Lets get this done guys! We have seen some great bulls being taken. Can't wait to read about some great hunts and see photos.
Time is getting close So here is the thread to post your 2013 Stories and Photos. Cant wait to read the stories and see some photos so post away. No cell phone pics accepted do to the poor quality of the photos.
Please refer to the thread link below for the rules of the contest. Please do not enter a story on this thread if requirements are not met. If you have any questions about the rules please post your questions on the below thread link as well. Thanks
Last edited by 25contender; 08-20-2013 at 08:17 PM.
Lets get this done guys! We have seen some great bulls being taken. Can't wait to read about some great hunts and see photos.
I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.
I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.
My 2013 archery season started out like many seasons in the past, but ended unlike any other season I have ever experienced. I completely psyched myself out in the months leading up to the season opener, shooting my bow relentlessly, hiking to get into shape and running several trail cameras in the areas I hunt to get an idea of what animals were lurking around. The season proved to be one of the most memorable seasons that I have had, for both some good reasons and some not so good reasons.
Opening weekend found me hunting with a couple of good friends in an area we knew held some great bulls. I was able to help call in a gorgeous bull that my buddy was able to harvest. After the opening weekend I found myself deep in the back country looking for that special bull to bring home, but was never able to make it happen, but I was able to shoot my largest Mule Deer with a bow so the trip was a success. After taking the first 7 days of the season off from work, I soon found myself back in the grind at work, wishing that I was back in the mountains chasing big bulls. For the next two weeks I was limited to hunting only 1 day at a time, but was fortunate enough to have a great area that held elk in it every time that I went out. One afternoon I made it to my hunting area and soon found a gaggle of bulls going nuts over 25 cows. I finally was able to get into range of several bulls that night, but unfortunately missed two bulls and opted to not take any more shots at elk that night. When I got home I found that my release was malfunctioning and after messing with it for a while I got it working, or so I thought.
One week later found me back in the same honey hole looking at several different bulls, 9 total that morning. I soon was able to stalk in on a gorgeous 6x6 and once again missed the bull at 25 yards due to my release not working properly. After sending some text messages back to my hunting partner about my misfortune, and looking for some encouragement, I heeded his advice and switched back to my Scott release. That day found me watching several nice bulls tending to their cows, but I was never able to get back into bow range of an elk that day. I decided to take the next day off from hunting to spend some time with the kids and watch some soccer games. Also I wanted to let my mind think about something else other than how I could have worked so hard to only have 3 bulls slip through my fingers.
The next morning I decided that I was going to get into my hunting area early so that I could try and catch a bull coming into the timber and try to ambush him as he made his way to his bed. I found myself in the area and hour and a half before first light, and to my surprise I never heard a single elk. First light finally arrived with a breathtaking red sunrise, and I soon saw several bulls working their way from their feeding area into the timber. I made my plan and soon found myself only 60 yards from three small bulls, two of which were fighting like crazy. The combination of the bulls being young and the two of them fighting, I was able to walk upright behind the bulls as they worked their way up the hills to the bedding area. But as so many elk hunters know I was not able to keep up the pace with the elk and they soon outpaced me, so I had to sit and watch them walk up the ridge to the timber.
As I was sitting there watching the 3 small bulls work their way up the ridge I saw two nice 6x6 bulls feeding on another ridge. I watched these two bulls for about half an hour when they finally made their way into a deep timber pocket to bed down. I thought that I would be able to get into the drainage next to where the bulls had gone, sneak up the side, pop over the ridge and shoot a great bull, FOOLPROOF, or so I thought.
