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Here is a recap of our 2020 Elk hunt. Hunt
I first met Harlin Welch in 2017 courtesy of Bowsite. From that first day I knew we would have a long-term friendship.
We planned this hunt for 2 years. It would be Beav’s first elk hunt. His buddy Matt would also come out. The dates where set . Sept 12-25.
I scouted hard all summer and was excited for September to get here .
My hunting partner Jace would join us on the first leg. Late in August. Me and Jace do a quick trip into a new spot . Sign is everywhere and we pick a camp spot and find water for the ponies.
This is gonna be a good one!
Like Hunt said, we met in 2017 and have been on some adventures since then but this was next level. I had been running 4-6 miles a day for several months leading up to this hunt to make sure I was prepared. Hunt warned me ahead of time to be in great shape. Finally we were headed to Montana and we couldn't wait to be in the mountains.
We arrive at Hunt's and make the drive to meet Jace. We load the packs and horses and anticipation is running high.
Did you bring your own bourbon?
Hunt you’re using horses now? You used to be the horse!
Sept 12 . The guys arrive around 11am to my house. Gear check and me throwing out a few things from Matt’s pack and we are ready.. After a few stops and a 4 hour ride . We load the horses and hit the trail. 5pm.
Up the trail we go and it's hot. Oh don't worry.....Hunt is still the horse!
Just before Dark we make it to camp. This smile says it all!! Hunt
We are spoiled with the horses . Cold beers. Cots. And whiskey . Sleep does not come easy .
Camp is very nice. These boys had us spoiled.
It is always good to be in elk country...
Har and Matt just have elk tags. Me and Jace have a pocket full of tags. Elk , deer, bear , wolf and lion. Roger will join us later. So 5 elk tags. Public land and 14 days. As WT says Don’t threaten me with a good time!!
We roll out of bed early and fire up the coffee and excitement is flowing. Our plan the first morning is to hunt together and see what we hear and then make a plan.
Gonna be a goodin’.
Sept 13 . Up early and excited. We head up the trail to the area we had scouted 2 weeks ago.
I let out the first bugle of the year. Silence. So I let out the second bugle of the year. Silence again. I gave her a few Cow calls and Bam a bull screams below us 200 yards. Game on!
We drop down to get a better wind and Hunt let's out a calling sequence and the bull answers. He answers right from where we made the first calls. He turns and his next bugles tell us he is on his way. Matt and I set up and Hunt and Jace continue to work the bull as he closes in.
This is about to happen the first 15 mins. After we get the wind right. The bull answers my first set of calls and he is coming. The boys rush to get set up. Soon I see him coming in hot .
The bull circles down wind and is about 60 yards from Matt when he catches some scent and slowly drifts back into the dark timber. We hear him bugle once more and he is gone. How exciting was that the first 15 minutes of our hunt!
Been waiting and hoping for this thread.....
I see Matt go left and disappear down the hill. Beav is in front of me 45-50 yards . The bull is about 120 from me and heading left out of sight the way Matt went.
Soon I see the bull run out and over the hill. He got Matt’s wind at 60 and closing . Man that was fun let’s do it again . Back up the hill we go.
We hear a few more bulls but nothing close. We split up . Me and Beav go down . Jace and Matt head up. We find some good sign and set up for midday .
I am not a return to camp midday kinda guy :)
We hear two more bulls and one is a growler down in a hell hole. Hunt and I drop off the main trail down into the thick stuff.
We sit most of the day. It is hot and very Smokey. About 5:30 we get up and head down the drainage . About 15 mins into I stop and tell Beav grab a arrow.
Now to most of you this will not be exciting. But to us a family of ruffed grouse is like Christmas.
We giggle like kids and Beav shoots all his grouse arrows and 2 of mine!!
One flies up in the tree and I said I am going to head shoot him. So I Did. Grouse for dinner tonight .
Hunt and I stumble into a flock of grouse and I was pumped. I shot my limit and then Hunt joins in on the fun. He says I'm going to take ones head off! He did!
Grouse would become a steady part of our food over the next 14 days. They were delicious and were complimented well with a whiskey.
Soon we run into Matt and Jace. We head to camp . The boys clean the grouse and me and Jace water the horses . Grouse hearts , wings , legs and breast. Maybe a little night cap also!! Hunt
Keep it coming been waiting for this!
The fire felt good! Hunt says “one more drink and two more sticks!”
Sept 14. Matt and Jace leave early on the horses . Me and Har head to a new area. It was a bust and we turn around and head back to the sign we found the day before.
I always like to follow out the elk trails. And this one was heading some where for a reason .
Most fun you can have with your britches on! Looks like an awesome time for sure!
Soon the trail hits a creek bottom and starts to spider web out. Bingo. About a hour before dark we got a response. We move up . The bull is talking back but not moving. We push up the hill.
We were finding tons of sign but a lot of it was few days old. We pressed on into new ground we hadn't been to. We run into a grouse and Hunt grabs a stick and throws it like a tomahawk. This guy is deadly!
We get a response and Hunt sends me up ahead and he continues to keep the bull talking. I get closer and feel the wind shift and the bull goes quiet. We head to camp and know where we will be in the morning.
Beav sees legs moving above him. But soon all goes quiet and we head back towards camp. But not before a few more grouse.
Jace and Matt had plenty of action also. We are starting to figure things out.
This is gonna be a very enjoyable read.....as soon as the rest of gets posted!!!
Sept 15. By far one of my favorite days to elk hunt. We have killed 6 bulls on this day over the years. We sing a little Hammertime and head our separate ways. Me and Har heading back to last nights encounter .
Heck yeah fellas. Awesome stuff guys.
