Contributors to this thread:
Best hunting experience without killing.
I think back over the years of bow-hunting elk, and what my best memories are. A lot of them don't result in killing an elk. Here are some examples. 1) My 16 year old son and I are following a herd all morning. Eventually we get close and realize 2 bulls are fighting, while the rest of the herd ran off. We run to get closer in an open, recently burned area. The two bulls keep fighting, tearing up the ground as they move back and forth with their antlers locked. This isn't sparring like we have seen before, they are fighting for real. My son and I are standing side by side with our bows drawn as 30 yds away two bulls are broadside, but moving in such a jerky unpredictable manner that you can't really shoot. Sometimes they change direction, backing up towards us, almost running us over. It's kind of a comical setting as we wait for the bulls to pause, but they never do. When one quits, it disengages so fast and they both run off, so fast that there was no chance to take an ethical shot. We get nothing, but what an experience. 2) There was only one year that both my son and I killed a bull with our bows. So later in the season we are in a different area looking for deer. When a bull bugles at mid-day in October, we wonder if it's even an elk. We have no bugle so my son bugles with just his voice and the bull answers. We move a lot closer, and my son keeps bugling. We see where bulls have been fighting and tearing up the dirt. We hear the thumping of elk hooves running and I see something white moving through the trees. I think its the butt end of an elk running away, but it's actually the polished white front antlers of a huge bull running to us. He is one pissed off elk. He runs up and stands 10 yards from us. He is the biggest bull that either my son and I have ever seen, and the stands there at 10 yards staring at us for about a minute. We had no tag left to fill, but that was so exciting. I've got lots of other stupid stories like this, and I'm sure most of you do too. The point is that it's not all about killing stuff, it's about things like close encounters, and fun times telling stories around the camp fire about the day's adventures.
When I deer hunt, a "successful" day is defined in this order...
1. I got to spend a day in the woods.
2. I made a clean , killing shot.
3. I got withing spitting range of one and because I didn't have what I consider to be a 100% sure kill shot, I let it walk and it walked away without detecting me. (Truth be told, as I get older this one get's closer to being tied with #2!!)
I had a fork bull wander in to maybe 5 or 7 yards one morning as I stood there with nothing for cover but my recurve.
I stood there looking UP at him as he chewed a wad of grass, and I could literally hear my heartbeat slamming into my bowhand, with limbs and strings amplifying it into “ta-TUNG, ta-TUNG, ta-TUNG!”
He was so close I could hear the snot-bubbles pop.
Shots at beyond 20-30 yards haven’t had any effect on me since!
When my son was able to get leave from the Navy and Oregon sold him a good tag so he could hunt with the family. Great program and we only killed time together!
Ol jordanathome will load this thread up boys! :)
That’s funny Nick! Hope he kills one this year
Frankly I love to make fun of myself, in case you haven't noticed. I take solace in the fact I consistently find elk and have close chances to kill them. The fact I fail to execute in the moment is disappointing but I know persistence will pay off someday. Good lord the thrills I've had!
I'd say the most fun is out of season scouting and finding elk then taking pictures of them. I get to play out theories of how I could hunt them in season and test them out. I'm learning alot. I'm having a ball. I hope you are as well!
I was ML hunting once in Colorado and had a whole herd of cows and calves walk within arms reach of me. Filed right past in single file coming up out of this ditch as I stood there without moving beside the trail. My outline was broke up by the aspen trees beside and behind me. I was hoping for a trailing bull, but none showed...They never knew I was there...I've had other close encounters, but that was the closest.
Once had a black bear about 20 yards away. I could smell him and had been cow calling. I didn't know it was a bear, thought it was a raunchy smelling elk. Real sour piss smell, but still that barnyard odor that elk have. We both looked up over the brush between us and saw each other at the same time. He took off in a cloud of dust like a cartoon character...8^)
Maybe we will get some old town Ft. Collins stories on here............that's hunting of a different kind! LOL
Irishman, I like this thread and the motivating point behind it. Many of my best memories while hunting have nothing to do with a kill. As a kid my mom used to drive me out to the woods to hunt- i was too young to drive. She'd sit on the ground 30 yards from my treestand and read a book while I hunted. I miss those days. Life was uncomplicated and pretty darn easy.
My favorite whitetail season ended with tag soup. I played chess with a great buck all year and he won. It was a blast and I tipped my cap to him.
Hunting mountain lion on horseback at the Tortenson Ranch in N. Mexico. That was the former RMEF HQ. Epic hunt.
My favorite 4 years ago I let a 5 point walk right pass me less than one foot without shooting him. It was evening almost dark and I was about to get up when he came out of nowhere. I drew my bow and he continued to walk right pass me. For some reason i did not shoot. He was just beautiful and i was in awe. First time I let an animal go without loosing an arrow.
