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Back from Wyoming - cpahunter
Got home late last night. Here’s a link to preface this thread. https://forums.bowsite.com/tf/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=478142&messages=64&forum=5
The drive wasn’t bad, about a day and a half behind the wheel. My guide in Wheatland WY was a bit confused when I sent him a pic of the exit to Wheatland ND only a few hours after a left home.
It was HOT when I met up with my guide Jared.
Camp was only 40 minutes from town.
The terrain was a lot more open than I anticipated.
I had the good fortune of being the only archery client that drew a tag. I’d have two guides - father and son duo of Pat and Jared Souza. I got settled in Sunday afternoon so Pat and I went out to glass the surrounding area. We located a single bull down in a draw with a wallow. We attempted a sneak into his bubble but the wind busted us before even getting close.
Monday morning was mind blowing to say the least. We located a large bull with a bunch of cows so we set up below the ridgeline opposite the herd. Jared had a cow decoy out behind me while he and Pat started calling. I was hiding behind a rock and the bull started screaming and came over top of the ridge with fire in his eyes! He came straight at me and as I looked down I was shaking so badly my arrow fell off the string. Disaster!
The bull stopped about 4 feet away from me while I fiddled with my arrow. I could smell him as the snot was running from his nose. I literally could have tickled his belly as he walked past.
Not sure if I got this right but here’s a link to a video of the big bull that Jared filmed. I waited til the bull walked past to move and he bolted away as soon as I turned. No shot but got my heart pumping!!!!
Cool! That’s why we Bowhunt! Looks like you had a blast!
Exciting no doubt for you
Good luck, Robb
Monday afternoon we drove up higher to scout some public land. Came across some other hunters that looked exhausted in the heat. We chose an area to glass and when Jared let loose with a bugle another bull bugles back. We found the draw he was hanging out in including a large wallow. It was a narrow draw with lots of aspen cover.
I set up in some brush with a large amount of cover below me. The big bull was bugling and on his way to kick some butt when a 5x5 came down the opposite side and gave me a 22 yard shot. Being that the bigger bull was still bugling and knowing I’d likely have more encounters I let the 5x5 walk. The bigger bull never came into shot range but Pat and Jared saw him about 80 yards above us on the ridgeline. Here’s the draw where the 5 pt stopped broadside.
The evening was uneventful as we hunted around the cemetery. I thought they were kidding and simply had named an area for multiple kills on elk but no, there really is a cemetery up on the mountain. Some very old graves and some as recent as 2011. Many of the graves are unmarked and undoubtedly from the 1800’s.
We get back to camp after dark and as I step to the door I hear this odd buzzing sound. Jared screams “SNAKE!” As there’s a rattler only a couple inches from my foot. He grabs the door handle with one hand and literally throws me inside while he and Pat have a cuss fest. Jared kills the snake with a pvc pipe and suddenly more rattles at Pat's foot! Jared grabs his 9mm and unloads on the large rattler. A third snake was also found by the door and killed. Sleep didn’t come easy that night.
I’ve got a video but how do I upload?
This is looking good so far...
Upload to YouTube then paste or embed the link. Sounds like a blast except for what seems like an extremely close call with the snakes.
Dam that was a cool video.
There’s lots of Mule deer around too
We found this near a meadow. Obviously man-made. Anyone know what this is? We thought perhaps it was used by natives for grinding their spices and such.
I think I read that this is actually caused by sand and wind....looks man made but it is from years and years of the sand and wind...forms a perfect circle....
A decent buck. We saw a bachelor group of 6 bucks that had 2 REALLY nice racks. Couldn't get a clear pic of them though sorry.
Great pictures and video. I'd missed the first thread you'd started. Congrats on getting back into it. Can't wait to read the rest of this story.
Can't really tell from the picture, but the man made "holes" I have found were funnel shaped. Usually on a flat rock in an area where natives had a regular camp. They are called a Metate. Here is one I found in southern New Mexico, near Deming, while Javelina hunting near some cliff dwellings.