We make to the drainage at first light. The first half mile is quiet . Soon we hear the sweet sound of September !!
We close in 3-4 bulls. After a few exchanges of calls all goes quiet . We head back down to the creek . Then we head up the drainage. Soon a bull screams back at my bugle and Har heads into battle. The next bugle and I know he is coming . And fast
If there is one moment I wish I had back was this encounter. Hunt looks at me with wide eyes and says he's coming get ready! I stand next to a tree and soon I see him coming through the thick stuff right towards me. He pops out at 17 yards and I'm at full draw. I can see the fron part of his shoulder and settle the pin and wait for him to take a step and at that moment he turns his head and we lock eyes and he bolts. I should have killed this bull and made a huge mistake by not taking the first shot I had at him. He was a very nice 5x6 and although I was disappointed it was cool as hell.
I hear the bull run off and I just know he is dead. I head over to find Beav.
Alright! Need a description of what’s in the skillet!!
The worlds best cheese burgers !!
Gonna need a couple fingers of Makers for this one!
We share the story and talk about what to do different . Up the mountain we go.
Soon the bulls start up again and we press forward. Soon I see a elk. Beav moves up.
Couple of 5 points off the main herd. This is going to happen!!!
This is goin' to be epic!!!
Hellooooo... Keep it coming plzz
I range the second bull at 54 yards and I am at full draw and waiting for him to step clear. I eventually let down and he steps out a few seconds later. I settle and release and the bull reacts a bit but I don't hear any arrow contact. I look at Hunt and he says "miss". About this time the second bull in the picture steps out and although he is further he is in the open. I get a range and just before release the bull turns to walk into the trees just as I was releasing. So glad this arrow didn't connect as it would not have been good. We meet up and work up the hill. We find the bulls tracks where he bolted on my first shot. I look at the stump I was behind and range it at 44 yards. I have no idea how I got a bad range twice before he stepped out. I should have took another quick range but didn't feel it necessary. What an exciting 30 minutes we just had. One of the best of my bowhunting career. God this elk hunting is something!
The bow goes off and I see the arrow sail high. I call a few times and here comes another one. Let’s just say this is what my Grandpa would call a Rabbit Ass!!
wow, you guys are in em.. Soooo excitin.. keep it comin
What a great morning . We find a great wallow and build a blind .
It was easy To keep me and Har entertained . We killed flies, flipped sticks , threw rocks at Martins and Speared fish. We pumped water and ate the best of snacks . Life was grand and we had 10 Days left.
We were sitting above a major trail that afternoon next to a big rock resting up when I look down and there is a giant spider on Hunt's leg. I calmly point at it and said "huh look at that". When he sees the spider all hell breaks loose. He screams and attempts to karate kick it while crawling away. We laughed our butts off! Having the time of our lives.
Matt and Jace had plenty of action also. The stories each night of past and present was a highlight . Throw in a fire , little whiskey and 2 more sticks.
Sept 16. Last day of this leg. We told Roger we would meet him between 1-3. So we could hunt the morning and then needed to head out.
There was no doubt in my mind what mine and Har plan was. Jace and Matt had a great plan also. Head lamps on we head down the hill of sticks. We stepped over a few logs on this trip .
We get back to camp and Matt and Jace swap stories with us. Matt's cleaning grouse and having a whiskey. We have more whiskey for supper and oh "two more sticks."
Where elk were going crazy the day before it was totally silent. We decide to make a wide circle to the east and see if we can locate the herd. It was a long steep walk and although we found lots of sign we didn't locate any elk. We decide to hunt our way back towards camp.
Back in the same spot as the day before and all is quiet.
Never fails. Up the hill we go. We cover some ground and there is sign everywhere some fresh some old . Have to be here some where.
So we jump something and Har says elk. I call .
What happens next was surreal . Har says I see something black? I said what ? He says a moo cow!! I look down and nock a arrow. That’s not a cow Beav!!!
It honestly look like a black angus yearling coming through the trees! It was a giant black bear coming to the cow calls! It stepped in the open and came straight up the hill. I was giving Hunt the ranges as he came.
I have killed some bears . Some big and some small. This was a next level bear. 27 yards downhill . Nose in the air. Har says shoot . I can’t tree in my way. The bear turns and walks out broadside . Har says 25 . I let it rip. Whack. Never saw the tree.
You guys know exactly where to stop typing so I curse at y’all
At 27 yards he turns broadside and Hunt let's it fly. That sapling saved that boar no doubt.
Lotta arrows flying here! We gotta have a connection soon! These bad luck situations can’t keep happening!
The bear just looks at the arrow in the tree. I grab another arrow. He runs I call he stops up on a log. Front in in the air. Har says 35. The Hoyt goes off. Crack. I don’t like it. To far forward for a bear. But there is good blood.
About that time we get a message from Jace and Matt. Matt shot a bull . Hell yes. Roger will have to wait . Me and Har press on. Soon Beav sees a grouse and I have to yell to get him back on track. After 300 yards the blood peters out. We grid a few passes and I have been here with bears before. Bummed we head to camp to pack up and wait for the boys!
We trail him for nearly a quarter of a mile before the blood completely stops. We continue to search to no avail. It sucks and we felt it but you do this long enough it's going to happen.
Me and Har break down camp. Matt and J never find the arrow any blood or the bull. Only a few hairs in the trail. Round one is over . Should have 2 bulls and a bear. Time to regroup and grab uncle Roger.
Round 2 coming tomorrow ! Should be a good one:)
The only sign Matt and Jace could find. Matt is a stone old killer he said it felt good and I could tell he was sick about the outcome. We have all been there. The unknown is the hardest part.
We knew we should have heavy packs going out but unfortunately that was not the case. Spirits were still high as we loaded up camp and headed to our round 2 spot.
