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Semi Live Elk hunt for newbies
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
Pig Doc 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
jrhurn 26-Sep-19
Brotsky 26-Sep-19
Twinetickler 26-Sep-19
Charlie Rehor 26-Sep-19
hunt'n addict 26-Sep-19
APauls 26-Sep-19
Scoot 26-Sep-19
The rookie 26-Sep-19
bigeasygator 27-Sep-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-19
jrhurn 27-Sep-19
jrhurn 27-Sep-19
JL 27-Sep-19
jrhurn 27-Sep-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 28-Sep-19
Wv hillbilly 28-Sep-19
Scoot 28-Sep-19
JL 28-Sep-19
Whip 28-Sep-19
jrhurn 28-Sep-19
jrhurn 28-Sep-19
jrhurn 28-Sep-19
jrhurn 28-Sep-19
jrhurn 28-Sep-19
stick n string 28-Sep-19
JohnMC 28-Sep-19
midwest 28-Sep-19
BIG BEAR 28-Sep-19
buckfevered 28-Sep-19
INbowdude 29-Sep-19
jrhurn 29-Sep-19
JL 29-Sep-19
T Mac 29-Sep-19
Thunderflight 29-Sep-19
ki-ke 29-Sep-19
Crusader dad 29-Sep-19
Overland 29-Sep-19
Scoot 29-Sep-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 30-Sep-19
Drahthaar 30-Sep-19
jrhurn 30-Sep-19
Bou'bound 30-Sep-19
jrhurn 30-Sep-19
Empty Freezer 30-Sep-19
Ucsdryder 30-Sep-19
jrhurn 30-Sep-19
Twinetickler 30-Sep-19
jrhurn 01-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
TREESTANDWOLF 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
Smtn10PT 02-Oct-19
Overland 02-Oct-19
JL 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 02-Oct-19
JL 02-Oct-19
Brotsky 02-Oct-19
Splitbrow 02-Oct-19
Scoot 02-Oct-19
dakotaduner 02-Oct-19
Buffalo1 02-Oct-19
midwest 02-Oct-19
Franklin 02-Oct-19
jrhurn 03-Oct-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 03-Oct-19
Franklin 03-Oct-19
Wv hillbilly 03-Oct-19
SteveB 20-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 20-Oct-19
yeager 20-Oct-19
Inshart 21-Oct-19
From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
I will attempt to chronical our trip to the Rocking R. This trip was almost 2 years in the making, actually longer than that. Rob, my whitetail hunting buddy and I have been talking about elk hunting for 20 years. We never made it happen. We always found reason's (excuses) to not go. We never planned it, we never saved for it, we always had the "maybe next year" mentality. Meanwhile, we talked about it quite often. Fastforward to 2017, January. We are having dinner with our wives and start talking hunting. It turns to elk hunting. They sigh, look at us and proceed to dictate that we either "put up or shut up"!!!!!

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
The process begins and after talking to several of you here on Bowsite, Rob and I are ready to book with Dan at the Rocking R, in Feb. of 2017. Wait, before we can book my wife comes to me says you know your not getting any younger and neither is your son, you need to book him with you on this trip. I love the idea and explain to her the cost implications of taking my broke, married and still in college son with us. That means my hunt just doubled in cost. Not just the booking, but gear, tags, tips, etc. She repeated the statement that time is short, make it happen.

March 2017 - We book and the countdown begins. Rob, Ross and I are headed to southwest Colorado in 18 months. It should have been four but Steve, another great friend and whitetail killer said "no joy", too expensive. Too bad, he would be a blast and would round out our flatlander group quite nicely.

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
Preparation begins, kind of. We join RMEF, watch videos and such but the fountain of excitement is there, we can feel it, but it just has not erupted yet. We are still a long way off. We hit September of 2018 and now things begin to heat up. 1 year!! 1 year and we are elk hunting, but it still doesn't feel real.

Jan 2019, Rob calls Dan at the Rocking R and asks if there any openings. It appears Steve is now regretting the decision to not book. He gets confirmation that there is room for the week we are booked and Steve is in. The Boyz from Illinoiz are heading to the mountains!

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
We spend the next 7 months gathering gear, buying bows, and planning. The day arrives, September 23rd. 4 dudes from IL are headed west for the first time and I get to do it with my son. As he says, this is going to be EPIC!