When I was about half way up the drainage I stepped next to a sage brush and heard something that caught my attention. I didn’t think much of it and took one more step and all of the sudden I had a rattle snake only inches from my boot, coiled up rattling, and not looking happy about my interrupting his mid-afternoon sun bath. Knowing that this area contains rattlesnakes I keep an arrow in my quiver with a muzzy attached to it so that I can take care of these nasty little buggers when I run into them. So there I was out in the wide open on the side of the coulee with absolutely no cover, shooting my bow at the rattlesnake. Usually I am pretty good and being able to hit the head of the snake on the first shot, but this time my aim was proving to be a little shaky, possibly due to the fact that I had almost stepped on the damn thing. Three shots later, one of those hitting him in the body and absolutely pissing him off, I heard something above me. I looked up the coulee and all of the sudden there was a herd of elk coming down the opposite side of the drainage only 60 yards from where I was standing. The next few minutes proved to be some of the most exciting, and absolutely nerve racking minutes of my bow hunting career.
When I saw the elk coming down I took about half a step away from the snake and kneeled down in the open sage. Even just this little movement caught the lead cow’s attention and we proceeded to have a stare off for the next couple minutes, all while the rattlesnake was going nuts behind me only 2 feet away. Soon the elk continued on their path and several of the cows walked directly across from me at only 40 yards, looking in my direction every now and then to try and see what the noise of the rattlesnake was. Once all the cows had made their way through the bull finally showed himself. He decided to follow the path that the majority of the cows had taken which was going to put him at 40 yards. As I waited for the bull to make his way down the trail, I all of the sudden heard the rattlesnake trying to slither, but the worst part was that because the snake was behind me I couldn’t tell which way he was trying to go. It was everything I had in me to not turn around and see what that nasty little bugger was doing. Soon the bull worked his way directly across the coulee from me and stepped out into the wide open. I drew my Bowtech Experience, and to my surprise the bull didn’t see me draw and kept on walking. But the movement of drawing my bow didn’t escape the snake’s eyes, and he ramped up his rattling to a frightening pace. So here I was, at full draw on a nice bull with a pissed off rattlesnake within possible striking distance, and dang it I never got a chance to put my reed call in my mouth. So I began to snort wheeze like a deer trying to get the bull to stop. After the third blow the elk stopped, I settled my 40 yard pin and let the Gold Tip arrow fly. The arrow hit true and I watched the bull and cows disappear over the ridge across from me.
As soon as I shot the bull I bolted up off of my knees and turned around to see what the snake was doing. I was able to finish off the snake and decided to take his rattles, 8 in all, as a souvenir of the hunt. A short tracking job later I found the bull bedded down and put an insurance arrow in him just to make sure he wasn’t going anywhere. After that I called my wife and told her the whole story in such a fervor that when I got home she said that I had to tell her again what happened because I was talking way to fast when I had called her. She couldn’t believe that I was able to sit there and keep my composure with a rattlesnake that close to me, and she proceeded to tell me how much of an idiot I am. I told her that the only thing that made me able to keep somewhat calm was my absolute addiction to elk, and looking back maybe of little bit of idiocy also.
The bull ended up being a broken up old bruiser of a bull, and from his broken up rack I knew that he had fought hard for the cows he had that day. The rest of the day found me breaking the bull down and packing back to my truck which was only 4 miles away. This had truly been an awesome DIY solo experience on some of the best elk hunting ground I have yet to find. The best thing about shooting such a great bull on public land is being able to tell people that public land elk are out there, but you definitely have to be willing to put in the work to punch your tag on a public land elk. The area has proven to be a great area for me and my two hunting partners, and all three of us were able to punch our tags on bulls out of the area, all within a 2 mile radius of each other.
My subscription number is 610148
Last edited by jjenness; 10-11-2013 at 02:41 PM.
Great story and photos.
I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.
Great story! Congratulations.
Great story and way to stick with it and get it done!
Here's a write-up of my elk hunt in Wyo on National Forest land in Area 7.