This is awesome! Keep it coming!
Enjoying this immensely, thanks.
Great to see you are Alive and Well Hunt!!
Good luck, Robb
Dang! I see another unproductive day at work...
You went to bed in the middle of the story! I thought I’d be able to read the whole thing so I got up and threw on 2 more sticks.
Just give me a call man. We’re due to catch up anyway.
Wow thoroughly enjoying this. Thank you guys so much for sharing your awesome experiences! Loving all the carbon in the air, my kinda guys!!
Keep it coming guys! Enjoying this one!
Thanks Guys . Round 2 later today. Work calls. Don’t worry it is worth the wait!! Hunt
Great story telling and pictures. Something tells me this is going to end with a dead bull.
Bowsite’s version of a Christmas present! Keep er coming
Yup, I was right...
Gonna have to check this all day and won’t get anything done!
Just in time to save 2020. Huntdawg and Beav with another bow site classic outta nowhere.
Put Uncle Roger in the game coach!
Chief you have sharp instincts!
Chief, "bull" is singular. I predict "bulls" is more accurate!!!
Looks like one dead bull for sure. I think my post was in cyberspace at the same time as Hunt's post was coming through. On with the story!
what does the two more sticks mean? My mind has went from cinnamon sticks, to arrows shot at elk, to joints & many more.
Couple more sticks on the fire?
Awesome post, looking forward to the next installment!
Great story so far! Can’t wait for the rest.
Awesome so far! Thanks for sharing!
Two more sticks on the fire .
But 2 leads to 4 and then 6. Round 2 coming soon.
We are running late. We meet up with Roger around 4.
Like most of 2020 the place we plan to meet and eat was closed. We backtrack 30 miles or so and get a hot meal and Matt finds us a place to shower.
The night of the 16th we get ready for a 4 day bivy hunt. Going to miss the horses on this one:)
Har learned a lesson about to many clothes. His pack was busting at the seams!! Live and learn. Hunt
Keep it rolling HUNT and Beav.......EPIC FUN!!!
We meet up with Uncle Roger and have some beers and a shower! Best $10 shower I have ever had. We head to our round two spot and decide to make camp as it was dark. We would have a long hike into our destination in the morning. We decide to have one night cap and two more sticks. We go to sleep listening to the wolves howling, not exactly what we were wanting to hear but still pretty cool.
We get some good rest and wake up to wolves howling all around. Great. Also like plenty of people around. We have a 1:30 4 wheeler ride and then a good hike to camp. We load the 4 wheelers with all the gear and me and Matt take it to the trailhead. Roger and Harlin start walking.
Soon we head back to pick up the other guys and hit the trail. On the walk in Beav was hard on the grouse. Dinner for tonight . Packs on let’s roll
It’s a grind and by 3 we have camp set up and packs cleaned out. We head up to do some fishing and glassing until evening. I had left a rod in here during the summer setting cameras . Someone needed more than us. Disappointed is a understatement !!
We make a rod from a stick and some striped down pcord. This could work. I head to grab trail cam.
Cams looked good a week ago. No photos of elk in 7-8 days and plenty of people sign around. We make a evening hunt . Just some light calls and glassing.
Quiet all around . But a few grouse . We head to camp with 20 mins of light left . Soon I glass some elk all the way up top. 4 total all bulls. Looks like the ones from the camera . That lifts our spirits.
Back at camp it was Grouse and mountain house. And some whiskey and water . Also those 2 beers we stashed in Matt’s pack :)
On the walk in I shoot my limit of grouse! Or as Roger would say "he assassinated the whole family!"
This night 2 sticks turned into 30 sticks and me and Harlin had a large time.
Har one more night cap and 2 more sticks !! Hunt
This place was beautiful and if we found elk it was going to a bonus. This was a place that is near and dear to Hunt's heart and we knew we were blessed to be here.
Sept 18 . If I could pick one day a year to elk hunt. This would be the day.
Little slow to get up. Better than the Born and Raised boys :)
All is quiet on the hike in.
Plan was to hunt up to the upper benches and find the bulls from last night.
Up we go and it’s steep.
We head up the mountain early the next morning and Hunt and I both have a slight headache but we are pumped to be on the chase once again.
I told the guys they would be on the bench somewhere . As we approach I gave out a few calls.
We hear antlers hit together and 2 bulls fighting. Matt and Beav head that way. Me and Roger start calling!!
I get into position and soon see two bulls coming on the trail I am on. They make it to 30 yards and stop. I need them to come ten more yards to have a clear shot. They stand there for what seemed like forever before they head down the bench. I try to sneak through the thick stuff to find an opening. I range the 5x6 and he is 41 yards. I have to make it about another ten feet to have a shot but it is thick. I'm almost there when I break a decent sized twig and they bolt. The bigger bull stops and I have one very small hole to his vitals. I settle and squeeze and see the arrow hit a branch and the arrow goes right under him. SHIT!! Matt and I meet up and we are both smiling. We make our way back to Hunt and Roger.
Soon as the guys leave Roger says there a bull. To the left . The boys went right. It’s 2 bulls and they are coming fast. Soon a 3rd bull comes out. He runs in after a few calls and I hit him at 40 right behind the shoulder. But he just runs 20 yards and slow walks away. I call again and another bull bugles up the hill and the first 2 bulls are 60 yards downhill in the trees.
I tell Rog get up the hill. But he want The guys to kill one. I tell him get your ass up there and kill that bull. 2 cow calls and I see him come around the tree Roger is behind . Whack. 2 bulls hit!
My bulls antlers just over the hill .
Roger is bummed about his hit. His bull walks right by mine . Neither one reacts and we can tell they’re both hurt.!