From: Pig Doc
26-Sep-19
Looking forward to your story...

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
So I called this "semi-live" because I intended to write it when I got home. However it has been so EPIC, dare I even say DOPE. That I had to start writing it on Day 2 of the hunt. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Sept 23 we load up for the 1300 miles. Three 50 somethings and one 21 year old. We make quite the crew and we are all running on nitrous oxide. All we could think about for the last week was getting to the mountains and we didn't even know what that meant. We leave Northern IL and have every intention of driving straight through. Shoot, we all have done it before, so what if it was 30 years ago. Needless to say, we ran out of steam about the 14 hour mark and got a room. The thought of sleeping in a bed, even for only 5 hours was so much more appealing than trying to catch a few in the truck cab. Besides we were ahead of schedule and this also meant we would see the mountains in the daylight.

The area on Hwy 76 outside of Vail was easily one of the most beautiful things I have seen.

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Sept 24th, we roll into camp. This is actually going to happen. One more "sleep" and we are elk hunting.

PS. Lone cone as we see it coming in. Taken through the front windshield, notice all of the casualties

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
Sept 25th - The day we have, not so patiently, been waiting for. We were told at the orientation last night that we should be ready to go by 5 am. We were also told to make up our minds as to what we were going to shoot, because this is a lot harder than most people believe. Ross (my son) and Steve are bulls only until day 3. I am first legal elk (cow, calf, or bull) and Rob is on the fence. Rob is ALWAYS on the fence. He has a bear tag also, so he might shoot a cow and then sit the carcus for a bear.

Anyway, we are off at 5:45 and by 6:10 actually in hiking in the mountains. Ross and I exit the vehicle with our guide, gear up and begin walking. I'm thinking the little bit of training I did paid off. This is not bad, I'm at 8000 feet and feeling pretty good. Then we start the incline. Now this country is nothing like what most of you hunt. When I say incline, I'm talking 10 degrees and the first rise covered about 200 yards. At the top, I'm now thinking that I need a lung transplant and that my training was woefully inadequate. I'm following a man that just finished a dall sheep hunt in the NWT and a 21 year old. I set my mind to the fact that I was not going to slow us down, that it was going to hurt, however I will catch what little breathe is available up here each time we stop.

We walk for about 30 minutes to a point were we could glass the meadows below us as the sun is coming up. We see elk but they are running, dang it. We move on a bit to the edge of a draw, stop and call. There it is......7 am on our first morning and we hear a bugle. Ross and I's first bugle ever. This is unreal, we are elk hunting!!!!

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
We move at a pretty good clip and get within a couple hundred yards and he bugles again. Then 3 more bulls bugle. They are not bugling much but at least we know about where they are. We decide to go after one of the 4. We move another 100 yards and are now within 100 of him. We set up and I am thinking, I am actually set up on a bull with my son 40 yards to my left and my guide 30 behind us. This is freaking awesome! Well that bull kept moving west and we were east of him. We set up a few more times on him and different bulls, but they all seemed to be wanting to take their girls west. It is now 9 am and the winds will be shifting soon ( I have never had to consider that in the whitetail woods). We need to leave these guys alone and head back to the lodge. We will get back at it this evening.

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
I forgot Rob and Steve. They struggled this morning. They heard no less than 8 bulls bugling and doing so every couple of minutes. Apparently that means there is probably a hot cow on the mountain. Unfortunately the mountain is the next ridge over and they will not get there in time, before the wind shifts. They see elk and hear elk. This is definitely not IL!

Now on to the evening hunt of Day 1. We are told that the evening hunts are much different than mornings, in that we are going to sit in a good a good area, wait for the wind to get favorable, call and then move. We should expect about 2 hrs of nothing and then 1 hour of excitement if the bulls are talking.

Ross and I are going to go to the property where Steve and Rob were but going to hunt down low. Steve and Rob are going to the area we were in the am. I didn't know why we would flip flop, but found out that our guide wanted to check out a couple of thing on the property we were headed.

