July/August 2012 EBJ (Issue 72) - Two years ago I set foot in this area for first time after looking it over from a distance. After a long, hot season I did an exploratory hunt into the area. The first morning, I chased seven different bulls before missing a six-point at 25 yards. I vowed to return, as several of the bulls were trophy size. To avenge the miss, I shot a smaller bull the first week of the next season, and did not hunt this area. That previous July, I took my wife, oneyear- old daughter, and dog into this spot and got pictures of four bulls; one a big six-point that walked 35 yards from us.
Prior to this season, I circled several dates in September to hunt this new location. The first day, two of us planned to go into the area, but I had a family emergency so Dean went in alone. As expected, he came back that evening with stories of rutting bulls and several close calls. The next day we headed to an overlook since nicknamed "Bugle Knob” and let out a bugle.
A bull answered immediately in the basin below. We closed the distance quickly and were soon in a staring match with a four point at 70 yards. The bugling bull was still out of sight. Oddly, three other bulls stepped out, none being the vocal bull, and started to walk away. I told Dean this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass, so we split up. I let out several loud cow calls to get their attention. Two turned and walked within 25 yards of me, then walked in between us. Dean drew at 12 yards, but the bull caught his movement, whirled and ran out to 40 yards stopping broadside. Dean, shooting a new bow all summer, had all the confidence and took the shot. The bull ran 70 yards and piled up next to a tree. It was a quality bush head six-point for the second bull of his archery career.
However, the vocal bull we had yet to see was still up above, bugling up a storm. Now that my guiding services were over, I told Dean I was going to make a stalk on the bull, hoping in the meantime he would clean and quarter his animal. I quickly ran into the other smaller bulls, one at 35 yards and the other at 15 yards, which I drew on for practice. As it was getting late, I did get to see the bull, a quality six-point, but was unable to do anything about it. Our attention turned to taking photos, quartering, and packing out Dean’s bull. As this area isn’t a long way from roads we were able to get Dean’s bull out that day.
The next day we returned to Bugle Knob and had a bull answer immediately in the same location as the previous morning. We headed that way to find out it was several bulls competing for cows. We got within 100 yards several times, but had no success getting either bull to come in. As it got later in the morning and the bulls calmed down, we set up on a wallow. No luck. Several hours later they started in again only a quarter mile to our north. We gave chase and did catch up to one in almost the same meadow as the previous morning, a different bull.
For a full account of Clayton's adventure, go to page 34 in the July/August 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.