I slip in behind my bull and shoot him 2 more times after watching him for 20 mins . As my bull runs in the trees . I see Roger bull take off. We wait for the guys to return .
We make it back to Hunt and Roger and Hunt says "we just fricken wacked two bulls!" I didn't believe him until I see their quivers. Roger is pale white and Hunt is fit to be tied. Hunt says " I have to sit down!"
We tell the stories of each hunt.
We have a meal and plan to wait 2 hours. It is 8:30. The waiting is the hardest part according to Tom Petty.
We decide to wait a while and give the bulls some time. Hunt is feeling pretty good about his but Roger is sick about his hit.We try to pep him up a little and assure him we will find his bull.
10:30 we ease over to the spot my bull was standing. We find blood and soon I can smell him. Not 20 yards in the trees he was dead. One down!!
The team. And a Dam good one at that!!
Like a well oiled machine we have the bull broke down and cooling in no time. Let’s go find Rogers!!
We pick up the trail and make it just over the rise where Hunt last saw his bull and there he lay! We were so jacked!! After some pics and hugs we go to work to break his bull down.
I had seen Rog’s bull go in the trees. We find blood fast!!
We follow it with ease. Then we jump him!! Dam it. I see Matt and Harlin talking . These guys have been on plenty of blood trails and it shows. We plan to take my bull to camp and return 4-5 hours later to look for Rogers. Roger is sick. We load up for 1.5 mile hike to camp.
We pick up Roger's trail and make it a ways into the thick stuff and we hear him bolt down the mountain. We back out and decide to pack Hunt's bull back to camp and give Roger's bull a few hours.
After a few snacks and hanging my meat we head back to find Rogers bull. We find the bed right away . Buy blood is no where to be seen.
Again I see Har and Matt talking. They want to split up . They will grid and me and Rog will continue looking for blood. Soon after we split I hear a bow go off.
I head down the mountain and look for blood or talks and find neither. It was thick so it was slow going trying to cover everything. I was looking at every spot that looked good for a wounded bull to hide. I look up the hill at 30 yards and I see the bull hiding and when our eyes meet he jumps up. I take a frontal shot and at impact the bull does a back flip and is done. The other guys heard the ruckus and soon came to where the bull lay. Roger was so relieved and we were all so happy for him. This was incredible!
Number 2 for the day. This is the 3rd double I have been on in here with Roger. Rog and Trevor in 14 . Then me and Rog in 18 and now again in 2020.
It’s a crazy bull. With a horn coming out of the middle of its head.
Those are not peace signs! Awesome hunt and maybe more to come!
We will sleep good tonight . After 2 more sticks!!
We head down the mountain with heavy packs and big smiles. We were loving every second of the pain!
No Grouse tonight. Elk meat and lots of it.
We now have 2 dead bulls 6 miles from the 4 wheelers.
We make a plan.
I decide the best plan is to get the meat out and to my house. That will take all day on the 19th. It rains all night and we wake up to rain. Great .
That night we eat lots of elk and drank what whiskey we had left. Hunt and I may have went overboard the night before because we didn't have much to celebrate with. It's just so fun though to play "just two more sticks!" Our plan is to try to get both bulls out along with camp in the morning and we know it's going to be a tough day.
We wake up to sleet and rain!
First leg we take most of my bull and half of camp . 6 miles . Raining to whole time.
At the 4 wheeler Roger is hurting . We tell him we have the next trip and just head towards the truck empty. We head back for round 2.
It was brutal already a 12 mile day and there was a lot left to pack out. A lot
By the time Matt, Hunt and I make it to the four wheelers we are exhausted. With heavy packs we fall to the ground and I swear I couldn't have went another 100 yards. That is until a grouse flew over and lit in a tree up the hill. I dropped my pack and grabbed my bow and ran after him. It was a gift from the elk Gods and I was taking it!
Nothing is ever easy in the mountains !!
We make it to my house long after dark. Good to see the family . We dry gear and plan to cut meat and regroup tomorrow for the last 6 days.
We are tired and stiff by the time we make it to Hunt's house. We wake up the next morning and start trimming and packaging meat. It is a great time and we have a few beers and listen to music and laugh as we work!
Lots of meat cutting . Lots
The meat!! One of the main reasons we do it!
The meat!! One of the main reasons we do it!
Elk hunting can be the best kind of miserable, can't it?
Luvin this story guys!
Spectacular! Throw on a couple more and check if there’s any of the good stuff left;-)
We finish trimming and packaging all the meat and the pile of meat was a thing of beauty. Hunt, Matt and I would be leaving Hunt's house at 2:00 a.m. to return to where our first camp was to finish out the trip. But first Hunt wanted to show us one of his secret honey holes with the fishing poles. i lose the first one I hooked and Ridge is trying to give me instructions. My second one is hooked and the drag starts screaming!!
Harlin says I want to catch a trout. Ridge should we take him to the secret spot?
I guess so. We load up the whole crew. Stop and buy some garden hackle and head up the creek!!
Ridge and Matt each hookup and we have a ball!
Screaming is right. A giant of a brown trout clears the water by 2 feet. Ridge nets him and we celebrate !!
You men are tough! Good job guys.
Ridge got a few himself !!
Matt didn’t want left out!!
That is a picture worth a frame on the wall!
We get the packs reloaded .No horses until Tuesday . All on the backs this time. We have a fish fry and hit the hot tub. 2 am comes early!!
We go to bed that night hoping to get a couple hours of sleep before we hit the road. The legs were rested and we couldn't wait to get back on the mountain. The best is yet to come but that is for tomorrow!
Too dang good! Love it fellas, thanks for sharing!