We get set up and wait. And wait, and wait. We have 30 minutes of shooting light left and we decide to go call another area. We stop at the opening of a meadow and glass another meadow high. There's a bull and he is by himself. He's over a 1000 yards away. In my head I'm thinking well that's cool, but no way we can do anything with him. 2 bugle calls later and that joker is running down the mountain. We scramble to get set up but this meadow is 200yrds wide. No way we can make it across without buggering him. We set up with 80 yards of meadow in front of us. He comes to the meadow edge, stands there for 15 minutes and then disappears. We have had two hunts and two great encounters. This does not suck at all. We walk back to the truck and head to the lodge. I verbalize the fact that my expectations have been met. I have been in elk, I have heard elk bugle within 100 yards, and I have seen some beautiful country. My son replies that his have not been met yet, he's here to kill something. I love young uns.

From: jrhurn
26-Sep-19
Now to Steve and Rob's hunt. Man did they get into them. They had every intention of making about 1.5 miles up the mountain to get above and never made it more than 400 yards before they were in the middle of 4 bulls bugling. Rob ended up with a bull at 30 yards, but full frontal. He won't take that shot at that distance. The bull lost interest and left. The guide, who couldn't see him, called again and the bull came back. Giving him the same shot, except this time he bugled at 30 yards. Rob's comment was that was super intense. No other opportunities for them.

To bed and we do it again tomorrow. Day 1 was more than we could have imagined. I can't believe we waited this long to do this.

From: Brotsky
26-Sep-19
Awesome jr! Looking forward to more of the story. You know the problem with elk hunting is that the day you get home all you can think about is "how do I get back?". It will consume you, you will obsess over it. I spend every waking minute almost asking myself one question....Is it September yet? Well for you it's September! Enjoy the ride!

From: Twinetickler
26-Sep-19
What Brotsky said.....! Good luck!

26-Sep-19
Nice to see/read your excitement. You’re in good hands! C

26-Sep-19
You got me hooked. Looking forward to the next update.

From: APauls
26-Sep-19
Oh heck ya - AWESOME!

From: Scoot
26-Sep-19
"You know the problem with elk hunting is that the day you get home all you can think about is "how do I get back?". It will consume you, you will obsess over it."

Its like the first time you get lucky. The common thought is, "That was great but it was over too quick, I want to do it again!" Then you spend the rest of your life trying to do it again. Yup, that's elk hunting!

From: The rookie
26-Sep-19
The excitement is awesome to hear! Hope y’all get to punch your tags.

From: bigeasygator
27-Sep-19
Man does this bring back memories of my first time(s) in elk country. Looking forward to the rest of the trip!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-19
I'm 51and in the same boat you were...want to go, want to take my son, just have to decide to make it happen. On the plus side I'm in the gym every morning with the mindset that when the time does come I'm going to be ready!! Really looking forward to the rest of your hunt! Good luck!!

From: jrhurn
27-Sep-19
Day 2 of hunting: We wake up and it is 40 degrees and not a lick of wind. My son turns to me at breakfast and says "it feels like a blood trail today". I agree. Ross and I gather our gear and head to the mountain. We are going to start our hunt in an Aspen grove and see what the elk are doing from there. We hike into the starting spot as the sun has peaked over the mountains. The hike wasn't too bad and it feels like a perfect morning. This aspen grove looks like something out of a magazine. I am in absolute awe. We get set up and start calling, but I'm only hearing cow calls. I later find out that one of the other groups had called in 6 bulls the previous morning and the bulls are still trying to gather their harem. Thus the cow only calls. Well he goes through two sets of calls and a bull lights up!!!!! We get on our horse and head to that bull. We make it about 300 yards, stop and call again. Nothing....that bull went quite. We call once more and another bull fires off. We were facing west chasing the first bull and this one is only about 200 yards to our south. We talk for a few seconds and decide to go after that one. We call again and again he fires off. We need to get going!!! We boogie south about 50 yards and come to a clearing that is 25 yards wide and 80 yards long. Our guide sends me to the west and Ross to the east, about 30 yards in front of him. We get set up and I am almost directly across from Ross. He is standing with his back to some scrub oaks and is tucked in, but can see up the clearing. I have a bunch of brush to my south (thus can't see up the meadow) but have a great shooting lane straight in front. We set up this way, so that if this bull comes down either side of the meadow tight to the brush he is going to give that shooter a frontal, but the other one will have a 25 yard broadside. Ross and I talk and broadside wins the toss and that shooter takes it. We settle in and our guide cow calls. This bull fires off again and he is coming. Holy crap! Not only are we elk hunting, but we have one working his way to us. This set up feels perfect! Wind? perfect. Call position? Perfect. Shooter positions? Perfect. And this bull obviously is on fire. About 1 minute passes and he has bugled 2 more times. I look over and Ross is coming to full draw. So many things are going through my head. Is the bull that close, how long does he have to hold, did the bull see him draw. I'm also thinking how blessed I am to be doing this with my son. Just then I see antler over the brush. This bull is 15 yards from me to the south and he is probably only 8 yards from my wall of trees. Time slows down. My son is at full draw and this bull is close. I bend down (as I am on my knees) and come to full draw. If this bull takes 4 more steps I will have an 8 yard broadside shot. He then bugles at 15 yards. It rattles my insides. I can hear every note and all the gurgling that goes with it. Wow, just Wow. Just then he takes one more step......

