! Congrats. Looking forward to the rest of the story, though the wife seem to think that I need no further "elk stimulation".
She claims that I'm worse than the kids with a sugar buzz.
Great story so far Will. Beautiful bull too!
Great story Will! Could talk this for hours with you man!
What an adventure thanks for sharing
Which pin did you use at 5 yards? All of them? lol
Oh, forgot to mention that the other bull I'd called in prior hung around all night bugling his face off throughout the meat cutting/pack out. So, after whipping my bull over to the processor we decided to go back to the same spot and see if he wanted to push his luck. I decided to go light and simply enjoy being in the woods as a caller. Mistake! We snuck away from the remains of my bull (still hadn't been touched by bears) a couple hundred yards and set up to do some calling. I did a little rendition of a lil bull chasing around some aggravated cows and within minutes we saw something golden coming our way. I saw blonde coat and black head and immediately said, "ELK!". I wish it had been an elk but it was one of the nicest looking bears I've ever seen, blonde as a grizz with a dark chocolate head and neck, probably 250#(thats nice for CO). He came thru below us at 50 yards stopping to check the wind. I immediately told Joe, "Give me your bow and release!". I wasn't quite sure what I was gonna do at this point only that I really wanted to shoot him. I wasn't gonna take a 50 with Joe's bow though I'd shot it before. To make an agonizing story short he came by at 15 yards. I drew Joe's bow and stopped with a huff. Before I could settle the top pin he started walking again into some thick stuff. DANG! Truth be told I certainly could have shot him but something felt wrong about it. Great experience either way! Here's a shot of a similarly colored but smaller bear that got the pass.
Sorry, no pic, cant' figure out how to crop out some telltail peaks from my picture. Here's a shot of the spot we had the bear come by. He came up this hill to the right giving me quite a few chip shots (with my own bow at least). Nice little spot with a wallow at the base
We ended that evening with only the bear sighting. No elk. No bugles.
We headed back to camp in a spot where there some other hunters based and one particularly drunken and mouthy Wisconsin boy kept telling us about a big 6x7 right up behind camp in a spot we'd never been. I guess he was on his way out of town and was spilling the beans. I was hesitant to take advice from a dude who was slobbering all over himself but Joe wanted to give some new country a look before our flatland buddy and his father showed up the next day. Being that I was tagged out I let him make the call and the following morning we were hoofing over a steep ridge into the secluded basin the guy had suggested.
The hike in was approximately 2 miles up and had some sign but was sorta feeling like a goose chase until we crested the ridge and looked down into a large open basin. We smelled em right away, not an old scent. With all the rain anything we were smelling had to be coming from elk in the basin at this very moment.
Speaking of the rain, I had chronic bronchitis for the whole hunt after packing my bull out in a sleet/rain storm. Be ready for that too firstimers. Elk hunting is sorta like going to war, no quitting cuz you're hurt!
This place was an absolute gem! There were some bighorn in the upper part of the basin and a great muley buck as well. We came for elk though and as we snuck down and got a better view of this beautiful basin, There They Were! Four cows and, would ya believe it, a giant 6x7 probably 340ish.
Time for work, gonna have to leave ya'll hanging for a bit, more to come. I'll leave ya with a shot of God's finest work
Will, most of my friends from Wisconsin are slobbering drunk at some point during our hunts! That's when the stories really get going! Ha! Awesome story so far! Thanks for sharing!
Maybe the booze helps ease the burning lungs and legs? Can't wait to read more!
Will, outstanding story my friend....
Dang it this is getting me fired up!
I can't imagine getting trashed and trying to hike in the mountains hung over. I'd never make it.
This is a great thread! I can't wait!
Nice bull! Thanks for the story and pictures.
Great story! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.
You are killing me!! Great story. Still waiting for that PM with the GPS location though - lol.
Great story and pics, but come on, quit leaving us hanging?!!!
Better than any magazine story I've ever read....thanks!
We had to make a decision on whether to put the ninja sneak on this bull or to try to call him in. He seemed quite casual and wasn't making a bit of noise or perstering his cows much. With that in mind as well as his location, spot and stalk was the easy choice. I hung back with my bugle at the ready and Joe sprinted across the bottom of the basin to take advantage of their position before they fed away. The elk were just above Joe in this little saddle in the pic. You can see Joe also sports some great camo, haha!
