So this year my new wife of 9 months decided she would love to experience Archery hunting by my side. I have told her many tales and she was able to see the excitement it brought me and she wanted to experience it first hand.
This year has been a very strange one to say the least. The weather seems to be running a few months ahead and the opening weekend was one of the hottest I’ve ever had.
This year has been a busy one so we couldn’t get the time away like I wanted to head for the back country and really pursue Elk free of any other hunters. So for Labor day weekend we decided to hunt a more local location only an hour and a half away. I had hunted this area the weekend prior and had actually bumped a bull down on the face of this hill we never saw him but he attempted to bugle as he took off from the thick pines.
So this weekend my plan was to drop down into this little pocket and just set up and let them come to me. So my wife and I headed down into the pines found a great spot and set up. This area has a lot of sheep in it and a bunch of herd dogs running around. After we had settled into this spot I heard one of the dogs bark towards the top of the hill and soon after a crashing sound that could only be Elk coming towards us. I rocked up on my knee and sure enough a bunch of cows came through the clearing right in front of me. I hadn’t had a chance to pull out my cow call so I let out my best vocal impression and she stopped 20 yards in front of me and looked my direction. It was at this point that I realized I failed to pull my bow back with all the excitement. So I attempted to pull back but it was too late she saw me and took off. We tried to pursue but they were long gone. I was bummed. I always feel that an archery hunter will get one chance a year to fill his tag and he needs to play things perfectly or he may have just gave up his chance.
We returned to our spot and after 20 min my wife motioned to these trees in front of me. I looked up and this real nice 3 point buck walked out 15 yards in front of us and was walking right to us. All he had to do was go behind a tree in front of him giving me a chance to pull back and he was done for. He went behind the tree and I pulled back and all of a sudden he turned and took off back up the hill. I still have no clue what happened I felt I played that one by the book I had the wind in my favor the tree blocking my movement… Who knows what happened but I didn’t get a shot off. So now I’m really feeling like crap. Two opportunities and not one shot.
I realized that we were only 1 hour into the morning and the activity had been crazy. So I decided that I wasn’t going to sit down that I needed to be ready. It had only been 20 min since the buck came through and I heard movement through the trees. I could see several cows working up the hill above us. I decided to step up on this trail because last time they went right through the clearing above it. Sure enough they started to cut across the top of the clearing the first cow stopped and I could see the tip of her nose in a pine tree 60 yard up the hill so I pulled back. She came trotting into the opening and down towards me. She was about 30-40 yards away and turned broadside to me I put the pin behind the shoulder and released. I watched as my luminock disappeared into her body right behind the shoulder and she took off running up the hill. My wife then watched as the adreniline rushed through my body and I got the shakes real bad. After she realized I was OK we went up to where I hit her.
I was a little shocked there was no blood. About 5 yards up I finally found a drop of blood and then heard what sounded like a cow call followed by a crashing thump. I was pretty sure that was her going down but decided to track the blood to be sure. We could not find any blood and I knew I drilled her. After about 40 yards of tracking my wife was standing at the last spot of blood and I was working up the hill scanning for the next sign when I saw her down in a clump of trees. Time for the happy dance… I had hit her right through the heart and then hit the opposite shoulder and she had broken my arrow in half inside of her. She had ran up hill so her cavity was filling with blood and not bleeding much.
I headed back up to camp and my brother was there and was able to come assist in cleaning her out and then we had to quarter her and pack her out. I was the only one with a meat hauling pack so I put a hind quarter and then the backstraps and tenderloins in while my brother dragged out a front and the other back quarter. My wife turned her coat into a pack and hauled out another front quarter. What an experience after it was all said and done my wife started asking about getting herself a bow. Pretty excited for more hunts to come.