Contributors to this thread:
What was your first archery elk you shot?
I have not shot an elk with a bow yet. Many years ago I shot a cow with rifle in Co.
I shot a cow elk in 1997. It was a 20 yard shot, steep downhill into a creek bottom. There were 15 elk in that group. I had to ensure I wouldn't stick another elk on the other side of the cow. After the shot the rest of the herd ran past me at 7 yards. Thrilling. The cow only went 30 yards and piled up. It was all over in 10 seconds. Probably my favorite elk hunt.
1994. I'd been chasing them up in Oregon for a couple Years, with a few encounters but no success.
Hooked up with an experienced elk killer in CO...he called this bull in for an 8 yard shot. My buddy took a cow a few days later...we went home on cloud 9 !
Best of Luck, Jeff
A rag horn in 1990 I think. Changed my life. Really. Led me places I would not have dreamed of.
It took me 9yrs to kill my first elk in 2016.
10 yds. frontal shot many years ago. Have taken many critters since then but there is nothing like your first!
I think I'm probably in the minority here, and extremely lucky, but my first year bowhunting elk (2004), I dropped a bull scoring 310, on the last night at the bitter end of shootable light. All came together in about 30 seconds, but felt like an hour. Like all of us, I worked my ass off all season, and it all came together on the last night. Lots of hard lessons learned during that hunt that I will always remember.
2012....Absolutely my greatest hunting experience to date. An elk encounter like everyone dreams about with a herd bull screaming in your face, cows squealing and running everywhere, ending with a close range frontal shot and the bull falling in sight. Goosebumps everytime I think about it.
Mine was a cow at 9 yards. Won't matter what you shoot, that first one with a bow will be a great memory.
Regrettably gave a CO cow a sore shoulder on my first elk trip. Lost my cool after a really well executed stalk and rushed the shot. I didn't even realize at the time there was a bull still in the gully but I now know there had to have been.
The next time out West I called in a dumb one and he gave me a shot that was practically self defense. To have one within 15 yards you are taken aback at their size. You still have to pick a spot.
The thing I've noticed about elk hunting is the versatility or wide range in the shot opportunies. They can range from a wide open marathon stalk with precision rangefinding to a split second 10 yard encounter threaded though 6 spruce trees. You have to be practiced and ready for anything.
My first elk.......froze when the 6x6 stepped into the spot I expected only I wasn't in position still coming up the trail and didn't shoot....even when he looked away up the hill and I was nocked on.......dumb......2nd and 3rd elk same deal after they came up behind me from directly downwind then freaked when they got next to me with wind still in my face....and so on. Finally dropped string on a cow the last night of a hunt several years ago at dusk at 20 yards......arrow deflected off something I didn't see just short of the mark. This year is gonna be different. No really........
First archery elk was a young cow I shot at 8yds back in '87. I was as proud of that elk as any since!
I killed my first bull in 1988, first year elk hunting. Also my first year bowhunting. For seven days I hadn't seen or heard any elk while my buddies were coming back to camp every night with incredible stories of encounters. Very hard to hear and I'm thinking what the hell am I doing wrong. Then, on the 8th day, the elk heavens opened up and I had elk all around me. Honestly I didn't know which one to go after. After two hours of chaos they shut up and all was quiet. I bugled once and this bull answered me very close. I saw him walking towards me and he walked past at 20 yards. I came to full draw, he stopped, and I had my first bull, a beautiful 5x5. The only bad thing was i didn't know about ivories then and I didn't get them... Ugh!
2014, my second season elk hunting. I shot a 354" 7x7 at 10 yards! I watched him go about 40 yards and keep over!
2015, first elk tag I ever drew. Shot him the first morning of the hunt. DIY public land under 30 yards. More luck than skill, just happened to sit in the right patch of timber at the right time. Definitely unforgettable.
These are great stories!
It was my 15th year bowhunting for elk before I killed my first one. I'm still not sure what took me so long, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying, or time spent in the field. I've always been good "at" hunting but I'm slowly become a better "hunter" (if that makes sense.)
I had a shot at a bull earlier in the week but hit a tree branch. Then on our last morning of the season my dad called in a great bull and I made an okay shot. We spent the next several hours on our hands and knees looking for blood and losing hope. I made one more circle through an area with thick cover and out of pure luck I practically stumbled on my bull. He was bedded but not quite dead, one more shot finished the deal and with that I had killed my first elk with a bow. Still one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences of my life.
