Mathews Inc.
2017 western hunt
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
jordanathome 18-Jul-18
Treeline 18-Jul-18
Brotsky 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 18-Jul-18
drycreek 18-Jul-18
Destroyer350 18-Jul-18
Z Barebow 18-Jul-18
Topgun 30-06 18-Jul-18
Kodiak 18-Jul-18
HUNT MAN 18-Jul-18
Outdoordan 18-Jul-18
Bowboy 18-Jul-18
Grunter 19-Jul-18
Dyjack 19-Jul-18
BULELK1 19-Jul-18
elkstabber 19-Jul-18
otcWill 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 19-Jul-18
Inshart 19-Jul-18
Treeline 19-Jul-18
deerslayer 19-Jul-18
HUNT MAN 20-Jul-18
IdyllwildArcher 20-Jul-18
Marty 20-Jul-18
uteangler 20-Jul-18
Grunter 20-Jul-18
bowhunter24 20-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 20-Jul-18
WV Mountaineer 20-Jul-18
Grubby 20-Jul-18
grossklw 20-Jul-18
Horseshoe 20-Jul-18
otcWill 20-Jul-18
jordanathome 20-Jul-18
Whocares 20-Jul-18
APauls 20-Jul-18
Southern draw 20-Jul-18
Kodiak 20-Jul-18
Beav 20-Jul-18
Helgermite 20-Jul-18
Helgermite 20-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 23-Jul-18
BigOk 23-Jul-18
OFFHNTN 24-Jul-18
Pyrannah 24-Jul-18
From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not great with my phone through the spotter...
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not great with my phone through the spotter...
My 2017 western big game hunt usually takes me to Montana for a week but this year I allotted an additional week of time and stopped in CO to try and fill an early season deer tag I had drawn. This was my first time hunting the high country for mule deer and I can promise it wont be my last! Breathtaking views lots of game spotted, and just a great time of year to be out in the mountains. I saw plenty of elk up there above timberline including a few nice bulls, several bull moose, a few bighorn sheep and a handful of muley bucks. One of those bucks got to wear my tag.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
This was not a bow kill, but a part of my adventure I didn't want to leave out
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
This was not a bow kill, but a part of my adventure I didn't want to leave out
I ended up spotting my deer while looking at a bighorn that skylined himself. My first time seeing one while hunting so I had to check him out, while I was doing so muley bucks starting filing over the same spot, almost as if they were following the sheep.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
Most of the summer, and all the time I was in Co I was in contact with my buddies in MT and all I was hearing was everything’s on fire, it hasn’t rained in 6 months etc. Well, After filling my deer tag and catching a flight to MT I landed in the midst of the first precipitation they had seen in months…classic.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
. I spent my first day gathering up my gear and shooting my bow (Which I hadn’t touched for about three weeks at this point). Because of my deer hunt and the logistics of getting my gear out there I opted to ship it out way ahead of time.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
For the first day of the actual hunt we were going to try a spot that we had had some success in the past. On our way in we got hit with a decent little snow storm. I was in pretty good spirits at this point because tracking would be an option.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
The first morning my buddies and I split up in search of sign. We met back up at our predetermined spot a few hours later and didn't have anything to report, no fresh tracks, no bugles, no sightings. One of my buddies was feeling very ill and opted to head home. I stayed with my other friend and we went to check another area. It was around 2:00 PM and we were trudging up this snow filled draw when the scent of elk hit me. I peeked up onto the next bench and saw a few cows. I motioned my friend to come up because he was willing to take any legal elk. He stalked up to the lip of the bench and waited. Eventually, he drew back and fired an arrow. I saw elk running and he signaled he had shot a bull. I crept up to him to assess the situation and he indicated he had hit the animal back, like way far back. We waited an hour and then went up and retrieved his arrow and he was correct in his assessment of the shot. We opted to back out and return in the morning, knowing it would be hours before the elk expired and with snow on I was confident we’d find it.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
When we returned the next AM the snow had significantly melted away on the sunny slopes, but there was still enough to track. The blood sign had really melted into the snow and dissipated at this point, making tracking difficult if the elk were to mix in with other elk. We took off on the track and after going a few hundred yards we came to a fence crossing, the elk turned and paralleled the fence (up to this point it had only been bleeding on one side) After following the fence a few yards we noticed blood on both sides of the severely melted out track, which we thought was a good sign.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
That bull ended up walking down the fence row over 200 yards, making a U turn and walking back his same track and crossing the fence where he originally came to it. Without snow I’m confident we would have spent the next few days looking in the totally wrong direction for this animal. We followed the trail through some thick woods where the snow hadn’t melted as much and the trail was clearer. We covered this part of the trail faster and thought we would find him at any second because he had now gone over 800 yards. That bull came out of the thicker cover, through some more open woods and then walked out into a HUGE sagebrush area.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
It was now after noon and at this point my friend was feeling a little more doubt as it was a good mile to the next significant patch of cover, and we couldn’t see any birds swarming anywhere in the sage. We continued to follow that track, again noticing blood on both sides of the severely melted out track. That bull walked over a quarter mile out into the sage, did a U turn and walked back his same path again, back into the timber he had previously left!

