Moultrie Products
Highs and Lows
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
drycreek 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Stoneman 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
drycreek 11-May-18
Ucsdryder 11-May-18
elkstabber 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
Brotsky 14-May-18
casekiska 14-May-18
Ucsdryder 14-May-18
elkmtngear 14-May-18
WV Mountaineer 14-May-18
midwest 14-May-18
HUNT MAN 14-May-18
JB 14-May-18
otcWill 14-May-18
Bowboy 14-May-18
cnelk 14-May-18
sfiremedic 14-May-18
LKH 14-May-18
Jaquomo 14-May-18
Brun 14-May-18
t-roy 14-May-18
mrelite 14-May-18
Scoot 15-May-18
elkstabber 15-May-18
Treeline 15-May-18
From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
The bull and I had been playing cat and mouse for over 10 minutes now within 50 yards. I wanted this bull so bad. I was on my 3rd adrenaline dump and was wound as tight as could be. I pulled back, checked my bubble, settled the pin where dark met light and let fly from 54 yards. I watched my 500 grain arrow tipped with a german kinetic 125gr. XL hit its mark. He did not flinch until the arrow disappeared.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
My 2017 elk season started early last year. After coming off the high of killing my first bull elk with a bow, I became consumed with preparing for the next year. I stalked the classifieds on numerous hunting forums, buying anything and everything I could justify to myself, which wasn’t hard. If it’s possible to watch every elk hunting video on youtube, I think I came close. My kids and I spent plenty of time at the archery ranges and the Colorado winter months SLOWLY turned into spring and summer.

Last years hunt! http://forums.bowsite.com/tf/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=462400&forum=5

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
She upgraded from suction cups to field points!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
She upgraded from suction cups to field points!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I had 3 trail cameras itching to get hung and when calendar finally clicked over to July it was time to head for the mountains. I made my first trip to my new “honey hole” in early July and was surprised to find ZERO elk sign. This was a valuable lesson as this area last September was covered in elk sign, but in early July I struggled to find a track in the dried mud! The winter snow had wiped the slate clean and to anybody going in there for the first time, they would have been convinced the area was void of elk.

Luckily, I remembered where I saw the heavy sign and I put up 3 cameras. Two of the cameras were over small meadows next to a trail coming out of dark timber and the third was hung over a wallow that was just a pool of water. I made a big loop looking for sign and stopped to say hello to “Elky”, my aptly named bull from last year. I was surprised to find only 1 rib bone after 10 minutes of searching. I made the long hike back to the truck and headed home.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Last year this trail was Covered in elk tracks. I hung a camera facing the meadow just off this trail.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Last year this trail was Covered in elk tracks. I hung a camera facing the meadow just off this trail.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Trail led to this meadow.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Trail led to this meadow.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I don’t know about you guys, but giving trail cameras a long soak is torture. I wondered what I would find on the cameras daily and after 4 weeks I gave up and made the drive back to pull my cards. On my hike in I stopped for a drink and a breather and heard a sound. I was wearing my hippie hiker attire and we all know you can’t have elk come in without 500 dollars worth of camo! As the sounds got closer two tan spots appeared 50 yards away, across a little gully. They worked their way toward me and the two cows were soon joined by a small 4 point bull. They fed straight across the gully at 25 yards for 20 minutes before moving on down the drainage. I picked my spot about 300 times and dreamed about how easy a hike out that bull would be! The wheels were starting to turn now. Am I going to shoot a 4 point? I mean, I killed a bull last year, I’m obviously a professional now.

I continued up the trail thinking about what a great hunter I was. As I came around the corner, two more tan spots appeared 200 yards ahead. Bulls! A good 5x5 and a dink 4x3 feeding in the bottom of an empty creek bed. Man, this is too easy. I’ll sneak up there to bow range for practice. I made it 10 feet and they blew out like I shot off a canon. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself with this professional hunter thing.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Chip shot!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Chip shot!

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I’m trying to put spacing between paragraphs but they aren’t showing when I post.

From: drycreek
11-May-18
Try hitting return five or more times. Pat wants to make damn sure you're serious about a new paragraph ! :-)

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
The trail cameras told the story of the elk migration into the area. The first 2 weeks showed pictures of deer, coyotes, and foxes. Then the elk started to move in the last week in July. Cows only at the beginning but the pictures went from once every couple days to once a day, to multiple times a day. They were moving in! The other things that moved in were mosquitos. HOLY CRAP!!!!

