Garmin Xero Bow Sight
The Best is Yet to Come
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Mark Watkins 10-Oct-18
Bou'bound 10-Oct-18
LUNG$HOT 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Treeline 10-Oct-18
HUNT MAN 10-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
IdyllwildArcher 10-Oct-18
ElkNut1 10-Oct-18
Z Barebow 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
WV Mountaineer 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 11-Oct-18
Grunter 11-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
GregE 12-Oct-18
WV Mountaineer 12-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
nijimasu 12-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 12-Oct-18
brooktrout59 13-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 13-Oct-18
ElkNut1 13-Oct-18
Stoneman 13-Oct-18
IKE220 14-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Treeline 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Scoot 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
GregE 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
ElkNut1 15-Oct-18
GhostBird 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
Dooner 15-Oct-18
WV Mountaineer 15-Oct-18
Dollar 15-Oct-18
ElkNut1 15-Oct-18
Treeline 15-Oct-18
Treeline 15-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 15-Oct-18
IdyllwildArcher 15-Oct-18
Inshart 15-Oct-18
Wv hillbilly 15-Oct-18
Scoot 15-Oct-18
Medicinemann 15-Oct-18
ohiohunter 15-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 15-Oct-18
otcWill 15-Oct-18
Jaquomo 15-Oct-18
Jaquomo 15-Oct-18
starbux 16-Oct-18
HUNT MAN 16-Oct-18
jordanathome 16-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 16-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 16-Oct-18
WV Mountaineer 16-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 16-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 16-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 16-Oct-18
Treeline 16-Oct-18
ElkNut1 16-Oct-18
Scoot 17-Oct-18
smarba 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 17-Oct-18
Bowsiteguy 17-Oct-18
Treeline 17-Oct-18
ElkNut1 17-Oct-18
Royboy 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Scoot 18-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 18-Oct-18
Treeline 18-Oct-18
Scoot 18-Oct-18
IdyllwildArcher 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
ElkNut1 18-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 18-Oct-18
Treeline 18-Oct-18
GregE 18-Oct-18
bigswivle 18-Oct-18
smarba 18-Oct-18
WV Mountaineer 18-Oct-18
HUNT MAN 18-Oct-18
buckfevered 18-Oct-18
goelk 18-Oct-18
otcWill 19-Oct-18
Scoot 19-Oct-18
cnelk 19-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 19-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 19-Oct-18
BigOk 19-Oct-18
elkman52 19-Oct-18
TD 19-Oct-18
Beav 20-Oct-18
Bowbender 20-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 22-Oct-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 23-Oct-18
elkmtngear 23-Oct-18
Treeline 23-Oct-18
From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
After a successful 2017 archery elk season, I reflected on what I needed to do going into 2018. I decided as far as equipment went, I was set. Maybe a few tweaks here and there, but my gear was dialed! It’s amazing what boredom and thoughts of elk season will do. By the time August 23 rolled around, I had a new bow, arrows, sight, rest, hunting pants, and a good 8 pounds more of hunting gear to load into my pack. I spent a lot of time behind my prime centergy hybrid and it quickly became my favorite bow of all time. My groups tightened up tremendously and I went from struggling past 60 to shooting well out to 100. Good arrows make a whole lot of difference! I went from shooting some gold tip big game 200 spine railroad ties, to shooting the Easton axis pro 260 with 50 grain brass inserts. My final weight ended up at 550grains, tipped with a 125 grain German Kinetic XL. This setup out of my 82lb hybrid flew amazing and was sinking farther into the targets than I could have ever imagined.

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
There’s been a lot of talk about high end heads and blood trails. The XL German kinetic puts a big hole in them for sure!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
There’s been a lot of talk about high end heads and blood trails. The XL German kinetic puts a big hole in them for sure!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Future elk killers?
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Future elk killers?
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Shooting an 18-1 at 100 yards with a 60 dollar arrow and BH setup is a little unnerving.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Shooting an 18-1 at 100 yards with a 60 dollar arrow and BH setup is a little unnerving.

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
Living 3 hours from “my” spot is a blessing which allowed for multiple trips throughout the summer. After setting up my cameras over the normal spots, a good meadow that holds elk and a wallow that produces later in the season, I checked out a new spot that I wittingly dubbed “the new spot”. A big bowl, with 2 huge meadows and some dark timber looked like a primo spot on google earth. Sometimes finding a spot that looks good but isn’t overrun requires finding a spot that nobody else will likely go. This was that spot. It required a straight up climb from the road, up a dry creek bed covered in 5 foot ferns. 100 yards up the hill, I knew the “new spot” was going to be my secret spot! Later I found that it could be accessed from a trail if you were willing to go way past the spot and then bushwack back through, but since the trail was uphill of the spot, the wind would be difficult in the morning and evening.

Anyway, I made it to the meadow, and was telling myself how good it looked when I looked 200 yards down to the other end and saw brown! I knew this spot looked good. I dropped down and hit the cow call and pretty soon the brown spot turned into 6 elk. They came in on a string and a good 5 point made his way to 14 yards. I get excited for elk season right around September 25th, when elk season ends. To say that my excitement for the coming season had hit a high was an understatement. I put up my camera at the edge of the meadow by a bunch of elk beds. I replayed it in my head over and over as I bailed off the edge of the mountain back to the truck.

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
LUSH!!!! You can see the elk in the back corner.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
LUSH!!!! You can see the elk in the back corner.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
17 yards.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
17 yards.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Nice bull for the area!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Nice bull for the area!

From: Mark Watkins
10-Oct-18
Nice! Bring it!

Mark

From: Bou'bound
10-Oct-18
Great thread. Well done

From: LUNG$HOT
10-Oct-18
Yep I’m waiting....

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
Thanks for the encouragement guys. Work is trying to get in the way. I’ll knock out a little more. This is going to take a while. Thanks for following along...and of course your patience!

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
A month later I headed back to check the 3 cameras. I was a little disappointed by the lack of elk. They were still there, but not in the quantity or quality that I’ve seen in the previous few years. There was still a lot of grass but it was starting to turn. The ground that had been moist 2-3” deep was now dusty on top. I believe this was the cause of the lack of elk in a spot that usually holds lots of elk.

Like every other year, it seems like hunting season is so far away, and before I know it, I’m packing the truck. With a plan in place, 3 of us headed out Friday afternoon and arrived at our camp. There was no reason to get there early since no fires were permitted. We pulled into the same spot as last year, put the seats down in the back of the SUV’s and went to sleep. Sleep was difficult and I am pretty sure I fell asleep for the first time as my alarm went off. No matter, I was up and ready! We made the 4 mile hike under what was the brightest moon I think I’ve ever seen and just as the black of darkness turned into gray of morning I let out the first bugle of the season. The new phelps AMP gray sounded amazing echoing off the aspens. I waited for the bugle that I knew was going to come, but of course never did. With the thermals in our face we started to climb and glass. ELK!