That glowing white orb in the pic is Joe closing ground fast. The elk, as if on cue, started feeding up towards the dark timber. I zipped over to the right to where I could watch things play out. I wish I'd taken some pics from there but it was too intense to remember to take photos. The sneak went perfectly. Joe somehow managed to get above and to the left of them. He crouched down next to the last little spruce in the top of the basin and waited as they fed closer, now probably 100 yards. They came well within bow range and kept coming.
The cows fed right past him at about 20 yards with the bull close behind. As he came by Joe shifted his feet and readied for the shot but accidentally rolled a golf ball sized rock. The bull swung his head around and actually came closer! Joe held tight waiting for him to turn or relax. Debatable, what to do here. It may have worked to just stand, draw and shoot, but Joe froze for what seemed like forever, the bull staring in his direction. After the prolonged stand off the cows had gotten too far for him and he whirled quick and trotted away. Joe stood up and tried to stop him with a mew but he wasn't having it. SO CLOSE!
We headed out hoping to have not bumped em bad enough to have blown a future encounter as well. Joe decided to hunt alone that evening and left me to hike my treestand back up to the spot I killed my bull in hopes of filling my bear tag. Bear rig pic
This stuff ain't easy but I live for it!
Still nothing had hit the gut pile. Incredible since we'd seen that nice blondie only 200 yards from the spot the day before. I sat and enjoyed myself anyway, hearing a few bugles from the shoots above me but never seeing any critters. Got a nice lil break from the rain though and was a good evening to be out
Tommorrow the flatlander arrive and I've got 2 good bulls waiting in this shoot and a nice open basin right next to it. They won't have to wait long to get into elk (grin)!
I think I figured out how to crop that pic I mentioned earlier of the lil blonde bear that got the pass
Time for a beer! Long day, tommorrow will be good
Will, this is an incredible account and we haven't even made it to all of the funny stories we are bound to hear about the greenhorns!
My buddy Phil arrived that evening and we told him and his father to prepare for a tough 2 hour hike into the "The Basin" the following morning. We hit the trailhead around 3:00am in order to give the boys an easy time of it. By 4:30 it was becoming clear that we wouldn't make it to treeline by first light which was the original plan. Joe and I nearly killed our flatland buddies that morning but 2 hours later we were reaching treeline and catching our first glimpse of the elk. They were near the top of the basin heading for a thin strip of dark timber shown on the right in the attached pic. Phil and his father were so whipped that there was no chance that either of them would be able to make the sprint to the top of the basin in order to beat the elk to their bedding spot so Joe peeled off and up at a good pace. The three of us decided to have a snack/rest over to ;the left side of the basin as I knew from past experience that this was a likely exit route if Joe busted em.
We circled around and as we crested the rock hill to the left we noticed the cows were starting to filter our way, a beaty 6x in tow! I knew exactly where they'd cross. I pointed to a lil pinch point at the bottom left side of the basin (can't quite see it in pic) and told Phil he needed to be there, FAST! He took off, still catching his breath from the original climb, while pops and myself waited, fingers crossed. When the elk were right at the spot I'd predicted I ripped off a bugle getting an immediate response. We held our breath anticipating timber crashing as the cows ran off without the bull. No such luck. I later found out that Phil was 70 yards away from the bull (50 from where I told him he needed to be) when I stopped him and that they had a prolonged staring contest before he turned and ambled off with his ladies. This is a perfect example of: the better shape you're in, the better your chances. Almost a first day, first light, first bull. He did have a spike come up and sniff him. Figures. My buddies eyes were bulging outta their heads on the first morning. They were definitely having fun!!
We met up with Joe who had been very close to shooting a nice 5x before the wind switched on him. After an exciting first morning our NR buddies were off the recoop; another reason to stay in the best shape you can be in. This probably felt like a good idea at the time but its gonna sting after hearing about that evenings hunt. Here's a shot of exactly where the elk came thru.
Joe and I had a quick bite to eat before heading to another of our "go to" spots for the afternoon hunt. We carefully snuck into this lil secluded meadow surrounded by dark timber. We set up and did some cold calling in hopes that somebody was bedded in there. We don't normally hunt this spot right until last light because its 2.5miles of slash in and out and can be quite dangerous at night with everything soaked. Here's a shot of the meadow. Look elky?