Link in following post
Let's get this story rolling!
The hole looks like a core drill hole to me.
Sorry I am not updating regularly. I’m busy taking care of loose ends between trips as I leave for duck camp with my buddies tomorrow. The ending is what you’d espect. That is, if you expect the unexpected!
The days blended together so I’m just going to go off my memory and the few pics I took.
We went back out near the cemetery and set up to catch the elk coming off the flats where they graze and rut all night. Again with Jared and Pat calling from behind me I could hear the Bulls bugling as they kept the cows in line. I caught a glimpse of some cows moving along about 150 yards in front of me. With each setup, I ranged rocks or trees in case a shooter came past. This setup got my heart pumping again as a cow and bull broke from the herd and came my way! At 65 yards they stopped. The bull couldn’t resist the calls so he pushed forward but came down in a small low spot keeping some boulders between him and me. I had a broadside shot at 40 yards but it wasn’t a great position and not as big as the bull that was going to stomp me the day before so I passed. I could have taken the cow since I had the extra cow-calf tag but Jared told me before the hunt to focus on getting a bull first.
Jared and me. He’s a beast on the mountain lol. Great guy, really knows elk habits and at only 33 he’s found his calling as a guide!
With no luck there we moved ahead a few hundred yards and set up when Jared had a couple bulls returning his bugles.
He and I made a quick makeshift blind with some dead falls between some huge boulders. I could only see ahead of me in the direction of the screamin’ Demon of a bull to the Southwest. Another bull thought he was gonna get in on the action to the east. He was bugling as he got closer, I figured for sure he’d take the easy path through the draw and give me a 25 yard broadside shot. Suddenly he bugles close enough that I knew we were in his bubble. I look over my shoulder and see antler tips above the rock behind me! I was ready and was going to shoot as soon as he exposed himself like a politician to an intern. He soon winded us and high tailed it back in the direction he came. He continued to bugle on his way out and undoubtedly was flipping us the middle hoof as he exited!
Jared said he was a decent bull but they’d find a bigger one!
Pat suggested we get back up high and do some glassing so we hiked back to the UTV and drove up the road to overlook the vast landscape. Unbelievably, the herd of cows with the the big bull from the day before (see pic and video link above) were camped out in the same draw - but the wind was opposite so we made a plan to drive around behind camp and hike up to the top on their backside. We hiked to the top and sneaked around some boulders where Pat & Jared could glass the herd. The big bull was keeping them in line as some cows were bedded and others were grazing. There was also some cattle grazing in the bottom about 100 yards or so away from the elk! Jared picked out a spot for me to hide behind some boulders while he called from behind me at a higher elevation. The plan was to lure the big bull away from his cows by calling and decoying and once he cleared the low cattle fence, he'd be committed to a path right past me at about 35 yards. Trouble was, Jared & Pat are both a lot taller than me so when they'd pick out a nice hiding spot it left my shooting zones limited because my bow would be shooting into the cover LOL.
Anyways, they began calling and the big bull came charging up the steep rock to the fence..........................................
Pat goofing off with his high tech hands-free device
..........so the big bull would come up the draw to their calls but would never cross the fence! I never saw him but Pat watched from above while Jared was calling. He said the big bull would get agitated that he was losing a cow from his harem but we figured he had enough cows as it was and wasn't going to leave them to chase a stray.
We positioned ourselves a little closer and downhill about 125 yards from the elk and tried again. The big bull had enough and the cows went single file into the adjacent draw away from us with the bull bringing up the rear. They had no clue we were there so we backed off and went back to camp to regroup.
We went back up to the pine meadows and located some bulls bugling back. One in particular had a deep, old-bull sounding call. Pat said he could tell the difference between smaller bulls from the old and mature bulls. I was a little skeptical until seeing what was bugling and witnessing it myself. Quite an experience!
