Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Elk Hunting => Topic started by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 10:42:44 AM

Title: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 10:42:44 AM
Just returned to work after an awesome hunt in the Bethel unit with my bow in hand. As good as a shower and my bed felt, I sure wish I was still out in the hills but all good things must come to an end.

My hunt started by heading out Friday before the opener to set camp and get ready for the upcoming hunt. I had scheduled off the full two weeks for the hunt but hoped that I wouldn't have to use it all if I didn't have to. Going in, my plan was to be hunting mainly solo as my old man drew a Rimrock bull tag so he would be over in that unit with the normal hunting camp. Saturday morning came around and I was out hiking around the areas I had scouted most the summer but in two full days, not an elk was seen and hardly a fresh set of tracks or sign. It wasn't exactly how I wanted to start the hunt and on top of that, the first mid day break while loading a few log rounds in my truck for camp, I smashed my trigger finger. I didn't really notice much until I got back to camp to do a little more set up and it swelled to about twice it's normal size. Within a day, it was black and blue from my finger tip up past my last knuckle and into my hand.  :bdid: Needless to say I was upset and wondered what I would do if I couldn't shoot my dang bow. I tried shooting but it was tough with all the swelling and having to tape my fingers together but I was able to make it work.

I knew of another guy from our normal Rimrock camp that also had the bethel tag and we had been chatting back and forth. He said he was seeing lots of sign, hearing some bugles and running into cows where he was at. Sunday afternoon I decided to head that way to see him and talk about his plans. I ended up going for a quick hike that evening and not 100 yards from the truck, i let out a few soft cow calls and got a response from some cows. By the end of that evening I had seen about a dozen elk including two spikes at about 30 yards which tempted me plus had a bull bugling his head off at the bottom of the drainage. The next day I moved camp and joined up with the other guy to hunt. The rut activity was pretty light with a bugle here and there so we decided unless we had a bull located and talking that we would divide and conquer. I ended up having one good bull come into bow range checking out my cow calls but he came in silent and never presented a shot.

Fast forward to mid day Thursday and I was just getting ready to leave camp to check out an area down lower when I got a text that my hunting partner was going to stay out all day and that he needed to turn his phone off since his battery was already low. Off I went down the road a bit and then dumped off into a drainage to walk the ridgeline down. As I was walking down the ridge, I thought I heard a bugle but wasn't sure so I stopped and listened but didn't hear anything. I saw a little rock outcropping below me so I walked out and gave out a few lost cow calls and immediately got a response across the drainage. After a quick wind check, off I went towards the bugle. When I got to the opposite side of the drainage I cow called again and he responded to what sounded like a little below me and on the backside of the ridgeline. I made me way towards him and then he let off another bugle that sounded like he could actually be a little above me so I beat feet back the way I came to get above him since the thermals were going up hill still. The whole time I was trying to get around him he went completely quiet and I was hoping he didn't someone wind me. When I got to the top and what I thought was above him, I did a few more cow chirps and he immediately responded and I could tell he wasn't far. Down the spine of the ridge I went to get into the timber and try to find a place to set up. I found an ok spot, knelt down and just as I was going to drop my pack, I decided it didn't feel quite right so I moved another 10-15 feet down and tucked in between the trunks of 3 trees. Just as I got sat down I heard a bugle that was definitively closer than the last, probably about 60 yards so I knew he was coming. Right as I got my pack off and an arrow knocked, a cow popped out, working her way up the hill directly towards me. I ranged the spot I thought he would come through at 25 yards, checked the wind which was perfect and waited. About 30 seconds later an even louder bugle ripped out and about halfway through it I saw horn tips then head coming up where the cow just came from. My heart started pounding and I focused on settling my breathing and trying to stay calm. He came up another 10 yards or so, stopped and let off what was probably the loudest bugle I have ever heard since he was facing directly at me at no more than 30 yards.  :yike: There were a few thick branches just before the spot I ranged so as his head went behind those I drew my bow. At that point, he turned and went directly from left to right below me, following the way the cow went. I pivoted a little and saw an opening a little bigger than the size of a basketball. I settled on that opening and as he walked into it, I saw his front shoulder, counted about a half second then let it fly. I heard a whack that sounded like a stick breaking so my heart immediately sank. I hit the cow call and the bull ran about 10 feet then stopped and I could only see from about his back rib to his butt. I sat there watching him take these huge deep breathes, all the while saying "go down, go down, please go down" in my head over and over. He stood there at least a minute and then I heard a few coughs. He then started to move and I heard some smashing and crashing. I was hoping that wasn't him figuring out what the heck happened and getting out of dodge but it didn't sound like he made it far. I decided to sit there a few minutes to gather myself then go look for my arrow. After about 10 minutes I slowly went to where I had shot at him but couldn't find my arrow. I looked down the way I heard him crash and could see his butt and the tips of his antlers still up in the air. I thought that he must have bedded down right there so at least he was hurt and I was trying to decide if I should sneak down and try to get another arrow in him or not. Instead I waited and watched through my binos and didn't see an ounce of movement for a few minutes so at that point I got up and made my way towards him. About 10 feet away I found my arrow and it had great blood. Upon walking up closer to the bull I could see that in his death crash, his head got wedged between two trees which propped it up and made him look bedded. What a relief and the emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. I must have circled around him 10 times, thanking the man upstairs and just soaking it all in. I had just fulfilled something that has eluded me for a long time. This was my first archery kill and one I will never, ever forget. I couldn't have drawn it up or scripted it any better. Calling in a bull, by yourself, having him scream multiple times right in your face, connecting on a 22 yard shot and having him go about 30 yards and pile up... how the heck can you beat that.

