We all love hearing about the successful hunts, but there is also good learning opportunities from those of us that make mistakes. I was bow hunting last weekend (opening morning for elk archery in MT) with my 18 year old daughter in central Montana on public land. We walked less than a couple miles from the truck. I had her sit at the top of a small draw with some water in it and I walked about 30yrds up the hill. After about 30 minutes I decided to just sit down with my back against a tree - bow across lap (getting the picture here? ). Sun was coming up and all was quiet. And then - yeah, you know it - a very heavy 5x5 bull comes into clearing ahead of me and is walking directly to me. I have nothing between me and him other than a small aspen so I freeze (bow across lap) and he continues to walk directly at me. At 10yds (just to my right) he spooks and jogs back to 20 yds (broadside) and I'm still frozen. He then starts walking away from me so I jump up and chirp a cow call. He stops at 40yds broadside as I try and get an arrow out - then he is gone. This all happened in less than 60 seconds.
- Always be ready and expect and elk to show up - probably some life lessons in here too, right? - if I would have been standing I would have had a shot at 10yds, 20yds, or 40yds.
- Be aware of where you are positioned - I had my daughter in a very good position in a stand of trees 30yrds above the water/trail; I took my position 2 yrds off a well used game trail - I should have been off the trail and the bull would have walked by me instead of directly at me.
- The next couple of days whenever we stopped to sit for a while, an arrow was out of the quiver and nocked.
- In replaying the situation, I should have anticipated him spooking as he got closer and I should have taken that opportunity to jump up and get an arrow out.
- Everyone I have relayed the story to in person that bow hunts simply smiled and said "yeah, heard that before" or "happened to me once".