When I left the trail head there were some flies buzzing around so I squirted a couple shots of deet on myself and figured it was good enough. That was dumb! A couple miles into the trip the mosquitos started buzzing around and pretty soon it become apparent that stopping to rest resulted in an onslaught of mosquitos. I tried to set up camp while slapping myself continuously as the little suckers dried to drain my body of blood. I gave up on camp and headed to pick up the cameras, figuring I’d come back when it cooled off and the mosquitos went to sleep.

I brought a laptop and downloaded the cards on the spot so I could move the cameras if they weren’t capturing pictures. I thought the mosquitos were bad by my camp, but next to the pools of water at the wallow it was ridiculous. I had to walk in big circles as I downloaded the pictures to keep the swarm at bay. On a side note, when I came home I ordered mosquito wipes from amazon and individually vacuum sealed them and threw them in every pocket of my pack. They are weightless and invaluable. I re-hung the cameras and headed home along with a few hundred mosquito bites.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
One of the first pictures
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
One of the first pictures
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
They were starting to move in!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
They were starting to move in!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
One of the better bulls!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
One of the better bulls!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Another good one for this area! I saw him once during the season right at first light pushing his cows back into the deepest, darkest hole in the area.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Another good one for this area! I saw him once during the season right at first light pushing his cows back into the deepest, darkest hole in the area.
The trail camera pictures are on my laptop which isn’t handy at the moment so sorry for the pictures. I’ll just add a couple.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
As slow as the weeks passed in the few months following the new year, the weeks flew by and before I knew it I was putting my arrows in my quiver and tossing my stuff in the truck. The kids told me to bring home another “elky” and I told them “only if it’s a great big one!” I snuck out of work early and headed up the hill. That night I slept near a trail head with anxiety over how many people would show up the next morning. I was up at 4am and I was alone. PERFECT!!!! I headed up the trail and got close to my spot at first light. I worked up the edge of a meadow moving up the hill with the cool thermals in my face hoping for that late August bugle, but knowing it was early for bugles. As I moved through an aspen grove to let out some soft cow calls and a little squeal with my new tube. Something squealed back! He sounded like he might have just dropped from his mother’s womb, but the smile on my face was ear to ear. I set up in some small 3 foot tall aspens and waited.

A small 4 point bull popped out of the fir trees 100 yards ahead of me, follow by a small 5 point and 2 cows. I continued to whine at them with soft mews, but they showed zero interest other than a head turn once in a while. After 30 minutes I started to get impatient. These elk were taking up prime morning hunting! As I considered backing out, I heard a bugle in the trees to might right. I shifted my focus up the hill, and threw out some more mews. As I was picking apart every shadow where the bugle came from there was an explosion 15 yards behind me as an elk snuck into my calls and got downwind. I about jumped out of my boots as the unseen elk ran off down the drainage.

I looked back toward the 2 small bulls and they had fed over a little nob. I moved parallel to them staying below a small shelf. I made it about 100 yards and popped up onto the shelf, arrow nocked, but there were no elk. I waited 5 minutes before giving up and turning my back to glass the meadows behind me. I felt something staring at me and I slowly turned to see the 2 bulls staring intently at the out of place stump. The stare down continued for 5 minutes before they decided I was harmless. They both started feeding, head down, in the 2 foot tall grass and I ranged them at 53 yards. I dialed my slider on the bigger bull and drew back. Less than an hour into the hunt and a broadside shot at a feeding bull.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
After they started to wander off over the ridge. I met them on the other side.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
After they started to wander off over the ridge. I met them on the other side.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo

From: Stoneman
11-May-18
nice recap and something to read on a Fri afternoon, thanks for sharing

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I let down as I heard a bugle behind me. Not a squeal, a bugle! The movement caught the bulls’ attention, but they were young and dumb and slowly moved off, looking back at me as I walked over to see what had bugled. I got out of the trees and spotted tan 500 yards away. Bulls are usually easily identifiable to the naked eye, big bulls even more so. One of the elk dwarfed the other elk and when I put up my binoculars it was obvious who made the bugle. He was big and ornery and showing his dominance over the smaller bull. If the little bull got within 20 yards of the big bull he would chase him off and give him a horn. I watched them for 10 minutes plotting my attack. I had my plan.