The rest of the afternoon, evening and into the night was spent quartering and packing him out. Six man trips later and we had him back to camp. Slept in the next day, got him all boned out, hung up on the meat pole and just sat there thinking about how lucky I was to be able to experience it all. Hopefully you guys enjoyed my story and felt like you might have been there watching it all go down. Oh and dropped off the boned out meat last night to be processed and it came in at 245 lbs. Looks like a new freezer is on my shopping list.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: bobcat on September 20, 2017, 10:44:50 AM
Good job, awesome bull! 
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: full choke on September 20, 2017, 11:04:07 AM
Right on! :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: fishngamereaper on September 20, 2017, 11:05:33 AM
 :tup: :tup:

Awesome job man..looks like he's been in some wars.  Memories for a lifetime. Theres something truly fulfilling doing it solo. Well done.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: SkookumHntr on September 20, 2017, 11:07:44 AM
WTG MAn!!!  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: BigBullDreamer11 on September 20, 2017, 11:08:45 AM
Awesome bull congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: jackelope on September 20, 2017, 11:08:50 AM
Congrats, Adam. Happy for you!! Great bull.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: baker5150 on September 20, 2017, 11:08:55 AM
Congrats on what sounds like a really fun experience.
Great bull and story, thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: de0827 on September 20, 2017, 11:10:37 AM
Congrats!  Way to get it done, and solo!  What an experience, and the great meat in the freezer is the added bonus!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 11:11:08 AM
:tup: :tup:

Awesome job man..looks like he's been in some wars.  Memories for a lifetime. Theres something truly fulfilling doing it solo. Well done.

Yep he broke off his seconds and thirds on one side a while back. His bases are huge which is really cool. Being my first archery kill, I didn't even look at his antlers the whole time he was coming in and didn't really care if he was missing a few points or not.

Thank goodness my hunting partner turned his phone on when he did and my old man was willing to drive over from his camp to help me pack it out. The last load of loose cuts of meats after two previous heavy loads just about did me in!  :o
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: elkboy on September 20, 2017, 11:11:47 AM
That's awesome!  Congratulations.  Sounds like just a perfect bowhunt. 
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 11:14:34 AM
That's awesome!  Congratulations.  Sounds like just a perfect bowhunt.

For sure. I really couldn't have scripted it any better except if I could have had my old man somewhere back in the shadows watching it all go down. At least he got to be there to experience everything afterwards and enjoy our traditional toast of whiskey after a successful hunt.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: HUNTINCOUPLE on September 20, 2017, 11:19:17 AM
 :tup:  Great hunt!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: arees on September 20, 2017, 11:28:16 AM
Great story. Congratulations.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: TC_outdoorsman on September 20, 2017, 11:47:40 AM
Nice job, thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: h2ofowlr on September 20, 2017, 11:51:34 AM
Looks like a nice one.   :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: PlateauNDN on September 20, 2017, 11:52:42 AM
 :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: rainshadow1 on September 20, 2017, 12:05:38 PM
 :tup: :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Gringo31 on September 20, 2017, 12:53:46 PM
If that won't make you feel alive........


