OK we are two days away, we actually leave tomorrow morning.
So in one of my recent posts, Rookies ??? I mentioned the importance of checking the fletching on your arrows. Last year I had a friend draw out in a real nice Elk unit here in Utah. He and another friend of mine had been up there the past two weeks working the bulls in the area. He had a shot on a real nice bull “Hank” but didn’t have the yardage right and shot over his back.
It was the last weekend of the hunt and I was planning on going to a favorite spot of mine to hunt. Allen was going to go with me until he decided to go to a father and sons camp out instead. It looked like it was going to be just me. I came into work on Friday for the afternoon and planned on heading out after lunch. I received a phone call from my friend that morning, he had just spoken to my wife and found out that I was hunting by myself. He wanted to invite me up to help bag a big bull for our friend. I had a difficult choice, either I go and hunt by myself and go after a good size bull for me or I could go help a friend get a record book bull. This area that he was hunting was a Spike only area for regular permit hunters, so I could still tag a spike bull. He assured me that they had been in the middle of the elk every single day and that they had seen plenty of spike bulls. I decided to go help a buddy out and headed down to meet them and head up.
That evening we went out to a place the locals call “the Hotel” this was an area where the Elk were known to hang out. We set up by a stream, the minute we got there a bull started down the hill. We got set up and watched him head to the stream. It was a small two point nothing any of us could or wanted to shoot. He walked in front of us at 7 yards and we let him go. We had another Spike bull come in but he hung up at 100 yards. I was excited, finding Elk in Utah is not an easy thing and we were in the middle of them.
The next morning we started hiking in to our spot and we were about 100 yards from “the Hotel” when a Elk bugled 70 yards in front of us. Before we could get our bugles out another bull bugled a little further away. We hurried and tried to get positioned in the middle and catch one of these bulls in a fight. And if we were lucky there would be a Spike hanging out with them. As soon as we set up I saw one of the funniest things I seen in the woods. A Rag horn bull 5×5 came running through the clearing pushing 4 cows. He was running for his life, as he was running for his life a much large bull lets out a mad scream not to far from this clearing. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. We could hear this bull thrashing and coming quick towards us. We had to reposition a little so we quickly moved. Just before the shooter could sit down this massive bull, every inch covered in mud from the tip of his antlers to the bottom of his feet, was standing 15 yards from the shooter. He was fairly new at archery and was not ready, he didn’t want to make the mistake of guessing the wrong yardage instead of pulling his bow back he grabbed his range finder. It didn’t take long before that bull realized something wasn’t right and he took off. Its my guess that the rag horn came up and stole his cows while he was wallowing. My friend let out a bugle to see if he would come back, as soon as he did another bull answered right behind us about 200 yards away. We turned around and set back up, the shooter dropped down the hill ready to intercept. I went up the hill and sat behind a tree. This bull decided to circle around quietly before coming in. When he did that he ended up walking within 15 yards of me, he was a 370 class bull, a definite wall mount too bad I couldn’t take him. He started going down hill towards the shooter when the wind shifted and he caught our sent. He took off down into the bowl we were sitting on. We bugled and he would answer but he insisted on staying about 200 yards away. We decided to split up we I was going to stay right where we were and cow call, while the shooter worked his way towards the bull. The bugler was going to move away and see if the bull would follow.
It hadn’t even been 15 minutes when a nice spike bull came wondering over to see what the ruckus was. He came right at me, 50 yards, 40 yards, 30 yards, all he had to do was clear the last group of trees and I was ready to release at 20 yards. All of a sudden he stopped right behind those trees, I wasn’t worried the wind was right I was covered by the trees. We had set up a Montana decoy called “Bessie” she was about 10 yard to the right of me. For some reason the minute he saw her he jumped and ran straight down the hill. He stoped broadside at what I figured 60 yards. I set my pin and let her fly, It seemed forever but I watched my arrow go, go, go and then go right under his chest. I was off 10 yards, he took off but was running right towards the caller. My friend had the spike come running in at 40 yards and stop. He pulled back lined his pin up and released. As soon as he did he heard a loud whirling sound like a sage hen (or” Damn Bird” as we call it) taking off. He arrow went straight for 10 yards and then made a U turn and totally missed the bull. When he found his arrow he discovered that one of the fletchings had come loose and that was what made the sound. We didn’t end up bagging anything that round but had a lot of fun. I look forward to sharing some stories next week about this weekend. Hopefully we can also share some success. Until then stay ADDICTED!