Well before legal time I had a big bull screaming about 8 yards from me directly at me as I was tucked in some grass. That moment will forever be etched in my mind. I could just see his silhouette in the darkness. Man they are loud
The first year I came to CO to chase elk was 2006. My buddies had been hunting an area in 25 for several years before and reported herds of elk nearly running them over. The herds had declined by the time I joined in but there were still elk around. One area we called The Hub, because there would be open circles in the timber connected by skid trails like spokes on a wagon.
One of these trails I called the Z trail because is zig zagged up the hill in a z shape then hit a flat terrace mid hill where several trails intersected. So one morning I spoke up to hunt the top of the Z and my buddies agreed.
After we split up, having had breakfast, coffee and a chew followed by a good mile long hike across a meadow and into the timber, I headed for my spot expecting to arrive 15 minutes before shooting hours. Then mother nature intervened and demanded I release the freight train that suddenly applied pressure in my guts without delay. So I hiked back down to avoid polluting the hunting area and did my business. I then headed up to my spot in haste knowing I was going to be later than hoped.
Sure enough as I get within 40 yards of my spot I look up in the pre-dawn light and there is a 6x6 standing perfectly broadside in the exact spot I expected an elk to appear but I was out in the middle of the trail below him exposed. I nocked on and stared. He stared back not flinching a muscle. It seemed to take forever.
He then casually turned and looked up hill. Like an idiot I was too stunned to see my opportunity to draw and shoot. He glanced back at me in disgust then bounded off up the hill crashing through the beetle killed downed timber never to be seen again.
It was amazing. I was a limp noodle and pissed at myself for hesitating. It was not the last time this would happen to me but man was it a thrill!
That same year I hunted the lower end of a huge meadow my buddies liked to hunt in the evenings waiting for elk to filter out of the timber to feed. Where I was the drop off increased and the field narrowed and grew rocky. There were also some trails that entered from both sides in this area so I was hopeful to get lucky.
I set up looking up the field as the wind was in my face, and we all know elk won't come to you from downwind. A thin line of pines trailed out into the middle of the field. They were short but enough to sit behind for concealment. So I set up there and cut some limbs to have shooting up into the field where I just knew the elk would pop out at last light.
It started out warm and sunny as we set up a couple hours before shooting hours ended. Then a cold front blew through and the wind started howling. The temp dropped 40 degrees in a heartbeat. It rained, then sleeted, then snowed. Everything was blowing sideways. I quickly put on every spare piece of clothing and rain gear I had in my day pack. I started shivering so I started chowing down on snacks to gain some energy for warmth. It was an eye opening experience to hit hypothermia so quickly and unexpectedly.
I was able to recover and warmed up and settled back in as the precipitation moved on but the wind continued to howl down the meadow into the canyon behind me. I mentally started to check out thinking no elk would come out in this mess. But my buddies expected me to hold my post until dark so I was bound and determined to live up to expectations.
It was getting down the wire and the cloud cover was making the evening light fade even faster. For some reason I glanced behind me and to my shock saw two bulls working their way up the trail through the middle of the meadow below and behind me. I remember saying to myself, self.......what in the world are these dumb elk doing coming up from behind me downwind???
I was exposed on that side so I could not move until they got up nearly even with my position. Then I had some 3' pines I could crouch down behind. I quickly crab walked as best I could over their direction to see if I could get a shot. I was just about in place and ranged at 30 yards when they suddenly came unglued and bolted up through piles of downed timber on the other side of the meadow from me.
To this day I will never understand how they didn't wind me until they were actually upwind and slightly above my position with the wind blowing consistently all evening from up the meadow and down to where they started below me. I assume the wind swirled or they caught my last movement.
In any case, it was one of my up close encounters and a absolute thrilling hunt packed with intense challenge and I will never forget it.
I remember one morning several years ago having had an uneventful morning at my honey hole spring pond spot, heading back to camp hot and sweaty and wondering how I was going to find an elk in this weather. It was only 9:30-10 am and I was soaked through in sweat it was so hot. There was smoke in the air from distant forest fires. My eyes were burning. It sucked.
As I was walking up the old closed road towards camp I decided the elk were long ago bedded in the dark timber, so I was carrying my bow in my release hand and my sweat soaked hat in my bow hand. As I started up a steeper section of road that curved left I happened to hear a rock or something roll up in the sparse timber above me. This was NOT dark timber....it was baked east facing steep rocky slope with trees every 10-15' or so.
I glance up blinking the sweat out of my burning eyes and am shocked to see 40 yards away a 7x something bull followed by a slightly smaller 6x. They were as surprised to see me as I was them and they were not sure what they had encountered. They did not go berserk. They simply stopped then changed directions to going side hill vs. down to the road I was on. They were also starting to angle away and the distance was growing between us. I frantically donned my hat and grabbed my bow. There was a thicker copse of trees between us at the bend of the road so I quickly scampered back down to see if I could find an opening where they would cross in range and have a chance for a shot.
I got to a spot where I had several openings and quickly ranged out a few spots. There was a downed tree horizontal to the hill that was about 4' off the ground that I knew if they came in front of it I had a shot, if they went behind it....I was screwed.