While taking the three hour drive to my hunting location on opening morning of rifle season, I was reflecting on my elk hunting adventures leading up to this point in the season. I’d been going into the same hunting area that my brother, Andy, had filled me in on virtually every weekend or day off from work since early August. My first trip into the area, which requires an approximate two-mile hike, I was armed with nothing more than a GPS unit with a keyed-in way-point and a can-do attitude. This was the first time I’d ever been hunting in this area of the state. With changing jobs and relocating in the spring, I’d decided to apply for a bull tag closer to where I was working instead of applying for the more familiar areas near where I grew up. This was also the first bull elk tag I've been lucky enough to draw through the limited quota drawing in Wyoming for 15 years, so I was determined to give myself the best opportunity possible to harvest a quality, mature bull. Once my GPS told me I’d arrived at my destination on that warm August day, I started glassing around the area analyzing the terrain. There was an abundance of good grass in the drainage bottoms for feed, springs and creeks for water and wallows, large patches of heavy timber for cover, good vertical relief for protection from the Wyoming winds, basically everything that an elk would be seeking was on this piece of National Forest. Only one thing was missing, the elk. There was plenty of sign around that a good number of animals had been in the area earlier in the year, but I wasn't seeing any fresh sign. After walking around for a couple of hours familiarizing myself with the terrain, I decided to glass a bit more before making the trek back to the pickup, eventually picking out a few cows and a young bull confirming the possibility that this was a good spot. Throughout archery season, the weekends found me chasing the growling bugles and faint chuckles of the large bulls trying to establish their dominance that I had come to learn frequented this area. ‘Close, but no cigar’ was the theme of my archery hunting after having a seven point at 53 yards that never presented a shot, a six point that pinned me down at around 75 yards, and a handful of encounters with immature bulls. There was no doubt in my mind where I was going on opening day of rifle season. There wasn't any reason to even consider a change of venue after seeing three or four “Big Boys” in there while scouting and archery hunting.
As I pulled up to the area where I parked and began putting my things together for the day’s hunt with the sun beginning to brighten the eastern horizon, I was filled with anticipation and optimism of how this day would unfold. So much so that I walked about 50 yards away from the vehicle before realizing I’d neglected to grab any ammunition for my rifle. “What an idiot”, I said scolding myself for not mentally being in the game. Finally, with all of the necessities in tow including ammo, I set out up the trail on the 45 minute hike to the hunting grounds. Once I gained some elevation, I was walking through an inch of fresh snow on the ground from the storm the night before. ‘This is perfect’ I thought to myself as I picked my way through the pines to my vantage point above the drainage's. Upon arrival to my glassing spot, I took off my day pack and began to raise my binoculars up to assess the situation when, “BOOM”, a rifle shot rang out from a quarter-mile up the drainage. I carefully glassed the opposing hillside watching for movement instigated by the first gun shot of the season seeing about 15 head of elk, including a small six-point, go over the peak about 1,500 yards away from my location. After coming to the conclusion that the gun shot had spooked any elk over a year old out of the area for the time being, I curiously made my way towards the direction of the shot to see if the hunter needed any assistance. Given the fact that I was hunting alone, as I’d done throughout the entire season, I figured that making a few friends in the field couldn't hurt since I could be the one needing assistance at some point. I tracked down the hunters that had fired the shot and chatted with them for a short while finding out that they had cow tags and had missed the one they saw. Being about mid-morning at this point, I thought it could be productive to take a ‘sit and watch’ approach to the rest of the day’s hunt with other hunters in the area milling around. I found one of my many vantage points where I was semi-secluded from the wind and glassed the sparse timber for movement the rest of the day seeing a small herd of five or six elk with a nicely proportioned five-point. “You can do better”, I told myself as I watched them lay down on the hillside. I conceded defeat for the day a few hours later and snuck around the small heard as to not spook them on my way back to the truck. Given the fact that opening day was on a Tuesday and I had a mountain of work to do, I spent the next two days in the office. However, I don’t know if I was all that productive since my thoughts were mostly