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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2007, 01:42 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007, 13:59
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Location: Elk City, Idaho
If you have ever heard the piercing bugle of an elk, then you know I am speaking of the rut. If you haven't,,, Nightmare On Elm Street is only an appetizer course to these sounds which will send chills down your spine on a cool moon lit evening. With a sizzling steak and hot baked potatoes roasting on our coals, the challenges in the night looked promising. After a light sleep, I was awaken by a distant bugle. I looked at the clock, it was 4:30 am. "I must be dream'n" I said to myself. Then again, another shriek - a bit closer this time. Ohhh Yeah! That's what I am talking about! I scurried to my feet and was dressed as if my Country had alerted me for duty. I peered outside my tent, eyes fixed on the campfire ambers still smoldering. Just as I was about to light the lantern, there came this,,, "Shhhh, Don't!" My partner whispered and was obviously aware of something that I was not. He then tapped on my shoulder and pointed to movement in the nearby meadow. I squinted with my eyes, trying to make out the shadows. Then, a low pitch bellow came from the far end. Another scream echoed from the opposite direction. Multiple shadows indicated there was a herd approaching from this Northern side. A cow chirp, then another until there was a full presence of cows and a herd bull. Like a tennis game fan, I looked to the right for the next volley. There it was. A thundering hoof beat with a mass that got larger and larger as it surged towards the center of this once tranquil campsite. CRASH! The sound of antlers rattling in the dark kept me motionless. There was at least a half hour 'til daylight and a chance to score on one of these two brutes was a possibility. A few minutes passed by and still this aggressive display continued. That was enough watching for me, I now had elk fever! Like a thief in the night, I slithered back to my tent trying not to be detected. Upon doing so, I whispered to my partner, "I'll let you have the heard bull - so go left, I'll go right." We both knew that splitting up would increase our chances.
Like a youngster chasing cattle on a Saturday morning farm, I penetrated the woods. My thoughts were, I'll run 'til I am close, then wait on the outskirts. Good plan, bad results. Though it was starting to get day light, the first 60 yards made this fumbling, bumbling, stumbling fool look like a blind man out of control. I changed my tactics to a medium stalk and continued through the trees. Stopping briefly, only to listen for elk. What seemed like hours, was only minutes. Now I had gone some distance by this time and things got real quiet. Perhaps too quiet. Daylight was no longer a concern but the fog and my surroundings were. "What became of the elk?" I questioned myself further, "Who won the battle and why is there no elk sign here?" I slouched for a moment pondering these questions with my back against a Pine. No one said elk hunting would be easy,,, but I'll be no monkey's uncle. With that said, my heart pounded faster as I ran through a clearing towards a draw. Large boulders made climbing difficult. Still, I scrambled up this rocky embankment, grabbing brush, roots and all. Finally, I was on top of a ridge that stopped me in my tracks. "Holly Cow, elk sign everywhere" I said, as I ran down a well used trail. Sixty yards and a slow pace found me parallel with some cows running just below me. That bold move had paid off and I was pumped. However, nothing was to prepare me for what was about to come. With a knocked arrow, I cautiously trotted down the path. Upon coming to a thick wooded area, I was greeted with an abrupt thrashing of some brush to my right. I saw only white tips of antlers, then within a second, I had a four inch diameter pine tree fall upon me. I knew that if I made any sudden movement, this bull, whatever size he was, would rip the tree and I to shreds. Slowly I parted a branch. At first glance I could see fog, then I realized it was his breath. I closed my eyes, not wanting to know if I was detected or not. After anticipating the worst, I felt pressure, then a sharp pain to my ankle. The small tree began to move and I moved with it. I hoped for the best and with a few more tugs on the lower limbs, that elk pushed on. I too, pushed but only to remove the small sapling off me. The ankle felt sore but wasn't broke. Neither was my spirit. Over the hill above me I could hear the bull chuckle. At first I began a limp, then I hopped. To my astonishment, the pain disappeared and was replaced with anxiety upon reaching the knoll. My eyes caught the presence of a large bull moving slowly but away.
It was a cat-mouse game for quarter of a mile until he caught up with 4 cows and a calf grazing. I eased my way towards the heard with wind blowing in my face. Bionics in hand, I noticed this bull to be a 6x6. Could this be one from the meadow? I didn't care. He big with horns and legal to take. Another look through the binocs revealed the bull had changed directions. He was 70 yards away and the cows were coming towards me. Within a split second, I filtered 20 yards downwind to allow the cows & calf to pass. Those 10 minutes of grazing was the longest minutes of my hunting career. All was perfect,, accept for the lead cow, now 40 yards ahead, looking as if she had caught my scent. Ears perked and nostrils high, she let out a bark and all hell broke lose throughout the woods. My adrenaline was pumped as I knew the bull would pass by me. Sure enough, I got what I wanted, but how do I stop him to make a shot. My diaphragm calls were in my camo shirt and a "Hochie Mama" remained in my pants pocket. Knowing I have one chance to stop this monster, I squeezed my pants pocket, hoping for some kind sound. KEeeeWWwww! Not the best sound I heard from my call but strangely enough, the bull felt a need to stop and observe the cry. I was at full draw, no reason not to let loose. But then,,, I thought of the pursuit. It had all taken place near my camp ground. Mine? Perhaps I was in elk country. A meadow that contained a dominant clash of titans. An experience through pine boughs that left me believing, perhaps I was the hunted in this vast wooded area. Nonetheless, my instinct said shoot. The 30 yard pin met the lower portion of the rib cage and off flew the arrow. Like a bolt struck from an overcast sky, the bull thrust its heavy horns to the air and ran off. Finding tracks were tough but blood was evident. Not far, perhaps 120 yards he lay with one brow tine cemented to a Ponderosa pine. I flagged my way back and got a hold of Dave. He took some photos and gave me a hand packing the meat, cape and horns out of the woods. With one last high five, Dave announced he would stay and finish his hunt. Though he never did get that big one, his efforts were rewarded with a beautiful spike.
As for me, I had taken a bull of a lifetime that joined the ranks of Pope & Young. A privilege & an honor that all outdoorsman can appreciate. Below are the photos and mount of this elk.