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
So freaking bright!!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
So freaking bright!!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I always like to see these from a ways away.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I always like to see these from a ways away.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
How much crap do you need for a day and a half hunt? LOTS!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
How much crap do you need for a day and a half hunt? LOTS!

From: Treeline
10-Oct-18
Got me looking! Shaping up very well, UCs

From: HUNT MAN
10-Oct-18
Can’t wait for the rest!! Hunt

10-Oct-18
Looking forward to the rest of the adventure. I’m like you, I keep my distance from those dang nests! Got nailed by a damn hornet right between the eyes several years ago. Not something I care to repeat!

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
I used to cruise timber for a huge timber company. I worked with a team of 8 and one of us would get hit at least once a day. The yellow jackets would have nests in the ground. The first guy would stir them up, th next guy would get nailed. I almost died falling off a cliff running from them. Still have the scar on my hand. The bald faced hornets were ridiculously thick this year!!!

10-Oct-18
Make sure when you shoot those nests with your bow, that you first attach an M80 to the arrow.

From: ElkNut1
10-Oct-18
Being allergic to those nasty varmints it's like I'm a magnet to them if I'm anywhere near a nest, I swear they always seem to find me, they must sense my fear! (grin)

Looking forward to the story sir! Thanks!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Z Barebow
11-Oct-18
The only way I would get near a dang nest is with a lighter and a can of hairspray!

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18
That’s brave barebow. Back in my dumber days, I spent 10 minutes trying to take down a bald faced hornet nest with rocks. I finally hit it and jumped back in the truck. Kid you not, they were bouncing off the windshield trying to get me.

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18
Well work just blocked bowsite, so this is a little harder but let’s see if I can get this knocked out.

We hunkered down in the 3 feet tall grass and watched a young cow feed our way. She was safe from our arrows, but a random 1.5 year old cow couldn’t be far from the herd. She fed within 70 yards and disappeared into the timber. We continued on our way and ran smack into a little bog filled with elk sign. Backing up the story slightly…my buddy whiffed last year due to a 3” wide sapling that got the business end of his arrow. His freezer was empty and it was our mission to get him an elk early! Back to the story…He set up in front and I went to town with some little bull squeals and some cow calls. Felicia (my heads up decoy) was attached to a willow branch and before long we heard elk. 30 minutes into the season and it might happen! Looking back, it was a donkey setup and I knew better. Pretty soon elk sounds turned into elk barks as a bull dropped down the ridge below us and worked his way down wind. The bark behind us was answered by a bark above us. The worst part of a barking elk is that you just know that every elk in ear shot is now on high alert. I barked back out of frustration. We barked back and forth for a while before they shut up and we moved up the hill. Another 100 yards up the hill we found a meadow with 15-20 elk beds with steaming piles of elk crap. That was close! Looking back, I should have found a better setup where we could have cut them off if they tried to move down wind. All the fresh elk sign and 10 months of dreaming about bugles got me excited and I didn’t think through the plan!

It was a hot, dry, windy day and by 9am we were about done. We worked our way along a steep hillside, bugling as we went. I hadn’t received an answer all day, but I kept trying. My last bugle of the morning finally got a response. It sounded like something was bugling back, but the start of the bugle ended with yip of a coyote! Figures… A couple squeals on my part brought in a young coyote, full of piss and vinegar. He was an ornery little bastard and I had a plan for him. I ranged him at 40 yards and dialed in my single slider. The hill side was steep and he looked close to 80 yards away. I let one fly and it skimmed his back. I’m not sure if the hill was too steep for my range finder to calculate the angle correctly, or if I just missed, but the walk of shame to get my arrow was worse than usual as I had to climb my way back up the steep ass hill.

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Walk of shame...I swear this is steep.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Walk of shame...I swear this is steep.

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18
We sat a wallow for what seemed like an eternity. Every fly, ant, yellow jacket, and creepy crawly bug must have been hanging out above that wallow and just as I would doze off something would land on me or crawl on me. My anger would build and pretty soon I was the little kid with a magnifying glass and an ant hill, finding pleasure from killing every one of those annoying little SOB’s. 5pm came and we worked our way back down the hill, trying to play the thermals. Nothing was talking and we were soon at a main trail.

Looking back up the hill, we saw more elk feeding on an open hillside. We sat for an hour without finding a bull before we broke out the headlamps and headed for the truck.

That night the conversation revolved around whether to give Sunday a try, or wait for “the rut to start”, “the weather to change”, and “the bulls to start bugling”. We finally decided we’d give it a shot and the next morning we were up and at it again, albeit a little slower and much less enthusiastic.

Once again we hiked up the few miles to where we wanted to start and proceeded to move and bugle, move and bugle. There’s not a person out there that would consider me an eternal optimist but every time I bugled, I was sure something would bugle back. 20,30,50 times, it didn’t matter, the next bugle would be answered. They weren’t and I finally called it. My buddy wanted to go sit on a log and watch the hillside that the cows were feeding on the night before and I begrudgingly agreed. He led the way and finally I gave up, sat on a log and pulled out my lunch, showing him I had given up. He joined me for a PBJ sandwich and we watched nothingness.

Two minutes later he tells me he heard something and points over yander, to which I replied that I saw some cattle there on the way back. “No, it was an elk” he tells me, as I think to myself that he’s full of you know what. I look over in the direction he “heard something” to see a bull wander out of the willows. WELL $HIT! The bull is 150 yards and heading our direction, but it looks like he’ll cross up the hill about 100 yards. As we sit there excitedly talking about our move, another bull comes out. Followed by #3, #4, and #5. There was 1 little 4 point, 2 smaller 5 points, a decent 5 point, and a nice 5x6 with a nontypical point on top. They were all young bulls, but they would definitely work! We crouched below the log and waited for them to cross the 200 yard wide hillside and enter the aspens. Once they entered the aspens we would be blocked from their view and if we hustled we could run 100 yards out ahead of them and then move up another 50 yards and possibly intercept them. The first bull was about 125 yards across the meadow, with each bull about 10 yards behind, when #6 walked out. #6 had a body 2 times as big as the other 5. He was the big boy in the group for sure! He lagged behind, taking his time. When the other 5 were in the trees we crouched low and moved out. We did the squat shuffle through the trees until we hit the next open hillside and then started creeping up hill.

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
My perch for 8 hours. 5 wallows in a row. Fantastic spot.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
My perch for 8 hours. 5 wallows in a row. Fantastic spot.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I was on high alert.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I was on high alert.

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
#6 from my trail camera.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
#6 from my trail camera.

11-Oct-18
I'm getting excited man!

