Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Elk Hunting => Topic started by: Tbob on September 26, 2017, 01:10:49 PM

Title: My first elk !
Post by: Tbob on September 26, 2017, 01:10:49 PM
So I've been archery hunting for a long time now and have had a few close encounters with a few nice bull elk and even a few cows, but for one reason or another have never let an arrow fly. I don't come from a hunting family and am self taught (with lots of help from y'all over the years). 
    This hunt starts last year with me trying to talk my buddy from Texas and my older brother into going on a drop camp elk hunt with me.. I called Kent from White Pass Outfitters and we agreed on an area and a price for a drop camp..
    My brother and buddy decided to join me and the planning was on!! We were all super stoked all year and there were tons of calls, emails and text messages about anything and everything from, what boots did you get to how are we going to deal with clean water.. Can't even tell you all how excited we were!
   Well the day finally came and I picked up my buddy from the airport, we went and did some last minute food shopping and then grabbed a beer at Elysian and waited for my brother to get off work..
   We hit the road at about 7:30pm and headed to our trailhead. We pulled up at about 11:00pm and just set up a tarp for the night to get a few hours rest. Kent and the horses showed up first thing in the morning and we were packing the mules and adjusting stirrups on the saddles.. Just like that we were off!
   A few long hours and sore butts and knees we pulled into our camp. Kent had a great camp set up for us, we got settled and Kent was off back down the trail and now here we were for the next 8 days hunting elk with our bows... The first night we heard bugles all over the place. We were deep in the wilderness and there was no question these were actual elk and not other hunters. What a way to go to sleep!
   We got up at 4:30am to get some breakfast, hot coffee and talk about the game plan and off we go, just as first lite is hitting the hills.. We start down the area we want to go first and within 20 minutes of creeping along slowly I see an elk about 50 yards up.. Then there's 2 elk then 4 elk.. Then we hear an insanely loud bugle just around the corner! Can't even believe this is happening on our first morning hunt!  We all try to figure out what to do as the cows are right in front of us and we definitely don't want to bust them out.. We sit patiently until the cows eat there way out of sight and my brother says he'll back up and blow on his bugle stick.. He does and the bull answers right away. My buddy goes one way and I start to slowly make my way towards the bugle.. We do this for about 15 minutes and now I can tell that the bugle is coming from just the other side of a super thick patch of small trees that I can't see into.. And just like that the woods go quiet! My brother bugles and cow calls a few more times and nothing! We didn't get busted, nothing barked at us and no freight train sounds flying through the woods. I think this bull wasn't interested in a fight and just moved along. We were definitely within 60 yards when my brother bugled so we were a bit surprised, but hey, that kind of opening morning action was AWESOME!!
  We re-grouped and decided to keep heading down the valley and see what else we could find..
    About 1/2 mile later we stopped and I let out a bugle. Within 5 seconds we got a response and it sounded pretty close. We all made our way towards the bugle and quickly realized we were totally Cliffed out and a descent size river at the bottom.. We decided to keep hiking down and try to find a spot to cross then come back up the other side of the river to get this bull... About a mile down we found a spot to climb down (now a small cliff) and at least get to the river. Once we got down we saw an area we might be able
To climb up the other side, but it was definitely not safe. We all had to strap our bows to our packs and use the trees growing on the cliff side to pull ourselves up the 300-400 feet to get to an area we could at least stand on a small flat spot.. Once we got there we could see the topography sort of flattened out a bit further up so off we go. We got to a good spot and grabbed our bows off our packs and I let out another bugle.. Quickly we got another answer and it was on!! I decided to stay back and call, my brother and buddy went up ahead and I kept them within about 60 yards.. One went right and one went left so if this bull came in, someone was getting a shot!
    We all crept forward in this fashion and the bull was bugling and we could tell he was getting closer.. It got really tense and I could hear the bull raking a tree so I did the same! Yep, that did it! He came about 20 yards in front of my brother, he (my brother) moved just a bit to get a better look at the bull and the bull saw that! That bull spun and ran faster than any race horse! And that was that! On a side note though, that's the closest my brother has ever been to an elk and he about pooped himself he said! He thought that was the coolest thing ever!
    The rest of the day was spent hiking and we had a quiet evening of no bugles. One heck of a first day though!
   Everyday after that we were into elk in one way or another, either still hunting up onto them or chasing bugles. We noticed though the Bulls would only bugle in the morning and once you got to within 50-80 yards they would shut up and move out silently..