I'm sure you know what happened. They walked past behind the fallen tree too far and with their vitals fully covered by the damn tree.
I should have not stopped hunting. I should have not let the heat and smoke get me down and I should have not let my focus slip. If I'd been creeping up that road like normal, nocked on and alert, I am confident I would have had a better chance to get a shot on one of those bulls before they were alerted to my presence.
Regardless, it was quite an experience to be that close to two 270" plus bulls unexpectedly and still have a chance to make a play on them in the end.
I don't think of this often, because later events drowned it out. . . .
2015 in Wyoming, I REALLY wanted a good hunt. I yearned for it, ached for it, more than I ever have before or since. I wanted and needed so badly to have a great hunt. I hunted a week with my brother and buddy, and we didn't tag out. I drove home with them for a week, then headed back to Wyoming by myself. First night I hunted, and got into a bugling basin, bulls everywhere.
I think I counted 6-7 different bulls bugling at one point. I had no idea what was going on, but snuck into the middle of them, squealed one in but couldn't get a shot, then followed a bugler into the open basin, and Oh MY!!! Big herd bull, with 17 cows. He was out in the open, and I couldn't approach because I was out of cover, so I watched him for at least an hour and a half.
He was a STUD! He had to be a legitimate net Booner. I don't know how big. But a wide, yet lengthy perfect 6x6. Dream bull. An absolute beast. I watched him chase off satellites, herd his cows, and it was awesome. There was a full moon that night, and I could see him well after legal shooting light.
The reason this awesomeness is overshadowed by later events, is that I made him my mission. I walked away from other bulls in the next week. I was only after him. And finally, day 5 or so, I was able to sneak in and get a shot.
And I lost all capacity for rational thought. And completely $%#@*& it up! It also marks the beginning of my target panic, as that is the first time I can think of where I flinched off and missed huge.
Even now it hurts a little to think about. I just choked. Wanted it so badly, put so much pressure on myself, and just completely whiffed
One year we hunted, at my suggestion, 39 below Mt. Evans. My buddies were accomplished Truck Campers who I had convinced to pack in camp 4 miles up 2000' in elevation to a big meadow with a beaver dammed stream running through it. Heartbreakingly beautiful country. They were hesitant but agreed.
We parked at Rock Camp and started our climb in late one Thursday evening before season opened. We only went a mile in to a spot I'd scoped out to camp and acclimate before making the big push up the next day.
The next section was a series of switchbacks up a steep slope. It took us some time to get up having just come from Missouri. As we moved on up and got about 1/2 way to camp one of buddies, the oldest member of our troop, started having problems keeping up. I had been training hard for months, dropped 30 lbs, and was running 6-8 miles every day. So I went on ahead several hundred yards up the trail, dropped my pack and came back and relieved him of his pack. Then I humped his stuff on up to where I'd left my pack.
We did this until we got to the bottom of the meadow. I'd decided we would camp at the top in a nice spot full of deep pine needle carpet and with no dead widow makers hanging over us. We set up camp in anticipation of the hunt the next day.
We found lots of sign, encountered some elk we never saw with our eyes but heard. We hunted hard. At one point two of my buddies went on up to nearly 11K' and got a close opportunity on an old 5x5 bull. He was within yards on my older buddy but his shot was blocked by vegetation. They were not physically able to repeat the trek up to him after that day.
My buddies did think to bring some ultralight rods and had fishing licenses. So one mid day they went fishing and caught a bunch of brookies. We had olive oil, salt and pepper, and fixed them up and wrapped them in tinfoil to cook over the coals of a fire. OMG I have never had a better meal in my life. They were amazing. I will never forget that lunch!
The following weekend after we returned I convinced my wife to take a 4 day weekend and run back out to CO. I had her drop me off just before Summit Lake and I hiked down solo to where I was beyond the boundary and could hunt. It was the Friday before Muzzleloader opened and I recall seeing folks parked on the road glassing as I hiked down to the elk.
1/2 way down I heard the old 5x5 bugling every couple minutes as he thrashed the brush and herded his cadre of a dozen cows. I proceeded to chase and try to get in position to ambush and/or call him in. He continued to bugle and thrash and move his cows around. I had several shots at cows but I came for the bull.
After 4 hours of intense effort running through the brush when I had cover trying to position myself on the bull he finally had enough and took his cows on up out of that basin leaving me by myself. Exhausted.
I was relieved I did not shoot an elk up there. It was all I could do to drag myself and my gear up to the road that Saturday for my wife and kids to pick me up. It was probably the most intense solo hunt of my life. I had the most opportunities to shoot an elk I have every had. I was on display for all the pumpkin heads who I am sure were cussing me as I chased their elk around the basin the day before they could......and I loved it. But man did I tear myself up physically.
Lots of close encounters with all manner of critters over the Years.
Here's one that I happened to get a picture of...taken from about 8 feet, sitting on the ground with my back against a log, turkey calling aggressively. When I looked out of the corner of my eye as he was coming to me, I soon realized he was the wrong color to be a gobbler. He stopped, and stared at me from alongside the tree, as I slowly fished my phone out of my leg pocket. Fired off a bunch of pics, until he realized I was not what he thought I was, turned tail, and slowly walked away!