From: Ucsdryder
11-Oct-18
I told my buddy he’d get his 15 minutes of bowsite fame... let’s just say he still hasn’t quite gotten over what happened next. Lol!!!!

From: Grunter
11-Oct-18
Great story so far! Keep er coming!

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
We made it about 40 yards when I started to get the uneasy feeling we were pushing our luck. We set up, arrows on string, release on D-loops. There was a perfect shooting lane straight up the hill, with the last tree being 60. We waited…and waited…and waited… Then brown, as #1 made his way through the lane, head down feeding as he went. This continued 4 more times as the first 5 bulls worked through the lane, each stopping broadside for a shot. They continued on and fed into the next open hillside and started working their way down hill toward us. My buddy and I were in agreement we wanted a chance at the big boy and if he gave me a broadside shot in the lane I was going to let him have it. If he came closer, my buddy would let him have it. We both liked the idea and we continued to wait. As we looked for the big bull to make a showing the other 5 bulls were working their way toward us, feeding, mewing at eachother, sparring, rubbing trees, etc. I’ve never been so close to bulls that were unmolested. It was awesome. Hearing antlers clash at 17 yards will put a smile on ANYBODY’S face. After 15 minutes, #6 still hadn’t shown and these bulls were all within 20 yards and still getting closer. I told my buddy we better not get greedy and let’s kill the good 5x6 that was out front. As soon as the words “kill the big one” came out of my mouth, his demeanor changed. Elk fever was setting in! ??

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
The bulls still had no idea we were there but to shoot he needed to draw and turn 45 degrees to his left. After a failed attempt at drawing while turning, he ended up turning on his knees, which caught the bulls’ attention immediately. He drew while still on his knees as the bull moved down the hill and away, still only 22 yards. I saw his bow wobbling around as he aimed and whispered to him “take your time…you’ve got time.”

The arrow went off as I finished my sentence and I heard it hit elk. WOOHOO, opening weekend! I stood up as the bull tore down the hill…an arrow sticking equally out both sides of his back straps, directly up from the back of the front leg. The other bulls looked at us confused and trotted off. Long story short, we never found a drop of blood and lost his tracks quickly. We grid searched hoping to find the arrow, but didn’t have any luck. We checked for birds the following weekend, but we never found any indication that he died.

My disappointment was dwarfed by his frustration. I’ve been there and nothing but time will make it better. We walked back to the truck in silence. Minus me telling him how close it was to the trail and what an easy pack out it would have been. Haha

We headed home, me full of excitement and optimism, him full of frustration and disappointment. I only had 4 more days until I was heading back again, while he had to skip the long weekend and wait for the following weekend to get another chance.

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
All in all the first weekend was pretty good. We had a chance to kill a bull...or 5...and saw a few cows. The total elk numbers were really down in that area year over year. I assume it was due to the drought and less than ideal feed?

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
I took off Friday which gave me 4 days to chase elk and justified backpacking into a spot so I didn’t have to walk 3 miles every morning in the dark. I left early and by 11am I was on the trail to my camp spot. I made it without incident and by 2pm I had camp set up and I was lounging in my tent, enjoying the mountain breeze and listening to the creek next to camp. That enjoyment turned to impatience quickly and by 4pm the sun was behind the “hell hill”. It was basically straight up 400 yards to the top of the ridge. Last year, while walking up the hill the same day, around the same time, I called in a 6x6 that came to me like a dog coming to a whistle. Today…no such luck. I got to the top, but the thermals were still heading up hill, so I sat and called for a few minutes. ELK!

Unfortunately, he spotted me first and a standoff ensued. He didn’t know what I was, but couldn’t figure out why elk noises were coming from this “thing” that was surely not an elk! I could tell it was a bull, but in the 5 feet tall aspens, I couldn’t make out much more. He moved off and I gave him a parting bugle.

That bugle received an answer from farther up the ridge. It sounded like it was coming from a big meadow that I knew held elk, but mostly at night. The bull continued to bugle at me as I snuck toward him trying to convince myself that the untrusty wind wouldn’t screw things up for me. When I cow called, he bugled. When I bugled, he bugled. When I didn’t call back to his bugle, he bugled. After the 20th bugle I stopped counting.

From: GregE
12-Oct-18
Nice Story-- so far..... Will be watching for the exciting conclusion ( s )

12-Oct-18
Come on John!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
In a moment of clarity, I made one of the few smart moves I’ve ever made in the elk woods and I sat down. The bull continued to scream at me, letting me know he was there and ready. He would throw out a locator bugle, then work himself up, until he was pissed that I wouldn’t respond or come in and pretty soon he was grunting and growling. Then he’d stop for 5 minutes and the cycle would start over. I threw out a cow call every few minutes to let him know I was still there and still interested.

Three times, I decided the wind had finally stabilized, but every time I would start toward him the gust would hit the back of my neck and I’d sit back down. After an hour, the sun dropped behind the mountain and it was go time. I was a 16 year old boy a prom...I was ready!!!! I moved in to the edge of the meadow and saw him, still screaming at nobody in particular, as 5 cows laid there. To the left a couple of spikes stood at the edge of the herd, and a BIG 5x6 stood off to the side. The 6x6 was definitely the boss, but the 5x6 looked bigger. I wasn’t sure if the 6x6 had run him off or if he just didn’t care about the cows yet since it was still early. Either way, he was big and in a killable spot. I threw out a couple bugles, but the 6x6 wasn’t leaving the cows. He was a good 200 yards from the nearest cover, so I shifted my focus to the 5x6 on the edge of the timber.

I dropped down below the ridge and snuck toward the 5x6. I got to what seemed like 75 yards and snuck up to the edge of the ridge, but he wasn’t there. Ole 6x6 was though, bugling away, letting everyone in the country know he was king kong. I decided to get aggressive again and started cutting him off. He was 150 yards away at this point and his temper was rising. Four bugles back and forth and he headed over to a small aspen and proceeded to take his pent-up aggression out on this poor tree. When he’d stop raking he’d let out the gnarliest bugle I’ve heard in the elk woods, full of lip bawls and grunts. I’d cut him off with my own version of a lip bawl and he’d go back to the poor tree. Finally he’d had enough as I bugled over him again and he started my way. It was on!!!!!

From: nijimasu
12-Oct-18
AAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!! The suspense, though!!!

From: Ucsdryder
12-Oct-18
I’ve got one more section I can post and then I’ll have to wait until next week to finish the first chapter.

He headed right for me, head low and swaying back and forth. He was posturing, trying to show me he was bigger and meaner and I was about to receive the same fate as the aspen tree that was now leafless. He was 80 yards and closing. My single pin slider was set at 30 yards, which allowed me to shoot from 0 to 35 without any holdover and easily to 40 without having to fiddle with it. My handheld, thumb release was on the d-loop and the tension in my body and on the string was building. I was laser focused as he hit 60 yards and tunnel vision had set in when a thunder of hooves scared the crap out of me.

