Montana, 2009, DIY, Private Land
Being an avid hunter and believing it is our God-given right to partake of the outdoors for food or just the enjoyment of the outdoors itself, I am always happy to draw any tag and be in pursuit. To me, being successful is just being able to be in the great outdoors; harvesting any game is the blessing. My hunting season started by drawing a Montana bull elk tag and a Nevada bighorn sheep tag.
My passion is bowhunting bull elk during the rut. There is no adrenalin rush like that of a big bull at 15 yards screaming a challenge to what he thought was his competition. It’s a challenge meant to show all who is the king of the mountain.
Some friends of mine, Dave and Georgia Haynes, have a beautiful ranch in Montana, and they allow me to hunt there when I draw a tag. Don Haynes, Tracy Hammond, and I arrived on September 24.
Our first day greeted us with bugling bulls, and that first evening Tracy was successful in taking a nice 5x5 bull – his first ever archery bull. To say he was ecstatic would be an understatement.
We thought we had hit the rut at a good time, but the action started tapering off after the first day. After that it started to quiet down.
On the second day, I sat over a waterhole at daylight. Nothing came to water, but about an hour after sunrise a bull was bugling behind me. I thought he was coming to water, but he stayed put. I got my gear together and made a beeline to see what I could find. Several hundred yards later I came over a ridge and found a beautiful 6x6 with six cows. He was chasing one cow around, but she didn’t share his enthusiasm. My best cow calling wouldn’t bring him or the cows any closer than 100 yards.
I thought that if I could make him mad, he might just try to come in and teach me a lesson. He was a magnificent animal, with long tines, lots of mass, and dark antlers with highly polished tips. He would scream and I would cover his bugle up with my own bugle in hopes of challenging him. This went on for 20 minutes until they all left to go up the mountain and bed down.
For a full account of Larry's adventure, go to page 34 in the March/April 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.