It was just last season... September 1st. I hiked a few miles to the top of a high ridge in the Rockies. In the early morning calm, I stood over a small saddle and bugled. Moments later I could hear something walking in the grass just below my position. The area was clear for 50 yards except for one large, but fairly sparse, pine 10 yards in front of me. I saw nothing, no movement through the pine, nothing in the little clearing, but something was definitely walking in the grass and was close! I nocked an arrow. It felt like minutes, trying to see movement anywhere from where the sound was coming and not believing I couldn't see the noise maker. Nothing. I was becoming convinced it was a grouse when I finally caught a flicker of movement through the scraggly pine. A beautiful 6x6 stepped out at 20 yards but, seconds after he appeared, I felt the fickle breeze tickle my neck. In a flash he was gone and I was left to wonder how the heck an animal the size of an elk, could hide behind that thin pine in a wide open meadow. I didn't think a squirrel could hide behind that tree, much less a bull! Had he been 6 inches one way or the other as he approached I would have easily seen him.
An hour later I sat on a ridge overlooking a deep drainage. Half hour more and a bugle drifted up from the bottom. I spotted a bull moving in the heavy timber near the bottom. Down the ridge I went and 15 minutes later set up less than 100 yards from where I spotted him. I used cow calls to sound like a group of cows that was moving through the area and waited. Nothing. Over half hour later I decided to carefully move forward to where I could see into the creek bottom, thinking he might be just over a small ridge. I crept forward to that edge and carefully scanned the area right to left. As I finished scanning to my left, I spotted a horizontal line in the dark timber less than 20 yards away. There he was, starring at me and, just as I spotted him, he spun and ran. He was one of the largest, if not the largest, bulls I have ever seen. Giant body, heavy antlers like tree trunks, tall long tines... He was coming to my calls and, had I waited a few more moments, might have given me an opportunity. Just a few more moments.....
Great morning - frustrating - but still great. So close....
Jordan I’ve got enough stories from old town Fort Collins to keep you entertained for hours on end.
As for hunting, there are very few times I haven’t killed something that I didn’t enjoy the experience. Getting into the mountains and taking in the cool mornings. Watching a herd bull round up his cows in one meadow, while a solid 170” muley fed just up the ridge. We really are blessed to have the public lands that we do here in Colorado.
In 6 short (long) days I’ll have camp setup and awaiting the opener. I’ve got my time set aside this year no matter what the hurricane season brings upon us. The past few years have been difficult for me to get out hunting in archery season since I work in disaster recovery, so I’m really looking forward to this year.
No "best" hunting experiences, but some really cool ones.
Having a timber wolf come into a bear bait at 10 yards.
Seeing and videoing a mountain lion at 40 yards. (Wyoming 2017) I posted pics of that one.
2004- Poor camp location (At the edge of a meadow). Herd comes out into the meadow after dark. I don't know how many elk they were in the herd. They were rutting all night long (no greater than 200 yards away). I thought I was going to get trampled to death under my tarp. They were as close as 20 yards mewing, chasing and bugling. I faded in and out from midnight to 5 AM as they screamed and chased all night long. In the AM, I readied in the dark as quietly as I could (Since they were only 150 yards away.) I trailed the herd and watched them crest the rise at twilight (Never to be seen again!)
Jeff, if I looked up and saw that cat 8' away I'd shart myself so bad.......... Um no thanks. That is my nightmare. Actually my nightmare is looking up and behind me to see one poised to pounce on me from the rock I just passed. hell no.
On a Q-L caribou hunt in 2006, we ended up almost dead center in the middle of the migration. The entire mountainside was literally crawling with animals. Thousands upon thousands of caribou. They would come streaming up and over the ridges in waves. Our guide estimated that we saw between 20,000 to 40,000 caribou that day. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced while hunting.
Back in 25 around 2009 I think we added our 4th hunting buddy from MO to the troop. Behind camp down a skid trail is the meadow I mentioned previously. At this point its is more than mid way up the length of the meadow, it is fairly flat, and it is at its widest point. Probably 150 yards or more across.
Just up the meadow from that point are a few wallows. So we set up camp on Friday and that evening before the Saturday opener we crept down the skid trail to the edge of the meadow 1/2 hour or so before dark and settled in with our backs up against some trees trunks sitting on the ground just inside the timbered edge. We were gonna glass the meadow and see if any elk popped out.
Sure enough, to our surprise, here came 4 bulls of varying size, but none better than 270", trundling down from the top of the meadow working towards the wallows. Then we see a cow that was HUGE pop out on the timber edge right across from us. I've never seen such a huge cow. She had the body of a mature 7x7 bull. Huge.
We enjoyed watching the bachelor group of bulls work towards the wallows then 2 started crashing their antlers testing each other and practicing for the rut to come later. We were stoked. We knew the next day we would be into elk.
