Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Elk Hunting => Topic started by: WapitiTalk1 on January 17, 2020, 10:48:49 AM

Title: Game Plan 2020 Episode #2
Post by: WapitiTalk1 on January 17, 2020, 10:48:49 AM
Tag: Bull tag
Season/Hunt: Smokepole/Solo Hunt
Time/Date/Location: Early October; 8:30ish AM, in an elk state
Camp/gear: Base camp/truck camp

7 October, early/mid-morning on a side hill in (insert elk state). You've worked in close to a bull with cows...within 80 yards. You've dogged the vocal bull with cows a 1/2 mile uphill in some pretty steep terrain, off to one side, as the thermals are coming down in an attempt to remain undetected by the multiple eyes, ears, and noses in the group. The bull had responded to your locater bugle a few times earlier with menacing challenge bugles and grunts warning you to stay away.  For the last 25 minutes, you've kept your mouth shut (not a peep on your diaphragm) as you've determined the bull or lead cow is moving the herd up the side hill away from you and to the Super 8 for their daytime siesta.  The big guy has stopped a few times and knocked the snot out of some innocent trees and screamed back down the hill in an attempt to locate the bull he heard earlier.  Let's say its 0840 now.  You move quick when its open, walk on elk trails when available, and crawl in the thick stuff to get a bit closer and NOW, you detect movement above you... to the right... in the direction of where you think the bull and cows are. It's a cow and she has locked eyes on you.  You freeze, knowing she has seen your movement, but you're in cover so she really is not too sure what you are. The cow "barks" at you no more than 40 yards away, turns and looks over her right shoulder uphill in the direction of the herd, and then looks back at you.   You're pinned down for the most part. What should you do?  Geez, I've never been here before.

I know it's tough to answer without being there and knowing all the variables but again, it's just a medium to share ideas and offer suggestions.  Back on topic.... You're close to the herd with a bull/cows and a cow (perhaps a sentry) has kind of pinned you down. What should you do with the information provided to try to bring that bull home for dinner? 
Title: Re: Game Plan 2020 Episode #2
Post by: cougforester on January 17, 2020, 11:26:18 AM
And you're within 80 yards of the herd with a muzzy? I'd be pretty tempted to rip a hard challenge bugle, bust her, and push up to get in close to the bull. Make him think a challenger snuck in close and his cows are scattering. He should come respond, and with a muzzy you've got more range than the bow.

Thermals should also switch and be blowing uphill towards the herd soon, which limits the amount of time you've got to make a decision.
Title: Re: Game Plan 2020 Episode #2
Post by: 444Marlin on January 22, 2020, 06:44:08 PM
Lots of ways to mess that one up.  And I have messed it up a many times.

With some elk herds, there is a hierarchy of sorts.  I've been busted by some elk in a herd that were not very influential.  When they barked or tried to alarm the rest of the herd, the other elk just stayed put.
Sometimes - a bark back might work.  Some say it couldn't hurt any worse if they are already heading over to the next unit.  When the lead cow busts me, I know it's over.

I usually try to sit put if they have eyes on me and wait it out if they go back to feeding.  I was calling for a friend last year after I filled my tag, and had 3 cows pin me down.  After sitting there for a while they just started feeding. And after a while they could care less even when I was blowing bugles. But, if the elk are busting away, I might see if I get a shot by stopping them with a cow call.
Title: Re: Game Plan 2020 Episode #2
Post by: Magnum_Willys on January 22, 2020, 06:50:23 PM
Freeze and hope cow goes back to feeding.  You may be seconds from glimpsing bull.  When cow gets content for a bit give a bugle and see what happens.
Title: Re: Game Plan 2020 Episode #2
Post by: lamrith on January 23, 2020, 08:32:55 AM
I am with Cougforester for the most part

80yrds is close and he will cover that in seconds if you are suddenly in his bedroom, better to have a spot within a few feet of your current location you can move to as you go thru the sequence.  I would not risk moving closer to him unless it was to get myself better shooting lanes.

Time to use the cow against him.  Get ready for a point blank, in your face encounter.  ML ready and pointed where you think bull is, and knife between your teeth because it might get hand to horn!  Full blown cow stealing threat sequence.  She may bust but make it sound like you are a bull that scared her and you have another cow that you are stealing away.  Breaking branches, stomping around, bugles, whiny cow call like a bull is forcing her away.  <80yrds, he should come straight at you.