Elk Hunt a Roller Coaster Ride

I guess all elk hunts are up and down. That’s the nature of the beast. Off to a great start, while setting up camp, we heard elk bugle on nearby ridges.

My new Eureka tent was quite roomy and comfortable.

On day two, we spotted elk in the open and many of them bulls. It was looking like a slam dunk. Day three was the same, with elk appearing all around us.

Day four and five brought overcast weather and swirling unpredictable winds. For two days I hunted without seeing a single elk, while hearing only a few weak bugles. And, other hunters seemed to be one step ahead of me. Efforts to return to a couple of my old haunts, backfired – once due to a herd of sheep and the second time when two hunters showed up just ahead of me.

Southeast Idaho has a great mix of habitat for elk and deer.

I was a bit discouraged, but on day six, things turned around. Rob pointed out a knob where he’d seen a herd bull bugling two days in a row. Wes and I sneaked into the area and called with success. Several bulls came in to check out my calling. Wes had four young bulls grazing within 50 yards of him, but the thick cover prevented any clear shots.

A two-point bull walked past me at 25 yards, but didn’t stop long enough to give me a good shot. I had my bow drawn.

In the evening of day six, we set up next to some bugling bulls and waited to see what would happen. A five-point bull passed by at 35 yards, giving me a broadside shot. The arrow hit him a little far back and we never picked up much of a blood trail. Day seven was spent looking for the arrowed bull, but it was to no avail.

Wes found a few drops of blood and then half my arrow. The bull ran quite a ways, making the blood trail difficult to follow.

Elk are extremely tough animals, but I was surprised that we didn’t find him. I believe the shot was not fatal, but I’ll never know for sure.

Late on day seven, I loaded up my gear and headed to Nevada and my muzzleloader mule deer hunt. Much like this post, the elk hunt had flown by.

A week isn’t enough time to properly hunt elk in the rut. But, I had the Nevada mule deer tag and was determined to give it a try. Rob and Wes didn’t have much more action after I left, but Wes had received ample indoctrination during the excitement of day six and tracking of day seven.

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