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Author Topic: First ever game animal down  (Read 2552 times)

Offline lamrith

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First ever game animal down
« on: September 21, 2017, 08:17:15 PM »
Well the year started off with a buzz and a twang.

I headed to Idaho panhandle for 2nd year of OTC Archery Elk, I also picked up predator tags as we had predators on all cams last year.  Last year was my 1st year of what I would call real hunting and it was a blast even though we had a few days of quiet Elk. The previous 2 years I spent blindly bumbling my way thru the woods seeing nothing and learning less.  Cams were out again this year and we were all looking forward to reviewing thousands of cam photos and a sleepless night waiting to hit the trails Sunday morning.
 Driving into camp Sat I knew it was going to be an odd year.  I climbed out of my suburban to be buzzed by Yellowjackets.  These beasts are pretty common to anyone hunting early Archery in the PNW, but this year the population was off the charts, the camp was thick with them as well as baldfaced hornets.  They were landing on everything not moving.  More on that later.

Swede had been at camp a few days and was already out in his stand, so while I waited for Wapititalk1 to arrive I geared up and dropped over the bank from camp to pull the picts off the 2 closest cams.  On the way to them I was immediately concerned.  There was NO fresh sign.  Something had been thru since our scouting trip, but nothing in any recent time.  Cam footage confirmed that it had been over a month since an elk had been on the trail, and it was a couple cows and calfs only.  This is a trail that usually has Bulls bulging every night in camp.  The closer cam had similar as well as a few deer and a lone Coyote.  Not what we had hoped for. :(

Sat morning 9/10/2017 Swede and I head down to our daytime homes in the predawn light.  I hear a bull or two bugling in the draw and know they are probably already moving to bed.  That is good so we do not bump them out getting to our stands.  Around 9am I hear a bull fire up behind me and realize it is probably really close to Swede in his stand.  That bull proceeds to scream and chuckle for almost 2 hrs.  I also heard some faint cow calls and I can tell he is slowing moving down the draw between Swede and I.  The temptation to drop down and give chase was almost overwhelming but I stayed put.  There was no fresh elk sign on the trails, or the open areas we were stand hunting over.  These are locations that normally have elk in them every single day, both at night and during the middle of the day as they are the only open areas around and draw attention of all types of game animals.  However cams at both locations has gone mysteriously quiet late Aug as well.  Day one ended not seeing or hearing anything else.
Monday Morning, 9/11/2017, Day two.  We head down again predawn, no sign on trail, and no singing bulls.  Quiet morning of watching squirrels running around and swatting the hornets constantly buzzing my face.  May or may not have dozed in the mid-day warmth.  I had lunch and started reading thru Tree Stand Hunting Rocky Mountain Elk - by John Erickson, prepared for another quiet afternoon.

The sound of crashing brush 50yrds to my right startles me out of my book.  I stowed the book away, turned and grabbed my bow with my heart pounding and hands shaking with visions of a bull walking in.  Little more crashing slowly making it's way right to left heading toward he opening I was facing.  I reached up and turned on my GoPro, then hit record and waited while trying to not have any part of my bow rattle against the tree stand I was in.  I heard one last crash of brush right by where I knew the trail comes thru.  I caught a glimpse of the top of a head and ears thru some brush of what looked like a calf, not tall enough for a cow, and no rack.  Good, calf means cow and cow means bull, I just have to wait.  Knowing it was not a bull settled me a bit, it was going to be a waiting game.  A few moments later I heard a splash in the wet wallow/creek just outside of my sight but leading to the clearing.  So I was about to see what it was.  Tick-tock-tick-tock, my excitement was increasing again.  I edged forward to the edge of the seat on the Millenium M100 stand, just enough that I could feel tension on the safety harness.  Suddenly I catch movement and a black snout starts peaking from behind the bushes, too low to be a Calf, my mind races and I think "Wolf!  I have a tag for that!"  Then it continues out and I see it is a Medium sized black bear.  "I have a tag for that too!" 

The bear is at about 28yrds broadside and moving, just as I start to consider drawing back it stops and swings it's head my way.  Thermals are right to left, but I think I had been there long enough that my scent might have been in the area a bit as it stops and sniffs right at me a few times.  Still seated I come to full draw as it walks behind a wisp of a tree branch from a shorter tree as I am waiting to find out if I hear or see any cubs.  Then it stops and turns my way again to sniff offering no shot.  I hold the pin on it and it turns again to continue to my left.  No sign of cubs I float the pin on it's chest just behind the near leg and TWANG.  My bow goes off as I make the decision I am going to take it as its near leg goes forward, I do not even remember tripping the release just thinking "shoot".  The release felt good and the bear jumps 3yrds away from me as the shot goes off and I hear that reassuring “thwack” of an arrow hitting home as it grunts and hauls off to the left.  I catch flashes of red I think are my arrow as it runs out of sight.  I track it's sounds as it busts thru brush at full tilt turning to go down my left and toward my 7:00 and it gets quiet.  Then a huff and a big crash of brush and tree limbs.  1min after my shot I hear it give what I thought were a few death moans and begin my wait to make sure it is dead before I begin tracking thru the brush.