Coming from the small band of cows who were intently watching the “show”, a spike had decided to go say hello to the new comers. This wasn’t good. I looked back at the bull and he was no stopped, head high, watching this ugly little bastard walk by me at 10 yards. The spike was too dumb to realize the scent of a human, but instinct told him something wasn’t right. He stood looking through me for a few seconds and head held high, he trotted back to the herd. Of course, the bull was now on high alert. He turned and headed for his cows, looking back only once as I threw out my last challenge, but for the first time in 2 hours, it fell on deaf ears. I’d been spiked…

From: brooktrout59
13-Oct-18
Great storytelling- keep it coming!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
13-Oct-18
Will be tuned in next week for chapter 2. Great story so far.

From: ElkNut1
13-Oct-18
Great story so far, bummer the spike winded you, no doubt it's been exciting to this point! Thanks!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Stoneman
13-Oct-18
Great story telling, enjoying this one.

From: IKE220
14-Oct-18
You know how to tell a story, looking forward to the next chapter. Thanks for sharing.

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
I’ll get through chapter 2 today, but with work blocking bowsite this is a lot slower on my phone!!!!

I know this ridge like the back of my hand as I’ve taken bulls within 300 yards of where I was standing the last 2 years. The ridge drops down about 100 feet and then flattens out on a big bench that runs parallel to the ridge. I was on the bench and working my way to get in front of them, moving quickly, but keeping an eye out for more elk. 100 yards, 200 yards, 400 yards, BUSTED! I froze and waited for an eruption of hooves as an elk stood there staring at me through the trees. Then a gnarly bugle rings out. It was the 6x6 standing on the edge of the ridge, looking down onto the bench I was standing on. He hadn’t seen me through the thick fir tree. I stood motionless for what seemed like forever when he finally turned. I took the opportunity to kneel on both knees and wait for him to make a move.

I was at the edge of the fir tree line and in front of me was a small meadow about 80 yards wide. It was a ¾ circle with the right side being the ridge and the left side being a huge open hillside. The meadow was a small hill with a snag in the middle. I ranged the snag at 55 yards. Coming down from the steep ridge was a very well used elk trail and I could hear an elk at the bottom of the trail, only about 15 yards from me walking and feeding.

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
The bull stayed on top of the ridge bugling down on top of me every 2 minutes. Whatever caution he had in our first encounter was gone and he was back to his old ways. The light was fading but I had one option…wait. Looking 200 yards ahead of me 3 spikes, the same ones from the herd, had made a big circle and were now feeding from my right to left, heading to the huge open hillside. The big 5x6 joined them as they worked there was further to my left, putting me almost exactly between them and the bugling bull. This could be good! By now my knees were starting to ache and me feet tingle as I sat on them. The only thing I wanted to do more than adjust my kneeling position was to kill the bull. Another 5 minutes and my feet were now numb which could pose a problem.

The bull was working his way down the steep grade and I could still here the other elk, I was positive it was a cow, feeding closer. My single pin slider was still set at 30, an arrow nocked and my thumb release locked on my D-loop…I was ready!

From: Treeline
15-Oct-18
AGGGGHHH!!! You need to type faster! Killin' us here!

Great story telling man! Keep it coming!

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
I saw brown, but it was the top of an elk back on the OTHER side of the snag, on the OTHER side of the little hill. How the hell???? I slowly stood up as 10,000 needles stuck in my feet. I ranged the elk, a cow 65 yards. I could see half her body, not enough for a shot. She worked her way toward a small pine tree to my left, past the slope of the hill and I could finally see her whole body. I was 99% sure that bull would follow her path so I hit her with the range finder when she was in the best shooting position, clear of the hill, but still within range…72 yards. I quickly dialed my single pin to 72 yards and got ready for the shot. Of course 6x6 decided to cross the meadow further from me than the cow and all I could see were the bob of antler tips as he worked toward his cow and the other bulls. 72 yards meant a dead elk, but I was going much past that distance. As the hillside fell away I could see more and more of the bull…head…shoulders…belly…legs. After another 10 steps he was standing in the exact place the cow had stood moments before. With my trusty Phelps Amp in my mouth it was time to stop him with a cow call and let an arrow fly. The plan was to stop him, but not scare him.

My cow call was more of a timid mouse squeak as the moment was getting to me. 100s of cow calls and this was by far the most pathetic noise I’d made. His head rocketed around and locked onto me, now on full alert. Mission not accomplished...

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The 5x6. Zoomed in from an iPhone photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The 5x6. Zoomed in from an iPhone photo

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The little fir tree pictured from where I ranged the elk. The cow and bull were just to the right.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The little fir tree pictured from where I ranged the elk. The cow and bull were just to the right.

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
I was at full draw at this point and a question I had asked myself for the previous 8 months was about to be answered. Can I execute a surprise, back tension release with a thumb trigger? NOPE!!

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
I centered my pin directly up the back of the front leg, mid body and began to pull. When shooting my back tension I always tell myself the same thing… “relax your hand”. This allows me to pull through the shot and execute back a back tension, surprise release. If I don’t relax my hand the release won’t “slide” forward and trigger with my thumb.

It was way too much to think about and I pulled the trigger with my thumb. It was still executed very well, especially based on the circumstances and I watch the arrow 125 grain German Kinetic XL fly in a perfect arch toward its target. ¾ of the way there the bull went to turn and leave, but he was too slow. As he took his step it put the point of impact, that was going to be a 12 ringer, back mid body. My heart sank as the 550 grain arrow, travelling 275 fps disappeared into the bull. What happened next was unreal. He tore out of there on a dead sprint, faster and harder than I’ve ever seen an animal run. He apparently wasn’t paying attention to his direction of travel because 50 yards into his sprint he T-boned the cow that he’d been following. I could hear the thud as he plowed into her, then it was hooves and hide as they rolled down the hill together. I hoped he broke his neck as his antlers went into the soft dirt and he flipped over onto his back, but no such luck.

He was up and sprinting down the hill for the aspens. The cow got up and stared at him as he sprinted away, no doubt wonder WTF just happened?!?! The spikes and 5x6 stared in amazement as he thundered away.

From: Scoot
15-Oct-18
This is great! Keep it coming. However, I won't complain about how long it takes-- I understand it takes a lot of work to do these! :)

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
I think this is giving me carpal tunnel. I haven’t typed this fast since college!

