Thursday, September 4
We got a little late start this morning because Troy was tired after helping pack out Curtis' bull the night before. After the tough day of tracking my bull, I guess the good Lord knew that Troy needed a little comic relief. As Curtis plowed ahead, anxiously looking for his bull, Troy walked maybe 100 yards from the wallow, looked over and called out into the darkness, "Hey Curtis, is this your bull?" They thought he was kidding at first, but as Troy once again said a little more serious this time, "No really, there's a bull laying right here. Is it yours?"
Since there was no tracking involved, Troy jumped in, helped gut and carry out the meat. The original agreement was simply to come find the bull. I think he arrived back at camp around 2:00 A.M. I let him sleep in until 5:30, which meant we left around 6:00. Since it took us an hour to get to our hunting spot that morning, we arrived a little too late. Funny - sometimes things work out when you least expect them to. Since it was light as we walked in, we could easily glass the open pasture before heading in. We ended up getting into elk. In fact, it was the same bull we chased the other night. He bugled at us a bit and then proceeded down the mountain. We climbed back up to the truck, looked for grouse, relaxed a bit, had coffee and then slowly made our way back down the mountain. A comfortable tree was located, and we easily dozed on and off. At one point, I looked down the lane of dark timber and stared at a strange blob. It looked like a huge turtle from a distance. Then a bird landed on it. Then another "camp robber" joined in, dancing on top of the blob. I had a feeling I knew exactly what it was, as I reached for my Hawke binos. Sure enough! There was an elk gut pile about fifty yards from where we were sitting. I looked back at Troy to whisper, "If we sit still long enough, we might fill our bear tags before our elk tags!"
A decision was easily made to move over several hundred yards. Elk meat takes priority over bear. After a few more unsuccessful set ups, we decided (or I might have convinced Troy) to try and go after the bull we heard this morning. He MIGHT head back up the mountain later that afternoon. We eventually made our way over to the same general area, but all was quiet.
On the drive back to camp that night, we came upon a 4-wheeler that was parked in the middle of the road. First instinct was to get annoyed. Then we realized another bow hunter had seen a deer just off the road, and decided to put a stalk on him. Not long after we sat waiting for him to return, an out of breath hunter emerged from the slope below us. Troy quickly asked, "Did you get him?" Skylark said, yes, I think so. He's a small buck, but I couldn't pass it up. We helped him track his buck, but unfortunately the blood trail ran dry.
So ... after helping another fellow hunter, we once again arrived back to camp late. Sleep came quickly.
Friday, September 5
The last couple nights took a toll on us. We were TIRED this morning. The combination of the alarm clock and uncooperative bulls wasn't enough to draw us from our slumber. We ended up sleeping in, then going to town to restock our ice, and get a few other "necessities" ... rope, donuts, apples, and a strong cup of coffee!
When we got back to camp, chores were started. Troy filled the water jugs from the fresh water pipe in the side of the mountain. A fresh water source that we learned from the PA boys. As I saw Troy, pull in with the four wheeler loaded down with water, he had a big grin on his face. As he sat waiting for the water to slowly filter out of the mountain side, he passed the time scouring the plentiful clover growing nearby. A four leaf clover was found, and he now held it out proudly, giving me a good luck charm for our afternoon hunt. Ahh.... so sweet!
We'd be ready for an afternoon hunt, after a few more chores: Camouflage sprayed down on the clothes line, torn pants stitched, a few rounds of arrows through the bow, and lunch made.
Since we slept in, we were ready to hunt early this afternoon. Arriving at our entry point around 2:00, we slowly worked our way in, sat through a small rain shower, and then moved further along the mountain side. It was quiet in the woods tonight. Finally around 7:00 we heard a chuckle from a couple bulls coming up the mountain. It almost sounded like a growl.
Heading back to camp under the cover of darkness, it was a slow ride up the mountain on the four wheeler. Tonight we simply enjoyed the time spent together in the elk woods, breathing deeply the experience of all it brings. With each September day passing, the rut action lay waiting for that magic moment to awaken it. Soon. Hopefully soon!
From the Draw
A website devoted to sharing bowhunting stories. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.