From: jrhurn
27-Sep-19
Rob and Steve Day 2. Remember Rob has been at full draw twice at a bull at 30 yards on day 1. Steve has yet to see an elk. We talk at breakfast and decide that all you experts on this site that keep saying "any elk with a bow is a trophy" are just that... experts. Man this is not whitetail hunting. So much has to go right to even kill a cow or a calf, let alone a legal bull.

They head out and are "feeling it also". They have a specific pond that they want to work their way up to on the ranch. They never make it. Bulls start firing off as the sun comes up. They decide to go after one and start picking their way to it. The bull is still bugling and they are closing the distance. Their guide hits the cow call every so often and this boy responds but doesn't appear to be moving. They decide to continue to close the distance. They are now within 100 yards and the bull continues to bugle, but does not appear to want to leave his cows. They even hear cows calling. The guide calls again and the bull responds, they need to get closer and challenge. They decided to close the distance a touch more and get set up. They take ten steps and a single cow and spike (not even with the herd they are chasing) spots them and blow out. Set up blown. Dang it! They try to get on a couple more bulls, but to no avail.

James

From: JL
27-Sep-19
Should have left that pic in. It was well placed in the story line. Good so far....

From: jrhurn
27-Sep-19
Thanks JL for the advice. Trying to get it added back in.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Sep-19
You are doing a great job with this write up. Enjoying all of it very much....even the wait.

28-Sep-19
Can’t wait for the rest. Sounds like a great time so far. Thanks for taking us along.

From: Scoot
28-Sep-19
This is great! Pictures are super helpful with these stories but honestly, just tell it the way you want to. I've done lots of stories like this online and it's always interesting to me how many people are happy to tell me how they would have preferred the story be told. Too many pictures, not enough pictures, too many words, not enough description, etc.

You're doing great and I'm enjoying it! I look forward to the day when my son and I get to have a similar adventure together. This is just adding fuel to the fire for me!

From: JL
28-Sep-19
He had a great tease pic up but quickly took it down and I'm not going to hijack his story. You're gonna have to wait. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story too.

From: Whip
28-Sep-19
Loving this!

From: jrhurn
28-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Sorry for the delay, been busy hunting and the wifi has been spotty.

So this bull takes one more step, I'm at full draw can only see his antlers. My son is at full draw and this bull is about to decide which of us gets a shot. Just then my son releases. I hear the hit and the bull spins, I hear him crashing off and hear the guide cow calling. I let down look over and he is pumping his fist and jumping up and down. I set my bow down and start to jog over to him and the guide beat me to it. I had to wait in line to give him a hug. We discuss the shot, he's the only one that saw the placement. It sounded good and he thinks it was "money" maybe a little low. He also commented that he saw blood immediately as the bull took off. The arrow did not pass through.

As we discuss the events, the final one or two steps this bull took put him directly at Ross' 20 yard spot, ranged earlier. He watched him come a the full 80 yards and had drawn as soon as he saw the bull enter the meadow. He had a shot at 30, but kept telling himself to be patient, this bull was coming.

We go to the spot of the hit and find blood immediately, right side only. No exit hole. We decide to wait 30 minutes before taking up the trail. I look at my son and he has a look on his face that I have only seen one other time, while he was standing at the alter watching his soon to be bride walk down the isle. This moment needs to be bottled and released every so often.