He entered the aspens like a locomotive as he crashed through everything in his path. It sounded like he ran over a tree, then a second of silence, another crash and more silence. I heard a grunt/snort noise then more silence. The elk standing on the hillside stared down there for a little longer and then wandered off. It was now getting dark and I pulled out the headlamp and went to the spot he was standing. The german kinetic did it’s job and there was blood at the spot of impact. It was fairly easy to follow. There wasn’t a giant spray, but there were constant blood drips.

I wanted to find that arrow to see if there was guts on it, but after 45 minutes I gave up. It was decision time. I followed the blood trail to the spot where he ran over the cow and there was a large blood smear where he rolled down the hill. The week before I read jordanathome story about bumping a bull and then finding him dead 2 days later. I was PRETTY sure he was dead where I heard the crash, but if he wasn’t and he got up and ran off to never be seen again, I would be kicking myself for years. I pondered my decision for a good hour and decided it was dark and cool and the best bet was to head for camp. I made it the 2 miles back to camp, packed up in the dark, and hiked 3 more miles to the truck in absolute record time. By midnight I was trying to fall asleep in the back of my SUV at a different trail. I thought falling asleep the night before the opener was hard…this was borderline impossible.

At 4am I was up and heading for a GPS mark in the dark. I hunt for meat, and I with temperatures hitting the mid 70’s I wanted to find the bull early and get him broken down. At first light I finally entered the big aspen patch where he disappeared the night before. I was going to cut through where I thought I heard him fall and then work my way to the blood smear from the night before and then track it to the elk…I hoped.

From: GregE
15-Oct-18
Oh boy.......

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
When I was within 100 yards of the last spot I heard him, I slowed down and started to glass every tan spot on the hill. I worked my way closer to the edge of the timber and ran right into a dead elk!!!!!!!! He fell exactly where I last heard him. What a relief, and what a bull! For many elk hunters, he’d be average, or below, but for me and the area I hunt, he was a fantastic bull. His body was HUGE…and rock hard.

I spent the next 3 hours trying to break him down. He fell right on his stomach with his legs pushed out in all 4 directions which made it almost impossible to turn over. That, coupled with deadfall and a hillside, AND a rock hard elk, made for a miserable gutless method. The arrow cut the second to last rib, went through the cavity and broke the front side shoulder, before poking through the other side. I ended up finding the broadhead with 3” of broken shaft in the opposite side shoulder. It had penetrated through the hide, but somehow stayed inside the elk. I ended up losing a little meat to bone spoil on the side he was laying. When I dropped off the bull, I opened up the SUV and the butcher asked “when do you kill it” followed by “when did you find it”. He obviously could smell the meat souring. Luckily, it was only in 1 hind quarter and it was only right along the bone. He cut it out on the table and gave it the sniff test. The sniff test consisted of him putting his nose 1” from the meat and smelling all over. Very scientific! He made a note on the paperwork to keep an eye for more spoilage, but that ended up being all of it.

I’ve eaten some steaks and burgers and the meat turned out FANTASTIC! He hung at 280 with quarters, straps, loins and trim, which was 100 pounds more than the bull I brought the year before.

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
You couldn’t slap the smile off my face.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
You couldn’t slap the smile off my face.
What a freaking season!!!!! I finally killed a mature bull and the whole experience was amazing. I don’t know how many times he bugled, 50? 60? I LOVE elk hunting!

From: ElkNut1
15-Oct-18
Fantastic bud! Hero Photo? Ahh ha!! I was impatient! (grin) Beautiful bull & solo too!

ElkNut/Paul

From: GhostBird
15-Oct-18
Congratulations... thanks for taking us along.

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
And I promise, the best is yet to come!

From: Dooner
15-Oct-18
Great story, and thanks for sharing it with us:-)

15-Oct-18
Awesome brother. Great hunt too.

From: Dollar
15-Oct-18
Congrats great story

From: ElkNut1
15-Oct-18
John, don't be too hard on yourself & think you need to compare bulls with anyone! He's a super nice bull & certainly one to be proud of, keep on smiling!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Treeline
15-Oct-18
Awesome bull! Way to go getting him solo! Congratulations!

From: Treeline
15-Oct-18
Sounds like the story is not at an end yet! You’re gonna get cramps in your thumbs from all the typing on the phone;-)

From: Ucsdryder
15-Oct-18
Paul, definitely not beating myself up. Was a great year, best yet for multiple reasons. Only 10 more months. Haha!

I forgot to mention he snapped off his 3rd on the left side, not sure if it happened when he hit the cow or crashed into the trees. I couldn’t find the missing antler but I’m not worried about it either way.

15-Oct-18
Grats!

From: Inshart
15-Oct-18
Outstanding write-up, and a great bull. Congratulations!!!!!!

15-Oct-18
Thanks for sharing. Congratulations

From: Scoot
15-Oct-18
Outstanding! Many congrats to you. Great tale and a fine adventure!

From: Medicinemann
15-Oct-18
So how many times a day do you relive that experience?!! LOL Well done.

From: ohiohunter
15-Oct-18
Fantastic, congratulations on 2 freezers full! Yeah, that looks like a fun position to deal with solo.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
15-Oct-18
Congrats! Awesome hunt!!

From: otcWill
15-Oct-18
Love it! I laughed out loud at the bull running the cow over. Good stuff man. Now hammer the rest out!

From: Jaquomo
15-Oct-18
Great job! Looking forward to the rest!

I know about work and the Bowsite. When it started to interfere I did the smart thing and quit work...

;-)

From: Jaquomo
15-Oct-18
Dang double post

From: starbux
16-Oct-18
Congrats on a great bull and I’m looking forward to the rest.

From: HUNT MAN
16-Oct-18
Fantastic . Congrats on a fine bull!! Hunt

From: jordanathome
16-Oct-18
WTG John!!!! Awesome story.....but I sure don't know how I feel being part of your decision to continue to track or not after the shot. LOL Hard call to make. Glad you found your bull!!!!!!!!!

From: Ucsdryder
16-Oct-18
Jordan, you owe me 10 pounds of burger for scaring me into leaving him overnight! Haha

From: Ucsdryder
16-Oct-18
Ok chapter 2!

I’ll throw this out there, but I’m pretty sure it’s unnecessary. The rest of this story is a combination muzzle loader and bow story, but I promise there will be no long range muzzle loader shots here! So if you’re a scrooge then stop reading and go yell at Bowriter.

My dad was able to draw a muzzleloader tag for the same unit and his summer consisted of buying crap he “needed” (sounds familiar!) and talking to me constantly about the upcoming trip. I get bored on the drive home and he receives a call almost daily. Being an old fart (he’s on bowsite), he decided he needed to bring his horse, which left me to ponder the question “where’s my horse?!?!” My horse consisted of 2 feet and my horse shoes were Solomon 4D’s.