 :tup:

Congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Timberstalker on September 20, 2017, 01:12:33 PM
Awesome write up. It must have been something to have him that close, and unalarmed.
Congratulations. :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: elkboy on September 20, 2017, 01:14:04 PM
:tup: :tup:

Awesome job man..looks like he's been in some wars.  Memories for a lifetime. Theres something truly fulfilling doing it solo. Well done.

Yep he broke off his seconds and thirds on one side a while back. His bases are huge which is really cool. Being my first archery kill, I didn't even look at his antlers the whole time he was coming in and didn't really care if he was missing a few points or not.

Thank goodness my hunting partner turned his phone on when he did and my old man was willing to drive over from his camp to help me pack it out. The last load of loose cuts of meats after two previous heavy loads just about did me in!  :o

 :chuckle: That's what we call a good problem to have...  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 01:18:26 PM
Awesome write up. It must have been something to have him that close, and unalarmed.
Congratulations. :tup:

For sure. After my last cow call before moving down the hill and into position I shut up. The combo of that and the other cow coming up the hill had him all fired up. Crazy part too was after the shot, the other cow circled around me, to within a few yards a couple times, about 4 or 5 times trying to figure out what just happened. It was pretty neat and on top of that, another bull farther down below bugled a few times right after I shot as well.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Timberstalker on September 20, 2017, 01:20:14 PM
You really got the whole experience.  And you did it solo. :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: GUscottie on September 20, 2017, 01:26:06 PM
awesome write up. Stoked for you! Awesome pictures and great story.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: dfresh96 on September 20, 2017, 01:26:19 PM
Nice bull


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Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: blackpowderhunter on September 20, 2017, 01:38:01 PM
Awesome bull Adam!  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: kevinlisa06 on September 20, 2017, 01:56:14 PM
Congratulations to ya!


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Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: shmacker on September 20, 2017, 02:49:19 PM
Congrats on an awesome first bull!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Shawn Ryan on September 20, 2017, 02:50:20 PM
Good job, Adam. You have been putting in the effort and it finally paid off.  Glad your Dad got to be part of the experience, even if he wasn't there for the shot.  Bugling right in your face is the ultimate.  Hope you have many more bugles just like that.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 03:34:52 PM
Good job, Adam. You have been putting in the effort and it finally paid off.  Glad your Dad got to be part of the experience, even if he wasn't there for the shot.  Bugling right in your face is the ultimate.  Hope you have many more bugles just like that.

Thanks man. I thought I was addicted before but now I can officially say it is an obsession!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Brushbuster on September 20, 2017, 03:58:12 PM
Reading your story gets me all that more excited for my upcoming hunts this year. Congrats on your awesome Bull & thank you for sharing!  :archer:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: blackveltbowhunter on September 20, 2017, 04:00:12 PM
Great bull! Congratz!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: boneaddict on September 20, 2017, 04:23:29 PM
Congrats .  Great bull
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: gasman on September 20, 2017, 04:27:29 PM
 :brew:

Way to go......
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Watimberghost on September 20, 2017, 04:54:18 PM
Amazing experience and great bull :tup: LOVE those G1's! Thanks for sharing your hunt, and congrats!!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: summertime blues on September 20, 2017, 05:59:03 PM
Great write up and job Adam. Saw zero dead bulls besides the pic of yours in 360
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Duckslayer89 on September 20, 2017, 06:02:41 PM
Bad ass story and bull!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: mp.hunter on September 20, 2017, 06:35:24 PM
Great bull, nice job Adam


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Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: quadrafire on September 20, 2017, 06:44:42 PM
Very nice. Congrats.

Bet you didn't even notice that sore trigger finger  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: trophyhunt on September 20, 2017, 07:01:38 PM
Great job!!!!  Thanks for posting, enjoyed your hunt, thanks for the ride. Congrats!!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: jrebel on September 20, 2017, 08:44:24 PM
Excellent job and great bull.   :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 20, 2017, 08:59:47 PM
Very nice. Congrats.

Bet you didn't even notice that sore trigger finger  :chuckle:

For sure. Didn't even notice it!  :IBCOOL:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: stickbuck on September 20, 2017, 09:03:02 PM
Awesome bull Adam! You definitely worked your butt off to make it happen. Congrats on a great bull!! Was stoked when the pics FINALLY started rolling in.


