MORNING HUNT: Big Bull Meadow
Saturday, September 8
If you are following along on our elk adventure, you may have noticed that several days have passed since Day 9 of our hunt. While I would love to be able to hunt the entire month of September like some people I know (*Ahem* my husband), I had to go back to work for a few days. After we all left camp on Labor Day, Troy stayed behind. I don't think he minded. He cleaned up camp and enjoyed a few solo hunts during the week until I was able to return Friday night after work. (I need to post about one of his solo adventures - let's just say that he ended up sliding down a slope in a rainstorm which resulted in him knee deep in a wallow!!)
Saturday morning on September 8th marked the opening day for black powder season. We decided to get up early and get in a strategic position for when the boom stick boys would begin pushing elk around the mountainside. We figured that our little meadow was as good a place as any. So we snuggled into the aspen grove in the middle of the meadow and waited for the sun to rise. I heard movement before shooting light and the jitters began to set in a little. It was looking promising that first light would produce an opportunity for a shot.
Your eyes play tricks with your brain in the wee hours of the morning. As you sit motionless, nestled against the bows of thick pine branches, somehow the shadows in the pine 40 yards away begin to look like figures. Branches are easily transformed into antlers as you try and will them to be sitting on top of a shadow-like life form. Just as I'm trying to decipher imagination from reality, a footstep behind me awakens my senses. That was real. As Troy and I slowly turn around, a spike elk is staring us down at 20 yards. Actually it was more like 10 yards. After several minutes of the spike elk standing his ground. We decided it was time for him to leave us alone. This curious little guy had a different idea. We stood up. Sat down. Turned around. Put a left arm in and a left arm out. (I'm kidding - there wasn't any hokey pokey going on!)
After tossing a stick in his general direction, he backed up a few yards. It was comical really. He just didn't want to leave. I seriously hope he gets a little more smart by the time he grows a few more points on his antlers. Yikes!
Finally our alien friend wandered back into the woods and we were left with the sound of a few shots in the distance. Then a really bad cow call below filtered up to us. Troy and I both looked at each other and said, "Here they come." We decided to stay put and keep our eyes peeled. The other hunters may just push something our way. Soon we realized that the cow calls were getting closer and closer. I saw a flash of orange. I didn't move. Troy had let out a bugle earlier and we now realized our muzzleloader friends didn't figure it out there were other hunters in the area, and they were now on top of us.
In order to not get shot, Troy slowly raised his bow with the bright fletchings showing and waved it back and forth. The orange-vested Elmer Fudd look-a-like, trying to hide behind a charlie brown pine tree, lowered his gun and hung his head. As he approached Troy, the first words out of his mouth were, "Was that you bugling earlier? I thought it was a big 'ol bull!" And then, almost immediately in the next breath, "but you could really work on your cow calling." Oh. My. Word. We had a good laugh on that comment all the way back to camp! I think that he must have been trying to think of something to say because Troy is anything but a bad caller. I can't even count how many elk Troy has called in for us over the years. And he obviously fooled this fellow!
After parting ways with our orange clad friends, we decided that our hunt for the morning was pretty much over since we learned these guys planned on tromping around through the woods like a herd of elephants. As we made our way back to our truck, we discovered their four-wheeler parked right next to our truck. Really? That was a whole other conversation starter for the ride back to camp! Not only did Troy need to "work on his calling" but the ethics of hunting right on top of someone else was discussed the entire ride. I think there was a little steam coming out of our ears by the time we got back! It's funny now, but not so much then.
The question hanging in the air... if our calling was so bad, then why in the world did you walk right into us? Hmm....
From the Draw
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