Opening morning of our 2008 Idaho hunt found me flustered and panicked not to forget anything, although I had already double and triple checked to make sure I had everything ready when we started up the trail at 5:30AM. We had walked 1/2 mile up the trail and I just had that feeling like I was forgetting something. Sure enough, after a quick mental inventory of my gear, I realized that I had left my bugle tube on the back of the truck. Some help I’m going to be! I stopped Corey and told him. He was okay with that and said that he’d do the calling (makes me wonder if he didn’t just hide it before we left so I wouldn’t be scaring the elk off!).
We continued up the hill another 1/4 mile and as it started to get light I reach into my pocket to grab a reed in case we got into the elk. As my hand slid into my pocket with the greatest of ease I had one of those jaw dropping moments…how can my hand go into my pocket so easy with a release around my wrist? It was then I realized what additional, important piece of gear I had forgotten – my release. “Uh, Corey…” He stopped and I caught up with him as I held up my hand and told him the news.”O.K.” he said, and took his release off and handed it over. “I’ll just be calling”. Boy did I feel great! (Corey’s most likely thinking, how convenient, that’s one way to make sure you get the 1st crack at the elk!).
An hour later, near the top of the mountain, Corey’s location bugle was answered from across the draw. We scaled the hillside and once we felt we were within 100 yards of the bull, Corey positioned himself above and behind me to do the calling. The bull was responding immediately to the bugles, not liking the fact that another bull had come into his bedroom and was now challenging him. The nice 5X6 bull came in on a string and I caught a glimpse of him as he passed 40 yards above me on the topside of an alder patch. I was prepared for him to circle downwind of Corey’s bugle where I could get a shot. Suddenly, the forest exploded with crashes, and a smaller rag horn bull that had been trailing the 5X6 busted out above me. Then the 5×6 walked back to the edge of the alder patch and turned back towards Corey. I drew my bow and just as I got my 40 yard pin on him, he came busting down through the middle of the alder patch. It seemed like he had gotten tangled up in the alders and tripped, starting a series of somersaults down the steep hillside, coming to rest just 15 yards in front of me. What just happened? Should I put an arrow in him? He’s just laying there?
Corey came to a rock outcropping directly above me and said “I had to shoot in self defense!” The bull had come straight in to Corey’s bugles and stopped at 10 yards, giving him an easy shot, even with fingers! “It was supposed to be your bull” he said. We laughed and enjoyed our opening morning success.
Our good friend David Burdette, and his buddy, Art, met us down the draw with the packframes just as we finished quartering and loading the bull into our Alaska Game Bags. The 3 mile pack back to the truck was challenging and took us the rest of the afternoon, but we made it off the mountain with the elk and all our gear in one trip. Keeping with our annual tradition, we enjoyed dinner at Corey’s expense that night before heading to the meat locker with his bull.
With Corey’s hunt done, we could now work on finding a bull for me………….