I set up along a rock out-cropping while Pat & Jared called from behind me as the big bulls were bugling. Suddenly a small raghorn trotted over the berm about 30 yards away and walked broadside of me at 10 yards! I chuckled to myself as the little guy was clueless he walked past me. Once he caught our scent he high-tailed it away. A few moments later 6 mule deer does came walking past at 20 yards without a care in the world. I was starting to think Pat & Jared had set me inside a wild game park LOL
We couldn't get the mature bulls to leave their cows so we got aggressive and headed right at them. We had one bull in particular that was bugling and raking hard but wouldn't commit to coming down another 100 yards to me. I could see him working back and forth as well as another big bull on the skyline with some cows. Pat said because they had the upper-hand on the higher ground they were reluctant to come to the calls. Jared became real aggressive with the bull by calling when he'd call, and raking the ground hard when the big bull would rake. It was quite a show!
We ultimately gave up on them as it seemed like they could do this all day and still not commit to coming down to us. So, Pat suggested we drive up the road and glass from up high for the time we had left before dark. As we drove up, we stopped and checked the same draw the big old boy was with his cows the first morning (see pic and video link above) and where they had headed mid-day. There he was again, lounging with his cows!
Does anyone else use knee pads while hunting? They were pretty handy when I was hiding behind rocks.
So with about an hour or so before dark, Jared made a plan. We could see the big bull bedded down below about 150 yards at the bottom of the draw with all of his cows with him. He was off to one side. There was a strip of timber maybe 80 yards wide heading up a draw between us and the elk. Jared told me to move down about 20 yards on the east side and hide out next to a deadfall while he and Pat would call from above.
I got into position and ranged my possible shots as Pat & Jared started calling. The big bull bugled once from down below and that was it. Not another sound from the elk. My guides kept cow calling as I could see the cows below me milling about and acting relaxed. I looked directly across the timber as I see movement.............it's the big bull walking uphill to their calls. Unfortunately, he's on the other side of the timber about 80 yards away from me! I felt a little dejected as this was the third encounter with this big boy and he just wasn't cooperating like he did that first time in the video. So, I figured if there was any way I'd get a shot it'd be if he turns at the huge boulder in the middle of the timber between him and me so I ranged it at 42 yards.
Here’s the big boulder. It’s the round one in the middle of the pic. The bull came up on the other side of the timber. To the left is the bottom of the draw where the cows were and to my right and uphill is where Jared & Pat were located.
I figured my only chance at the bull would be if he turned and came toward me at the boulder. He did in fact, turn toward me. To my dismay, it was on the uphill side of the boulder. He stopped right there facing me and stared me down as I stood next to a tree. It was almost as if he was thinking "You again? What the heck do you want?"
My heart was about to pound through my chest at this point, because the bull would look uphill toward my guides' calls and then downhill toward his cows. As I stood there motionless, I thought maybe he'd turn down hill and give me a broadside shot at 35 yards. He'd look up. He'd look down. He'd look at me. He'd look up......it was almost as if he couldn't decide if it was worth chasing a stray cow or going back to his herd.
Well, he took a couple steps forward and slightly downhill giving me a quartering-to shot. I could have taken the shot and made it but at 35 yards I didn't want to risk a marginal hit. The scent of his cows down in the draw were too much so he slowly moved downhill back toward them. He was perfectly broadside but I had too much timber and branches to provide a good shot opportunity. Although............I had a small opening a little further down if he continued downhill and would give me a "window" of opportunity. Here's a picture of what that small window looked like.
The window. The tree my bow is hanging on is the left/downhill side of the tree in the above pic with the round boulder where he stood staring at me at 42 yards.
A close-up of the window.
I had my Kelly-Harris named arrow nocked and ready to fly. All he had to do was move into the perfect scenario I played out in my mind and stop in the window for a 27 yard shot. My thinking was if I shot low, the arrow would bounce off the rock. If I shot high, left, or right it would stick a tree. If I hit anywhere in the window it would be boiler room city.
