Troy's 2012 5x5 CO DIY Public Lands elk
If you have been following along in my elk journals, you may have noticed that I skipped over Thursday and Friday. I'm sorry. I honestly didn't journal either of these day's hunts. While I do remember the details, I've decided to cut to the chase and get to the last day... the one I've been waiting to blog about. Plus, I have some Christmas giveaways to get to this week, so I need to wrap up these journals. So, without any further ado... here is the day a tag was punched in our household, or as some call it, the last day cliche.
MORNING HUNT: Big Bull Meadow
Saturday, September 22
Wouldn't you know it! Our favorite meadow is the spot where Troy arrowed an elk and on the LAST DAY of a month long adventure. Here is how the morning unfolded...
Wanting all of the cards to be in our favor, Troy, Allen, Todd and I woke up way before dawn knowing today marked the last chance of the season to arrow an elk. During the long bumpy ride down the mountain road, the following words escaped from someone's lips, "I've got a good feeling today." It's not something we say often in an effort to simply will a good result. So, we all take heed in the fact that God may just be smiling on us and whatever the results, we will give thanks.
We arrived in our favorite meadow just as the first glimpses of the morning began to crack the darkness of night. Our footsteps were cautious as we edged the clearing. The darkness from the thick timber quickly allowed our eyes to adjust to the light beginning to play and lift dawn's shadows in the meadow, which meant our cover could be blown if we weren't careful. We scanned the openness before us for a few moments before determining it was safe to scurry across to our designated spots.
A coyote or two began making horrible noises just beyond the bottom portion of the meadow, and I quickly grabbed the back of Allen's pack stopping him in his tracks. The lower meadow was my agreed upon location, but I was now uneasy about sitting amongst the ruckus. Don't get me wrong - I would shoot one in a flash, but being surrounded by a pack of coyotes potentially after a fresh kill wasn't my cup of tea this morning. Allen agreed to switch spots. We quickly split, and made a dash to get set up. Troy went high, Allen low, and I moved to the right, while Todd nestled in an aspen grove in the middle since he was the main caller, which allowed him to move as needed once we figured out where the elk were at. After finding a spot with good shooting lanes, I removed the loose debris, and sticks from the ground around me. An arrow was nocked, several spots measured with my ranger finder and mentally noted. I was ready. I called three times on my cow call to let everyone know... it was game on!
Troy had picked a spot in the upper meadow. He was situated basically in the very middle of an open field with his back to a huge pine tree which concealed his frame. If a bull made his way into the open, he would have a good chance at a 30 - 40 yard shot. Normally it is probably not ideal to be situated so out in the open, but we've seen bulls make a dash for "cows" below IF they are hot. Allen suggested Troy try it this morning.
I'm pretty sure I heard Todd bugle once, and then Troy returned the bugle from up above. I cow called in between to complete the elk ambiance. We had been sitting maybe 15 minutes and then I heard a noise... I was inside the tree line watching an open section just west of the meadow Troy was sitting in. Instant adrenaline filled my body. I could tell elk was in the area, but they weren't talking. I heard footsteps above me. Then I heard a bark, and then some calling over by Troy. I heard a moan. Was it a death moan signaling an elk's final breath? Did Troy shoot something? Not wanting to spook anything coming near, I knew I had to stay put until someone cow called three times in a row indicating to rally the troops. I waited. And waited. Nothing. All was quiet. I began to second guess what happened. I was hopeful that someone shot something, but as the minutes ticked by, slowly turning into an hour, I didn't know what to think. Todd continued to call down below. I called some and Troy also cow called now and then.
Finally, Troy couldn't take it any longer. Three short cow calls were let out. I quickly emerged from the shadow of my pine tree and made my way towards the open meadow. As I rounded the edge of a pine, I saw antlers laying just beyond where Troy was standing!! He HAD shot a bull first thing that morning and then sat nestled against the big pine for an hour, while watching his elk only 30 yards away, because he was hoping more elk would come in for Allen and I to get a shot also. Wow! (Before you start thinking that is crazy, let me tell you that it has happened before - Allen and Troy each shot an elk within 15 minutes in this very meadow several years ago.)
After Troy and Todd's quick bugle exchange, followed up by Big Al cow calling down below, this bull elk came RUNNING down from the top of the meadow. He was on a bee line straight for Troy's tree. Since it was the only cover in the meadow, the bull was most likely going to stop right above the tree and use it to peek around to try and locate the "elk" he heard. The only problem... Troy was also using that tree for cover. The Kryptek camouflage Troy was wearing did the trick because just as they were about to be eyeball to eyeball, Troy let out a soft cow call. The bull turned broadside as he put the brakes on and slid to a stop. Mr. Bull was met with the broadhead end of an arrow. Troy said his bull basically did a backflip, ran 30 yards and died right in front of him.
What a way to end the last day of the season!
The guys: Troy, Todd, Allen
Now that's a good feeling!
From the Draw
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