If I stayed 20 yards into the trees, I could move unseen to their elevation. He was 30 yards out in the meadow and based off his display of dominance I was confident that a bugle inside 50 yards would result in a pissed off bull looking for a fight! The thermals would blow straight down past the bulls as long as I stayed inside the trees. I threw out a bugle to see what he would do. He immediately bugled back followed with a long string of grunts. Oh man it’s on!!!!

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I bombed down the hill not worrying about noise. The plan was to let him hear me move quickly down the hill and then throw out a bugle and rake a tree. As I got close I moved to the edge of the trees and saw the bulls, but I needed to move down 75 more yards and it was on like donkey kong! I took two steps and an explosion, a spike elk, confused by what I, was stared at me from 15 yards away. He was ugly as could be and about ready to completely mess up my plan. I threw out a mew to settle him and the big bull bugled at me from the meadow. I could see the spike starting to calm down, as he hadn’t smelled me or seen me and he was believing my mews were legit.

Just as I started to think my plan might not get ruined by this ugly little bastard, there was a stampede. The spike was at the edge of the herd, which was bedded in the timber, right where I was going, and where my thermals already went. Elk were literally going in every direction and I counted close to 50. I couldn’t believe my bad luck. To this day I am convinced that big bull was dead if those cows hadn’t been there. Oh well, 1.5 hours in and I’ve had two solid chances!!!!

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
This lost cow couldn’t decide which direction she wanted to go.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
This lost cow couldn’t decide which direction she wanted to go.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I went and met some buddies hunting a different drainage. We compared notes and I decided to skip the Sunday morning hunt knowing I had 3 days of hunting next weekend.

The next weekend I hiked into a creek and set up camp. On the way I smelled elk and got excited, but nothing came of it. With camp set up, I headed up the hill with 2 hours of shooting light. Half way up the “hill” (it’s a miserable hike straight up an old avalanche chute that’s covered in 3 foot tall grass and shrubs), I hear I bugle!!!! I assume he heard my cursing and thought I was an elk. I was mid stream of prolonged curse about the covered rocks that kept tripping me when he bugled. I had no clue where it came from so I threw out a bugle and he answered right back. I had him pinned. It sounded like he was 200 yards back down the hill. I wasted no time and within seconds I was running toward him. The idea was to close the distance to 100 yards and bugle back at him.

The bull and I had the same plan in mind because 75 yards later I was face to face with a beautiful 6x6 bull. We stared at eachother on each side of the small clearing with one GIANT fir tree between us. He was magnficient and I’ll never forget him peering at me, ears cocked forward, unsure what he just saw. I was busted and I knew it. The second guessing was already creeping into my mind and it was obvious if I had stayed put he would have walked right into me for a shot. I was already getting mad at myself for being a dummy! As I stood there thinking how I screwed the pooch on this deal the bull took a step toward me. REALLY?! The giant fir tree was 2 feet wide at the trunk and the limbs went all the way to the bottom. From tip to tip the limbs were 20 feet across. The only thing I can think is that the edge of the limbs broke up my silhouette enough that he couldn’t identify me. I knew there was no chance he would come past that tree for a shot so I made the move to drop down below the tree on the downhill side and hope he would hold still long enough for a shot. It was time to move.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I made it 10 of the 20 feet I needed to go to clear the tree as we watched each other through the branches from 25 yards. He had enough, I heard him jump and hoof beats. I headed back up dejected. The adrenaline rushes were making my legs weak. I got to the top edge of the tree and guess who was standing there looking at me. This has to be the dumbest elk on the mountain! He had run off 30 yards and turned back facing me again. I had an arrow nocked with my 20 yard slider set. I needed a range at this distance. I took the release off the D loop, dug out my rangefinder and pegged him…54 yards. I kept waiting for him to bolt as I was standing in the middle of a clearing messing around with my bow, release, rangefinder, release, etc. I dialed to 54 yards and pulled back. He stood there staring.