Round 3 tomorrow . They say the rut is picking up:)
You guys know we don’t like tag soup right?
My legs hurt just reading about the haul out. Great story!
I'm seeing those three bulls on the wall at Hunt's house that also have one antler growing straight up between the eyes to match Roger's bull. Is that the norm for a Montana bull?? LOL
Today is my 60th birthday and the best present was reading about your hunt. Congrats gentlemen!
Great elk hunt and superior story telling! Keep it coming!
Well I’ve seen the animals Zach Welch has been stacking up lately and something tells me he’s taken a few useful lessons from pops and it’s about to get real.
Even after putting the visitors first it looks like the home team is tagged out. Only a matter of time now...
These are some of the best written stories ever! I feel (and wish) that I was right there with you! Thanks for sharing.
What was that minor surgery repair? Hunt pull a hammie??
This just keeps getting better!
Dude I see those close ups of your face and I literally laughed out loud thinking about some of the nights in the guide tent listening to you and laughing my nuts off.
I woke up this morning ready to check this thread. Come on mr mountain time man get up and get typing!
Hell, this is as bad as Christmas time for a 4 year old!!!
Wow thread of the year right here... thankful for killers like you guys. I love how a dead man can come to life with a grouse opportunity!!
Hey, I gotta hit the road to my son's ahead of this snow storm so can't wait around for you to get up! I'll check back in this afternoon. This story is great and makes me feel like I'm there! Pumps me up for next September!
WHAT THERE IS MORE TO COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????????????
Happy birthday bowboy/Craig!
I love this, it makes me smile ear to ear.
Heck, I missed the happy birthday to Bowboy! Happy Birthday! Too bad we couldn’t do the North Colorado/Wyoming Christmas blowout and get together this year... Next year!
Beav, you and Hunt have us all on the edges of our seats for the next installments! Absolutely awesome and can’t wait for more!
Hunt you are a killin machine!!!! Unreal, you boys know how to work hard and play harder love it! Hunt some of the euro's on your garage wall seem to have similar racks (offset) as the one Harlin killed. Same area/genetics?
I think we have killed 6 like that over the years and yes same general area. All The same side also.
Biologist told me it happens when their calves. And their mom step on their heads when they’re still soft
You guys put together an enjoyable read for sure! Not much better then elk meat except maybe Moose. Looking forward to seeing this hunt finish out. Talk about Grouse , what carnage!
Keep it coming guys, great recap and sounds like you all had a wonderful time. That’s what it’s all about. Merry Christmas to all. Kurt
Sept 21. We leave my house at 2am. We stayed up to late. Little caffeine and we are on the road. Round 3 here we go ! We have 5 days to hunt. Jace will bring in the horses on Tuesday evening. At the trailhead 6 am. 6 trucks. Bummer. We load up and head in. The last trip in way easy compared to this one. 10 days of hunting is taking its toll. It’s a slow grind.
So after daylight we cut some elk tracks in the trail. They are fresh. Mile later we hear a bugle . They guys are like is that a hunter? I said let’s see. One call and the answer was No!! Go time!!
We move up the mountain and close the distance . Bull is answering every call! Screaming would be a good term!! This is in a old burn open but not open if you know what I mean.
Soon we can see a bull across the draw. 250 yards maybe. But it is not the bull that’s screaming . The guys get pinned down in front of me maybe 40 yards .
The bull .
You think Zab Welch is stacking them up, wait until little Ridge gets a few years older:)
Great read and documenting the hunt, although middle-age and old-men can do it, it's a young man's sport on public land in the mountains...…….bend but don't break, ha.
Matt and I are locked down as we have a bull approaching from above and once screaming across the valley in the burn. The one above is closing fast and I wished I was another 30 yards up the hill but no way to move now. The bull looks down on us from 85 yards and continues to bugle but will come no closer. He loses interest and moves towards the herd bull in the burn 200 yards away. I range him at 78 yards in a small opening as he walks to the other bull. So close!
The bull from above walks right past the herd bull and takes a cow and calf and heads for the next mountain. The herd bull continues to scream and is ripping up every tree around him. Hunt says "I would walk down there and kill him!" Matt takes off to try and cut him off from his cows that just walked over the ridge.
Matt blends into the burn and disappears and soon we see him close to the bull as he attempts to catch up to his harem. Matt is close but not close enough. He continues to follow the bull and they both disappear over the ridge. Hunt and I continue towards camp Matt has not quit and stays after the herd.
3 bulls in all. At least 150 bugles. Things are picking up . I see the bull a above us . Nice 6 point and the one across the draw is a good 6 also . The cows leave the bull across the draw and he continues to tear up some willows. I see our chance. I tell Matt if I had a tag I would go over there and kill that bull. He heads that way!!
Hunt and I make to camp and Matt joins us a while later. He followed the herd until he lost them and felt he knew where they were headed. We had heavy packs coming in and it was a long haul. We rest for a bit before setting up camp.
Matt said he is whipped. I like to sleep on my pad!
Got a feeling this is just going to get better...
That evening we make a play on the herd Matt had followed in the morning.
We locate them about 6:30. We move in but a cow 200 yards behind the herd blew the deal .
Matt and I sneak in on the herd and the bull continues to bugle and Hunt keeps him going. We close in and all of sudden a cow blows out of the thick stuff down wind and she takes the herd with her. Good news is it's a short hike to camp.
Jace is scheduled to arrive the next afternoon with his horses. We go to bed early and decide to head the opposite direction in the morning and check out that area. Two more sticks and we hit the hay.
We hike most of the day and attempt to get an answer but nothings talking. We eventually hear the “safe bull”. Matt named him this because he sounded like a safe being drug across a concrete floor.