From: jrhurn
28-Sep-19
Rob and Steve are certainly experiencing elk hunting. They set up on a ridge top and start calling. They spot a bull about 1000 yards below in a meadow and he's coming. The scramble to get set up for this bull (who is on "no shoot" property), to hit their meadow and work his way to the caller. It sounds like a set up similar to what Ross and I had. This bull is going to jump the fence and walk up an ally giving either one of them a great shot. It appears it is about to happen for one of them. Just then, they see 5 cows jump the fence and you guessed it, this bull followed them and walked right out of the picture. Apparently it was a great bull.

So much has to go right in order to kill one of these critters.

From: jrhurn
28-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
After a very long 30 minutes, we pick up the blood trail. It is steady, but I was really wanting to see more. We head into the aspens (or quakies as I'm told they are called) and man is it nasty in here. Logs laying everywhere. While we are having to pick our way up over and through this mess, It dawns on me that this bull ran or at least walked through it. Amazing animals.

We have gone about 50 yards and I realize that we have not found the arrow yet. I am praying that it comes out and this blood trail gets stronger. I can only imagine the heart ache coming if we don't find this bull. We keep moving forward. For what the trail lacks in quantity, it make up for in consistency. This whole time I'm watching Ross and he looks like a race horse in the starting gate. He's about to pop a gasket, but he is maintaining discipline and staying behind the guide as we work this blood trail.

We make it another 20 yards and we hear "there is your dead bull". Oh how sweet those words were.

From: jrhurn
28-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Here is a better pic and I will post a video when I get home. What joy

From: jrhurn
28-Sep-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Pic of him packing out the head. I followed behind, thinking we could go home tomorrow and my expectations have been met. I'm not sure killing one myself will make this trip any better, but this is the morning of day 2. I have a lot of hunting left, but it will absolutely pale in comparison to following my son off the mountain with this view.

James

28-Sep-19
Fantastic story so far. Love it

From: JohnMC
28-Sep-19
Awesome! Hope it ends with 3 more pack outs!

From: midwest
28-Sep-19
Great story telling....love it! Congrats to your son!

From: BIG BEAR
28-Sep-19
Fantastic !!!!

From: buckfevered
28-Sep-19
What a great experience for you both! Congrats to both of you!

From: INbowdude
29-Sep-19
Atta boy, Congrats!

From: jrhurn
29-Sep-19
Evening of day 2. I have decided that I will shoot any legal elk. Cow, calf, or legal bull. I am beginning to realize that what happened this morning with Ross' bull is what we are all striving for but is like a genuine pearl in an oyster. You may have to look through a lot of them to find it or you may find it the next two you pick up. This is, by no means, a slam dunk. There are 2 guys in camp that have hunted elk for a combined 8 years and have not killed even a calf.

We go out and stage up waiting for the winds to settle into something more predictable. As we sit there we are talking about the hunt this far. Everyone in camp has been real close. Two arrows have been released and everyone else has had great opportunities. It should just be a matter of time before we all get a chance to release an arrow. The only real concern is the weather forecast. They are predicting winds in excess of 20mph gusting to 50 starting the evening of day 4. We, however have tonight and one more full day before that happens,

I am in an elevated shooting tripod overlooking a small water hole. We will sit here until about 630 and when the wind settles we will chase bugles. This tripod has a shooting rail all the way around it and I can see uphill in this meadow about 200 yards. I keep thinking this is going to be difficult with a bow. I will need to stand, get drawn and make sure I stay clear of that rail. I see an elk moving from my left to right at the upper end of the meadow. By the time I spot it it has moved out of view to my right. I mention it to my guide and he cow calls. This elk responds immediately with a cow call, but a squeaky one. My guide whispers "cow calf what do you want to do"? I respond by "kill it". He calls again and another response, she's coming. I stand and set the bottom cam on the rail and clip the release on. She enters the meadow and is coming at a trot. She reminds me of a group of jakes that just spotted the decoys. She is coming on a string!!!! How in the world am I going to get drawn on her and she appears to be coming right at my guide, who is 10 yards to my left. I'm running through scenarios and can't seem to see a broadside coming. She gets to my 40 yard mark and stops facing me. She puts her head down, giving me my draw opportunity. I start my draw and my bottom cam barely makes contact with the shooting rail. Her head comes up and she locks directly on me. Houston we have a problem!!! I never completed the draw. My guide calls a couple of times to try and brake the stalemate, but to no avail. She buggers. Wow, I blew that one.