An hour later I am down out of my treestand and go to where I shot the bear.  I find my arrow whole and intact in the weeds right behind where I hit the bear and it is covered in blood.  The blood looked dark so I worried I hit him farther back, but it had no foul smell or signs of a gut hit.  I pull out my peroxide and I start searching around for a blood trail, knowing where he had run I find a few drops in the dusty brush.  That peroxide works wonders as many of the weeds in the area have red splotches on them naturally, quick squirt and bubbles are your friend!  I lose the trail as I enter the treeline where it is all dirt and soft silt that flies when you walk by.  I start scanning the brush at the edge of the dirt where I thought he had turned and find a drop of blood.  I look up from there toward the direction it might have gone and sure enough there is a black mass 15yrds away.  I watch verifying it is not moving at all, then approach slowly.  I poke the back leg with a broadhead and confirm it is dead!

My 1st game animal ever ends up being a Black bear boar with a bow @ 30yrds.  I was not able to get a good picture with me in it due to the crazy amount of hornets, but did get an overall picture once it was dark and we were able to work on it.  No mange at all but the hide was thin summer coat so not worth rugging, but I will do a Euro mount on the skull and still have the arrow, just need to figure out how I want to arrange everything once I get the skull cleaned up.

I never heard another bugle for the rest of my hunt, and only caught a fleeting glimpse of a few cows as they busted later in the week.  Weather cooled off a few days later, then got cold and storms came in with rain and snow.  With only a few days of my hunt remaining, no sign of elk and bad weather forecast till the end of my hunt I pulled out of camp a few days early to salvage a couple vacations days to use for late season in WA.

This is the only picture I got of the bear.  Remember those hornets I mentioned, well they were out of control this year, and we had to let the bear sit until dark.  I got stung just trying to grab a leg and drag him to a better position before I went to get Swede to try and help.  The baldface hornets were so aggressive that there were not even flies or yellow jackets on the bear, they attacked as soon as one would try to come in and land.  Given the sheer number of them, we decided we had to let the bear sit until it was dark.

Video of the shot:

Huge thanks are in order here.  Without these guys this would never have happened.
  • First: To Wapititalk1 and Joe for welcoming me to their camp a second year.  I have learned more than I can even express from these two seasoned elk hunters.  Both take the time to educate me and have been patient thru my endless questions and bumblings.  You have my deepest thanks and I hope we can continue to grow together so that I can somehow repay your efforts.
  • Second: "Swede" - aka John Erickson, Author of Tree Stand Hunting Rocky Mountain Elk.  He went out in July scouting with us and helped prep 2 great stand locations.  Then was in camp early for the season and got the stands installed and ready to go as well as being a constant source of knowledge in camp.
You Three gentlemen have my deepest and most sincere thanks, it was an honor to spend the time with you in Elk-camp this year.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 09:33:04 PM by lamrith »

Offline L8NITE

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 08:34:32 PM »
Congrats on your first bow kill...nice bear  :tup:
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Offline mkcj

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2017, 08:58:41 PM »
Well done on a fine Bear!!

Offline ShaneTyTrey

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 09:06:32 PM »

Offline bowhunterforever

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 09:40:27 PM »
Nice work :tup:
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Offline Stein

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 09:41:48 PM »

Offline Kit Carson

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 12:32:48 AM »
Congrats!  :tup:

Offline bearpaw

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 02:15:54 AM »
congrats  :tup: :tup:
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Offline trophyhunt

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2017, 06:15:53 AM »
Congrats Larry on your first bear!!!  That death moan is pretty Erie isn't it?  Great job, good eating bear.
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Offline bracer40

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 06:18:31 AM »
That's a great first kill! Congrats!
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Offline DeerThug

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 06:24:15 AM »
Shoot straight Shoot often

Offline saylean

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2017, 02:18:59 PM »
Good work! Congrats
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Offline boneaddict

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2017, 02:20:15 PM »
Congrats  :tup:
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Offline carpsniperg2

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2017, 02:33:04 PM »
Congrats :tup:
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Offline SpurInSpokane

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Re: First ever game animal down
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2017, 02:35:02 PM »
Great story and a great first animal!
Hoping for my first this season as well. Great Job!


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