As the bull turned and walked into the timber on a downhill line, I moved from the uphill side of the tree to the downhill side and drew my bow back. It was like I was in a utopian world as the bull did EXACTLY as I had hoped. He put his vitals right into the window and I released the arrow.
It was almost as if the woods had gone silent for a moment. I never heard the arrow leave my bow nor did I hear it hit anything. Pat & Jared would occasionally call and the bull looked up the hill toward them and then back down toward his cows. My first thoughts were I gut-shot him or made a complete miss. The bull again looked up and then turned his head and stepped his right leg forward...............and stumbled. It was then I realized I made a good hit. The bull stayed on his feet, looking a bit confused as to what he should do for the first time in his life. My guides called. He turned toward his cows and fell over just a few feet from where he stood when I shot. Pat & Jared kept calling and then the big bull tried to rise again but had no strength. As he took his final breaths, he made some calls to his cows down below. The moment was surreal as I was witnessing this herd bull giving his cows their final command from him. He had no clue what was happening other than he knew he was unable to gain his legs and his cows needed to leave the draw. The remorse inside me set in for a few moments as I watched and listened to him take his final breaths. The bull called a few times as he expired as if to let the cows know he was done and they should move on. I heard him release his last breath of air and looked down to see the cows on their feet and moving out to the open pasture.
Cows leaving the draw after the bull’s final command.
The first meal of tenderloin that night.
Thank you to all that have served!
Thank you fellow bowsiters. I always said I wanted to kill a big elk, didn't matter whether rifle or bow. Reading the threads here and seeing what was possible convinced me to do this as an archery hunt when I could have chosen a rifle and instead hunted a few weeks later. I received some great insight on the type of hunt to partake i.e. backcountry, horses, public, private, guided, DIY etc. I have zero regrets on my choices, and will have a lifetime of memories from my first archery elk hunt. Everything about the hunt I expected/anticipated after my conversation with Jared Souza came to fruition. There were no frills, just two great guys to hunt with in an awesome setting. Exactly what I was looking for when I booked the hunt last winter.
Congratulations! Great hunt and spectacular results! You definitely had a lot of action and fun with the elk on that one!
Awesome write up, Congrats on a great bull!
great story and nice tribute to our vets, nice bull good job
Great bull and even better post. Thanks.
Congrats ! Thanks for the story!
Well done Dan! Happy for you man! Congrats!
Congrats! Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
Congrats on a great bull!
Awesome hunt and write up! Congrats
Congratulations! Great write up, and thanks for posting.
Great write up. Nice bull
Sweet read and harvest!
You certainly have become slim and trim as you trained.
Good luck, Robb
Great write up! Thanks for sharing
Awesome trip report and a great elk also.
What a great recap! Congrats on a great hunt and bull!
Great story and awesome bull. Congrats and thanks for sharing with us!
Great hunt! Even better write up! Congrats on an awesome adventure.
To your questions about knee pads — I bought the Kuiu pants with the built in knee pads. Don’t think I’ll go on another western hunt without them.
Great recap! I enjoyed reading it!
Great story. Great hunt. Nice tribute to Kelly. He would be humbled and honored.
Congrats....Thanks for posting up. Nice nod to the troops!
Very good. Enjoyed reading it.
Great hunt ending with a great bull! Thanks for the recap and congrats!
Awesome bull and awesome story, thanks for sharing!
Awesome bull and a great story! Congrats!
Exactly why we do this! Well done sir. CONGRATULATIONS!
Great bull and a great story! Congrats CPA!
Very nice sir on a great bull, huge congrats!
Congrats on a great bull! Hunting that open country will spoil you. Hope the fire smoke didn't affect your breathing too much.
Nicely done CPA! Great write up and play-by-play. Appreciate you taking us along. Beautiful bull and scenery! Congrats! Kevin
Congrats on a great bull
I stopped and looked at that very same sign on my way to Colo.
Great bull and story. My buddy was hunting 7 and stated it was way to hot for his liking.
Well done, congratulations.
Thanks for the story. Congrats.