Best thing all day until we get back to Jace at camp !
We make our way towards his location slowly and call as we go but hear no more noise from him. We close in on the ridge when Hunt says "elk". I nock and arrow and move forward. At 40 yards a cow and calf step out and look at us. They eventually head up the hill and disappear. We follow and hoped the rest of the herd was close but we never see them. We cover a lot of ground but don't hear or see anything. We were at almost 12 miles for the day and make our way towards camp. Hunt finds a treasure during this trek, a nice moose shed!
We arrive at camp shortly after Jace gets there with the horses. He says he rode by a 5x5 bull coming in and didn't feel like he spooked. Legs are no longer tired and Matt, I and Hunt take off in that direction. Hunt lets out a bugle and immediately gets a response. Matt and I move forward and we hear multiple bulls ahead. The herd bull continues to scream and I close in on him. I'm within a 100 yards of the herd that are just into the trees when two cows and a calf step out and are feeding my way. The continue towards me and close from 75 yards to 30 yards when a raghorn steps out and follows them. I am in good position and the wind is perfect. The bull continues my way and I would be happy with him. The herd bull pops out of the pines and chases a cow back into the timber. He is a big 6x6 but if I have a shot at this 5x5 coming at me I will take it. The cows are at 25 yards the bull at 70 when I feel the wind hit my cheek. The lead cow catches a whiff and she hauls ass. The whole herd takes off and few minutes later we hear the bulls bugling again and they are headed east. Darkness is upon us and we head back towards camp. What a great encounter!!
We get to camp and Jace is there. 30 mins before dark. He says saw a 5 point coming up the trail and heard a few bugles but had the horses. One look at each other and we head that way!!
Jace brings a 30 pack of beer and more whiskey. Tired legs, laying by the fire, having a beer, and two more sticks! Life doesn't get much better.
Things have changes in the elk woods . Bigger herds out in the open. The rut is in full swing!! Tomorrow we kill!!
We head back to the encounter from last night . Bulls are sounding off but nothing close across canyon.
I owe Jace a day of calling and tell Matt and Har good luck.
Matt and I agree to head east to find the herd that winded us. Hunt and Jace are taking the horses and going the opposite direction towards the bulls we saw coming into camp.
What s great trip told by great story tellers! Luvin' this, fellas!
Bulls are going nuts across the canyon . Jace says what should we do. I said if I had a tag I would saddle the ponies and ride over and kill one. Let’s go he says. 10am
Matt and I eventually find the herd and bulls are sounding off. We move in but the wind is unstable so we stay back and wait. We don't see them but we continue to hear them. We eventually move into where they were and decide to stay put until evening to see if they return to the meadow.
1:30 we arrive on the top across the canyon . 3 plus hour ride. Good thing the bull is still bugling ever 10 mins. So we find him bedded with his cows 2pm
We watch him and make a plan . We close into about 300 yards but above him and a set of cliffs. I try a few calls . He answers them all.
3 pm. He is fired up. We circle and try some more calls. He rounds up his cows and heads west. Jace runs towards a saddle down the ridge. I keep calling.
3:45 Jace returns and almost had him. Full draw twice no shot in the trees. His cows spooked . About that time he bugles down the hill. I call he bugles . Next bugle and we know he is coming. Like Beav reeling in that brown trout . On a string and Jace laces him at 40 yards.
Sweet! Well done, Jace!
What a great hunt . Dead bull at 4 pm. Midday madness:)
Matt and I are sitting on the meadow at opposite ends. Matt has a big cow come by at 38 and drinks at a wallow. He sees a 6x6 come over the ridge above me but the bull looks down on the meadow and moves on. We are a long ways from camp and it is dark and we have some nasty dead fall to get through. This is going to suck!
The hike back was a bad or worse than expected. We make it to camp at midnight exhausted until we hear about Jace's bull! He deserved a bull as much as anyone and we were excited for him. Two more sticks was said several times that night.
We break down the bull. Pack half to the horses. It’s a long ride back in the dark. But smiles the whole way. 3 down 2 to go. Elk meat for dinner tonight .
We make a plan for morning. Matt would go with Jace to get his bull and Hunt and I would go back to the area where we had the bear encounter.
We had 2 days to hunt.
Sept 24 . We wake up late. The days and bulls are catching up to us . Elk breakfast burritos bring us around.
Toss on a couple more sticks and fill up your cups and celebrate!
Hunt and I cover some ground without hearing anything but we continue on. We come to a creek and I pull out the flies and fishing line.
Jace and Matt will ride over to get the rest of Jace meat and hunt. Me and Beav head East .
We take a mid-day break and start a fire to warm up. Two more sticks!
We finally hear a bull and head that way. Right then I get a text from Jace. "Matt just shot a bull!" Hunt and I can't believe it. I go to respond and my phone dies. Hunt grabs his phone and it is dead as well. We are wanting to hear the story but it will have to wait for two sticks. We head towards the bull. Hunt shoots one grouse on the way there. Last grouse of the trip.
Soon we get a message Matt hit a bull. Hell yes.
We make it to a meadow and there is fresh sign. We decide to sit on the wallow that had just been hit. We are hid among some short Jack pines and we have a make shift blind. We sit there for a couple of hours and see nothing. I hear something above us down wind and turn and there is a mountain lion crouched down with his ears back and tail twitching at 10 ft. I turn to Hunt with wide eyes and say "mountain lion" and point at him. The cat doesn't flinch! Hunt puts an arrow on and turns and shoots the tom right under his chin. The cat jumps five feet in the air and hauls ass but isn't going far. We watch him die 20 yards away. We are in shock and can't believe what just happened. We sat there looking at each other for 10 seconds before a word is said. Holy shit!!
