John in MO / KY's Link
My guide Bryan had scouted an area with a fresh rut pit and had a few pictures of good bulls. He suggested we spend the first few days sitting tight in that area. Day one found us at the trailhead at 6:18 a.m. and after about a 40 minute walk we were settled into a brush blind about 30 yards from the rut pit. The morning passed with no action, but as the wind shifted Bryan thought he smelled another rut pit in the opposite direction. The wind began to gust a bit around lunch time, and we used the opportunity to find the other pit which was indeed about 80 yards in the opposite direction of the first. It looked fresh and smelled strong. We hung a trail camera on it and found the likely entrance and exit trails then headed back to the blind and trimmed several shooting lanes in that direction.
The afternoon was uneventful, and Bryan began to do some light cow calling around 5 p.m. with no immediate responses. At 6:45 we heard the brief but unmistakable sound of bulls fighting and we guessed them to be about 200 yards away. Just before 7:00 I could hear something big coming and a good bull appeared about 80 yards to our south, heading towards the second rut pit. The pit was shielded from our view by a clump of spruce trees, but it seemed clear that the bull had stopped at the pit. I thought my heart might beat right out of my chest, but I was able to use the few minutes the bull was at the pit to get myself reasonably calmed down. Suddenly, the bull was headed our way. I caught sight of him about 50 yards out, and he was heading down the trail and would be in my shooting lane in seconds. As he closed the distance, I began to draw my recurve. I was at 3/4 draw just as he entered the lane and Bryan stopped him with a grunt. I quickly hit full draw and watched in amazement as my arrow disappeared in the bull's ribs. The bull took a hard left and ran about 60 yards. He stopped and I could hear him cough and then he tipped over! Bryan and I were both in disbelief. A first day bull!
The shot was 19 steps, and I used a 50 lb Sky Hawk recurve, Easton Axis arrows, and Magnus Stinger Killer Bee 2 blade heads. I got a complete pass through, going between ribs on the entrance side and just nicking a rib on the exit.
The video is from the trail camera we hung at lunch and shows the bull turning to leave the rut pit just a few seconds before I shot him.
I can't say enough good things about Ryk Visscher's operation and my guide Bryan Down was really great. I also want to thank my buddy Darren Haverstick for asking me if I wanted to join him on this hunt!