A Non-typical Surprise

By Fred Gill
Montana, Guided, Private Land

Fred Gill - A Non-typical SurpriseMarch/April 2012 EBJ (Issue 70) - The start of this hunt found us glassing a mountain range at sunup from about a mile away. In order to make a move, we needed a southeast wind or we would push the elk over the mountain to an area we couldn’t hunt. While I was glassing two bears, my guide spotted a herd of 20 cows and two bulls. The bulls started to spar and then the smaller six-point point ran off into the pines. Eventually, all the elk headed into a canyon of dark timber. We made our plans to be in that area in the afternoon, depending on the right wind.

At 3:00 p.m., we climbed up to a finger ridge within 150 yards of where the elk had gone, but far enough away to see two drainages in case they came out somewhere else. We had a 30 mph crosswind blowing in the right direction and the sun was at our backs. Danny, my guide, said if they came out the same way they went in, I needed to drop down the other side of the ridge and cover about 100 yards to cut them off.

Around 5:30 p.m., a cow calf came running out along the trail and once she was in the opening started to look around and then eat. It was very strange behavior since nothing was following her, but with bears in the area she may have been spooked. Twenty minutes later, we spotted a cow running a few hundred yards out. She was followed by a large bull. I grabbed my bow and side-hilled below the finger ridge where it looked like they would come out.

At the end of the ridge was a rock outcropping I decided to use as cover. From where I stood, the elk would come out along the main trail about 80 yards away and into a bowl just below me. My timing was perfect and within two minutes the cow walked out and dropped into the center of the bowl that I had just ranged at 40 yards. I thought the bull would do the same, but he came out 10 yards higher.

Fred Gill - A Non-typical Surprise

For a full account of Fred's adventure, go to page 36 in the March/April 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.