  At one point or another during the week my brother and buddy from out of town had a real opportunity at shooting a good bull, but messed it up for one reason or another. My out of town friend had a good 5x5 in front of him (I was back calling for him) I could clearly see the elk at 55 yards and was probably 25 from my friend (who couldn't see him yet) He turned to tell me he thought he could hear him... And that bull was like, NOPE! Busted out right in front of us! I was dying laughing!! I told him, next time, no hand signals or whispers, just wait!! Haha!
    So this brings us to the last morning of the hunt! We get up at 5:00am for coffee and my brother is super tired and says, I'll walk 30 min in either direction and call for a bit, but after that I'm coming back to pack up for the ride out. (Outfitter said he could be there by 11:00 am at the earliest). So okay works for us.. We head out and my brother says, you guys go to your spot and I'll throw out a few bugles. If i don't get any responses I'm heading back to camp.. My buddy and I get to our spot, we hear my brother bugle..... Nothing... Bugles again about 5 min later..... Nothing... That's the last bugle we hear from my brother.. So my buddy says, well?? I said lets just creep up over this little rise and do a little cow calling. After just a few minutes of cow calls we hear/see nothing.. My buddy motions, "should we go"? I gave him the "5 more minutes" sign.. We cow called a few more times, this time real Whiney like.. A few seconds later I hear a big stick snap below us.. He looks at me and I just smiled. A few minutes later I hear lots of stick snapping and it's getting closer! A few more cow calls and now about 60 yards away I can see an elk body coming in... Still can't see if it's a bull or not. My buddy and I are about 30 yards apart and he still can't see it and is throwing out sparatic cow calls.. I finally see its head and can clearly tell he is a legal bull for our area (3 pt min). My buddy finally sees this guy coming but they are basically on a collision course for eachother and he is basically pinned down and can't draw.. As the bull get to about 30 yards from us, the bull goes behind a big ol tree and is completely blocked from my view. This is when I drew back... Then the bull stops... I'm just needing him to take a few steps.. So I'm drawn back and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.. I'm at that point now of having to let down and pray he doesn't hear it... My arms are burning and now starting to shake.. I told myself, "just a little longer, this is your chance man"!! Just as I say that to myself the bull starts walking straight toward my friend and stops to look at him.. The bull is about 15 yards in front of me with a steep quarting towards angle, but looking right at my buddy.. I put my 20 pin just inside his right shoulder (everything is super steady and slow motion in my mind right now) I slowly pull the trigger and the arrow goes right where I was aimed. The arrow gets lost in his chest and he whirls a little and stops.. I can see blood just pouring out! Most of the arrow is now hanging out behind his opposite shoulder. We cow call a bunch and he just slowly walks about 15 yards and looks back at us. We're now cow calling like its a girls night out party in Vegas! About 20 seconds later his ass end gets all wobbley and down he goes! Right there in front of me about 30 yards is my first bull elk! I'm completely shaken and hugging my buddy who had a crazy front row seat! I couldn't believe it!! Last morning, the last couple hours and I've got my first bull elk!  So we go back to camp and find my brother back in his sleeping bag snoozing.. He looks at us and says " well the horses should be here in a few hours, I guess we should get packed up". I was like "yeah, sucks we couldn't get anyone talking this morning.. But grab your pack and knife we've got some work to do man"!!! He was super confused until I told him what happened!
   We got this bull broke down and back to camp about 15 minutes before the horses showed up!
   It was such an unbelievable hunt! It's been many many years making this happen and I couldn't be more proud!
Just goes to show to never give up. It can happen even on the last day! Even in the last couple of hours!
   It's funny, we were all completely beat from the week and everyone just wanted to sleep in that last morning. I rolled out of my bag that morning, lit the lantern and got the coffee going. Glad I'm not easily persuaded!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Tbob on September 26, 2017, 01:18:47 PM
Few more pix
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: OutHouse on September 26, 2017, 02:32:11 PM
You stuck it out to the very end! Nice animal and great story. I wish I could have seen it from your friend's point of view. That he didn't run and hung around during the cow calls is interesting as well. Maybe he thought he was stung by a bee or something and wanted to stick around for the ladies
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: 724wd on September 26, 2017, 02:56:45 PM
nice job!  thanks for the well written write-up, too!  :tup:
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: bowhunterforever on September 26, 2017, 03:19:20 PM
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Stalkin Prey on September 26, 2017, 03:27:17 PM
Great job congrats. Can't say enough about Perseverance.