The bull and I had been playing cat and mouse for over 10 minutes now within 50 yards and I wanted this bull so bad. I was on my 3rd adrenaline dump and was wound as tight as could be. I pulled back, checked my bubble, settled the pin where dark met light and let fly from 54 yards. I watched my 500 grain arrow tipped with a german kinetic 125gr. XL hit its mark. He did move flinch until the arrow hit. I saw the arrow disappear and he wheeled and crashed through the trees. A perfect frontal shot…

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
First sign of blood...
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
First sign of blood...
I sat down and waited a few minutes, letting my heart rate come back from the red line. I went to find blood and my arrow. My confidence was high playing back the shot in my mind. It was a perfect arch that disappeared right where I was aiming. I found the bull’s tracks, but no blood. I knew that wasn’t a big deal as it took a few minutes for the blood to soak into the hide and then start dropping onto the ground. There was no arrow so obviously it was inside the elk cavity slicing with every step he took.

That head was big and sharp, it was only a matter of time until the blood trail turned into a blood highway that led to my bull! I followed the tracks 50 yards before I found blood. Just a drop. Long story short…I tracked the elk on my hands and knees for 1.5 miles and found 5 drops of blood before dark. The area was full of elk tracks and keeping on his track was difficult, especially when drops of blood were 100s of yards apart. He headed up hill toward a wallow and was walking after 100 yards. This is the low of my elk season. I headed back to camp in the dark, beyond dejected. I stepped on a round rock moving down the avalanche chute and took a good spill to add insult to injury. I hadn’t eaten in hours and couldn’t eat a thing when I got back to camp. I was disappointed in myself for taking that shot. I knew better! I kept going back and forth on whether or not to finish this part of the adventure and ultimately I decided that I did something stupid and hopefully someone will learn from my stupidity.

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
I woke up the next morning and headed back to the point of impact. With that little blood I was starting to think the arrow wasn’t inside the bull. I needed to find that arrow. After about 20 minutes I found it. The tip was broken off 2” from the end and there was less than an inch of blood on the shaft. To say I was relieved would be a gross understatement. The shot was obviously not lethal and while I’m not positive what happened, I believe I shot low and scratched the bottom of the sternum deflecting the arrow down into the ground. The blood on the shaft was streaked with hair which made it look like it might have just cut the skin. I went back to the last spot I found blood and searched for 4 hours without finding anymore blood. I made a big loop trying to cut blood or a track and lost all sign of him. I gave up the search and went back to hunting.

It's time to go home...I'll wrap this up Monday.

From: drycreek
11-May-18
Certainly not the outcome I expected, nor you either. Damn the luck !

From: Ucsdryder
11-May-18
But I got the paragraphs figured out so that’s a win!

From: elkstabber
14-May-18
Great story.

How do you separate the first paragraph?

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18
Elkstabber...way more "return" keys than you think necessary. 7 usually guarantees a line break.

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18
I headed for an area 2 miles away and made a huge loop to check for sign. At mid day I sat down for an afternoon nap interrupted continuously by black ants crawling across my face. The plan was to work back up the hill when the thermals switched and end up where I saw the 3 bulls opening morning. Two hours before the end of shoot time, I made my way to the bottom of the mountain bumping some elk on the way. I never saw them, but luckily they headed the opposite direction. I sat and waited for the thermals to shift downhill.

I heard a bugle in the general area I was heading and my already high spirits lifted even higher. I knew I had an hour of shoot time and an hour and a half hike to get to the top. The plan was to hike and call, hike and call, and keep moving. Thirty minutes later I spotted a group of elk to my left up the hill. It looked like a handful of cows and two bulls. The smaller of the two bulls was covered in mud and hanging out a little bit away from the herd. They were too far to get to before it was too late to shoot so I pressed on. As I approached the top of the ridge I spotted a lone 5 point bull horning some branches 400 yards above me. I set up and started a calling sequence. I got his attention and he slowly started heading my way. He had 400 yards to cover in 15 minutes. I got aggressive, blowing a hard, whiny meow through my bugle tube, followed by a bugle…I repeated the sequence over and over as he headed slowly my way. At one point I heard a twig snap in the aspens to my left and I made a mental note to keep an eye out for an elk sneaking down wind.