Of course we never saw that group again over the next 7 days. But it sure had us jacked up for the start of the hunt that year!
"Actually my nightmare is looking up and behind me to see one poised to pounce on me from the rock I just passed".
Jordan, it was actually my second close encounter.
First one was a decade or more earlier, I was cow calling intermittently from an old wooden treestand in Colorado one evening. climbed down from the tree with my bow hung over my shoulder...happened to turn around (fortunately), and there was a big Tom crouched at 15 feet behind me with his ears laid back.
I drew my bow on that one...and he turned and walked off. Walking out of there for 2 miles after dark was a little unnerving.
After that, the other experience was less heart-pounding. ;^)
That is why I carry bear spray....so I can season myself and hope they don't like Mexican food. And if that don't work I have some 10mm lead therapy if they need advanced treatment. hell no. Only thing worse than stepping up on a damn porcupine. My buddies love to lure me over in the dark when they find a porky in the tall grass. Bastards.
Lot of great experiences without killing, but one sticks out. I was probably 9 or 10 hunting elk with my dad. I wasn’t old enough to hunt but loved tagging along. My dad bugled on top of a ridge, within seconds a bull ran up the ridge and was face to face with me 3-4 yards away, I still remember the slobber dripping from his mouth and him breathing hard. I kept waiting for my dad to shoot him, my dad was 10-15 yards away from me but had one tree covering the bulls vitals. Our stare down lasted seconds but seemed like forever before he spooked.
If we are talking elk none of my memories include a kill.
Z Barebow's Link
I've had a bunch, but the most resent was while I was mulie hunting in NW Colorado. I had found a nice deadhead bull elk and was carrying it out with my bow strapped to my pack. I was climbing a hill on the edge of the timber and sage. It was about mid-afternoon on a warm day, so I stopped in the shade to rest awhile. Out stepped a lion walking across the hillside above me at about twenty yards. At first I was stunned and just gawked, but quickly decided to try to video it. I had to quietly put the head down and get my video off my hip. How that lion didn't see or hear me is a mystery, but I did manage to get some shaky footage as it was walking away. I briefly tried to call it back with mouth call of a dying rabbit. But then I thought, it's going to be looking for something to eat and what makes you think you will even see it sneaking back ? I sure wish I had gotten some more video and some better quality, but the memory is still there.
Here is my kitty video referenced above.
Hell I thought he was challenging me...........my bad.
Love it all. Sights, sounds and smells. Dont mind when another party kills a deer and I can help track. Been out many night with a headlamp and toilet paper.
I always kill so not sure how to respond lol...
Actually last year I have cow moose tag in CO and my son and I hunted hard many days and never once saw a cow moose. But he was with at age 8 and hunted almost everyday.
I honestly would have to say when my oldest son now 21, then 12 years old, flung an arrow over the back of a doe. My heart was pounding so hard in hopes he'd put an arrow in her, I honestly don't think any of my best experiences alone compare. Afterwards, he said, "Oh my God dad! I could hear you breathing so hard!" LOL!
About 1959, I was rabbit hunting. A cottontail jumped up and starting running from my right to my left beside a log. I shot and the arrow went right under his belly and stuck in the log. His hand legs tripped over the arrow and he went tumbling head over heels. Buddy with me starting hollering "You go him". I said no but that was sure a pretty shot. The rabbit got up, shook himself for a few seconds then ran off. I was laughing so hard I didn't get another shot.
Any hunting that I am helping another hunter on and get to experience all of th ehunt with them.
For sure on Sheep hunts
Good luck, Robb
Every hunt involving my daughter.
But mine alone would be my 1st Cape Buffalo hunt. I had dreamed about it so long. So just to be tracking them all day and getting in bow range without a shot was still a rush. All that hunt did was stoke the fire to try again. It’s one of those hunts, at the end of each day, your happy you get to do it again tomorrow. Happy it didn’t end that day.
Anytime I’m out there, as others have said...A Tule!
Opening evening, 2017. I'd been up in my treestand no more than 5 minutes when I heard some mews. I gave out a few soft mews in response, and less than a minute later I heard twigs snapping. Didn't take much more persuading until I had 9 cows and calves within 20yds of my tree. Two of the big cows came over and sniffed my pack at the base of the tree. I figured once they got a close-up whiff, they'd be hauling butt. Didn't happen...same reaction as if they'd sniffed a mushroom. They could have cared less. On more than one occasion, I could have dropped straight down on a back and had our own little bareback rodeo. One of the cows actually let a calf nurse for 15 seconds or so until she'd had enough. A couple other calves carried around little sticks like puppy dogs. All in all, they were under my stand for at least 15 minutes, but my smile was stuck on my face for days! My only regret was not having something to record them with.
