May/June 2013 EBJ (Issue 77) - I was raised by a single mom who instilled in her 4 boys a great passion for the outdoors, this story is dedicated to her.
It all started about two years ago when I gave a call to Darren, an old friend of mine from the Cowboy State. I was hoping he could help my buddy Jamie who’d drawn a unit down in his neck of the woods. After getting caught up on things he asked if I was still chasing elk.
I told him that my friend Nick and I had been putting in for Wyoming and had max points. That’s when he informed me that he’d obtained his outfitter’s license and was starting to take a handful of bowhunters out each fall, and asked if we’d be interested in hunting with him. I’ve never been on a guided elk hunt before, probably because of the expense involved and my love of public land hunting! However, I couldn’t pass this offer up and I began to dream about the possibilities almost instantly!
We worked out a game plan, Nick and I drew the tags and before I knew it we were packing up the truck and trailer and hitting the road. We left Saturday the 15th and were at the ranch that afternoon. A couple practice shots, shower, and some camo, and we headed out for the evening hunt.
As the sun dropped behind the peaks to the west a herd started making their way up a mesa to feed. Glassing, we spotted quite a few elk and even four black bears! Bugles and cow talk filled the air as the herd filtered in. We snuck in as close as we dared and things almost looked like they may pan out that very first evening as one of the better bulls seemed interested in Rob’s cow call, but it wasn’t meant to be. The next morning couldn’t come fast enough!
The elk fed off the mesa that morning and we were waiting for them! Loud bugling seemed to come ripping from all directions, cows and calves softly called, and glunking was even heard! We were treated to quite the impressive sight as an incredible 6x6 with picture-perfect long beams that swept way back with great tines to match came off the ridge, silhouetted on the skyline at only about 75 yards! What a sight!
We dove into the timber and almost pulled it off as we had him at 50 yards with just some scrub oak between us! Rob gave him a cow call and he spun to look our way. I thought, "Oh boy here we go.” But just as quickly, cow calls from the herd filled the air grabbing the bull’s attention and he was gone.
That evening Darren and I headed up the face of the mountain to pursue another group in hopes of glassing up another large bull that had been seen earlier. We found a place that looked good to try and ambush him coming into a meadow, but the herd ended up coming out about 150 yards above us. Stalking wasn’t an option as the grass and plants were like potato chips from the dry summer. It was just way too dry and dead calm, so instead we stayed put, never laying eyes on the bull we were hoping for.
For a full account of Chad's adventure, go to page 24 in the May/June 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.