Just before we were getting ready to start the hike/still hunt back to the car a bugle broke the silence. We tucked into the edge of the aspens in the meadow pic. He was staying just inside the dark timber a good 300 yards away on the opposite edge of the meadow. I gave him all I had, stomping, thrashing, cutting him off. I tried it all and he got PISSED but wouldn't break outta the timber. At one point after not hearing him for 10 minutes or so and the wind swirling, Joe actually stood up and walked out saying "He got our wind, man. Its a done deal". I'm like eff that, we might as well stick this out now. Stay tight and be patient. Good idea! Moments later he bugles again. Same spot. I cut him off and go running thru the aspens like a crazed person smashing everything in sight in attemt to sound like a herd of cows being aggravated. This went on forever and just before last light he'd had his bugle interrupted for the last time. I hear Joe say, "He's coming, He's coming, He's coming", obviously shook. Now Joe is an ice in the veins killer if I ever met one but something about this particular exp. had him falling to pieces. AWESOME! You just can't prepare yourself for this kinda stuff. Bull comes ripping across the meadow at a dead run, grunting and slobbering like the drunken WI boy from a few days ago! Joe draws when he's at like 50 or so and the bull comes right to us, 20 yards straight on. I thought Joe was gonna whack him with a frontal but just before he could let him have it the bull comes at an angle to go right past him. When he hits broadside of Joe at 10 yards I stop him with a squeal. THWACK! The dang thing runs almost right into us and past us before turning around and running back the way he came. I stop him again at about 75 yards (outta Joe's range I guess) and he stands there looking unhurt for about 2 minutes before turning, now obviously wounded and lumbering off towards the dark stuff. I couln't see the shot and Joe tells me he missed the kill zone by a mile and thinks maybe stomach/diaphragm. This can happen to anybody. Joe has killed good bulls most years and this guy is a rag. Just something aobut an elk screaming in your face and charging you that can have a cold-blooded killer wet himself. That's what we're out there for is this kind of rush. We decided to track a lil bit that evening knowing that the constant rain will wash any visible sign by tommorrow.
We find this right where he stood looking back at us. Promising. We sneak to the edge of the meadow and I spot him bedded right away and try to motion Joe over in hopes he might get to finish him off now. No luck. He jumped and ran. It would be a long night and most my experiences with jumping poorly hit animals has ended in tag soup. All bowhunters know this feeling, sick, cautiously hopeful....
My apologies. I thought I'd get this off this morning but I'm on the clock in 5 minutes. Thanks for the kind words, boys.
Awesome!! Thanks for posting this story, it's just what I needed right now! I know that it's a lot of work to put one of these together, and you are doing an excellent job!
Will has me "Slobbering" over my keyboard this morning reading this story! Even know I know the ending, seeing these pics and reading it makes me feel as I am with Joe, Will and the WI guys. It's perfect that the story is cut off at the right moment to keep all of us on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next chapter. It pays dividends to be in great shape - I learned first hand...the hard way with them! :)
Man, if only they started making outdoor TV shows this interesting I may start watching again.
Awesome post, thank you!!
I think you need to take the day off of work and finish this! Priorites man...
How many arrows does Joe have in his quiver?
I was just wondering why he resisted the follow-up shot at 75 yards, since he already had an arrow in the bull....especially since he felt that he hit it a little bit back....I agree that it is a little far, but a follow-up shot at a wounded animal is different than a first shot from a long distance.
This is great. Even though I would have read it in a magazine, I'm so glad you decided to post it on Bowsite. Being able to read and follow along with the pictures makes it an awesome experience from a readers perspective. I even enjoy the "have to go to work" breaks and the anticipation of tonight's read. Thanks again for posting this.
WAY better than a magazine read. Great job, Will!
Great story thanks for sharing really ready to get out there now!!
Tell me more!
Great story WIll!
Your the man!
Thanks Will, I am so loving this thread! Every year at this time I think about elk and being in Colorado - sometimes to the point where I can barely stand it! Did anybody else notice the shadow of the bow in the photo right before the TBM post?
sounds like a solid liver with all that blood only problem u might have is a bear on the elks trail also .Lucky u don't have grizz out that way
Incredible hunt (aggressive yet smart) and great story telling!