With a few minutes left I heard a hoof kick a downed log and I peaked up above the baby aspens that made up my hiding spot. A bull! He was circling down wind of me, head down, in sneak mode. It was cool to see him, but it was time for a decision. He was legal, but he wasn’t breaking any B&C records. After my bone head move the night before I wasn’t passing on an easy shot. I gave one more look at the bigger bull up the hill, 300 yards still and made the decision this guy was getting it if he gave me a shot. One more peak to see where he was and I kneeled back down and started to apply pressure to the bow string.

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18
As he closed to 30 yards I drew my bow and focused on an opening 10 yards across. My slider was set at 25 yards and his most likely path would have him cross between 20 and 25. When he cleared the last baby aspen I mewed to stop him. Then I mewed again to stop him. I mewed harder. Then I mewed so hard it made an awful sound and he stopped, startled, as I let the arrow fly. It sounded like I hit a 2 by 4 as he spun and run. I jumped up and ran to the edge of the opening and ranged him at 42 yards facing directly away. I dialed my slider and pulled back for another shot as he wobbled and fell dead. He made it 21 yards and lasted 15 seconds. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen!!! I went and found my arrow, the german kinetic XL passed through and was laying 10 feet past him. He was slightly quartering toward me and the shot entered straight up the leg and exited just behind the crease. It cut a rib in half on the way out and the hole was impressive. There was blood everywhere. In almost exactly 24 hours I went from the lowest low, to the highest high!

In typical fashion, I took a couple crappy pictures and got to work. The bull was the same one I saw up on the hill with the herd earlier in the evening. Unfortunately, he was the one covered in mud. What a mess! Cutting up a bull is hard enough by yourself, but when your hands are covered in mud the entire time it makes the job so much harder. I finished around midnight and had all the meat hung in the trees. I made the 2 mile death march back to camp, exhausted by happy. The next morning I cleaned up camp and brought it back to the truck and then got the meat out.

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Always a good sign!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Always a good sign!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Here he is in all his muddy glory.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Here he is in all his muddy glory.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Point of entry. Good hole for a fixed blade!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Point of entry. Good hole for a fixed blade!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I don’t know how guys are able to give the mean mug in pictures. I can never wipe the smile off my face!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I don’t know how guys are able to give the mean mug in pictures. I can never wipe the smile off my face!

From: Brotsky
14-May-18
Well done John! Great story and another tasty "elky" for the family! Congrats!

From: casekiska
14-May-18
Good story. Thanks for posting it all. Well done sir! Congratulations!

From: Ucsdryder
14-May-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Brotsky, the kind words are appreciated. We will see if the excitement continues but my oldest daughter won’t let me forget that she gets to come with me hunting when she’s 8 and gets to hunt when she’s 12. I get reminded of my promise at least once a month.

From: elkmtngear
14-May-18
Redemption!

Quite a roller-coaster ride over just 24 hrs. Well done!

14-May-18
Congrats man on a great hunting season.

From: midwest
14-May-18
Excellent all around....congrats!

From: HUNT MAN
14-May-18
Loved it. Good luck this year!! Hunt

From: JB
14-May-18
Awesome! Thank you for sharing your story!! Looking forward to the next one and the day you tell the story of your daughter’s hunt.

From: otcWill
14-May-18
Well done! Thanks for the story

From: Bowboy
14-May-18
Great story and you got it done! congrats!

From: cnelk
14-May-18
Thumbs up Gian!

From: sfiremedic
14-May-18
Awesome... I shoot german kinetics as well. They plow a hole! Great job!

From: LKH
14-May-18
Good story. Enjoyed it a lot. Congratulations.

From: Jaquomo
14-May-18
Good job and great story! Yes, butchering a muddy bull is a messy chore.

Next time stop him with a hard grunt by sucking air in your throat. Mews work sometimes but not always because they hear mews all day every day. If they stopped every time they heard a cow mew they'd never go anywhere. The hard grunt stops them on a dime.

From: Brun
14-May-18
Nice job on the hunt and the story! Thanks for posting.

From: t-roy
14-May-18
Congrats on the bull! Thanks for sharing the story with us as well.

From: mrelite
14-May-18
Thanks for posting it up!

From: Scoot
15-May-18
Congrats and good job retelling the tale.

From: elkstabber
15-May-18
Thanks for sharing. I'm especially glad to see a smile in your "hero" picture.

From: Treeline
15-May-18
Great recap of a great Colorado elk hunt!

Congratulations!

Can’t wait to see the recap of your daughter’s first elk hunt!

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