Probably the most fun I ever had on a non-killing hunt was decoying pronghorn out of Miles City, MT. My guide walked my fat ass off, I was already suffering from a twisted foot before I got there, and I miss one goat, flat out shot under him. I had broken my fifty yard pin just a couple days before the hunt, but I discovered that putting my forty on the back strap of a 3D target resulted in a double lung shot so I went with it. First rattle out of the box we get one broadside at fifty and everyone knows what I did. Yep, right under his chest ! Next day I put an arrow through one where all the experts say there is no void and he runs off with just a little blood trickle on both sides of his body. The next day we see him chasing does but he ain’t having any more of that decoy. No meat, tired hunters, hurting foot, but lots of fun !
Lots of memorable ones. My top 3: First year elk hunting I was 13 and my dad and I were walking down a game trail in the dark. Had a owl take my hat off my head for me. My daughter and I were elk hunting with muzzle loaders and we were around the campfire at night. I was teaching her how to call and we called a bull into the edge of the fire light. First year bow hunting elk and I watched a bobcat walk by at 8 yards, a bear take a bath in a water tank at 30 yards, and two coyote pups and their mom hunt mice in a field at 50 yards until one tried to run into the blind and I had to make my presence known.
Nose to nose with several black bears over the years, while hunting whitetails. One was when I was rattling for deer and huge bear shows up (came to less than 5 yds), I was on the ground at the time. Another time was looking for a proper tree to be in after I found decent trail coming out of a swamp. A bear comes blasting out of the swamp as if something scared him and climbs the tree right next to me. Jowls chomping, sliding down the tree, climbing back up every time I stomped my foot and he was trying to figure out what I was.
The time I took a nap in a natural ground blind, woke up to find a hoof right next my hand. Deer was feeding at the edge of the blind wall. Same blind years later having a 7 pt buck right outside the blind, quartering away. I passed since it was just too nice of a day, early in the season.
Lastly a elk hunting trip where I took dozens of pics, about 2 hours of video while stalking and in a blind. didn't get one but my buddy did.
Birds landing on me numerous times...
Some really good stories from other folks. A couple more things I've had happen: First, I had been following a herd bull with cows, and several satellite bulls all morning. From a river bottom, up a mountain, down the other side into a steep draw, up the other side another 1,000 ft and back down again. I had been bugling elk for about 4 hours now, and been smelling elk, and seeing elk all morning, but not the herd bull. Eventually, I decide to quit following him and guess where he is going. I try to get there before him, to this little meadow at the bottom of the steep draw. I'm almost there as I see the cows start to walk through the meadow. I'm too late it seems, but the bull decides to roll in the wallow. He sits in the mud with his chin down by the ground and bugles, and two other bulls are answering him. He rolls over on his back with his antlers on the ground and his feet in the air, and this allows me to sneak in to the edge of the meadow. Now he is within range for me, barely but within range. He is still sitting in the mud bugling. I don't want to shoot him while he is laying down, but want to wait until he stands up, so I know where exactly to hit. Finally, he stands up, and I shoot. The arrow never gets to him, but hits an over hanging limb, of the only tree in the meadow. This branch was not a factor if I'd shot him while he was laying down, but came into play due to the long shot and him standing up. I had to head back up over the mountain and hike miles back to my truck. It was a fun morning, and maybe just as well that I didn't kill an elk in that spot. Another time I had been bugling and having no luck, so I sat on a big rock in a little grassy area in the forest to rest up. I bugled, but no answer. After a bit, there is movement and a cow elk is feeding into the opening I'm in. I have my bow ready, and then I stay dead still, waiting to see if a bull is following her. I keep still as she feeds toward me from below, then around my left side about 5 yds away. She has looked at me several times, but has no idea what I am. I keep waiting hoping a bull follows her. She is now behind me. I figure that she surely has to smell me and run off. I can hear her eating the grass and getting closer behind me. Pretty soon I can feel her sniffing up by my neck. I'm half expecting her to lick at my head. Then she wanders off, and no bull ever shows up. So much for running off when they smell you. Of course, I've had them smell me and bolt off too. This story was from back when I thought I was never going to kill a bull. I've hiked up a mountain, where I'd been getting lots of answers previously, but not this morning. It was a steep hike, and I had too many clothes on for the hike, even though it was a cold morning with fresh snow on the ground. I bugle once more, get no answer, so decide to get a layer of clothing off. I set my bow down and take off my camo shirt, leaving me wearing a bright red under shirt. Before I take off the bright red long sleeved shirt, I hear something approaching. There is a nice 6 point bull walking right to me, investigating the bugle he had heard a minute ago. Before he gets to me he has to navigate around some small trees. I have picked my bow up, got my release on, nocked an arrow, but haven't had time to draw back as he walks through the trees and stands staring at me less than 10 yards away. It was a cool setting, as we are on top of the mountain, and the sun is coming up behind him, and as he comes through the last two little trees his antlers knock the snow off them. He is staring at me standing in my red shirt, with my bow arm stretched out, but not drawn back, and I can't move. He puts his nostrils in the air and sniffs, but he smells nothing. This standoff, goes on for what seems forever, but was probably less than a minute. He keeps sniffing the air, but he can't figure out what I am. Eventually I feel a light breeze behind me, and immediately he bolts off, so fast that there is no chance of a shot. This time the smell did get me, but I was wearing a bright red, long sleeved shirt, and he walked to within 10 yards, so much for the right camo pattern.