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
At this point in the day there were many spots in the open that the snow had almost completely melted from and tracking was becoming difficult, especially when other animals had crossed this bulls trail. When we followed the trail back into the woods we came to a big open patch that we had previously crossed. There were now several of these patches in the open woods and many of them were almost connected, hourglass shaped with just a little or no snow connecting them. We took note that the trail entering the patch from the direction of the shot only had blood on one side so we knew the bull had to have made a turn. We circled out further and further until we found where the bull had indeed taken a turn and headed toward an open knoll in the woods.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
We followed the trail up there and started seeing beds. I said this is a good sign, he’s hurting. We probably found half a dozen beds within 50 yards and from the last bed we were able to look ahead and see the dead bull. What a tracking job, one I’ll never forget! As best I can tell from using google earth that bull traveled 1.6 miles before expiring. I guess that snow wasn’t so bad after all! We had a bull down on the second day of hunting and I had over a week to get one for myself.

From: jordanathome
18-Jul-18
Fun stuff!

From: Treeline
18-Jul-18
Looks like you had a great season so far!

From: Brotsky
18-Jul-18
Well done thus far! Let's hear "the rest of the story"!

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not what I had in mind for mid september
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not what I had in mind for mid september
After packing that bull out we were in the same area the following several days and it snowed, rained, or a combination of both every one of those days. I had encounters with elk but was not able to fill my tag. We did find the remains of this unfortunate bull that apparently got his antlers caught while making a rub in a previous year.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18
We went at it pretty hard for about 4 days and I could tell it was taking its toll on my buddies body, and my attitude. I opted to get ahold of my other friend that had left on the first day and head to a new area with him since he was now on the mend. Side note, if you want to feel really good in the mountains of Montana spend a week in the Colorado high country and then drop down about 6,000 feet in elevation.

From: Smtn10PT
18-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not the best conditions
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Not the best conditions
I took off and hoped for some better luck and better weather. When I got there I found neither. More snow, wind, and quiet elk. We hunted hard, but had gone days without a bugle, or ever seeing an elk. I spend all year dreaming of my archery elk hunts and to say I was discouraged would be a huge understatement.

From: drycreek
18-Jul-18
I'm impressed and gratified that y'all were tenacious and dedicated to finding that wounded bull. Some folks would have given up. Kudos to both of you !

Good story, now carry on......

From: Destroyer350
18-Jul-18
Great story!

From: Z Barebow
18-Jul-18
Sounds like a real world DIY elk hunt! Keep it coming.

From: Topgun 30-06
18-Jul-18
Excellent thread and pictures with a great effort and time recovering that bull---kudos!

From: Kodiak
18-Jul-18
Loving it.

From: HUNT MAN
18-Jul-18
I have all ways been impressed with your hunts in my home state. Thanks for posting and good luck This year! Hunt

From: Outdoordan
18-Jul-18
Excellent! Sounds fun and frustrating, just like most of my hunts. ;)

From: Bowboy
18-Jul-18
Excellent post and pictures. Also great effort I finding the bull!