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Last edited by Nutz4TrapN on 13 Apr 2007, 11:50, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2007, 06:25 
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Joined: 09 Apr 2007, 09:52
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Location: Chippewa county, WI
WOW!!! Congrats.. What a Bull! Excellent story, you should send it to a magazine. Reading this took me back to Colorado. You really find out just how fast your heart can go when hunting elk.
Again excellent Elk and story!

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2007, 06:42 
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Awesome story Nutz! Now that's what the Campfire Forum is all about! :D :D :D

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2007, 07:34 
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man thats excellent I hope that someday I can shoot an elk too. but first we need to get those wolves out of the way :twisted: start setting the steel :lol:

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2007, 21:44 
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Joined: 15 Jan 2007, 18:52
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Nice job and great story.


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2007, 01:15 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007, 13:59
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Location: Elk City, Idaho
Thank you. I enjoyed that hunt immensely. So much that I changed professions and became a hunting guide. You are definitely right about those wolves. Here in Idaho, wolves have made the outfitting business a nightmare. Neighboring states as well are witnessing to the same effect. This Fall I believe, our Game & Fish dept. will enable us to hunt wolf with a permit/tag. It's a start and not a moment too late. Two years ago, I saw 6-8 wolves in a pack. This past hunting season produced an upwards of 17 - 23 wolves in a pack. And understand this,,, Idaho County alone has roughly 56 wolf packs roaming lose. Unfortunately, this is where I guide. One pack will drive elk, deer, moose and all else out of an entire hunting zone for nearly one week. I have seen the massive strides a small heard of elk would make in the snow as they tried to out run these wolves that were in pursuit. Each heard told the same story. Elk trying to escape from the ridge to a 2,000 foot elevation drop point. While the wolf prints showed some chasing these elk from behind, others were converging from the sides. I could almost sense the horrific event as if it were taking place in front of me. I say no thanks to the Endangered Species Act. It's time to protect our livelihood, the elk, the moose, deer and all else that still remain in the forrests,,,, Before they become endangered!


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2007, 20:12 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007, 13:59
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Location: Elk City, Idaho
BUT HEY!!! This isn't an wolf issue, This is ELK FEVER!`~~

Here are several photos of my family who are archers' as well. These are from Arizona, near Flagstaff.

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My sister and her small 6x6 bull

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My brother-in-law with a massive 6x6 bull elk.


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