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Couple MT Archery Bulls

thecrittergitter

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Archery hunting is by far my favorite way to hunt elk. Hearing those September bugles in the early hours as its gets light is tough to beat. Although it is my favorite time of year to hunt elk, the past 4 years have presented other opportunities for me to be hunting somewhere else during the prime time of Montana’s elk archery season. This year was going to be a bit difficult to get any time in again since my best friend Zach had drawn a Montana moose permit. I knew I would spend most of the season helping him look for moose so I knew September elk hunting would be minimal at best.

The majority of September was spent looking for moose. Typically, the few of us that were hunting together would pick a different drainage to go glass for moose and then meet up at the camp at mid-day to discuss the morning and make a plan for the evening. While we were searching for moose one morning, I ended up finding a small group of elk with a couple small bulls and a decent 6 point running the show. I happened to have my bow with me, mostly in case I saw a bear. I looked the bull over in the spotter and figured he was a pretty decent bull to go after if I saw a good opportunity. After a couple hours of glassing for moose, I looked back at the little group of elk to see what they were up to. They were just getting ready to go into a small patch of timber to bed for the day. I started looking at the terrain and checking the wind and realized that this bull put himself in a very killable position. I knew that bull would come back out to feed that evening in the same place he went in. Although we were not here to hunt elk, I felt that an opportunity as good as this doesn’t present itself very often so I made up my mind to go make a play on the bull. Since he is a “borderline” bull in my mind of whether to shoot or pass, I made a deal that if the bull came inside 20 yards, I would kill him, if not, I would let him walk.
I hiked the ½ mile to get into position. Wind was perfect if it held out. Knowing I probably had 6-7 hours of sitting, I figured a snack and a nap was in good order. About 4 pm, I got myself gathered together and set up. It wasn’t long before I glassed a cow feeding out of the timber at 100 yards. I got in position and decided to just wait them out, no calling, just be in the right spot. One of the cows fed by me at 47 yards. The other one came up and fed around me within 30 yards for about 15 minutes. A bugle rang out about 80 yards below me in the trees. I knew it was only a matter of time before he came looking for these two cows. Sure enough, I caught movement down to the right and I can see one side of his antlers coming up the draw next to me. He ended up walking by and even stopping broadside at 47 yards. I looked him over quick and thought that maybe I would wait for a better bull. He was a nice bull but not quite as good as I thought looking at him from a long ways off. As the bull walked back into the timber I started thinking, heck I don’t know, he looks like a pretty decent bull, and maybe I should shoot him. I was in a perfect setup for calling him in. I had two cows near me and he was looking for cows that have wandered off. I threw out a couple cow calls and he ripped a bugle right away. Not 30 seconds later, he was coming over the rise right at me. Again, I made the deal, 20 yards or less I will shoot, anything else, will let him walk. After a stare down at 30 yards, he came in to 20. At 20 yards we stood face to face for at least 3 minutes, he threw a bugle at me. He is really struggling with the fact that he knew a cow sounded off somewhere in here and he can’t find it. He put his head to the ground and walked about 4 steps closer and turned broadside walking right beside me at 15 yards. I couldn’t pass on such a perfect opportunity. His head went behind a tree and I drew. I settled the 20 yard pin right on the heart and when he came to a complete stop, released. I watched the arrow disappear perfectly and he turned to run and ran face first into a 6” diameter tree. Looked like he was trying to climb the tree as he was trying to get himself free. I knew this blood trail wouldn’t take long.
 

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thecrittergitter

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80 yards down the trail, no more blood was needed, I could see him laying ahead of me......
 

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thecrittergitter

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I snapped a couple pics and was able to get him quartered out and hung for the night just as it got dark. He sure was a big bodied sun of a gun!
 

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thecrittergitter

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Thankfully I had a couple good buddy’s that were not far away that would help me pack him out the next day. Big thanks to Cody, Matt, and Zach for the help making it a 1 trip haul instead of 4 for me.

This was a great hunt considering I wasn’t even planning on shooting an elk until Zach had his moose down. Sometimes you have to take the blessings that are handed to you, even when you aren’t expecting them. My one day of Elk hunting in 2015 was a success
 

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thecrittergitter

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Was really neat to be able to come up on a couple bears that were living on another elk carcass. Pretty neat to watch them.
 

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thecrittergitter

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Tate’s First Archery Bull:
Zach’s son Tate accompanied us on a few moose and elk trips early in the season. On the second trip, this fiery young bull couldn’t take the temptation of Zach and Tate’s calling from the small ridge above the bull. After working this bull for a couple hours, he came into the calling and gave 13 year old Tate a broadside shot at 30 yards. The bull took off about running over Zach and ran over the hill. Confident that they had a good shot in the bull, they decided to come back to camp for the evening and get us to find the bull and pack him out in the morning. With this being his first archery elk, Tate had a restless night waiting for morning. We gathered the packs and headed in after his bull. Shortly after picking up the blood trail, we found his bull not far from where they left the trail the night before. We had ourselves one happy 13 year old kid!
 

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thecrittergitter

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Once we had him in the packs, the team headed out, led by the big killer! Big thanks to Cody, Matt F, and Tate’s Uncle Levi for the strong backs! One thing I can say, couldn’t have happened to a better kid!
 

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Outdooraddict

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May 9, 2009
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Western CO
Ya, uh... it was only the first day... Don't all Montana boys hold out for a giant (isn't that a rule)? :cool:

It looks like a great bull to me! Pictures kind of remind me of the hog you hauled out of CO a few years back.
 

kansasdad

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Jul 30, 2011
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Wichita
Archery kill stats going up again.

Young Mr Zach has had himself quite the hunting season.

Congratulations all around.
 

fishing4sanity

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eastern Washington
Tate is having himself quite the year - deer, antelope, elk. How's he going to top this year of hunting, ever? Then again, I've seen you have some pretty banner years yourself, again and again. I dream of killing a borderline bull someday.;) Congratulations!
 

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