We are sick we don't have a working phone for pics but we soak in the moment. In 20 years Hunt had never had such an experience. He is an old tom but was skinny and obviously hungry. We knew he had to have smelled us and no doubt by his reaction was stalking us. We skin the cat and take the meat and head towards camp.
That’ll get the old ticker thumping!
Matt’s first bull! Happy man!
Are you kiddin’ me????!!!!!!! This is awesome. Dead stuff every where!!!!
We make it to camp well after dark and the boys aren't there yet. They roll in late as Hunt and I lay by the fire. We have story time and it's Matt and Jace's turn first. Matt heard a bull sounding off as they are headed towards the meat. Jace looks at Matt and said go after him. Matt jumped at the chance and took off. He snuck in on the herd and the herd bull leaves the closest cows and goes over the ridge. Matt sneaks closer know the bull will return. A while later just as predicted here comes the bull. Matt stops him in an opening with his head behind a tree and Matt releases his arrow. He is quartering away and the hit is solid. Matt gives the bull time but once on the blood trail he knows he isn't far. He soon sees his bull, his dream bull, piled up down the hill. He is brought to tears.
When I turned around it was like a dream. The cat was 9-10 feet away. Took a good hour and a few wind checks to settle down. Long night ahead
I was so happy for Matt . Man is the best ground hunter I know . In the short time I have known him 4 years . I have learned a ton . We celebrate tonight !!
Matt walks out of the tent in the morning and fox is eating the tail off the mountain lion! Bad mistake!
We hang Jace’s bull and the Cat hide and crash!!
Next morning I hear Matt making a ruckus . A fox was eating the cat hide. Not any more!!
Is this Real Matt says!! Living my friends!
My favorite picture of the adventure!
Can we get camp 2 bulls and. Lion out in one trip 7 miles? Let’s see
To lifetime friends on the adventure of a lifetime!!
We know it will be tough on both us and the horses to get everything out in one load but we know we can do it. We smile the whole way!
Two more lifetime friends ! Life is grand!!!
Congratulations to all. I absolutely love it!!!!!!
We make it home. Ridge is happy to see us.
My favorite pic of the trip.
The old Bull and the Young bull story!!
God Bless and Happy Holidays. Hunt
We have one last celebration at Hunts house. Some celebrated more than others (Hunt).
So cool guys. A Bowsite Christmas Special
I met Hunt in 2017 because of Bowsite and I can't thank Pat enough for that. I've met a lot of great people on this site. Anyone who is a bowhunter knows what it can do for friendships and this trip was near the top concerning just that. It pulls you closer and makes you appreciate guys like this that can share a camp, work their ass off, and also celebrate in one another's success. I can't thank Hunt enough for the opportunity for this adventure and love him for it. I was able to take my best friend along for the ride and we had an experience of a lifetime! I know every time I throw two mores sticks on a fire I will have great memories to reflect on!! Merry Christmas all!
Congratulations, awesome story
What a great adventure! Thanks for sharing! Lots of amazing encounters.
I got excited the last night!! Hammertime
Trip of a lifetime. Congrats
Stellar job to all involved!,
Congratulations everyone! Great story, thanks for taking the time to tell it.
Thank you for such an amazing recap of an unreal hunt!
Truly a Bowsite Christmas Special!
Awesome guys! Thanks for sharing. What an incredible adventure. You guys work hard and play harder. The only way to live.
Oh forgot to mention..... a mtn lion with a bow with no dogs? Huge congrats Hunt! That's the best trophy on this trip.
Congrats to all!! Great read!!! Cant wait to read about Ridge's adventures!!!!!
Adventure is right! Absolutely awesome trip and story and thanks so much for sharing guys. I loved the whole kit n kaboodle!
What a great story! Grats guys! I can't believe you arrowed a lion at close range... how often does a guy get that chance?
That was epic! Thanks for taking the time to share it with all of us!!
Wow ! What an Epic adventure! Grouse, Bear, Fox, Elk, Trout, and a Big old Kitty cat! What more can you ask for? These threads need to have their own feature column so they are easy to dig up and read. “Two More Sticks” an instant holiday classic! Thank you guys and Merry Christmas!!!
All slayers! Well done all! Great write up!
What a hunt, Thanks for sharing!
A fella might be inclined to ask where y'alls hunting but it wouldn't do no good cuz there ain't much left to shoot at ! Just incredible guys,, you are livin my dream.. thanks for sharing and merry Christmas!
Hunt of a lifetime with great friends! Gotta love it! Well done men!
Wow! What a great Hunt. What a great adventure! Well written! Thanks for taking us along! That is just f-ing awesome!
These threads never disappoint!! I enjoy them every year. Congrats Hunt and crew!!
Merry Christmas!!! Thanks for the gift of another great recap.
That was truly epic. Congrats and thanks for taking us along!
Awesome story telling!! Thank you for taking us along!!! You guys get it done and have a great time doing it.
Well done men. You tagged out on a booner of a memory
Now that is a hunting story! Thanks for sharing.
Man you guys had an epic trip and slayed some dandy animals. Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures and story. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thanks for takin us along for the ride. Merry Christmas
You are who we thought you were! Merry Christmas fellas
Outstanding thank you all for taking us on your incredible adventure! Well done!!!
That was pretty neat! Congrats on a great hunt and thanks for the fun write-up. I elk hunt solo for the last almost 20 years so your story with buddies was extra special. Merry Christmas!
Just awesome guys! Congrats to all and thanks for the story!
What an awesome f*^&ing story!! Congrats guys!