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Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: pianoman9701 on September 26, 2017, 03:28:30 PM
Boy, didn't you get it done!!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: baker5150 on September 26, 2017, 03:44:15 PM
Great work on a nice bull.

And great pics too. 
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Whitenuckles on September 26, 2017, 04:29:59 PM
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Seahawk12 on September 26, 2017, 04:34:31 PM
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Elknut1 on September 26, 2017, 05:10:51 PM
Tbob, awesome dude, well done & congrats! You'll always remember the 1st!

Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Tbob on September 26, 2017, 05:12:19 PM
Hey Elknut,
Your podcast on the Rich Outdoors was the last thing I listened to on the way to the trailhead! Thanks for the motivation man!!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Vandal44 on September 27, 2017, 06:55:10 AM
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: takethetime on September 27, 2017, 09:16:07 AM
Thanks for the read! GREAT JOB
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Killercolin on September 27, 2017, 10:03:36 AM
Congrats! Great first elk too!  :)
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: TLEVIN40 on September 27, 2017, 10:52:08 AM
Great story, quite inspirational.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: HuntnFishnRyan on September 27, 2017, 12:39:13 PM
Great story and animal. I felt like I was right there with you
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: DeerThug on September 27, 2017, 04:04:34 PM
Ultra cool.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: carpsniperg2 on September 27, 2017, 04:48:00 PM
congrats :IBCOOL:
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: bearpaw on September 27, 2017, 04:52:03 PM
congrats, that will be the best elk you ever get  :tup:
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Stein on September 27, 2017, 04:53:48 PM
Way to stick it out until the end.  If you are on a 5 day hunt and bag the last day, you are giving up 20% of your hunting time!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: dupedc on September 28, 2017, 07:59:19 AM
Great job! Wow!

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Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: RB on September 28, 2017, 09:07:23 AM
Right on nice Bull and great story!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Mfowl on September 28, 2017, 09:08:46 AM
Awesome! Congrats!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Tbob on September 28, 2017, 09:20:06 AM
Thanks everybody! Was an awesome time spent with my brother and good friend! It was my friends first wilderness experience.. He just txt me yesterday and said he's hooked!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Little Fish on October 04, 2017, 12:38:58 PM
Great story! Congratulations on your first elk.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: MrSmallington on October 05, 2017, 03:57:48 PM
awesome story. helped kill some time at work waiting to hunt next week.  hope my first elk  comes with a great story too. cheers.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: bulldogs40 on October 06, 2017, 04:12:37 AM
Great story! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on the amazing animal.
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: cardinalguns on October 06, 2017, 03:33:53 PM
Congratulations, beautiful animal and beautiful country. I am happy for you!
Title: Re: My first elk !
Post by: Tbob on October 06, 2017, 10:20:50 PM
Thanks guys! Was so awesome!!
    And BTW: this elk tastes awesome! Backstraps on the grill are Delish and made some elk tacos out of some burger last night.. So good!!