From: Grunter
19-Jul-18
Great job finding that bull! I'm enjoying the read thank you!

From: Dyjack
19-Jul-18
Great, stories man! Damn snow.

From: BULELK1
19-Jul-18
Very Kool

You guys did great

Good luck, Robb

From: elkstabber
19-Jul-18
This is a great read. The highest of highs and lowest of lows is what most of us face when we chase elk with our bows.

From: otcWill
19-Jul-18
Good stuff! Sometimes we just keep pushing without even knowing why. More than a few times I've questioned my own sanity while pushing through tough conditions. Sounds like that's where you were.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18
Thanks for the kind words all! Hunt, enjoy this one because I didn't draw a big game combo tag this year, first year in about 7 that I wont be hunting Big Sky country.

OctWill not anywhere near your level but hunts like this let me know I could be if I keep pushing!

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Walking back a forest service road on my last morning of the hunt I was reflecting on how I was probably going home without an elk, but at least there was rifle season and I had taken a nice deer earlier in Colorado. For the last evening we opted to try a spot in an area we hadn’t ever been. It was more of a, I’m not letting the sun set on my last day of this hunt with me anywhere other than on the mountain kind of deal.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18
We parked the truck at a trailhead and took off up the trail. About a half mile in we started seeing some fresh elk sign, the first we had seen in days. We turned off the trail and headed up through an old burn, and the tracks were fresher. We did some calling setups but had no responses. Knowing we were closer to elk than we had been in days, we kept pushing on up the mountain as the sun was setting.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18
During a break from hiking I thought I heard a bull grunt. I motioned to my friend that I had heard something, but he hadn’t….we stood there for a minute and I then heard a distinct chuckle. It was on! Since it had been so many days since I had heard a bull make a sound I was undecided on how I wanted to pursue this one.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18
I decided to close the gap and go from there. I had only gone a short distance when I saw the first cow. I froze and watched the cow, she was unaware of my presence and just feeding in the open burn. I crept in a little closer and noticed another cow, that one may have seen movement but wasn’t too alarmed. As I was watching them and still deciding what to do I saw tines coming through the scrub pines.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18
Wow I’m going to get a shot! I ranged the bull and set my pin, he was at the far end of what I practiced to and felt comfortable with. I can’t say why, but I was surprisingly calm when I drew and settled in for the shot. I even remember looking at my level before dialing in on his boiler room. When I released my arrow I had no idea where it went and the elk sort of scattered. I quickly started cow calling and nocked another arrow and tried to follow after the herd.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
They weren’t too spooked and not really running away fast. I was about 150 yards from a little rim and if I got to that they would have to go a LONG ways uphill before I would lose sight of them. I still didn’t know if I hit the bull at this point but after going 50-75 yards I noticed I was catching up to him, I found this odd so I threw up my binos and saw the blood pumping out from his shoulder area.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
I waited until I knew he was out and walked up on my first 6 point!

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
I had left PA on Sept 7th, killed my deer on the 11th, and this bull on the evening of the 23rd. There was no question this bull was destined for my wall, by far the most effort and time I had dedicated to a hunt, and topped off with the best shot I feel I've ever made on a big game animal.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
A feeling I'll never forget, and a time I'll never take for granted
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
A feeling I'll never forget, and a time I'll never take for granted
I was overjoyed with my last minute success but there was little time to celebrate because it was after 630 PM and I would be on a plane in less than 12 hours. After a quick phone call to a buddy of a buddy in town we started butchering the bull and by the time backup arrived we had him in bags and ready to go. It would be a heavy trip out but there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy it!

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
We got the bull out and were able to make a quick stop in a little town on the way home for a burger and a beer to celebrate a very eventful two weeks in the west.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
While butchering the bull late that evening I found that I was not the first archer to have had an encounter with this elk. Encased in scar tissue on the point of his shoulder was this head (Slick trick standard?)

From: Smtn10PT
19-Jul-18

Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
Smtn10PT's embedded Photo
That night was the last I saw of my bull until he showed up in a crate at my house in early May. Here he is on my wall alongside my Colorado deer. 2018, the bar has been set!