Nicely done Will!
Yep, saw the shadow of the bow also noticed in another pic. the initials carved in the aspen tree...dated 1939!
Jake, he's got 4 arrows in his quiver. No doubt I would have whacked him myself at 75 with a follow up but Joe's never taken anything, range or animal, beyond 50 so he didn't feel confident. This is another opp. to learn a lesson for those that don't practice LONG (100+) range. Its fun as hell and you'll be glad you did it some day.
We made the slash cover trek back into the area the next morning in the dark. Spirits were not high. The plan was to be at the meadow at first light and to sneak in, arrow nocked, to try to find him in his bed. Our buddies were still whipped from the day before and we heard no noise from their tent. I gotta laugh at the guys eating twinkies to stay in elk shape as they are obviously playing a different sport than we are. Phil and his father are in pretty darn good shape for some easterners and they've been on their backs now for 24 hours after only one day with us. As we popped into the meadow we were greated by a group of about 20 cows/calves. They ended up coming by us at about 12 yards while we just crouched down exposed in the meadow. This was some particularly painful video for our sleeping friends to watch later!
Great story. I saw the carving on the aspen tree also. Looked like it had someone's name. Joseph was the first name. Last name looked like "Bulusco" or something like that. Date was July 17, 1939. Also, if you look farther up the tree it looks like a carving of a horse's head or something. This is great stuff!
After letting the cows pass thru we found Joe's arrow in short order and began sneaking towards where we'd jumped him the evening before. We made it about half way across the meadow when another group of 4-5 cows came thru on the same path as the others. They fed and got filmed at 30 yards for about 5 minutes before they left. As we crept towards the last sighting I saw something move. Bear! Big chocolate! I ranged him quick at 52 yards, drew, and he turned just as I was about to release. Son-of-a!!! This "almost" thing was getting a little old. The good new was, he had to have been on Joes elk. Another 50 yards of tip-toeing and there he was, plenty dead. The bear had only eaten one thing. Any guesses? This is the trail leading to where we found the bull. You can see how fruitless tracking with actual tracks is in high density elk areas. Tracks are everywhere!
We were absolutely thrilled to have found this guy! Shot was way back (3/4) and in the top quarter of his body. I should have taken a few pics so we could all argue what happened, lol, but I think it was as Louis predicted, liver/stomach. Lucky regardless but I'll take it! We celebrated for a few and got to work. This lil guy would be a walk in the park one shot packout for sure.
He started at his butthole!
I like to have the tarp for this. No need to hang meat as it will be off the elk and on our backs in less than an hour
Were you still able to save proof of sex after the bear had his lamb fries with a side of Callamari:)sp.
Nice thread Will.
Ha! You nailed it Rick. He ate only the nuts and detached the othe evidence. Joe zipplocked the shaft and packed it with the meat. We got a good chuckle outta that! The sun even showed itself for about 5 minutes during the packout
Half a raghorn was a breeze compared to 1/4 of a good bull. Always feels good to get em out in one trip
My pack is only 2800ci. Fits half an elk with room to spare and we leave nothing behind. Except his cookies
Ok, great read! Now lets get to the "Flatlanders! I is one!
sweet! Hard to believe those guys could sleep in with all the elk action you were into.
How far did the bull travel after he was bumped from his bed?
Pick up the pace on this will ya?
I'm practically in my driveway with motor running waiting for Sept!
I'm currently in the Salt Lake City Airport waiting for my flight to Seattle....and then Fairbanks for a caribou hunt. So glad I stumbled upon this thread. Great write up and great pictures!!! Awesome stuff!!!!
Will must be having folks over for elk steaks and beer tonight. :)
Will needs to change his handle to "Cliffhanger". Damn it man! Where are ya?? Lol
Will, was that a Diamond Marquis you are shooting?
Alright, lets wrap this up. Here's a shot of a chocalote bear a bit smaller than the one I almost busted on Joe's elk. This one we walked right up on while on the trail
Jake, Joe's bull died within 100yds of his first bed. Appeared he died on the run. Lucky.
We packed the lil bull out and the weather took a turn for the worse. Yes it gets worse than constant rain! You can't have an elk thread with no wallow pic (grin).