Any time I'm outdoors with my son.....
2001 had no bear tag for SW Colorado, north of Cortez at that time in my life since I am from N Wis and the UP and Ontario, have killed over 20 bears,,,,,,,, here is a cinnamon coming in on a elk wallow,,,,,, whats the big deal? Have it on camera, very few bears in that area,, over 400lbs
My best guest was 500 pounds, and I bait bear for hunters for the last 30 years so I think I know what I see......
I do not believe anyone ever killed that old bear,, but what a great bear I have on film,,, I was able to get within 17 yards of him, while he took a swim,, and shot a lot of film
I watch that film every year, lots of guys have seen it and enjoyed it,,,,, I wish I could have shot it, but on the other hand, it was great to see a bear that big in that area
I had previously shot bears in that area, but nothing like that
Hands down archery ibex NM. Most difficult hunt in the world. I missed good billies once on each of 2 trips. Because the hunt is so difficult I consider those 2 misses my biggest hunting accomplishment.
Foir elk hunting a few.
One was hiking out of a basin at night in AZ unit 27 with elk bugling all around me and heat lighting all around me.
Another was during my 76 bowhunt early in my career. I had a nice 6x6 walk out into a park, throw his head back and bugle in the most scenic place imaginable.
One morning I was getting a large herd bull all worked up. He began running the smaller bulls away from his herd. 2 spikes ran towards me, as I crouched behind a small sage bush. I had sprayed some cover scent, called Essence of Fall, all over myself earlier that morning. Apparently, one of the spikes smelled my cover scent and began sniffing his way right up to me. He actually stuck his nose right up to my ear, and drooled on my shoulder. I began thinking he was going to bite me, so I quickly waved my hand in front of his face. I will never forget the look on that spike's face as he wheeled and fled away.
Musta smelled like fresh soux vide.......great story Matt!
Grey Ghost with that perfume you had on and that drooling that spike was doing he might have had something other than biting you on his mind,LOL.
An elk hunt in Idaho years ago. I did not harvest but it was the best hunt I have had. My buddy killed the primary bull I was after a month and a half later with a land owner tag. It went 397". I missed one that was bigger. ugh. but such a good time
over 30 years ago sitting on a stump watching a logging road & a doe & 2 fawns stepped out she walked down to me stretched out her neck & sniffed the smoke from the cigarette i was holding up here nose stared right thru me like I wasn't there did a u turn & her & her fawns just walked off
It was in the mid 70s & Co. had a special late season bowhunt & if you still had your tag it was good. Me & 2 friends went & we were hunting in knee high snow. I was in al white painter coveralls & spotted at least 80 Elk with 2 decent bulls. I scurried along the ridge & set up ahead of them. I was by a lone bush on the hillside & 15 min later, here they came. ALL those Elk walked on both sides of me, some within feet of me. The Bulls were not with them. I went home empty also but it was a great experience. I saw hundreds of Elk that trip.
I did an 8 day Fall black bear bowhunt at a remote camp (Victoria Outfitters) in Newfoundland in 2014 and never saw a bear. It still ranks as one of my top huntng experiences ever. (The following year my son and I went back and we each saw multiple bear and both killed the first full day on stand.)
Stalking and still hunting deer in Lycoming county PA. Years ago farming was a lot different, many of the fields along the mts near Ski sawmill were overgrown, lots of apple trees, huckleberry, timothy hay fields, small clumps of aspen, brushy little hollows ect.. I really enjoyed sitting and watching and glassing. Then try to intercept deer as they fed into the fields in the evening, or back into the mt in the morning. I had a Bear grizzly recurve at the time, Compounds hadn't quite caught on yet, and homemade baker tree stand types was all that was available. Was a really fun way to hunt and I had a ball. One thing is certain it kept me on top of my game, playing the wind stalking within bow range ect... Sometimes I think I should do more of it now, since the advent of tree stands, I'm probably getting a little rusty still hunting and stalking.
I was on my way to my stand early one afternoon and walked right up on a bedded doe. She was down over the edge of a hollow and all I could see was her head and a bit of her neck, So I quickly hunkered down. She was already in bow range and I figured all I'd have to do is wait till she stood. Well 2 1/2 hrs later she stood.
When she stood I actually didn't have a good shot, because she was quartered slightly toward me. Now squatting there for 2 1/2 hrs without being able to move, made my legs go totally asleep, and also my draw hand and arm, (I was using a recurve ) had also gone completely asleep. That crazy doe fed up to me to like less than 10 yds, and studied me a few times. I thought, no way I'm going to pull this off. But she finally turned. I was able to get my bow drawed despite not having any feeling in my arm or hand. I hit anchor and released.....and............lol ... I SHOT RIGHT OVER HER!!! she took off, and a bunch more deer that were down over the edge that I couldn't see crashed down the mt as well. I just sat back amused.... after all that.....I MISSED!! what the world.....but you know what? I can't remember half the deer I've shot over the years. But I remember that miss.
