September 18, 2021, 11:41:13 AM

Author Topic: First Archery Elk Hunt  (Read 1261 times)

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Offline Garethundley

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First Archery Elk Hunt
« on: November 22, 2019, 03:01:55 PM »
Archery started for me with my wife and I just looking to shoot at a local range. Since there wasn't a lot of distance we just went with the cheaper option and bought recurve bows. Now before going hunting yes I realized recurve was more difficult but I didn't think getting within distance would be that crazy. So off into the mountains I went.

After a couple days scouting I had seen a group at the bottom of a valley walking through the tree line. Opening morning nothing popped, I didn't have any calls and just wandered around. After midday most people were back at their camps and didn't seem to be going back out. Around 3:00PM I loaded my pack for an evening hunt. Reaching the top of the ridge I had seen them at previously I sat down and a couple minutes later saw the same small herd walking through the trees.


Now without any calls I just watched the general direction they were going and prepared to give chase thinking only about the wind direction. After they had gone and I looked over the OnX map a little I took chase around 3:45PM. Aiming to get way out in front I ended up on a ridge about an hour later with an 80ft drop before it led back into the pines. While taking a small breather here I actually saw a spike meandering around and although tempting I wanted to get back into the herd of 15 ish that I had seen prior. Sneaking off of this ridge and finally finding a way down into the trees I began again watching wind and general direction of where I thought they would go.


After crossing a small dip and cresting a hill I started hearing some faint mewing. Now the slow game began of trying to catch a glimpse and stay in front of wherever they were going. A series of hills laid in front of me where just about the time I would come over one they were going down the next. Slight frustrating but as I gave chase and in the bottom of one of these hills I heard some movement up the small ravine. Sure enough after watching a group crest the hill in front another group of 8 elk came running in behind them trying to catch up. Thankfully they didn't see or smell me.


After a good bit of time with this back and forth over hills I took off running to get the wind in my favor and finally be ahead of them. Led to two fields with a small ridge in between with a heavy game trail between. Sitting on this game trail and constantly hearing the herd get louder and louder I watched some cattle below get pushed due to the noise and commotion of the elk. As they started coming into this field I realized there were close to 70 elk that had some how all met up. Still slowly making their way down as they grazed the majority came within about 60 yards from where I was sitting getting torn up by mosquitoes.


Over about half an hour of watching and listening to this amazing spectacle I started accepting the odds of any coming up the trail I was on was low. Yet something kept making noise over my left shoulder. Seemed odd but kept getting a louder and louder so I knocked an arrow just in case. And just like everyone dreams about antlers first over this small knoll and grass came a large 5x5 bull. Separate from the rest of the herd just grazing on his own he walked behind me eventually giving me a shot around 25 yards. Staying kneeling so not to startle him since he hadn't noticed me yet I drew back. As the arrow loosed I learned the most valuable lesson, know every inch between you and your target. Maybe three feet in front of me the grass was a hair taller and caught my arrow causing it to fall well short of the mark. Although this spooked him a little he did not take off and after staring me down for minutes went back to grazing. Thinking a second shot may be possible I knocked again although he was further away. Then the most beautiful and frightening sound echoed through the bottom, he barked, probably catching wind of me warning the rest of the herd. He ran back to the herd and then the lead bull let out an even more impressive bark and the whole herd took off without question.


With fading light I grabbed all my gear and started the long trek back to camp. Replaying every second along the way I realized I was outmatched and decided to call my archery season after this encounter. So much was learned and throughout this year I am hoping to save up and buy a compound bow as well as maybe throw a call in my pack. Nothing I have heard has been more true then just to get outside, because although I did not harvest the experience is something I will remember forever.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 09:01:07 PM by cohunter14 »

Offline cohunter14

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Re: First Archery Elk Hunt
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2019, 09:08:37 PM »
Wow, awesome story! But, am I understanding that you left after that experience, on opening day, and called it a season? If so, you are crazy and have way more self control than me!!  :lol:


Thanks again for sharing!

Offline Ike

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Re: First Archery Elk Hunt
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2019, 02:24:19 AM »
Interesting...
Pro Defiant Shooter #Bowhunter

Offline Garethundley

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Re: First Archery Elk Hunt
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2019, 06:12:17 PM »
@cohunter14 Yes, it just didn't seem right to get into the same situation and not have the confidence in drawing on an animal... compound bow is on the list to purchase.

 

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