First Day of Elk Hunting—-Finally!!
Morning Hunt Animals Seen:
3 Moose (1 Huge Bull Moose)
1 group of 3 bulls by themselves
5X5 bull at 65 yards
Another herd of 6 Elk
All by 10:30 a.m.
Dale and I got into excessive noise trouble right out the gate by talking too loud in the truck this morning. We not only got the ‘look’ from Noise Police Robert, but also a verbal reprimand. Now, we swear we were talking in hushed tones, but Robert seemed to think we were practically yelling. Good thing Robert can’t give legit noise tickets.
We drove around, a little scouting, a little binocular action, a little getting a feel of the lands. A nice way to start a hunting season off at ungodly morning hours. We finally settled on one area to establish our hiking legs and get some air in our lungs. A place aptly nicknamed “Forgotten Arrow Ridge” after my shameful and notorious greenhorn mistake of last year……..the time I had a Bull walk up to me at 15 yards and I brought archery shame (I’ll never live down) on myself by forgetting to put an arrow on before I drew my bow back (I’ll elaborate on that story another day)……..
Back to today. We went walking along Forgotten Arrow Ridge, Dale and I, keeping pace with Robert who was calling randomly to the elk. In my humble opinion Dale and I were walking quietly and we never got an all out ‘look’ from Robert. That is success in itself!
We eventually stopped and after one of Roberts calls, I heard a Bull respond back. Since no one else heard it besides me there were “questions’ of whether I was just hearing the bugles echo. I don’t know what it will take to convince these boys that there is no way in hell I would mistake such a sound because the implications of pointing down a hill and saying, “I hear one down there” means I’ll be sent “down there” and I’m not bailing off the side of a Mountain for any other reason then a legit Elk! No way. I never mention a bugle response unless I’m 100% positive.
It took a few more calls, but soon enough Robert and Dale both heard the Bull as well (HA) and off we went. Our timing was not good nor was the wind and within minutes Dale stopped me and pointed deep into a timber pocket. The Bull was stopped, staring directly at the hunting party trying to surprise him. Essentially, we were busted before we began, but Robert never cries uncle unless he watches a Bull running away so we sorta set up the best we could. Robert slithered back about 20 yards so he could call. Dale was right in front of me so he was front man on the shot and I sat directly behind Dale as back up.
Despite this movement, the Bull never budged an inch. He was about 65 yards away through branches and downfall. Personally, I don’t think we had him fooled for a second, but who knows in those situations. Now, usually a person sets up long before the Bull is staring at you wondering whatcha doin? So we were in a bit of a visual bind.
I being mere inches from Dale could tell he was doing required things…. Arrow out of holder….arrow on bow….bow sling unlatched….coat readjusted…and finally, his release was stuck up inside his coat sleeve and he was trying to get it loose. But from way behind in Roberts view, all he could see was major movement going on. I should also mention, Dales hat is a wide 360 degree camo hat. According to Robert the movement alone from this hat reminded him of a Bobble-head. Basically, a strobing beacon of HUNTER RIGHT HERE –RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.
Three times. Three times I braved extremely slow turns of my head to look at Robert behind us. These were not pleasant glances at him. At one look, and let me see if I can describe this correctly…Robert made a finger slashing motion across his throat that implied our impending deaths. There were a few other threatening warnings as well. Eye piercings that practically popped Roberts eyeballs out of the sockets, hand signals and mouthed words I won’t repeat in protection of my new journal here. I did not mistake any of his signals for anything less than a thorough ass chewing with a side of possible death we–as in Dale and I through guilt by inches association—would receive once this was over.
I even whispered to Dale, “We are so going to get in trouble once this is over and I’m hiding behind you.”
Finally, after all of that, the Bull slowly, casually even, turned around and walked proudly away. Laughing I’m sure. At this point I slowly, fearfully turned around and prepared for a lashing. Remarkably our dear Robert forgot his throat slashing promises and walked up to us….smiling actually! I was amazed.
It took awhile, but the teasing commenced from Robert. Teasing we can handle anytime, all part of hunting. Robert has nicknamed the experience and Dale, ”Bobblehead” and swears he’s buying Dale a new hat. We all lived, including the Bull and had a great time.
Now if I could just convince them to call that ridge Bobble-head instead of Forgotten Arrow all would be good. Can’t wait for tonights hunt.