We headed back to camp to see if our buddies were still alive. Barely. Here's a shot of their tent. Rain turned to sleet turned to snow
We dragged these guys out of their fatigue induced comma's and hit the woods that afternoon. We decided to hit the same spot as Joe killed his bull with all those cows in the area. Cows did as they were supposed to and were right in the meadow when we eased in near last light. When I spotted em I sent Phil up to try to close the deal. He whispered back that they were at 70yds and there was no getting closer. Well, anybody who has crawled after antelope in 6 inches of grass wouldn't say that! This is another perfect example of why some guys eat tags and others eat elk. If there's an elk feeding in a meadow and the wind is good, it can be bowkilled; simple as that. They fed off without an arrow being flung. We were definitely having fun but we could tell these guys weren't quite up for the type of hunting we usually do. The next few days the weather was brutal and even the elk didn't come out of bed. We got a few hunts in anyway and managed to get a little more sick and beat up.
After it had rested a couple days we headed back into the same lil meadow for one more shot. Nothing in the morning and this is what our buddies looked like after 6 or so days of hunting (1 of which they spent asleep). As we got ready that afternoon to move in for the pm hunt we heard some branches break (maybe 3:30pm) and a nice bull comes trotting right by without even seeing us. Always be ready!! Phil quick nocked an arrow and when I thougt he was in a good position I ripped off a challenge. The bull stopped maybe 50 yards in front of Phil but no shot. Surely one of these close calls would end with a bloody arrow. No such luck. The next couple days were tough without seeing any elk and with 5 more days to hunt our buddies were quiting. We had one more evening before they pointed the truck east and headed home. The last evening we had a good bull glassed and bedded and we had a great settup but the wind switched very close to the moment of truth. Right before phil was going to draw on him at 35 yards the herd went ballistic and stormed off the mountain. Tough hunt for our friends but they most definitely "enjoyed the hunt".. Here's a few more pics. Its almost here my fellow elk addicts!! Thanks for following
He doesn't fit in the subaru
So he gets to ride on top. Had a hot chick beep at me and scream "nice rack" on the way home!
After my friends left early I had a few extra days for some of this. Black spot is me stalking in on some lopes. But thats another story... Stay well my friends
Hahahaha! Love the subaru pics. Great story Will!
Thanks for the great story and pics, Will! I feel sorry for those guys leaving early. They likely will get home and regret that decision for the next 11 months.
This is why I go solo these days. When one guy gets down, he will bring the rest down.
Thanks Will. Great story and pics. It sure does have me chomping at the bit to hit the Co mtns in 28 days.
He doesn't fit in the subaru! such problems LOL.Great story,great hunt.How many years since you left jersey?
A Subaru with a "roof rack"??? I've seen that before! This was us in 2007. Great story, thanks for posting it here.
Awesome story Will. Your patience with the flatlanders is remarkable. Sounds like you are guide material :)
Good luck this season and I hope to read your story from 2014.
Thanks again for sharing Will. Looks like a great season, I think we'd all like to hear the goat story!
Great story and great hunt! I know how those guys felt going home, that used to be me. Going home with no elk, but just happy to have been there and seen it. Then I'd hit the state line and regret leaving. Now I hunt it out til the end. No regrets and I can rest at home, I hit the mountains to hunt.
Thanks for the adrenaline! See ya on the mountain!
Fantastic read!!!!! Hey, let your buddies know I'm interested in all there slightly used Kuiu gear, bows, arrows and camping stuff. I'm Sure they don't want to go thru that torture test again!
Loved the story and pics! Thanks. Do it again next year, please.
Awesome adventure. Thanks again.
You mentioned several times about being in great shape. What it is that you do that puts you in the kind of shape that allows you to hunt like this?
The reason I ask is that I'm pretty sure I met your flatland buddies while turkey hunting in Nebraska this spring (I was parked next to a Subaru Impreza with Colorado tags and a Colorado bowhunters sticker in the window). We talked turkey hunting and elk hunting for awhile. They both looked to be in excellent shape, but it is apparent that they just couldn't hang with you. What do you do that puts you above and beyond the others?