From: Inshart
19-Jul-18
That is just, straight up outstanding! Keeping after it right up till the end. Good on you.

From: Treeline
19-Jul-18
Spectacular!

Congratulations on a well earned buck and bull! Definitely beautiful trophies to be remembered for a lifetime!

Glad you stuck it out. Persistence does pay, sometimes amazingly well...

From: deerslayer
19-Jul-18
That was great, thanks for posting! Great job on sticking it out to the very end. Had a hunt like that myself a couple years ago where I tagged on the 14th day. Persistence really does pay off, and I’m willing to bet persistence trumps almost every other skill most of the time.

From: HUNT MAN
20-Jul-18
You are a badass. Way to make it happen once again. Sorry you didn’t draw but the elk aren’t !! Hunt

20-Jul-18
Awesome! Great story! Grats!

From: Marty
20-Jul-18
Good job!

From: uteangler
20-Jul-18
Great story man! Congrats and way to stay after it!

From: Grunter
20-Jul-18
Very well done! Both dandies congrats! Man what a year!

From: bowhunter24
20-Jul-18
Way to go Kelly hard work always pays off, thanks for sharing your story!

From: Smtn10PT
20-Jul-18
Thanks everyone, I'm glad you enjoyed reading my story of the hunt. After writing it all out I have a new appreciation for those that have done so before me. Its not easy to do and takes some time, but its what makes this site a good place to hang out. Thanks to Treeline for encouraging me to post this and thanks to octWill for not posting one of his around the same time so mine actually got a few reads.

Hunt I'm going to take my first swing at OTC Colorado elk this fall, I just couldn't imagine a September without archery elk hunting.

20-Jul-18
Awesome man

From: Grubby
20-Jul-18
That’s a great story, thanks for sharing! No need for a potato debate on this one!

From: grossklw
20-Jul-18
Great read, tough to stick with it until the bitter end. Gorgeous bull.

From: Horseshoe
20-Jul-18
Great thread! Thank you for posting. Your timing is perfect as many are getting really fired up to chase elk.

Many people have the physical ability to succeed but lack your mental toughness. It is very easy to get discouraged after 3 or 4 days without hearing or seeing elk. As with many things in life, perseverance is necessary for success.

What a memory. Congratulations!

From: otcWill
20-Jul-18
Well done! Good luck this year. Thanks for the write up

From: jordanathome
20-Jul-18
Great job and thank you sir!!!!

From: Whocares
20-Jul-18
Congrats on the deer and beautiful elk, and more so on the grit it takes on a long hunt in not so nice conditions. What it's all about. Good job and thanks for the write up.

From: APauls
20-Jul-18
Right on Kelly! That's what hunting is all about! Congrats on your success and determination. One thing usually bleeds through all these great hunt recaps and that is like deerslayer mentions the burning desire and determination. It's what keeps us in the game when we should be out of it. Pics are awesome, what a hunt.

20-Jul-18
Congrats ! Way to hang in there.

From: Kodiak
20-Jul-18
I've been here for 20 years on and off...

That's one of the most enjoyable threads I've ever read here. Congrats man, you earned that success. I'm really happy for you.

Great thread!

From: Beav
20-Jul-18
Great recap! This is exactly what makes Bowsite so special. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

From: Helgermite
20-Jul-18
Great Story! Thanks for sharing!

From: Helgermite
20-Jul-18
Great Story! Thanks for sharing!

From: Smtn10PT
23-Jul-18
Thanks to all who read this and enjoyed it. If I have another adventure of a Bowsite writeup I'll be sure to post it!

From: BigOk
23-Jul-18
Great read, congrats!

From: OFFHNTN
24-Jul-18
CONGRATS on your hunts and success! Thanks for sharing!

From: Pyrannah
24-Jul-18
Congrats on your hunt! I love reading these and they have inspired me to do my first DIY western hunt this fall. Hope i have a story to post like yours and to help keep the PA success rate HIGH!!!!

good job man!

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