I wasn’t sure how many days I’d be able to chase that horse around the mountains, but I was confident it would be enough. 30 years ago my dad was hauling my butt around the mountains chasing high desert mule deer in California and I was damn sure going to return the favor with a hell of an elk tag that he drew!!!! You’re never too old to kill your first elk!

16-Oct-18
Oh yeah!!!! Its the thread that keeps on giving!

From: Ucsdryder
16-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Here’s some primitive gear. I believe this was mid 1960s.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Here’s some primitive gear. I believe this was mid 1960s.

From: Ucsdryder
16-Oct-18
I showed my 6 year old daughter the picture and asked her who it was. “Is that you daddy?” Well crap! Now I know what I’m going to look like in 40 years! Hahahahaha

From: Ucsdryder
16-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
30 years ago!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
30 years ago!
I still remember this trip. 7 years old miles from anywhere. I fell off the horse earlier that trip on the side of a steep mountain and couldn’t get back on. That Appaloosa was amazing. I’m still not sure how my dad was able to convince my mom this was ok!

From: Treeline
16-Oct-18
WooHooo! Here we go again!

PS - that looks kinda like some of my modern model bows;-)

From: ElkNut1
16-Oct-18
Good stuff brother, go Dad!!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Scoot
17-Oct-18
Excellent- looking forward to this. Go dad!

From: smarba
17-Oct-18
Nice! Keep it coming!

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18
Neither of us had ever fired a muzzleloader, or even knew how to load one! I went on a shopping spree and found one “I liked” that HE bought! I told him I’d hold onto it for safe keeping after the season ended. I got all the crap that went along with owning a muzzle loader and headed to the range. It had been a while since I shot open sights, but damn, that thing could shoot! Sighted in at 50 yards, there was no drop at 100 and it was holding a couple inches off a bench. Close enough! We met up at the designated camp spot on Friday night and got ready to go. Sleep in a camper was like a day the Ritz! A bed…a stove…a heater??? I might have to reevaluate my hunting style.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18
Day 1. We headed out early to get to a bugling spot at first light. After last weekends bugle fest I had no doubt that the bulls would be amped up and we’d get into screaming bulls immediately! Keeping up with a horse is WAY easier if you make the horse walk behind you. That being said, that damn horse bumped into me every time I slowed down! We hit all the usual spots, throwing out bugle after bugle after bugle.

Absolutely NOTHING! I was amazed how far the smell of dead elk carried though, as I could smell my 6 day old elk a half mile away as the thermals blew down the hill. We made a huge loop that day, covering miles to see one cow. Well that was unexpected!!!

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ever wonder where your arrow goes after it deflects? My buddy shot a grouse and this was a screen shot of the video. His arrow deflected off a stinking cliff.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ever wonder where your arrow goes after it deflects? My buddy shot a grouse and this was a screen shot of the video. His arrow deflected off a stinking cliff.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Someone was pissed!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Someone was pissed!

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18
Day 2. Remember the “new spot”? Well I’d purposely stayed out of the new spot, wanting to keep a place that was untouched for my dad. We decided we should give it a go. With the horse, we were forced to go the long way and backtrack in, being careful of the wind that wanted to blow right down into the meadows. We made it to the cattle trail by first light and we worked our way in. The horse made a crap ton of noise anywhere he went, so I was constantly cow calling and trying to make elk noises to disguise him. 300 yards short of the meadow I heard something up the hill. Everyone was ready as I crashed down 50 yards below the trail, putting my dad and the horse between the noise and me. I started calling and pretty soon tan shapes began working their way down. We ended up seeing what we thought was 6 elk, 3 cows and 3 spikes. Somehow, in the middle of September, this herd didn’t have a bull in it! We still hadn’t heard a bugle and hadn’t seen a legal bull in a spot that produces elk almost daily.

I was beginning to get a little frustrated, not that we had gone a day and an hour without seeing or hearing a bull, but that I wasn’t getting my dad into anything, in a spot that I’ve stacked the bulls the last few years and told him all about how many elk we were going to get into!!! We continued into the meadow and found a very nice wallow that had been used, but not recently. We worked through the meadow and climbed up the ridge.

The rest of the morning was quiet, minus seeing a bull across the ridge heading out. At least there was still 1 branch antlered bull on the mountain!

****side note...I have some very detailed sheep herder aspen tree art that I would share, but I’m not sure if Pat would appreciate the pictures that very lonely sheep herders carve in aspen trees....

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Many miles on a horse = sore ass
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Many miles on a horse = sore ass
I rarely use walking sticks while hunting because I’m usually holding my bow, but man do they help!

From: Ucsdryder
17-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Moving out!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Moving out!

From: Bowsiteguy
17-Oct-18
He didn't tell you that after two major cancer surgeries, I couldn't pull my bow back very well, so he waited in line for five hours to get me a muzzleloader tag. Pretty good kid. Yea, to me he's still kid.

From: Treeline
17-Oct-18
So awesome for you to get to spend that time on the mountain with your Dad!

Even though the elk weren’t cooperating, every second is worth the price of admission!

Looks like you got a pretty good “kid” there Bowsiteguy!

Even if he can’t find you an elk:-)

From: ElkNut1
17-Oct-18
John, Wow, I don't know what to say, that's some serious $hit there. Dad's are special, very cool man, I'm speechless!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Royboy
18-Oct-18
Great story thanks for sharing

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
We headed back to the truck for a real lunch (PBJ sandwiches were getting realllllly old) and basked in the summer sun. It was HOT!!!! That evening we made the 3 mile hike to a bench and wallow that held elk, usually cows and smaller bulls. One trick with my dad riding the horse was the amount of time it took him to dismount, grab his rifle, give me the horse and get ready to shoot. We worked our way along the bench, on the edge of the canyon when my dad said he thought he saw movement. There was no noise and I was about to dismiss it when I heard a branch break. Off the horse he came as I pulled the gun out of the scabbard and traded him the ML for the lead rope.

I moved to the edge of the hill and saw a tan rump wandering away so we pushed ahead and set up. Nothingness… The evening ended uneventfully and we made the 3 mile trek back to camp.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
Day 3. The horse and my dad both needed a rest, so I went out to check a couple new spots. I noticed that the miles weren’t an issue, but the pace that horse wanted to go really wore a guy on foot out! I went a LOT slower on my morning scouting trip. I found a couple new wallows on a steep hillside and heard my FIRST bugle of the weekend. It was up above me, the same spot we were the previous evening! He wasn’t too fired up and we both lost interest quickly. I headed back to camp knowing that my dad’s hunt was coming to an end. Both he and the horse were getting wore out…his ass and the horse’s legs! Back at camp we came up with an evening plan, not thinking about the next day.