This Montana dink was my first. ;-)
I killed my first, a fat cow, in 1981. Back then there weren't many bowhunters where we hunted and there were big bulls. I held out for a good bull for 6 years but had only missed four shots at the same big bull standing there at 25 yards. That's another painful story - for me, not the bull.
Anyway, second to last day of the season I called in a monster bull for my best friend who didn't shoot because he thought I would. The bull walked away so I nuked a cow that came up the ridge to my calling. I didn't shoot another cow for about 20 years until extra cow tags were available.
I shot a 390 class bull at 45 yards with my longbow, the big guy ran 20 yards and dropped. Then I was startled by a loud noise and woke up realizing it was all a dream, maybe one day and I'd settle for a nice big cow.
First elk was with a rifle around 1973 I think. Probably a low 200s 6x6 in Id. Actually killed 3 bulls that year.... long story in a different time.....
First archery elk was a young stupid spike tailor made for a stupid bowhunter, around 1998. 1999 or so I think? After several frustrating days, pretty much done with a morning hunt and walking out near a ridge line and bumped up a lone bedded spike who likely got booted from the herd do to putting his nose where it didn't belong. He stood right there not knowing quite what I was and took it like a man.....
I struggled killing an elk (still do). It was mid 90's and I had missed several in the past. Totally mental as I was shooting well and tagging deer, antelope, bears, pigs, caribou, etc with my recurve. I would fall apart shooting at elk. Missed 4 in one morning (long story).
I spotted a big herd on the other side of a big canyon at dusk. The next morning 4 of us drove around and hiked in a couple miles in the dark and they were right where I had seen them the night before. 20 minutes after sunrise we had managed to spook them all. I was sitting down trying to figure out what to do when the whole huge herd came running back my way. One of my buddies had gotten around them in the timber and bumped them. I was on an outcropping and elk were filing past me on both sides. I picked out a bull towards the back and as he paused I took a steep downward shot. He stayed with the herd for 100 yards. I lost which one he was as there were 2 or 3 others about the same size but then I saw him stopped as other elk filed past him. "Please tip over, please tip over..." and he did.
September 20th, 2002....my 6th day of elk hunting...ever. This raghorn 5X5 responded to my cow call during the last hour of shooting light. Put a good arrow through him @ 17 yards and watched him go down moments later. Had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! LOL
The DIY elk trip to Colorado was a 40th birthday present to myself. It was the first time I ever set foot in the Rocky Mountains....the year I finally stopped saying "some day" to Western big game hunting. For me, that trip opened the door to a whole new world of bowhunting adventures. No doubt, it was the encouragement and advice provided right here on Bowsite that put the wheels in motion.
A Spike in like the early 90's Exciting for sure
Good luck, Robb
2001 - I called in a dandy 6x7 and a young cow. After whiffing on the bull, the cow still stood there so I shot her
First elk hunt was in CO. I had 2 small (not legal) bulls at 43 yards and this cow at 60 yards.
a 4x5 at 8 yards with a recurve that I dogged all morning beginning at day light, patiently waiting at times for the wind to shift, and then finally running at him and challenging him. he was a mature rosie with about 5 cows.
it was one of the most memorable hunts that I will never forget. I give thanks to mike lapinski, Dwight schuh and larry d. jones for their how-to books, conversations and calls that have always been a big inspiration and help to me.
I shot this bull in 2013. Sunny and mid-50s when I shot him. I had worked my way to about two miles up a narrow drainage that split two larger creek drainages, and it was about mid-day. There was some bugling on the opposite north facing slope, which earlier I had thought might be hunters.
When I stopped for a snack and game plan, I heard this bugle that was moving way too fast to be a hunter. Quickly, I grabbed my bow and headed down from the top of the ridge towards a large patch of trees, as the south facing slope I was on was really open in a lot of places (I was actually walking the ridge with timber on the opposite face). In short order I watched a cow run into the clearing with a spike in tow, and thought that would do. Then I saw the bull chasing them, and he looked huge from a head-on view. They zig-zagged a bit in the clearing then came straight up the hill to the location I was kneeling next to the timber. Once the bull hit about 20 yards I released an arrow. It felt like I was in the wide open, but none of them had any idea I was there. The bull stood around for a while, but I just couldn't get quite close enough for a reasonably confident 2nd arrow. Eventually he walked to the bottom of the drainage and into the dark timber on the opposite side.