I climb down and about 10 minutes later the wind settles and we hear a bugle. Off we go. We chase that bull for about 1.5 miles before the sun goes down with him still bugling and the closest we were able to get was about 80 yards. Never laid eyes on him.

Tomorrow is another day. At dinner my guide tells me to be ready for a climb tomorrow morning, we are going up top. I can't really appreciate what that means, but set my mind to the fact that it probably is going to hurt, but pain it temporary.

From: JL
29-Sep-19
I was waiting for you to pick up the story....thanks.

From: T Mac
29-Sep-19
Awesome recap and congrats to your son. First timer this year and ate tag soup so I understand the feeling of thinking I’ll take a cow if I have to to I’m taking anything legal!

29-Sep-19
Awesome story! Thanks!

From: ki-ke
29-Sep-19
Great story! Right there with ya!

Nothing better than watching your kids get amped doing this stuff.

From: Crusader dad
29-Sep-19
Awesome story so far.

From: Overland
29-Sep-19
Really enjoying this.

From: Scoot
29-Sep-19
Awesome! Many congrats to you and your son!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
30-Sep-19
Congrats. Excited to hear the rest!

From: Drahthaar
30-Sep-19
Awesome. Forrest

From: jrhurn
30-Sep-19
Sorry lack of updates. Driving home now. Promise to finish story Wednesday. So much to tell! I will leave it for now with reiterating brotsky’s statement. We are only 13 hrs from the mountains and elk hunting and we are already trying to figure out how to get back.

From: Bou'bound
30-Sep-19
This is great. How has the hunting been there this year before you guys got there

From: jrhurn
30-Sep-19
They have had a good season, but the rut seems to be late. The first rifle season should be a slammer

30-Sep-19
This is so awesome. Ate tag soup my first time elk hunting this year but i got within 100 yards and was in awe of these creatures. Next Year..

From: Ucsdryder
30-Sep-19
What was the setup on the bull killed? Looks like a big hole!

From: jrhurn
30-Sep-19
Uc That is a big hole in the aspens. That is where he died, about 100 yrds from shot. We called him out of aspens into a meadow 80 yrds long and 25 wide. He made it 60 yrds into the meadow.

James

From: Twinetickler
30-Sep-19
Most die in a hellhole, but I think he meant arrow, broadhead setup? Awesome story, thanks for sharing!

From: jrhurn
01-Oct-19
Ha! 100 grain muzzy

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
To pick the story back up, now that I am back to reality.

The evening after the encounter with the calf, my guide stops by the table after dinner and tells me that we are "heading to the top" in the morning, for the morning of Day 3. My first thought is that this is going to hurt, but I'm here to hunt and any pain is my own fault for not preparing physically.

That morning, we start out in the dark and are definitely heading up. The hike was more difficult than anything before, but well within my preparations. We get set up and call a bit....bingo! We are below him about 400 yards and we get moving. He is moving also and up hill. We get to the top of the "ranch" and are at the bottom of a meadow that is 400 yards long and probably 80 yards wide with aspens on both sides. This is the start of national forest and is absolutely beautiful. The bull appears to be just in the tree line at the top of the meadow. Of coarse he is.

My guide turns to me and says "your call, it's up hill the whole way and it's gonna be a tough one". My response "it's only going to hurt for a little while, let's go." My training was not adequate for this jaunt, but we got where we needed to go. The bull was now about 150 yards inside the timber. We could hear cows calling and he bugled about every 5 minutes. We get set up and start calling. He goes quite and we never see or hear from him again.

My third day of elk hunting and I certainly got a taste of what you real mountain hunters experience. I also have a great baseline for what I need to train for. According to my guide, that last push was legit! It hurt, but I'm out here doing it, was my thought as we made our way off the mountain before the winds became unstable.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
Evening of the 3rd day, was quite. Something changed and we never heard a bugle. Wind had picked up a bit, but nothing like what we were going to see.

Morning of Day 4. We make the hike up to the top of a knob, about 600 yards of clearing, leading to the bottom of a draw with Aspens on the other side. To my left is a fence (no shoot) and that slope is covered in scrub oak. At the bottom on that side of the fence, it levels out into meadow and we can see about 1.5 miles.

