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3rd time is a charm!! Monster Elk

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In the dark early morning of September 25, 2015 I had walked into an area I have hunted years before. These rut was in full swing and I had been hunting hard for 3 weeks, but this was day one of the 2015 season in my special area. Two years prior to this season, I had found the area by accident. I was driving into a place I had never hunted but grew up around when I was a young boy. My dad and I used to get firewood, explore, and occasional hunt when I was 7 years old and few years after. As I was driving and just enjoying the view, I found a few fences that ran across roads that had no gate access. So a new route I had to take. It had been close to 20 years since I was last in this special place. I came to a bend in the two track road that was over grown with brush. I got out of my pick up to see if it was passable and by accident I still had my mouth reed in my mouth. As I was walking I bugled just out of habit(practice) and was met with an immediate response of a gnarly bugle that sent the hair on my neck erect. Then another bull echoed him, and another. I ran back to the truck to get my bow and all the gear I could gather for the fast change of events. I slowly moved into position trying to play the wind. The bull had pushed south and taking his cows across the drainage. I carefully cow called to see what his mood was, and It wasn't hard to decide to challenge him after the response he gave me. I thought I would leave and come back in the evening to make a play on him. Before I could get up to turn around he came back and screamed about 50 yards away from me.

As he bugled again I had cut him off with a challenge response. All of 370" came uncorked and as he stepped around a tree he faced me at 10 yards and I was at full draw. With the shot given it was too much to risk. I couldn't let the arrow fly knowing I could possibly wound this majestic animal and never recover. The bull had trotted back to his cows and within a matter of 2 minutes a cow nearly ran over the top of me with a big satellite bull on her tail but as it was I had no shot. 

The next season I was back in the same area to see what I could get myself into. It was opening day and 85 degrees. I was sitting in a small opening occasionally cow calling to get a bull in the distance to answer but nothing turned up. I wasn't paying too much attention, picking at some sap that was stuck to my pants. I looked over my shoulder from the way I came in and a big Tom mountain lion was crouched ready to pounce. I was almost dinner and I had managed to fire at the big cat with my pistol but being shook up I missed. I left the area and headed home to never come back in 2014. September 25th, 2015 had been my first day back in the rut infested area. No sign of human activity had been found and as I shut the truck off, I opened my door and before I stepped out two bulls had sounded off across the drainage. I looked at my little cousin who I was with and told him "I told you". My cousin Glenn is more of a brother then a cousin. We counted a total of 6-7 different bulls and a handful of cows. We slowly crept in every 15-20yds checking the wind. We didn't bugle, or call at all as to give our selves up as being new comers and suspicious characters. The closer we got, we finally let out a few soft mews and with in seconds some rag horns and satellite bulls came in to give my cousin a few shots. Unfortunately, he managed to use up his arrows and I told him jokingly it's my turn. We didn't call to the bulls after that, risking the opportunity to close the distance on two distinct bugles by being busted by either smaller bulls and on high alert cows. Checking the wind and slipping between the "big bugles" and knowing we couldn't get in much closer, I cow called with Bugling Bulls call and was met immediately by a deep raspy bugle. I had set up off trail and seen the unmistakable posture of a big bull marching through the aspens. My Elite bow was already at full draw with my cousin pinned to the ground on the trail. He didn't have time to get off so he had to "hit the deck". The bull had looked in our direction for what seemed to be like 2 minutes. I was starting to shake, but I owe being able to hold back that long to good exercise, weight training, and Elite Archery's shoot ability. All of a sudden, the other big bull bugled and my bull turned broadside to make his way to the other bull. He took two steps and the Victory VAP and TOXIC broadhead was on its way. Before the big bull knew what happened, the broadhead was lodged into the opposite shoulder. He wheeled around but before he could storm out my cousin was way ahead by letting out cow calls to settle the bull. He stood for a few seconds the calmly walked off. I lost sight of the bull through the timber. My cousin could see, but was hard to make out but he said it looked like he was starting to sway back and forth. Before starting the track job we had a few other bulls come into investigate the cow calls. As we started looking for blood I found two big puddles with unmistakable bubbles of red. My cousin says, "would you believe me if I told you he's right there"? The handshakes and hugs we deserved and earned and I'm glad I got to share that experience with my brother.