Easy for me. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying each other's company while laughing and enjoying life and everything the great outdoors has to offer ;)
I was blessed to hunt one of the best elk ranches in Montana two years in a row and one day I had two close interaction with 2 bulls over 370. So fast forward and I am sitting in a ground blind over looking a well used water hole listening to elk go crazy over the hillside from me. After an hour or so two large bulls started fighting I could not take it anymore and bailed out of the GB and headed there way. On the way to the fighting bulls I had a nice 5X5 move past me at 40yds who did not know I was in the woods. When I got about 60 yds from the fighting bulls they were in a very thick area making a hell of a racket and I chose not to jump down into the mix in hopes they would work there way up toward me as the wind was wrong. Ten minutes later the bulls stopped fighting and everything went all quite. I fired off a quick cow call to see what would happen and one of those bulls bugled back at me quickly. The following bugles were getting closer so I got set up a possible shot. There was a fence line running parallel to me and the bull that was approaching so I got behind a bush that was right next to the fence. If the bull went right I had an easy 25yd shot and left he was dead at 15yds. As the bull approached I could just see over the bush and bout pissed in my pants. This thing had huge mass, long beams, and was big a 6x7. He walked up the hill to the fence line and started bugling and pissing all over himself (such a musty smell) and he was not 20yds from me. I was hoping he would turn right and give me the best shot angle but he turned left and walk right next to the bush/fence line I was standing behind at 10yds. This bush I was hiding behind was pretty thick with some very small openings and about 10-12 yds long so I waited for him to get right behind the bush and this would be the perfect time for me to draw my bow and somehow he saw my movement and ran down the hill 50-60yds and started bugling again. No shot angle was ever given again and he walked off with my heart beating out of my chest and the realization that this bull was the biggest bull I had ever had an interaction with in my lifetime and I was almost able to touch him. Second story coming soon!
After that close interaction with that huge 370 bull I had to sit down and take it all in. Bulls were still bugling all around me and after 10 minutes of refection I was ready to go hunt again as there was still 45mins of day light. The thicket that the bulls were fighting in was alive with elk sounds and I just decided to wait and see what happens before I would make my next move. As the sun was setting lower and lower in the sky the elk got restless and they started piling across this small field about 250 yds from where I was glassing. I watched about 30-40 cows and small bulls cross and then it dawned on me that there was a good bottle neck that I could use as they exited the field. I took off running and it was so dang thick in some areas that I got cut up pretty good but those bulls were still bugling and I knew they would pop out sooner or later and follow the herd. Finally I made my way out of the thick stuff and found a good setup point that offered good natural backdrop, shots under 40yds, and the wind in my face. I let a few more smaller bulls pass me as the wind was perfect and I thought the bigger bulls would come out last and I was right. Just as light was fading this huge 7x8 (380+ bull) finally emerged out of the thicket and started working his way up the hill bugling his head off. After what seemed like an eternity he was in bow range and as he lowered his head to eat I drew my bow and settled my pin on his chest region but unfortunately he was still facing me and not the shot I wanted to take. After a few minutes I started shaking and had to let down and luckily he did not see my movement. The big bull walked even closer and I ranged him at 33 yds out in the wide open and once again I was able to draw my bow without him noticing me as he continued to eat alfalfa. Once again I held for as long as I could but he was facing me not offering me the shot opportunity I wanted. Then it happened as I felt the wind hit me on the back of the neck and my monster bull was gone in a flash. Within 2 hours I had two of the largest elk I had ever laid eyes on and nary an arrow was launched but I still have memories that will last a life time.
Easy call for me and very recent. This week I took my 11 year old with me on my Idaho elk hunt. It’s been a crappy year with an arrow to my hand in July, and broken ribs in an accident a couple weeks ago. He had a blast and it was my first time out packing a bow. We got into a herd, I screwed up a shot and didn’t get the herd bull. He was pushed harder than he thought was possible and made it through some nasty hikes.
Thankful I was able to get out at a minimum. Great fun with my kid. Resting my ribs and stretching my thumb out the next couple days. If I don’t tag out or get up there Sunday and Monday, it’ll be the best tag soup ever.
Since we all thought Jordanathome started this thread can we get any volunteers to take him with you next year and get the monkey off his back? I've never seen anyone who spends more time pseudo scouting in August and getting more worked up for elk season than him. I can't his luck hasn't fell in his lap so he can get an elk during the season with as much time as he spends in the woods and on here. His out of state friends kill good bulls? Can you really be that unlucky? I'm booked for next year helping newbies. Can someone help him? Call one into his lap?
Here's a bull I helped get a newbie archery elk hunter on this year after a decade of close but no dice elk hunts.
12 days last September on a remote horseback hunt in the Wilmore Wilderness in Alberta. Best adventure of my life without a kill.