We had a depredation cow elk tag that I wanted my wife to try and fill. She had never killed an elk before. Season started thursday but due to bad weather and work, we didnt head out until the early friday afternoon. We had a lot of days of early snow and rain so I had a feeling as the weather broke the animals would come out of the wood work to feed / breed.
I knew I was right as on the way down to the property, we would see cars pulled off at various places in the canyon stopped to look at bull elk that were roaming around. We counted 3 bulls before we even got to the property!
Upon arriving, when we got to the 2nd gate I was startled to see a big 6pt bull elk stand up on a hillside 300 yards away and watch us. He was alone. We quickly got ready, ate a bite of dinner then went down to sit on a small hill where we could watch 2 canyons they would sometimes travel through. After 30 minutes of watching 60 head of deer (only 2 tiny bucks) play, move around I heard a bugle! We were at this point 500 yards below where my trailcamera and out of view. I listened more carefully to pinpoint the bugles and quickly realized there were at least 4 different bulls all around the area with my trailcamera.
I told my wife to grab her gun and we headed on up to the meadow where the trailcamera was. Stupidly I forgot the video camera! Arrgggg! As we get closer my nearly 6 year old panting (but doing great job of being a A+ trooper) and wife cant believe how loud the bugles are getting... I mean they are LOUD at this point. We hike closer to where we can finally see up the meadow to the trailcamera and saw this bull elk. He was standing there getting his picture taken AS WE WERE LOOKING AT HIM!!!!
He moves up hill behind the camera but amazingly, he didnt bugle a single time. The bugles were well to the left of the camera's view, and straight ahead of where the camera is facing, behind the trees in the distance (we were hiking up that treeline, there is a road there). We creep forward and I thought the bugling bull was getting further... when suddenly an ear piercing bugle tears through the air from an unseen point 150 yards away and was immediately answered by 2 more bulls farther up the mountain (thats what I heard that made me think the bull was moving away).
We sit there for 10 minutes listing to screaming challenges of bull to bull. Its beginning to get dark fast and I hadnt heard a peep of a cow elk so I thought perhaps this bull was alone. I decide to move closer to see if we cant get a glimpse of the closer noisy bull to see if he has girlfriends with him. We move up probably only 20 yards when suddenly, just as I am completely in the open between 2 pieces of cover, the bull walks right out in front of me, 100 yards away.
He immediately spotted me and I thought "OH CRAP!". I thought he would blow out of there but he stood there looking at me. I slowly started squatting and moving to my left until I was finally out of view. The bull continued to watch where I was then suddenly ignores us, looks around and starts bugling again in clear view (this is when I was cursing myself for forgetting the video camera!!!). My wife and boy 10 yards behind me in more cover had a great view of him as he bugled over and over again.
After a few minutes I suddenly see a cow move into a clearing to the side of the bull, behind a small tree. I wave my wife over quickly and get her set up on steadystix with her 30-06. I thought the cow, now looking at us and seeing her move to getin position, would run off but it held tight. My wife now ready, I told her if it moves to either side of the bush it was behind, dump it! We wait for a minute and it suddenly takes a step forward into the clear. I say "Take it!" ... nothing... cow begins walking towards some more brush and I say "HURRY!, SHOOT!" and just as it begins to disappear behind the next bunch of thick brush I hear her '06 fire off. I did not hear a hit but the cow ran but suddenly appeared higher on the hill in clear view. She didnt look right but I didnt hesitate to tell my wife to shoot again. The '06 barked and down she went.
Amazingly the bull did not run off but stood there looking at us, reluctant to leave the cow I guess. We began to hike over to the cow and the bull let us get within 75 yards of him before he finally walked off... very interesting expecially after shooting twice right past him. We get up to the cow and I took some pictures with my cellphone.
Sorry for the quality, cell phone camera.
We left and returned 20 min later with water to field dress it and a better camera for another picture.
This cow was bigger than the one I got on the archery hunt. Barely fit on the tailgate of the truck with the ATV in the back
Simply an amazing experience. I was so happy I got to share it with not only my wife, but my boy as well. Hes still going on today about how he wants to shoot a "daddy elk" when he grows up. Man I cant wait for that! Sooo neat and fun.
Anybody want some elk steak? lol!