We set up facing east down the knob and start calling. A couple bugles then mostly cow calls. We wait, anticipating a bugle response, but nothing. Ross speaks up and says he sees an elk way down in the meadows below, by itself. We glass it and it is a "toad" for this area. Certainly a legal bull and he looks quite mature. My guide cow calls again and here he comes. He has to cross a fence running N/S and then he will be into the scrub oaks to our left and appears to be making good time.. It is decided that once he hits the oaks, we can move into position. We figure he is going to jump the E/W fence into our meadow about 40 yards from a good oak bush on the fence. That is where I should be, looking down hill.

He hits the brush and we move. Once set up, I range. I have a 50 yard shot below, 40 out to my right ( the caller is 40 to the right and 40 up), and a 40 yrd shot up hill. I give no thought to the uphill shot, because this bull is going to sidehill and then be on a string to the caller. 5 minutes goes by and we don't hear anything. No big deal, he was coming in silent anyway. I see some cows below me and they are all looking across the fence, in the direction this bull is coming from. I range them, 50 on the nose. I'm good for that and based on the moo cow posture, this bull has read the playbook.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
We continue to wait. My guide cow calls every now and then and hits a bugle to go with it. After about 15 more minutes, nothing has shown. The cows below me have moved on and I'm thinking that this bull must have wandered off somewhere else. I then hear a "glunk" and he is only about 40 yards over the "no shoot" fence in the scrub brush and maybe 20 yards up hill of me. The wind is good, it's hitting me in the back of the head going down hill. That was a concern when we first set up. This bull was going to cross my wind.

Not now, he's up hill and just about parallel with the caller. He decided to come up hill in the brush, get even with the caller and then move over. I turn around and think, this is awesome. I will see antler before he sees me, I can get drawn and shoot him after he jumps the fence. "Glunk" again. He's moving. Another 10 yards or so and I should be able to lay eyes on him. Again, another "Glunk". Any minute, my dreams are about to come true on a mature bull. Then I hear a "bark". I'm not sure, but I don't think that is a vocalization that I want to hear. As you real elk callers/hunters know, that is all she wrote! He's gone, without another sound and without showing himself.

We wait another 10 minutes and I go get back together with the guide. He says he caught our wind. I can't figure out how, the wind was blowing straight down hill. Then I feel it. Only 40 yards up hill from my set up the wind is blowing cross hill. How can that be? It makes zero sense. What an education!

Back to the statement that we need 10 out of 10 things to go right, this one had 9 out of 10. It also made Ross' bull that much more special.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
The winds become unstable and it is time to head out. The last 3.5 days have far exceeded my expectations. I have been in elk, have drawn my bow twice, have had a couple of set ups that were quite promising, and have been 25 yards from my son as he stuck a bull. I could go home right now and would be quite satisfied.

As we are hiking out, it dawns on me. My two friends that came with are struggling a bit, not guide related, but just the way it works. I ask my guide a question. What happens if I'm done hunting? He says he would keep on but pull a guy from one of the other guides and have 1:1. I tell him that since Ross is tagged out and my expectations have been exceeded, he should do that. With the winds that are coming, it's going to be difficult hunting, so let's see if we can up the odds for the other fellas. My elk hunt is officially over!

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
Evening of Day 4

My guide has decided he will take one of my buddies 1 on 1 tonight and will pull from the other groups tomorrow. Wind has kicked up to 20 gusting 40. The plan for the evening hunt is to go sit a water hole, until the wind settles (if it does). Ross decides he is going to go out with them and watch (he is also pretty tight with the guy going out). We have all hunted whitetails for a lot of years and this friend has killed a pile of them. Given the impending weather (wind), he is going to adopt the "brown it's down" mentality.

They get set up at the same water hole I was at when the cow calf came in. Rob is in front with a 35 yard shot to the other side of the water hole. Ross and the guide are looking over this shoulder.

This cow arrives, drinks for a bit and finally presents a 35 yard shot. The trail camera captured this image just prior to the shot.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
He comes to full draw, holds for a bit as she clears some brush. To hear him tell the story, you are on the floor laughing. Here is a guy who has killed 100's for deer with his bow and this cow elk has him coming unglued. He's shaking to beat the band. He says he finally gets everything under control and settles the pin. Just then he has "string creep", comes off the back wall, and as he is catching it he punches the trigger. The following picture memorializes the event. The arrow sails harmlessly over this trophy cow's head and she takes off out of his life. He immediately hears Ross behind him throw his hat and utter the words "dammit Rob". All my buddy can do is sigh.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Notice the puff of dust to the left of the picture. The trail camera caught the skip of the arrow in the dirt.