occupied with elk hunting at this point. Thursday night rolled around and another early winter storm was in the area so I called up my boss and told him I wouldn't be in on Friday, I was going back hunting. After the commute and hike required, I found myself in familiar territory back at the same location I had started glassing on opening morning. I glassed, moved, glassed, and moved, and glassed some more before deciding to go back up on the highest vantage point where I had started. It was about 11 o’clock at this point and all I had seen was a rag-horn bull for about half of a second. I found my perch in the rocks and began glassing around again until my arms needed a break. Giving way to hunger, I started casually munching on a granola bar and mindlessly gazed across the terrain. I looked down, about 1000 feet vertically, where the two drainage's met and something struck me as ‘not quite right’, so I picked my binoculars up for further investigation. It was an elk, it was a bull, and it was a big bull. I watched him feed across the small meadow and lay down in the sun, ‘I can get him’, I thought to myself as I made a plan on the best route for the stalk. I made my way down the hillside and entered the creek bottom, picking my way carefully through the dense timber as to not make a sound until the terrain leveled out and the two creeks converged. The wind was blowing out of the West at about 20 mph so I began veering towards the East to make sure I’d be downwind of the bull’s location when I came out of the timber and could figure out my exact location in relation to his. I exited the timber on the far Eastern side of the long, narrow meadow which I’d watched him lay down in and took my pack off, to be a bit more agile, then setting it under a tree before I started slowly making my way Westward up the clearing. Walking ever so gingerly through the brush, I kept carefully looking around and looking back at the area which I’d spotted him from until I came to the conclusion that I had to be right on top of him, if he was still there. I began watching for movement along the tree line that he bedded under when I made out the tip of an antler above the brush only 50 yards away. I knelt down quietly as I cranked my scope down to 3x. ‘A lot of good all of that practice at 600-700 yards did you’, I thought to myself as I planned my next move. I watched the antler tip intently for a couple of minutes never seeing it move. The bull was sleeping 50 yards from me. Upon careful consideration, I decided to break a twig to arouse the bull. “Snap”…..no movement. Next, I softly whistled…..no movement.
‘I wonder if it’s a shed’, I thought to myself.
‘That would be too coincidental’, I retorted, to myself.
Next, I whistled louder and the horn moved as I prepared for the action. I waited a good minute but he never picked his head up. So I whistled about five times as loud as I could and the horn moved, I looked through the scope, the bull picked his head up where I could see the top portion of his neck, and I settled the cross-hair on this neck and shot. The bull rolled over on his back with two legs kicking in the air as I stood up basking in my accomplishment when suddenly he seemed to spring up off of the ground as if he was struck by lightning. I cycled the action on my rifle and put another shot in him through the lungs as he began to run, which didn't seem to faze him, as he continued over the knoll and out of sight from my vantage point. I back tracked to grab my pack and began tracking the bull while wondering how this bull ran off. Elk, and especially old bulls, are one tough animal I've come to learn through my years of hunting. After tracking for approximately 100 yards, I found the bull deceased. His last steps were down an eight-foot cut-bank onto a dead tree on the ground, which, naturally, his horns became wedged in upside down. It took me about an hour of cutting tree limbs to free his horns and get the carcass situated so I could begin the quartering process. Once that was complete, I stashed the quarters and the head about 100 yards away under some trees for retrieval the next day, which was a chore but well worth it. Thankfully, my brother, Andy, and his friend, Brendon, came back with me the next day to help pack out. For which, I’m eternally indebted to them for.
Subscriber No. 623046
Cool story and I really like that first and last photos. Good job. Thanks for entering.
I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.
My elk hunting story starts back in December of 2009. That is when i found what i thought was the holy grail of elk hunting holes. My family & I flew back to Colorado to visit family for Christmas that year and I stumbled upon a elk hole that I thought was too good to be true. Living in Alaska there is very limited elk hunting and if you do draw a tag it can be a logistic nightmare, not including hunting in some of the highest concentration of big brown bears in the state. Being originally from Colorado and hunting elk since I was 12 on public land I just couldn't believe what I was seeing before my eyes.
