"It should have been me, standing there with you, should have been me and my dreams coming true"

Have you heard the county song, Could have been me by Billy Ray Cyrus. Well this picture should have been me. Let start at the beginning. We went on a week long elk hunt last week. We hike 4 miles in and set up camp, from there we hike several miles each day chasing down elk. Well on our first day of hunting it had been quiet, we were still recovering from the 1,000 ft climb over 4 miles with 60+lbs on our back the day before. So at about noon we spread out on top of a ridge and started bugling occasionally and cow calling. We ate our lunch and napped a little.
As i was propped up against a tree “relaxing” with my eyes closed I heard something. I opened my eyes to see a cow slowly wandering at about 10 yards. As I reached for my bow I realized I hadn’t even gotten an arrow ready. I slowly knocked an arrow, stood up, got a call ready and drew back as the cow went out of sight and a spike passed by followed by a cow and another spike. I had the spike in my sights when I saw him, a big boy coming through a little further than the first 4 but still extremely close. I still don’t know how big he was, a 5×5 I’m assuming, I could see that he was very wide and a large fork on the end of his main beam, even on both side. Well I tried to focus on the body so I didn’t hit the antlers like I’ve heard so many stories of others doing!! When he crossed an opening I hit my cow call. It was perfect, he stopped broadside at 17 yards with his head hidden so he couldn’t even see me. I check everything quickly, my bubble, made sure I used the right pin, took a deep breath and said to myself “I’ve got him, he’s done!!”
Well here’s how you miss. I had left my reed calls at home by mistake so all I had was a bite and blow call called a “cow girl”. It’s a great call, great sound however it sticks out of your mouth about 3 inches. I was amped up so I was biting hard on it. As I released the shot on my PSE X Force Omen set at 83lbs I felt the call rip my teeth and then I saw a branch on a dead log that was hiding his head fly 20 feet up in the air. When the call hit the string it moved it just a little to the right causing the arrow to fly about 4 feet to the left. If the branch didn’t redirect it I probably would have gone right in front of him but as it is I have no clue where that arrow went.
I tried to salvage it, I hit the cow call again and he stopped about 35 yards down the hill and responded with a bugle. As I re-knocked and moved to look for a lane I heard Fred respond to the elks bugle with one of his own. The bull I shot at didn’t want anything to do with another bull and turned and ran at that point, never to be heard from again!!
I thought I had learned most of the newbie mistakes, I even had a buddy miss a shot due to binoculars on his chest the week before so I had checked myself with all my gear on. My first year hunting I had a metal arrow rest, aluminum arrows make a bit of noise on metal rests, learned from that.
So in shame I went to Fudruckers today and ordered an elk burger, buying my meat this year since I couldn’t make a 17 yard shot on a nice bull in public lands.
Please tell me someone else can top this? Did anyone else screw up a gift like this? It’s not everyday you have a big bull stop broadside at 17 yards for you.
And be polite, I’m still sensitive about this!!

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  1. I can certainly make you feel better – I think. Opening day this year I missed 4 shots….yup, count ’em up. 4. Albeit, they were at two spike bulls and one forked horn buck, they still hurt. Misjusdged distance on every single one of ’em. And the nice part of the story is the happy ending – I shot a cow on the second to last day of our 8 day hunt filling the freezer quite nicely.

    It sounds like Cory (of Gothunts.com fame) had something similar to your experience happen to him this year on a bear – it happens to us all. It’s why I’m so overly impressed when I see people that knock down big animals every year with their bow…there is just so dang much that could go wrong.

  2. I’ve missed Whitetails because of unseen branches, misjudged distances, etc. We’ve all been there, Keep at it, though. It’ll all come full circle one day.

  3. Allen, you kbow that you are not alone! You were within 200 yards of me when I drilled a tree instead of a 370 inch bull last year. Keep trying it will work out. I made up for it by arrowing a nice cow this year.

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