Had myself a good week of hunting last week. We love to hear about your hunting stories and honestly, it’s what we’re all about – getting you geared up for the hunts that you look forward to all year. This time, I was able to link together a week of good times and a couple of tags filled and wanted to take a moment to share it with you.
A week ago Saturday I invited my 10 year old son to go archery hunting elk with me and after learning that there would be a fair amount of hiking he passed, but thankfully his 9 year old brother agreed it would be fun, and even better if he got to gut an elk! I’d been into this area 7 times this season and had two misses with two other time drawing back only to not have the shot materialize.
After hiking in about 2.5 miles, we arrived at the water hole only to bump some elk off of it. (didn’t see them but knew we had bumped them). I was just hoping we hadn’t spoiled the only opportunity of the evening so while getting comfortable in the blind that me and a buddy had made, I figured I might as well set up the Montana Elk Decoys I had brought with me. I had trouble with one as I left the poles home so after fiddling with it a bit to wedge it into a small pine tree, I was standing there admiring the set up and had the thought that it would really suck if I was standing here 30 yards from my blind and some elk walked up.
So I quickly got back to the blind to find my son reading his book,(typical for him) laying on his side. I offered up a pad I brought for him and just as I got him situated I noticed a group of elk filtering through the trees coming towards the water hole just 20 yards in front of me. I told him to hold still as I watched the elk coming closer. I knew I had seen antlers in the bunch, so I kept a keen eye as cow after cow came past, headed down canyon to the next water hole. Then a calf, cow and spike pulled up to the water hole for a drink. I momentarily thought I was sure I saw full antlers, but with this being the first time my boy was with me archery hunting and it being the last time I’d get a chance to hunt in the Uintas before the end of the season, I knew this spike was mine. Plus I had to get revenge since I had missed him at 49 yards the night before while stalking through the forest about a quarter mile down canyon.
I drew back just as he pulled up and decided to stand behind the only tree between me and the far edge of the water hole. There he stood for what my son said was 2 minutes. Just then my son’s watched beeped 6 o’clock and the calf looked up, got nervous and slowly backed up. This turned out to be a good thing cause the spike spun around and walked right into the opening quartering away. From a shaky set of arms I happily released the arrow and the forest erupted. My boy swears he saw a bull “at least out to his 4ths” come by with all the cows I had seen, but I only saw the spike running away. I heard a crash but suspected it was just the other elk bolting back up the canyon.
My boy was immediately interested in checking it out with his instantaneous “Dad, let’s go get him!” comment, but I explained why we needed to wait. We rounded up the decoys, loaded our packs and I agreed that we could go check out the shot location and look for initial blood. When we got to the other side of the water I could see just beyond the trees in a small opening there was a large tan object…bull down, and just 41 yards away! I think my son was more stoked than I, but I was brimming to have filled my tag and more stoked that my son was with me to experience it.
We got it quartered up and I loaded the straps/loins and extra meat as we hiked out. Another trip with two very loyal friends got the quarters and antlers out. 4am bed time gave way to a 7am church meeting followed by a drive to the Boulder to hunt with a friend on his LE elk tag. We had some amazing experiences but unfortunately weren’t able to get his tag filled. Saw at least 15 bulls and had 8 within 80 yards, with one as close as 12, but no shots were presented.
I got home late Thursday and then Friday mid-day headed out for my first Antelope hunt near Cheyenne.
I was with a group of 5 guys and by noon the next day 4 tags were filled. I had opted to give it a shot with my bow, but after 2 blown stalks and 5 hours in a blind on water with nothing but moo-cows coming in, I got impatient and so I grabbed the rifle and headed down a very wide canyon as I had seen 30+ goats at the end of it.
When I got about 400 yards from the blind, I looked back just in time to watch a coyote chasing a buck down the hill, around the water and past my blind. The buck got away and retreated to a hillside about 250 yards from my location. I had one of those “Be the Decoy” hats with me so I donned it and stood up a bit over the edge of the rise I was sitting behind. The buck saw me, hesitated for a moment and then started walking straight at me. I knew I’d lose him in the bottom of the draw, but if he came towards me he’d top out at 125 yards on the rise I was behind. I readied my rifle on the snipe pod, and looked back towards the water to see the coyote initiating a chase on a smaller antelope. After a near take down the antelope got away so the ‘yote headed for the top of the hill where the buck was previously standing. It was loping along as a good pace so I turned my rifle from the path of the buck, yipped for the ‘yote to stop but he only sped up. As he neared the top of the hill, I knew I needed to take him before I ended up lobbing a shell beyond the crest of the hill so I steadied on him and let one fly. Nailed him in the hind end and saw he was wounded as he howled and spun around. I immediately turned back to the path of the goat that the ‘yote had just chased as he crested the rise in front of me, now trotting.
I let off a shot and somehow missed. “What?! I missed?!” I thought. Re-chambering another round, I settled in the crosshairs on the now quartering away antelope and let another round fly, this time with a solid hit. He walked a little farther and then tipped over. The liver/lung combo hit had him down.
All in all, likely my best week of hunting ever with 2 tags filled and a lifetime of great experiences with good friends and best of all my son. I’m actually looking forward to a “normal” week of work and family, before getting ready for the extended archery deer and my cow tag in early Oct. Filling either of those tags will be icing on the cake for sure!