We decided the “new spot” was worth another go having seeing some cows, spikes, and the long bull the day before. Once again, getting in there with the wind was tricky because the thermals would blow up hill (good thing) until the evening, but then dump down hill right into the canyon/basin and from us to the elk (very bad thing). We left camp early and made the hike up to the cow trail.

We cow called as we moved toward the spot, but nothing responded. When we got close, we sat and waited for the sun to drop and thermals to change direction. Once the thermals started heading down hill we’d have to drop down lower and hope our scent pushed past the elk. It was our only chance!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
18-Oct-18
Really enjoying your hunts! Thanks again for taking the time to share.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
Sitting in the dentist chair. Fun times.

With the sun dropping and 40 minutes of shoot time left we tied the horse and made our way toward the meadow. I wanted to drop lower and lower, giving us more area out in front that would be free of our scent, but knowing the lower I dropped, the more my dad was going to have to climb on the way out! We got to the wallow we had found the day before, having bugled every 100 yards or so without a response. The meadow was to our right, slightly up hill and the wind was blowing at our backs and slightly to our left. Our only play was to hike to the edge of the meadow and call until dark. I took 2 steps and there was an eruption of elk. SON OF A ! The wind was good so it obviously heard or saw us. I got on the bugle immediately and threw out some elk sounds. I walked back to my dad and started to tell him that this was a bunch of Bull Sh*t and these elk were A-holes when I heard a noise.

Then I heard it again. It sounded like an elk rubbing a tree. Then I confirmed it, there was a bull raking a tree exactly where that elk ran. I told my dad, “let’s go!” and we headed for him, staying below him.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
I was on a full sprint with him doing a pretty damn good job keeping up. I wasn’t sure how long the bull would hang in that spot and I didn’t want to call anymore until we got into position.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
The aspens were small and thick, but when we were within 100 yards of where I heard the bull rake, I set my dad up in a little opening and dropped over the edge of the hill. I was about 30 yards away and my last visual as I dropped over was him kneeling, gun at the ready. I get excited when it’s crunch time, but my excitement was at an all time high. This was our one chance!!!!

From: Scoot
18-Oct-18
This is awesome! I got to go on one elk hunt with my dad and mom and it was a wonderful experience. I'm thankful to have my dad still around but there's no way he could do a trip like this with me. I sure wish he could! Congrats to you for doing it and I sure hope we get to see a picture of your dad with a bull and a smile.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
18-Oct-18
I'm thinking they have used some gas in the dentist's chair causing a bit of a pause in the story telling....lol. Still a fun one to follow and looking forward to the rest!

From: Treeline
18-Oct-18
Nah, he’s just adding to the suspense...

From: Scoot
18-Oct-18
Yeh Tavis, I heard some guys do that... ;)

18-Oct-18
Place holder post

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
Haha I wish it was suspense and I’m too cheap to get the nitrous!!!!!

Here’s the rest!

I found a semi dry wallow and broke a couple branches on a downed tree. Then I started my own elk party. I stomped, I cracked branches, I raked a tree, I cow called and answered myself with a little squealy bugle. I thought I sounded fantastic! Unfortunately, nobody was answering and the realization of the hunt coming to an end crept into my mind. Was it successful? Hell yes it was. Spending time with my favorite hunting buddy of 30+ years was the ultimate prize. We both know that at 78 years old, riding a horse 10-15 miles a day is a hell of an accomplishment but at some point will be a memory. I’m hoping we’ve got another 10 years of him complaining about his ass being sore from the saddle, but who knows what the future brings. KABOOM!!!!

I about jumped out of my damn shoes. I ran over the hill to see him looking at the muzzle loader, like “WTF do I do now?” I ran up to him and tried to figure out what happened and if he shot an elk and he was trying to figure out how to load the damn muzzle loader!

We got it loaded and I heard enough of the story to know that he knocked down a bull, then it tried to get up and then he decided it was time to load his smoke stick. A thought came to me and I asked him… “how many points did it have?”, hoping he remembered what I told him about 4 on one side. He says “I started counting and when I got to 4 I said ‘eff it’ and pulled the trigger.” We had a good laugh and started the stalk to where he thought he shot him. It ended up being about a little under 30 yard, broad shot and while it was a muzzleloader kill, I think it qualifies for you bowsite boys, up close and personal!

The bull came in completely silent, the only noise he ever made was the raking I heard after we busted him from his bed. My dad was amazed how quiet he was able to come in. He never made a noise and moved so slowly that the tan patch that he’d looked at 3 different times thinking that it looked “off” was an elk standing at 25 yards! He never saw it move in on him even though he was staring in the exact direction the entire time. It always amazes me that a 500 pound animal can move so quietly and stealthily through a noise, dry forest.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
I got the iphone video rolling as he snuck toward it and pretty soon I could see the bull out in front of him. He dropped it where he shot it, a perfect hit in the golden triangle. After some high fives, I showed him my version of the gutless method and we started stacking meat.

Funny side note…I went back to find the horse, but by now it was dark. When you try to find a dark brown horse in the pitch black, be prepared to wander for quite a while. The thought did cross my mind that I might not find the bastard until the next morning, but lucky an eye ball shined off my headlamp about 50 yards away!

Packing an elk out on a good mountain horse can spoil a guy REAL quick. Our horse train hit the trail, me in front, the horse behind, and my dad behind the horse making sure the load stayed balanced. We made it back to camp around 2am, exhausted.

The next morning we parted ways, but not before I got him set up with some good podcasts for the long ride home. He put the antlers on top of the camper (the only place they’d fit) and apparently was somewhat of a celebrity on the way west.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
This picture cracks me up. My dad telling me “5” for it being a 5x5. When he was counting points the bull’s head was partially obscured so this was the first time he saw how big he was.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
This picture cracks me up. My dad telling me “5” for it being a 5x5. When he was counting points the bull’s head was partially obscured so this was the first time he saw how big he was.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
We were both over the moon with excitement!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
We were both over the moon with excitement!

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
Double post

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I’m spoiled!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I’m spoiled!

From: ElkNut1
18-Oct-18
Absolutely fantastic!!!! Good on both of you, love your Dads! smile, it says it all! Great job guys & one hell of a memory!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Ucsdryder
18-Oct-18
We all have those few moments in life that we’ll never forget. Where we were September 11th, or our first memory of being a child. A month after that night I can say with certainty I’ll remember that evening for the next 50 years like it happened yesterday.

Thanks for following along and I’ve got one more chapter. My buddy still has an unpunched tag!!!!!!!

From: Treeline
18-Oct-18
Spectacular! Congratulations to you and your Dad! Hope you got a pile more pictures! Might be cool to put them all together in a photo album for posterity!

From: GregE
18-Oct-18
WOW!!!

Happy for your dad and you!!

Another tag?!?!? Better start a new thread...

