The following story was sent to me by Chad of Field Dressed Clothing. The reality of hunting Elk is that sometimes you need just one more person out with you in order to be successful. This young hunter is out there pretty much on his own and he has his hands full with a canyon filled with big, hot bulls and cows and a couple of moose to boot. It is a great story and as someone who has been there, I cannot help but share it with all of you.
My cousin devised a way to set-up a bow cam, as he is hunting by himself. He was so excited after his morning hunt, he drove back to Denver and wrote the following, along with posting the video on YouTube. Sorry for the shameless plug in the video…he is my cousin however. Gotta love him. The bull comes into great focus and range about 2 minutes in.
Again, I started my morning hunt in the same spot I have hunted now for the last couple of weeks. I leave the truck and start on the trail at 6:30 am. It’s only about a 15 minute hike to my first glassing point. I glass for only a couple of minutes before spotting the herd a little over a mile away. I have a nice little trial that drops down low off the ridge and dumps me right into the open meadow where I saw those moose a couple days ago. On my way down, I spot a cow moose out in the field grazing. I know the bull is around somewhere. I slow my walk down until I get to the bottom, still watching the cow, and find a nice spot behind a couple of pine trees. Note to self, if you are going to take electronics out on a hunt, make sure they are functioning properly before you spot a 30 inch bull moose laying down in the brush 50 yards away! That’s right, I go fire up my bow camera, and the tape is set on lock mode to prevent recording over previous items. Usually not a problem, just pull out the tape, flip a little deal on the tape, pop it back in and video some moose right there in front of me. It is a big deal when you have your camera bolted down to an aluminum plate which makes it impossible to do the switch without any tools or scaring away the wildlife. Luckily, I had my backup Nikon in the pack and was able to take some good shots. Meanwhile, I can hear the elk bugling out over these moose moving across the ridge. It’s time to make a move. The only problem is there is a big moose in the way of where I need to go to get to where the elk are moving. I spit out a couple moose calls to let them know my presence. Normally, I would have sat there all morning without them noticing me but the elk are getting away. A couple poor moose calls later, the cow moose gets comfortable and lies down. Fifteen minutes later, I announce my hiding spot by getting up and walking back over to my pack. Finally, they get up and start walking away. First time I have actually wanted to scare a big bull moose away. I can make my way over to the other side of the ridge where I get set up to start in on the elk calls. This is where the fun begins.
I start in on my cow call. I get set up where if the come through the trees in front of me, it makes for a nice shot. Another problem occurs. The first bugle I get from my call is behind me a couple hundred yards. I quickly get up and move to the other side of this nice little gully probably 50 yards wide that runs up the bigger ridge. I just reversed my plan, so to speak. The wind at this point is barely moving. I get set up in my new spot, flip open that bow camera that I have been so eagerly waiting to use, hit record and spit out another cow call. Right on the other side, I hear this massive bugle unload probably 80 yards. I haven’t got a visual yet. A couple more cow calls, I finally get this “nice six-point” to come out in the open. My cow calls get this bull to drop down the rocky facing, unleash several enormous bugles that only the video camera can begin to describe, and walk across this gully only to disappear into the pine. I keep after the cow calls and while I can only hear the six-point, I accidentally called in another bull behind me. I just realized that my “nice six” was now more interested in this other bull. I hear both sets of bugles and slowly start to follow. Finally when the both sets meet up, all I hear is two massive set of antlers go at one another less then a hundred yards away. I pick up the pace to maybe get a small glimpse at what I can only hear. I keep seeing “Tripod”, the massive eight-point three-legged bull in my mind. This battle went on for well over a minute. I am guessing that second bull had to have been pretty good size to go at it with the one I was watching. Before I get up to the scene, I spot the herd of cow elk trotting across up on top of me. Probably a dozen go by before I see the bull that won the battle that I tried to observe. I decide to go right into the bugle thinking maybe with how worked up he is, he might come after another big bull. He trots off through the pine, herding his cows along the way. Meanwhile, I take a seat and start to recap on what had just happened. I get interrupted by a cow call right on the other side of my little gully. So I cow call back. This goes on for the next couple of minutes. I get these half a dozen cows to become pretty interested in me. So I sat there and worked on my cow call a little bit with the real thing. Kind of fine tuned it a little to get ready for tomorrows hunt. On my hike back to the truck, I listened to several more bugles coming from deep into the trees. I know they will be out tomorrow. It’s just another typical day seeing the elk and exchanging bugles with bulls less then the length of a football field away. I am the only one hunting this area. After watching the video a few times of that bull elk bugling right into the lens of my camera, I can’t wait to get up a little earlier and do it all over again tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow’s hunt I won’t get distracted by the moose. It’s probably time to plot a new way around the bull moose to hunt the bull elk