Best thread on bowsite in a while. Thanks for sharing boys, congrats on an epic adventure
Unreal!!!! Fantastic work guys! Congrats on all the successes and way to go keeping your head up and working hard. Sounds like a tough and rewarding hunt, the best kind!
Making Bowsite Great Again one thread at a time! Loved it. See you all very soon
Fantastic adventure! Thanks for sharing guys! Merry Christmas!!!
What an epic adventure! Thanks for taking us along!
Well it just does not get much better than that. Good friends, hunting elk, bows in hand, horses, tent camp, camp fires, lots of smiles, a few red eyes in the early am., empty Maker's Mark bottles (reason for the red eyes), Bull elk in your face, a few good fish and lets not forget the grouse. Nicely done by all. My best, Paul
Epic hunt, and one of the best bowsite threads this fall. Congrats, and thanks for sharing!
Awesome adventures, you guys had this Season! Thank You so much for documenting and sharing them, it's the stuff we all dream about come September!
Merry Christmas to you guys, and your Families.
As entertaining as anything I’ve ever read in a hunting magazine! Thanks guys for our early Christmas present!
Always one of my favorite threads of the year.
Awesome trip, and equally awesome recap. Congrats to all. It seems as though we may cross paths out there one of these years.
Wow....what a fantastic hunt and thanks to you guys for sharing it!
A memory building experience for sure! This is what life is all about! Congrats guys!
Classic recap guys, congrats to all.
Outstanding adventure. One that will be talked about for years. Congrats guys! Ron
Yessir. This is the kind of thread I remember when I first started visiting the Bowsite. Thanks Hunt/Beav for taking the time to put it out there.
Nothing is guaranteed. Live while you can. Strong work men!
You all are stone cold killers! Awesome adventure. Congrats to you all. Job extremely well done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You guys sure put a hurtin on the critters. And made many memories with good friends in the backcountry.
I’d like to hear more about the mountain lion shot. That’s crazy!
Epic times epic story !!!
Thanks for sharing and a very Merry Christmas to you guys, Cheers, Pete
Thanks for such a fun read! You guys go on once in a lifetime adventures yearly! My heart is jealous but my knees and hips aren't. They hurt just reading about some of your hikes. 2 questions. First, do you think that cat would've eventually attacked or was it just hungry enough to think about it? Second, how big do you think the bear was?
I think the cat would have pounced.
The bear was big . Like I said I have killed quite a few bears. I think it was the biggest one I have ever shot. Hard to say.
Thanks again for Bowsite and good friends. Merry Christmas to all!! Hunter
Congrats man, year over year
Great story, success and friendship!
If y’all need to add a Southern redneck to the group I’m in!
That was a great read and a recounting we will be pulling back up for many years. Congrats gentlemen.
Great Christmas morning read. Out-freaking-standing! Thanks so much for bringing it here and congrats to all...wow!
Great job, fellas! Congratulations on stacking em’ up!
Thanks for the Christmas morning read. Congratulations to all and for taking the time to share your epic adventures.
Nice story & photos....I would have ran out of arrows!
That was fun! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations all around.
Fantastic story and hunt, guys! So glad I waited until Christmas day to read the whole thing. What a great gift. Thank you!
Great thread guys! Congrats!
Great read fellas. I really enjoyed it. And Merry Christmas everyone!
I can only imagine the fun you guys had. Almost as much fun as I had reading the story. Epic is not a good enough word ! Great story, great pics, this thread is just amazing ! Congrats to all of you and thanks for the ride.....
Thanks for sharing your story
Many thanks for sharing your hunts; very much appreciated! We'd usually be out Hunting with Hounds on Boxing Day but COVID has all of the UK locked down...so the next best thing to going hunting is reading about hunting!
Thanks guys that was really cool!
I told myself earlier I wasn’t going to have a cocktail tonight. After finishing the rest of this story I feel like throwing a couple sticks on myself to celebrate this story and to celebrate good friends, good memories, and another great hunting season that is winding down. Well done men! Fantastic tale! Cheers!
Great story!, Congrats to all and thanks for sharing it with us!
What a recap! Congrats to all!
Great read, thank you and congrats! I'm interested to hear about the stories of all of the preparation what lead up to the hunt like any scouting trips etc. Sometimes some great storues/memories come out of those as much as the hunt itself... Congrats again! TODDY
Always a great follow along when your crew is involved Hunt!! As always, thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!!
Great adventure, great success and great recap. Thanks so much for sharing. I liked the unique format of both of you recounting the same encounters from a slightly different perspective. Congrats and Merry Christmas!
That was awesome on a stick! Enjoyed every minute, for like, a long time..... =D
Takes a good bit of time and effort into telling an adventure like that. Much appreciated. Thank you and...... Congrats!
That was an awesome recount and adventure!
"Extraordinary" barely scratches the surface of how great this thread is. Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely loved it!!! You guys had one amazing adventure and had some truly incredible experiences. This thread makes me want to get on bowsite more often!
Good job fellas... Happy new year!
Congrats boys, that was awesome.
Enjoyed this thread very much , Thanks for sharing.
Application time is here . If Wyoming is good to us . Me and Trevor hope to bring you another great adventure from the cowboy state . Good luck to all this year. Happy New year!! Hunt
Awesome story! Congrats on a heck of an adventure and some great trophies!!
Definitely one of the best I've read, congrats all..... just wow!
Had to read it again just to have something to look forward to on a long winter night in Alaska. I’m throwing 3 more sticks on in 2021!
Just found this Epic tale. Nice with dual comments.
Just caught up with this myself. Congrats to all on a fantastic adventure. I second the idea that Bowsite brings folks together. The Porkapalooza does that as well, but it's a lot less work! Makes me hungry thinking about those grouse. Well done.
Very good. Awesome. Congratulations to all.