While in CO on Christmas “vacation" I went on a walk about in one of my old mule deer buck holes to glass around, get some exercise, and just see what’s around. I parked the truck to start walking down a ridge to what my dad & I call the rock. It is a pile of big rocks on a ridge that sits on a little knob that a guy can do some glassing & get an idea of what's shaking in the area. To my surprise i was looking with my naked eye and noticed what looked to be an elk. I immediately put my binos to my eyes and noticed it was & a 6 point to boat. I started glassing around and found 4 more bulls just like him scattered among the opposite ridge. I must admit I got a little giddy. I went back to my dad's house and told him what I found and I also started a game plan to obtain the tag to go hunting in the unit. I thought to myself I got to make this happen quickly because 1) it is national forest & 2) it was EASY !
2010 rolls around & I apply for Elk & deer tags in the unit. My thinking led me to believe I probably wouldn't draw an elk tag but if I could draw a deer tag it would give me an excuse to go CO hunting, plus I could actually see if anyone else knew of the " bull hole ". June rolls around & I didn't draw the elk tag but drew the deer tag so I made plans to go to CO to hunt the 3rd season. Called my dad I notified him I was coming. November is here; I fly down with great anxiety to see how many hunters are in the "bull hole". Opening morning comes & to my pleasant surprise not a soul around. Glassing hard to find a good buck I ran across 3 bulls all 6 point or better. I was elated to find the elk. My dad was with me at the time & I told him we have got a winning ticket if we can draw the tags. I watched the hole like a hawk and really didn't make no mind to find a good buck. Still not a soul to be found.
2011 rolls around & my dad & I make plans on drawing elk tags for the unit. I had 3 preference points & he had none. The CO DOW stats show I got a pretty good chance of drawing a tag but dad's chances was slim. June comes & I had drawn a tag, & boy was I stoked. I called my dad & notified him I was coming. Talking to my wife we decided everyone would go & make it like a family vacation. The only difference is I get to go hunting & the wife & kid go visit my in laws.
Arriving the day before season I really didn't have time to scout but was confident they were there. Opening day i get up and the wind was howling. I thought man this is going to be tough but I didn't fly 2500 miles to sit on my butt. I Loaded up the truck and asked dad if i he is going & his response was na. The wind is blowing too hard & they are not going to be moving any ways. So off I went in the dark to the "bull hole" waiting for first light. I thought man with the wind blowing so hard from the south I need to be looking in the bottom & on the north facing slopes. I got on the ridge above the rock pile & started glassing the bottom & found a 5 point bull. Glassing hard I didn't see anything else so I started to make my way down to the rock pile. The wind was blowing hard & I thought maybe ol pops is right. But being the stubborn cuse that I am i pressed forward. I got to the opening before the rock pile and looked back on the ridge I just walked down and notice an elk laying under a ponderosa pine tree hiding from me. I put my binos up & the bull had his head down & looking at me. Once he noticed he was had, he stood up & I went holly moly . I put my rifle on my shooting sticks & let'er rip. The bull turned & I went OOOOO he's a good one. He took off running over the ridge. I found the blood trail & started tracking. I see him in the bottom & put my binos on him and in one glance I was running. I got down to the ol fellow & was ah struck at the size of this old dude. So I just killed my biggest elk in the first hour of the season & the awesome part he was only maybe 1/2 mile off the road.
2012 rolls around and again my dad & I make plans to get a tag. I knew going in my chances are next to null but his were good. So I told him to apply for the 4th season tag. June rolls around & he drew the tag. Again we make plans and my wife like what happened the year before so it became a family vacation again. My dad wanted to make sure we bring my 3 boys along hunting just to have a good ol time.
