Todd's Top of the Lakes bull
I'm going to fast forward one more week. Troy and I hunted together that last Sunday before I headed back to work for another week. Then, the last week of elk season was upon us and the whole crew was back together again...
DAY HUNT: Little Mountain
Saturday, September 15
Once again the entire "pack" rolled back into camp arriving during the wee hours of the morning. As we woke up one by one, Troy had a campfire burning to welcome the sleepy hunters. It burned all morning long as we munched on egg burrito breakfast and prepared for the afternoon hunt.
As the muzzle loader season was winding down, we were ready for our turn as the last week of bow season brings hopes of bulls in full rut. The leaves on the aspen trees were reaching their peak which somehow seems to act as a signal to the bulls that it is time to pick up their game. It is more likely that the shorter days and colder temperatures are the contributing factor to the bugling frenzy, but the golden aspen trees are a visual reminder to us archers that something brilliant is about to happen... aka The RUT!
Our Saturday hunt was pretty much non-eventful. We climbed up "little mountain" that afternoon and ended up seeing a group of 15 elk milling around the top of a meadow. They seemed uninterested in our calling, so we backed out without any close encounters.
Tomorrow would be a different story...
MORNING HUNT: Top of the Lakes
Sunday, September 16
We decided to hunt a different section of the mountain this morning. An incredibly bumpy road led us down towards an area that has trails down to a lake at the bottom of the mountain. We decided to hunt the top section. As we made our way down over dead fall and thick timber, our first ambush attempt had us bugling back and forth with a bull. However, he left to gather up cows after a bit and never returned. Apparently we weren't convincing enough that time.
After I warmed my toes, a quick bathroom break and snack, we decided to meander through the timber to see if we could call in another bull. As we made our way down an apparent game trail, we soon discovered that we had stumbled right into their bedroom. It was obvious. The forest duff was kicked up under the dark timber and the stench of urine filled the air. The coolness of the late morning under the cover of pines quickly made it clear as to why the elk chose the spot. Since the wind was in our favor, we decided to stay put and see if we could catch them on their way back up the mountain for their afternoon nap. We spread out strategically. Troy and I took the right side. Allen had the below section covered. Todd and Jim took the left flank.
I cleared out some debris beneath my feet to eliminate any unnecessary noise, nocked an arrow, sat down and proceeded to munch on skittles, jerky, and fruit chews. After only a few minutes we heard crashing timber. Initially we thought a bull was spooked, so we stood our ground and tried our best to sweet talk him back into the area. Since Troy, Allen, Jim and I were all within eyesight, we pulled back together after a few minutes because we figured the bull was gone. After joking around, another noise was heard. Arrows were once again nocked and bows perched next to each hunter, as we sat motionless, attempting to blend into the trees.
After a few more minutes, Todd appeared... it turned out he had shot an elk at 10 yards almost immediately after getting set up! No wonder we heard so much commotion! He had just sat down when his elk made an appearance. Todd quickly got ready and whistled to get the bull to stop. Yes, whistled as in *youhoo*, I'm right here. A clear broadside shot was presented. An arrow was released.
From the Draw
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