These two pictures will end up framed and presented. We all of have done it, but not many of us have had it captured in pictures.

James

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19
The wind forecast for day 5 (Sunday) doesn't look good and it turns out they were right. Everyone hunted both morning and evening, but no one saw or heard anything. I guess 30 gusting 50 is not preferred weather for elk.

We wrap up the trip that evening with a great meal and more than a few drinks with everyone else in camp and the guides. Stories were exchanged and a good time had by all. I truly hope this is not the last, but even if it is I can say that I hunted elk and was bitten by that bug.

What do you think the going rate for a kidney on the black market is? Enough to finance an elk hunt?

James

PS. I will post a few more pictures and a video. Thanks for letting me chronical this adventure.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
Youth!!!!!!
jrhurn's embedded Photo
Youth!!!!!!

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's embedded Photo
jrhurn's embedded Photo

02-Oct-19
The honesty of reality during and elk hunt makes this post extra special. Your words of the experience, chances, opportunities couldn't be more honest for both you and the outfitter.

A huge congrats to your son, and you for taking him!

Great write up.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's Link
Video of Ross finding the bull.

From: Smtn10PT
02-Oct-19
Sounds like you got your moneys worth out of this hunt! Im sure every time you look back on it you'll be glad you went, instead of wishing you waited for that "perfect" time!

From: Overland
02-Oct-19
Awesome report. You really captured the emotions. Well done!

From: JL
02-Oct-19
Great story, pics.....and the Youtube vid that is in "Private" mode. You need to go back and edit the vid to "Unlisted" and then re-post it. I'd like to see your vid.

From: jrhurn
02-Oct-19

jrhurn's Link
Try this

From: JL
02-Oct-19
Much better...thank you sir. It's great to see everyone's excitement!

From: Brotsky
02-Oct-19
Great hunt JR! There's nothing quite like elk hunting. I hope you can find that way to get back sooner rather than later!

From: Splitbrow
02-Oct-19
Thanks for letting us come along!n Great story and pics!

From: Scoot
02-Oct-19
Great story and sounds to me like a huge success. Congrats on taking the adventure.

From: dakotaduner
02-Oct-19
Great story. Congratulations all around. You got everything and more from the experience. Hope you get out there again

From: Buffalo1
02-Oct-19
Great story and a super post. Congrats on your son's bull. Thanks for taking us along and for your honesty of the experiences.

From: midwest
02-Oct-19
Well done...really enjoyed it. Thanks!

From: Franklin
02-Oct-19
Great story....just curious what part of Illinois are you guys from. You used the term "Boyz from Illinois"....anyone who grew up in the late 70`s and 80`s would be familiar with that term.

From: jrhurn
03-Oct-19
Franklin

We are in Rockford. Some of us were here in the late 70's and 80's. I personally didn't move here until 98. In the late 90's early 2000's, we had a group of bowhunters, all about the same age, in church that would take an annual trip down to the Shawnee National Forest and one year we had hats made that said that. Rob and I are the only two out of that group still hunting together.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
03-Oct-19
Awesome write up. Thanks for sharing everything with us.

From: Franklin
03-Oct-19
I have a home just east of you.....Mchenry. Small world. I went elk hunting in Colo. with a group from Rockford and Harvard.

The reason I ask about the "Boyz" was there was a very popular bar band back during the early 80`s called the "Boyzz from Illinois". Just wondered if there was any connection.

03-Oct-19
Thanks for taking the time to write the story! What a great adventure with your son. Memories that will last a lifetime. Congratulations on a successful trip.

From: SteveB
20-Oct-19
Really enjoyed your write-up! Congratulations and thanks for sharing with us! I’m sure you’ll agree that 5 days is just a teaser!

From: Paul@thefort
20-Oct-19
I missed your story but glad I found it now. A good read this Sunday morning in the warmth of the house. Always fun to go elk hunting again and through your story, I did just that. Nicely done. my best, Paul

From: yeager
20-Oct-19
Fantastic hunt and great story......from another northern Illinoisan just east of you, Crystal Lake.

From: Inshart
21-Oct-19
Missed this .... glad it came back up. Outstanding ....

Welcome to the world of "Hi, my name is jrhurn, and I'm an elk-a-holic!"

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