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Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: hunting4sanity on September 20, 2017, 10:22:32 PM
Congratulations! Sweet looking bull and camp.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: TVHunts on September 21, 2017, 03:31:27 AM
Great Bull and story. Congrats to you!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 21, 2017, 04:07:18 AM
Here was my finger too
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on September 21, 2017, 06:18:59 AM
Great bull, and write up.  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: dupedc on September 21, 2017, 06:20:08 AM
Wow! Great hunt! Thanks for sharing your story!


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Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: poopooheaddad on September 21, 2017, 07:59:48 AM
Thanks for sharing, cool story and great looking bull, I bet it taste wonderfull,,, just wondering how the other guys did?
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Fish4Fun on September 21, 2017, 08:43:40 AM
Great job on a nice Bethel bull, sounds like you had fun and enjoyed a great hunt. Nice story too, I could imagine in my thoughts as I read it just how it went down.  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 21, 2017, 09:01:06 AM
Thanks for sharing, cool story and great looking bull, I bet it taste wonderfull,,, just wondering how the other guys did?

So far, the few other tag holders that I know of, as well as people they talked to and I talked to while out and about, I am the only one that filled the tag.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Yakirack on September 21, 2017, 09:42:04 AM
Sweet Bull, congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: sjhgraysage on September 21, 2017, 02:14:26 PM
SWEET! Congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Falcon on September 21, 2017, 02:58:12 PM
Great story and an awesome bull
Way to finish strong👊💥👊
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Tschaefer72 on September 21, 2017, 03:02:02 PM
Way to get after it. Congrats man. Thanks for sharing your hunt and the pics!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: bowhunterforever on September 21, 2017, 04:53:26 PM
Great write up and bull :tup: Congrats
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: TVHunts on September 21, 2017, 07:40:52 PM
Here was my finger too

You didn't exaggerate that's for sure...ouch
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: mkcj on September 21, 2017, 09:08:15 PM
Way to get it done and awesome story  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Mossyoak on September 22, 2017, 07:06:56 AM
Congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: DOUBLELUNG on September 22, 2017, 12:42:58 PM
Congratulations.  That is an amazing feeling when it all comes together.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: buglebuster on September 22, 2017, 01:29:09 PM
Congrats man! Can't wait to get him all fixed up for you!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 22, 2017, 01:42:29 PM
Congrats man! Can't wait to get him all fixed up for you!

Thanks man. I apologize for my hack job on the head...  :yike:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Woodchuck on September 22, 2017, 01:55:06 PM
That's awesome man, Congratulations.  :tup:
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: takethetime on September 22, 2017, 02:52:09 PM
Good write up and awesome job congrats!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: riverrun on September 22, 2017, 08:48:43 PM
Enjoyed reading your post. Great write-up!  Congradulations!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: Bigbadweston on September 22, 2017, 11:35:58 PM
Nice Job man. Thanks for the story and the pics. I bet that was quite a rush. Praise the Lord for the hunt, the opportunity and especially the blessing of your kill. It's awesome. The Lord blesses us with way more than we deserve.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 23, 2017, 08:26:13 AM
Nice Job man. Thanks for the story and the pics. I bet that was quite a rush. Praise the Lord for the hunt, the opportunity and especially the blessing of your kill. It's awesome. The Lord blesses us with way more than we deserve.

Totally agree. Was just telling my buddy the other day how it hadn't fully sunk in yet and how blessed I felt. It was a long time coming with a lot of ups and downs. Looking back, all those failures and numerous years of dreaming made this experience all the more sweet.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: dave24 on September 23, 2017, 01:05:37 PM
Awesome time always good to here a successful  hunting story. My young son has the late modern big bull tag any info would be appreciated to help his hunt for his 1st elk.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: scoutdog346 on September 24, 2017, 09:12:24 AM
That's a very nice archery gmu360 bull nice job!.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: ctwiggs1 on September 24, 2017, 10:01:46 AM
That bull is AWESOME.  I love racks like that - you took down a real warrior!
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: vandeman17 on September 24, 2017, 10:36:54 AM
That bull is AWESOME.  I love racks like that - you took down a real warrior!

His bases are what impressed me. Took a hand and a half to circle them.
Title: Re: Bethel Archery Bull (pics included and long story)
Post by: jkthomps on October 03, 2017, 09:40:08 PM
Nice work! Congrats!