Saturday morning comes & I round up the kids to get ready to go to the "bull hole". We make our way to the rock pile & get set up so dad can make a long range shot with my rifle. Jacking around getting the gun set up & my twin boys rock climbing, my oldest boy is glassing says holy smokes dad look at that. “What”, I said & he points to what is another monster bull on the lower ridge. I'm whispering at the twins to get down, trying to range the bull, turning the turret on the rifle, trying to get dad set up to make the shot; mass confusion to say the least. With all the commotion the bull had us spotted and walked into the trees. We hunted hard for the next couple of days to whereas the kids were begging for mercy & wanted to stay home. I don't blame them. My dad & I went again to the rock pile and spotted a huge 7 point bull but he was on a chunk of private land way down at the bottom. Kind of discouraged & noticing my dad was wearing down I suggested we go to one of our old hunting spots. I know it gets hit hard by the public but 4th season there is only us bull hunters out & no others. So we make the drive to "park" . We no longer drove into the beginning of the park and told dad there’s an elk & a bull to boot. We got out of the truck and walk behind tree & I then put my binos on him & his is a 6 point. I gave dad my rifle and ranged the bull. Range 392 yards. I told him to hold 1 mill dot & let'er rip. Wack ! I told him give him another one, Bang , wack. The bull went 10 yards & expired.
2013 I applied knowing my chances were slim again but there is always hope. June rolled around & no tag. I called dad & told him I guess this is the year we let it rest. As the year went on work was busy & I didn't get to go moose or caribou hunting & I was itching to go hunting. I surf the internet looking for a land owner voucher every morning @5 A.M. before I go to work and still nothing. Then one morning in September I found one. I immediately called the guy who posted the add and told him SOLD. So I made arrangements to pay for the land owner voucher so I could get the "bull hole" tag. I told my dad I found a tag & I’ll be down again for a third time.
My dad & I went scouting the afternoon before season and found some bulls & found a pretty good one to boot. Saturday morning comes & we headed out to the bull hole once again with high hopes. We walk down to the yep you guessed it the rock pile and started glassing. I told my dad I found the bull down at the bottom next to the private land. My dad asked me" what are you thinking of doing?" I told him lets watch him to see where he lays down & I’ll make a plan from there. He bedded down on the national forest side of the fence so I told dad my plan. We walked back to the truck so we could walk down the other ridge for a shot. We drove to the other ridge and started walking down and my dad says " I' stopping here. I am not going down there. “I said that’s fine & I’ll meet here at dark so we can walk back to the truck. I pressed on, glassing & making a metal plan in my head as to where I thought I needed to be. I got above to where I thought the elk might have moved to after glassing at their last known location not finding them. I got set up glassing and getting my gun ready. Finally, I heard a coughing below me and put up my binos to find the top of his antlers in the oak brush. I got my shooting sticks ready. I reached for my range finder & I could feel the breeze blow on the back of my neck & thought o shucks. At that time the bull winded me and took off running. He went down and across a ravine & up the other side & stopped. I ranged him 462. Steep downhill shot so I thought 1 mill on his back quickly, steadied my gun on the sticks, bang , whack. He went down. I loaded another round & was watching him get his feet under him. I'm looking for the fence & noticed he is close so I put another one in him to anchor him for good. I instantly thought what my dad was saying to himself, "Crazy darn kid, I'm going back to the truck" and he did just that. This one wasn't so easy to get out. It was 1.5 miles one way with close to 1000 ft elevation change. It took me 1& 1/2 days to get him out by myself.
I love elk hunting & elk hunting with my father. Heck I just love hunting. I've have been blessed to have a father to show me the ropes and who always took time to take me hunting. I have also have been blessed with a wife who understands my obsession with hunting. For you hard core DIY elk hunters killing 3 bulls that will score over 300" 3 years in a row on national forest you can understand my excitement for the streak; Especially, in CO that is not known for "trophy” elk hunting unless you have 10 preference points or more. All I can I hope for is the streak to continue and possibly get my oldest son to be part of it.
Last edited by alaska2go; 11-23-2013 at 10:11 AM.