I shoot moving deer all the time, and in fact somewhat prefer it when they are close. You really shouldn't shoot a moving elk. Hence the snow in the picture from the following day. The arrow ended up doing its job, but I fouled up a bit.
2012 for myself. First elk tag. We had three to pick from while bugling in the dark that morning. This one had more ideal wind/terrain so we snuck in before first light. As soon as it was shooting time, my buddy called him in with a small bull/cow sequence. Gave me a quartering frontal shot and I hit it. Exciting for sure.
2007 WY DIY public land hunt. My buddy called in a decent 6x6 about two hours into our first day of hunting. I shot him at a whopping distance of eight feet. It was intense! Before we could go to work on the bull I shot another bull bugled from about 200 yards away and I promptly called him in and my buddy shot him- another 6x6 bull. Crazy first day of elk hunting that I've never managed to replicate since!
I got a crazy idea to drive to SD and antelope hunt, then to Colorado and mule deer hunt. I hiked into a wilderness area, and found elk sign everywhere, killed a mule deer and drove home. Got home and a buddy says elk sign? I said oh yeah, and he said lets go. So I turned around and drove back to Colorado, hunted another week for elk. Didn't kill one, had chances. One monster bull.
Got home, buddy says what are you doing now and I said I dunno, I had taken an entire month off to hunt and he says go back to Colorado and kill that bull! So I drove back to Colorado, again. I think it was 3rd day of hunt I bugled in and killed this bull.
3 weeks, about 2400 miles each round trip and I did 3 of them from Arkansas to Colorado, also looped up to SD ... heck of a deal, got my first bull though. Shot at and missed because of branches at about 6-7 steps, he gave me a second chance at 25 yards and my arrow deflected and it hit him in the jugular of all things.
IIRC High Country Excalibur bow, likely super slam arrows and thunderhead broadheads
First bull with a bow shot in 2013. I watched this bull get his butt kicked by a larger bull - threw him on the ground. He got up and stopped 60 yards away moving his neck back and forth for about 15 minutes. I think the other bull really messed him up. He ended up walking to 41 yards and I double lunged him and was able to follow up with another arrow. It was also my first time quartering, caping and packing an elk out and it took me 13 hours but I did it with a huge grin on my face.
Rented 2 horses at $100 each to pack the elk and our camp out...
Rented 2 horses at $100 each to pack the elk and our camp out...
Killed this 5x6 on my first elk hunt in the Flattops in 1998.
Killed the first elk I ever shot at. A spike bull in Wyoming. It was my third elk hunt and I did have to shoot at him three times to finally hit!!!
first archery hunt in Arizona was 1972--it took several years after that to kill my first elk. I was walking to a tree stand for the evening hunt and saw two rag horn bulls walking in my direction I knelt down and took about a thirty yard shot.- you never forget your first elk
First was in 2009 on my first elk hunt. It was really cool. Worked just like imagined. Still can't get elk out of my head
The first elk I ever shot was on a OIL tag in New Mexico's Valle Vidal. I passed on numerous bulls during the six day hunt and it ended-up coming down to the last evening. Made a play on a herd with a decent bull in it and chased him around for a few hours. With only a half hour of daylight to go, he finally made a mistake as he circled around to herd up some cows.
The shot was 60 yards perfectly broadside and I watched the arrow fly squarely into his guts. He took off up the mountain and that would be the last I ever saw of that bull. I couldn't even tell you how many times I replayed that shot in my head. As it stands, after six archery elk hunts I'm still pitching a shut-out with the bow.
Second year archery hunting, 5th year hunting. First bull elk, and first archery kill. Colorado, OTC Public land. Should probably just have retired then.
Sure like what Andy said above ^^^^^.
" I've always been good "at" hunting but I'm slowly become a better "hunter" (if that makes sense.) "
Does it ever Andy, does it ever...
Remember it like it was this mornings hunt... We killed two bulls 7 miles in from the truck within 5 seconds of each other during a calling frenzy that brought 6 bulls into bow range. Made a life long friend in the process. Can't wait to try again in 2 years.
2010. My first year elk hunting with a bow. My friend and I flew out from Hawaii for a 11 day backpack. Our goal was to just see elk and hear 1 bugle. On day 9 we got this guy. My smallest bull to date but the best trophy elk hunting yet!
I wanna know what kind of camo Darryl uses...... pretty awesome facemask!