Having a week with no clients really is no different than a week with clients. I am still in the hills, the only difference is that I am holding the bow. Although one of the biggest rushes for me is to call in a rutting bull for a client, it was fun to pick up the bow and chase the bad boys around for myself.
The past few days I have hunted alone and called big bulls into 40 yards or less but all the bulls came straight in as usually happens when you don't have a caller. Although the bulls were close they presented no shot. This evening however, one of my guides Brett Hinckley came along to call for me. It was cool to get to see what it might be like on the clients end of the hunt (being in the shooters positions).
After spotting a group of elk mid-day, we waited until evening to move in on them. As we closed the distance in the timber I caught a cow no too far away. We got down and set up. We began to cow call using a lot of estrus whines in the mix. It is amazing how realistic my Carlton Call sounds, it is hands down the best call on the market to imitate a cow in heat.
As the cows closed in around us I let out a soft bugle with no threatening overtones. Immediately the bull responded. after a series of cow calls I bugled again. This time the bull answered more aggressively. I responded in the like, escalating the intensity of the situation. when the bull responded with an aggressive long chuckle I interrupted his bugle with my own chuckle sending him over the edge.
The bulls next bugle was close. All the sudden behind a stand of trees 60 yards away the whole forest seemed to come crashing down as the bull raked a small tree. I could see the tree moving but i still coulden't see the elk. I repositioned to make sure that the shot would be broadside because it looked like it was coming straight for where I had called from.
I signaled Brett to rake the tree behind him. It sounded so realistic it really sent the bull over the edge taking his frustration out on the little tree. Brett one again raked his tree like a pro - following it up with a bugle. It was all the bull needed to send him right into our set-up. as the bull crested the hill I drew back seeing his horn tips waiting for his shoulder to clear a small tree in between us.
The bull focused in on the decoy by Brett and had no clue I was honing in on him. I let out a mew and stopped him at 18 yards. I settled the pin behind his shoulder and let the air out of him. It was a perfect double lung shot. the bull only ran about 45 yards and expired in a matter of minutes.
A big buck and a nice bull to boot, my combo elk deer hunt was a success. It was a great feeling to fill another tag on a great animal.
For more information about our combo hunts check out http://www.montanaoutwest.com/
As soon as I get some time, a lot of this years hunt videos should be available on my website and YouTube channel so please check back a little later in the year.
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Montana OutWest Outfitters