Montana, 2008, DIY, Public Land
The lowest visible elk in the drainage was a big bull. Bedded in the open grassy bottom, he gazed down drainage and my way. He was almost motionless, giving me only a straight-on angle, but that was the only view I needed. This bull had every characteristic a hunter dreams of: A wide six-point rack, long royals, heavy dark beams, and ivory tips. It had been a few years since I'd hunted a bull of this caliber. I was momentarily caught in a daydream while watching the large bull and being mesmerized by the lulling sound of the stream below. "Snap out of it," I told myself. This was not a dream, but a great opportunity to stalk this huge elk with my bow.
On the first day of the season, I hunted an area and had close encounters with elk, but no really big bulls that made me want to return. On the second day, I left the truck for a different spot with an 87-pound pack and the intention of staying and hunting for the remaining eight days. That afternoon I set up camp in a beautiful aspen stand nine miles from the truck. After hunting that evening and the next morning, I was unable to locate any elk, so I packed up camp and hiked back out to the truck.
The next morning, J.T. Gilman tied in with me and we left my place at 4:30 a.m. We drove to a new spot and again packed camp in a few hours with the intention of staying about five days. By now, the long packs and short nights were starting to take their toll on me, but it was prime time for elk hunting and I wasn’t about to waste precious hunting time. J.T. and I reached our destination, stowed our gear, and grabbed our bows and hunting packs.
For a full account of David's adventure, go to page 22 in the May/June 2009 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.