Small world, buzz mc! That was me. I usually dont' brag about what I do to stay in shape, but since you asked. I run about 40 miles a week (all under or very near 7min miles), do tons of body strengthening excercises (planks, pushups, pullups, situps, yoga), lots of medium to light wieghts, and a ton of hiking/scouting with more weight than necc in my pack. I hunted this way when I was out of shape as well but now its MUCH easier. We hike in to spots for a morning hunt that most guys would bivy for a few days. I find the easiest way to get into unpressured elk in CO otc units is to go where nobody else can. It has payed off. I moved out here from Jersey 12 years ago and never looked back
Thanks for reply. Those of us from the east that only get to spend a week or two out west can only assume what we are doing to prepare is adequate. It's nice to hear what those that are consistently successful do to make them that way.
Hope to be reading another one of your posts next July/August.
Will, I got the "nice rack" comment from ish year old ladies at a Hardy's a couple years ago. Made my day:)
Nice read. I have to get in better shape!
Will, excellent story! Thanks for taking the time to write this up and share pics. Congrats on your bull and best of luck this year.
Great story. Thanks for sharing it all.
Have a great hunt this year.
Will, I really enjoyed that but you also confirmed why I do not shoot big racked elk.
1. Can not get the rack in the back of my camper.
2. Can not get the rack through the door of my house.
3. If mounted, the tips would go through the celling.
4. Small/younger elk just taste better.
5. I should be so lucky to have one in range.
My best, Paul
Great thread Will. Thanks. Run 40 miles per week,wow. Looks like you are hunting some pretty high country and all that cardio helps a bunch.
This saw just great so much fun to follow and get the heart going.
Really cool thread Will! This is good medicine for a guy who won't be going elk hunting this year. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.
such a damn awesome story Will thanks!!!
hey did you ever go back into the bowl with the 6x7? what happened there and with the two spots you scouted in the beginning?
Bullnbow, yea, we went back to that bowl once. Did some calling to no avail. It seemed we bumped em to the next basin another mile or so over. After the first day we were careful not to over-do it. The big basin where I saw a huge group before my friends arrived is the toughest stuff we hunt and wasn't going to be conducive to my out of state friends. Phil coulda done it but his pops may have had a heart attack. Just talked to them recently and they'll be ready next year and the year after that and the year after that..... Thanks for following along
Man what an awesome story and pics!! Way better than in a magazine! Bring on September!!
Will Great Elk Hunt story, I can also vouch for the being in shape part. If you want Big Elk you need to venture where no one else is if you can. You need to be able to cover territory like 5 - 8 Miles per day at times, calling, walking, stalking. I do 40 mins of stairmaster about 3 times a week but if you guy's can just walk some hills with 50lbs on your back that would be great also as 9000 foot elevation will suck the wind right out of you. Will where in NJ were you from as I live in Flemington? This is my Big 6X6 from 2 years ago as I didn't go last year but going back into MT September 11th to try for a bigger boy than this one.
Great read Will! Thanks for sharing!
Great story telling! And better hunt. Thanks for taking the time.
Elk country - it's beautiful, but it's also WILD.
otcWill...Great story and pics! Thanks for sharing the hunt.
Best of luck this season,
Here ya go, Ike (Idyl). You, sir, are an evil genius! See ya in Sept.
Funny story to clue people in about the bump.
I've been doing a bunch of research and figured I'd found the perfect spot searching topo maps and figured I'd bounce it off of Will. Come to find out, it's his honey hole.
And no, I'm not telling anyone where it is.
BTW, Will, I'm not sure how cool I am with you bringing guys to my spot.
Ha! Glad it was you who found it. I've got a feeling you'll fit well with the few guys I hunt with
Dave nice bull flemington wow my lymes doctor is down that way few years ago bought vette from there nice part of NJ and my taxi guy is close Ringos
will my steak med rare lol
Will- I just want to know where your 2014 semi-live is at? Quit holding out!! :)
Bump for a friend.
Man, seems like a lifetime ago.
For some reason, it seems that the pictures get lost on all of these older stories. Really stinks! Will try on the computer to see if the pictures come in.
Better on the computer but still a lot of pictures missing. I obviously missed this thread when you put it up back in '14 - was up to my ears on a project in S. America!
First time I have read this thread. Great stuff! We sure had a ball this year as well.
Old one but remember it like it was yesterday.
All smiles from this guy . Doppelgänger.
Awesome the 15th time. I love it!!!!!
Yep. Another awesome one.