From: bigswivle
18-Oct-18
Great story man. What an adventure

From: smarba
18-Oct-18
awesome!

18-Oct-18
Congrats to you both! This was a good'er one.

From: HUNT MAN
18-Oct-18
I love every word. I have been in your shoes and it feels so good to return the favor!! Great post. Hunt

From: buckfevered
18-Oct-18
Dude, that was awesome. Congrats to you and your dad on a terrific hunt and bull! Also, great writing and story telling. I had to read the part about the surprise shot to my wife; just that good.

From: goelk
18-Oct-18
Awesome story. (I sure miss my Dad)

From: otcWill
19-Oct-18
Good stuff man! Your buddy could break the WR with his elk tag and wouldn’t come close to topping the hunt with your Dad. That’s perfect right there

From: Scoot
19-Oct-18
Phenomenal! Many congrats and thanks for sharing.

From: cnelk
19-Oct-18
Great stuff Gian! Love the write up! [ as you know, I knew the outcome :) ]

Always better to read a story and not clutter it up with tons of pics.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
19-Oct-18
Awesome hunt and story! Congrats and thanks for sharing all of it!!

From: Ucsdryder
19-Oct-18
Thanks everyone. I enjoyed writing it and remembering some of the finer details. I’ll work on the last part today and wrap this up!

From: BigOk
19-Oct-18
Congrats to the both of you!!! A hunt that you will never forget. Great read.

From: elkman52
19-Oct-18
your a good son and your dad has a fine horse! Great story

From: TD
19-Oct-18
Congrats! You're a lucky man. I think I was 16 the last time I hunted with my dad. Cool stuff. Thanks again for sharing.

From: Beav
20-Oct-18
Congrats on a great hunt and even better memories!

From: Bowbender
20-Oct-18
Fan-Freaking-Tastic!!!! Congrats!!! What an awesome story!

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18
Alright, I’ve got 1 more chapter! My buddy still had an unpunched tag! The last weekend I went up with him Friday night to hunt Saturday and see if I could help call in a bull for him. We hit the trail Saturday morning and headed toward the new spot. We made the 3 mile hike and started bugling as we worked our way in. The second bugle received a whistle back! We looked at eachother and pointed in different directions. Another bugle confirmed the bull was straight up the hill and most likely on top of the ridge. We headed up the hill, him in front, with me 50 yards behind.

The hillside was open with large aspens and little no cover. He went about 300 yards and was a good 150 yards from the top when he set up. I threw out a couple cow calls…nothing. I squealed at him…nothing. I ramped it up and he bugled over the top of me. Someone likes it rough!

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The view looking up to the top of the hill.
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
The view looking up to the top of the hill.

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18
I went to town on a little aspen tree with a stick then screamed back at him. He answered immediately with a little more enthusiasm. I waited, hoping he’d bugle first so I could cut him off. He didn’t say a word. I bugled again…nothing. I screamed at him with a chuckle and he came over the top of me again. We moved up another few yards and we were about 80 yards from the top and I started the sequence again. He would get himself all worked up, but wouldn’t come.

I charged up the hill cow calling, making as much noise as I could. When I got to my buddy, I bugled the nastiest bugle I could then ran back down the hill cow calling and bugling 100 yards. I was trying to convince him a cow was trying to get to him, but the bull chased her down and ran her back down the hill. He bugled closer to the ridge and I cut him off. As I cut him off, he cut me off! A-hole!!!

I had found a little group of baby aspens to hide in. I was raking a little one and shaking the biggest aspen in the bunch, creating some visual for him. I heard him scream and he sounded on top of me. I came over the top of him again with a frustrated whine that turned into a lip bawl with a chuckle at the end. I don’t even think it was an elk noise, but he screamed over the top of me again. Here we go!!!!

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18
I peered up to the top of the ridge and there he was in all his glory, glistening in the light of the rising sun. He was a big 5x5.

Wow, what an unbelievable view. I raked a tree, and shook the other tree. He screamed at me. I knew it was a matter of seconds before he charged down the hill and if my buddy was lucky he’d get a shot before he was trampled. The bull was at level 10. HE WAS PISSED!! He strutted back and forth on the ridge and I realized we were in trouble.

He wasn’t scared of a fight and he was ready to whip my ass, but he wasn’t coming down the hill. He walked back and disappeared. I ran up the hill to my buddy and told him we had to move. As I looked back the way I came, I realized our problem. He was looking down into a grass park filled with 100 foot tall aspens. He knew he should have been able to see me and when he didn’t see me, he started to get cautious. We charged up the hill and got to the top, he was now further up the ridge but still bugling. We ran at him, screaming as we went, but he was still retreating. If we could get close and keep the pressure on, he might turn and fight. We never caught up to him. From the first bugle to when we gave up was two hours straight of screaming bugles and high hopes. I learned a ton from that bull and hindsight is always 20/20, but we should have NEVER set up 150 yards from the top. We should have gotten within shooting distance to the top of the hill, knowing he’d likely peak over the top at some point to try to get eyes on us. We went down the trail and let out another bugle that was answered immediately. Ok, time to be more aggressive! The bugle sounded 300 yards away so we took off at a fast walk, trying to close 200 yards. We made it 150 yards and I looked to our left to see the bull standing there 30 yards away. DANGIT! We saw eachother at the same time and he turned and trotted off. TOO AGGRESSIVE! That bull would have ended up in our laps if we had waited.

That was the last excitement of the day and of the year. The last trip was another wild success, but left my buddy with an unpunched tag.

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18
A couple equipment notes. I can’t say enough good things about those german kinetic XL broadheads. The wider cut might not work for everyone’s setup, but with my setup they give a great combination of big cut and bullet proof design. I wish I would have taken a picture of the entrance hole in the bull I shot. It looked like something you’d see from an expandable, but then it penetrated a rib and the offside shoulder on a solid quartering away shot. To top it off I was popping balloons at 100 yards.

The Phelps AMP reeds are awesome. I kept that thing in my mouth all day, every day and blew it non stop. It still sounds like the day I opened the package. Last year I went through 3 reeds because I would blow them out and the latex would start to tear at the corners. I give it 2 thumbs up!!!

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I miss September already...
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
I miss September already...
A couple more random pictures from the season...

From: Ucsdryder
22-Oct-18

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
When people ask why we do it? Here’s the reason! Cook them rare!
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
When people ask why we do it? Here’s the reason! Cook them rare!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
23-Oct-18
Way to bring it. Awesome story all the way through!

From: elkmtngear
23-Oct-18
Great Season, John!

Excellent recap and photos. Gets me fired up all over again, can't believe we have to wait 10 more months!

From: Treeline
23-Oct-18
What an excellent story! It’s why we keep chasing elk. Thank you for your taking the time to bring the elk hunt to life with your recap! Well done, sir!

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