Sunday, January 30, 2011

7x7 for Marcus

With the archery hunt winding down, Marcus and I decided to hike into an area we hadn't been to yet this season. I had a trail camera set up in the area, but before the hunt started we still hadn't seen anything that made us want to hunt near the camera. On our hike in we heard a bull bugling and decided to give chase. Before long we were in position and saw a cow walking out toward our opening. We were hopefull a shooter bull would show up behind her. Check out what happened next.

After passing on this bull, we noticed the cow heading over towards another bull that was bugling. There were several bugling, but we decided to follow the cow and check out the bull she was heading to. About 300 yards later we got a glimse of her suitor. He was a cool looking 7x7 that was challenging every bugle he heard. His harom was slowly feeding down a cut that led to a small meadow. As we snuck in closer we realized that there were several satalite bulls hoping to get in on the action, but the big 7 was determined to keep the herd to himself. We finally got as close as we dared at the edge of the timber, and we patiently waited for a shooting opportunity.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Got Thirds?

While doing some late summer scouting for elk I came across this bull. He looks to be young, with some good genetics. Hope to see him again in a couple years!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bill's Archery Elk Adventure

I spent opening morning of the archery elk season looking at this nice bull with hunter Bill London and cameraman Ben Craft. This was a nice bull, and was very tempting, but we decided not to pursue. We had a long time to hunt and we were determined to shoot a bull over 350" or nothing at all.

We came across this next bull in the evening of the first day. We glassed him across a big steep canyon and thought he looked pretty good, so we decided to go for it and try to get a better look. We pushed ourselves to the limit trying to catch and get in front of this bull. The bull just had too much of a lead on us and it got dark as we were finally able to move in. We took this footage at 80 yards and decided to back out and try him again in the morning. We hunted this area several more times, but never saw the bull again.

This next bull was also very tempting. He had a ton of cows which made it difficult to get very close or tempt him with calls. Once we saw them approaching their bedding area we thought about ambushing the bull, but after spending some time studying him, we decided to back out and keep hunting for something bigger. He is a very cool bull, and if his left side matched his right side on top we would have definitely pursued him.

A couple of days later we were trying a new area and while still dark we heard a lot of bugling. We gave chase and as it began to get light we found ourselves only a hundred yards from a herd of elk with a bull screaming non stop. This bull was very aggressive. As we crept forward, the bull started to move to our left and was going to expose himself, so we got set up, anticipating a shot. We were sorely disappointed when we saw the bull that was making all the noise. He was just an immature six point feeling his oats.

As he walked away we each expressed our disappointment. There were still a few other bulls bugling, so we decided to take a look at them. Not expecting to see anything impressive, we moved toward a bull that was bugling to our left. What a surprise we got when we worked around the tree.

This was a beautiful bull! Not the biggest bull on the mountain, but definitely a looker for someone who had never killed a bull with his bow. Although this bull gave us opportunities to shoot, we chose to just sit back and admire him. It was still relatively early in the hunt, and we were searching for a couple monsters we had scouted before the season began.

After being into the hunt for a while, we decided to go after our third choice bull that we had located from our scouting trips. He was a 7x8 with long beams. We figured he would score in the 360" range. The first evening we went into the bowl we had been seeing the 7x8 in, we found a cool looking bull with some great eyeguards. With nothing else in sight and light fading, we decided to move in for a closer look. Once again we got within bow range of this bull, but Bill was determined to hold out for a bull exceeding the 350 inch mark.

After seeing several borderline bulls, we were finally able to put our eyes on a bull that Bill would shoot! We glassed the bull up with plenty of time to move in before dark. We made a quick half mile hike to the ridge closest to the bull so we could get some footage and make a game plan. As luck would have it, we ran into some other hunters on the ridge who had the same idea as us. Their hunter was already making an approach on the bull from the other side. We examined the situation for a while, and decided to get setup in a potential escape route should the other hunters stalk go wrong. Unfortunately the bull chose another route and we didn't see him the rest of the hunt.

Bill's hunt was an absolute good time! We saw several more bulls and got to share in the success of some of our friends we shared a camp with. Although Bill did not shoot a bull, this is one of my more memorable hunts.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dean's 360" AZ Bull

I was fortunate to spend a day hunting with my good friends Dean and Carl during the 2010 archery elk season. Dean had waited over twelve years to draw this tag! After hunting hard for 9 days, he had many close encounters with bulls, but it never seemed to all come together at the right time with the right bull. Dean is an accomplished hunter and wanted to shoot a true trophy bull. The morning of the tenth day we went into a spot I hadn't been to yet during the season. The spot usually held some good bulls, but I hadn't seen anything special during my scouting there. We got out of the truck about 45 minutes before shooting light. As we worked our way toward the meadow we could hear the bulls going absolutely nuts! We finally reached the edge of the meadow and it was just light enough to make out a bull crossing the far end of the meadow going into the cover of the trees on the ridge in front of us. All of the elk had cleared the meadow, but were still calling non stop on the ridge. We waited a long five minutes for it to get light enough to see before we let out a call. As soon as I finished the cow call a bull screamed at the bottom of the ridge and started running right at us. Dean quickly got an arrow nocked as I handed my video camera to Carl. As soon as I looked through the binos I could tell it was a quality bull and told Dean he was a shooter. At this point the bull was only 95 yards and still running towards us. I continued to relay the yardage to Dean who was now at full draw. The Bull got to 52 yards  and stopped to bugle again. Fortunately he turned slightly broadside and Dean let an arrow fly. Watching through my binos, I saw the arrow zip right through the lungs. The bull whirled around and only made it about 40 yards as all three of us watched him hit the ground! We couldn't believe it! After 9 days of hunting so hard, Dean finally had luck on his side and everything came together!

Unfortunately it was too dark for the camera to work properly and we were only able to get the recovery on film. However, as we were celebrating Dean's taking of such a great bull we heard another bull approaching the meadow. With all three of us huddled around Dean's bull in the middle of the meadow, the bull broke the tree line and came to within 44 yards of us! Check out the footage of this bull.

Congrats again Dean on such a great bull and thanks for letting me be a part of it! Good times with good friends.

Dean and his 360 Bull

Dean and Carl

The packout

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Running with the Devil

On the second afternoon of the hunt, we decided to try a new area and look for a bull a good friend of mine had seen while glassing. The bull was too far away for him to describe specific features of the bull, but he could tell he had a big frame with real long tines. As we worked into the area where the bull had been seen feeding on previous evenings, we found a good spot and just sat and listened. After about a half an hour of silence I let out a bugle. Almost immediately, we got a response just a couple hundred yards down the draw from us! We slowly worked around below the bull making sure we kept the wind in our favor. We were in a spot I felt we should have been able to see the bull, but could neither hear nor see any sign of him. After several tense moments wondering where he was, I again let out a small bugle. The bull answered back from where we had just come from!  Anticipating him to come back to his original location, we climbed up the ridge and waited to ambush him. The wind was perfect and the plan was in place. Watch as we get to see the devil bull up close and personal for the first time.

What an awesome bull! This sequence lasted for over 12 minutes before he walked away from us! At this point we decided to call him the Devil bull due to the unique devil tines he has on each beam. After the bull walked away, we once again got the wind right and tried to circle below and get in front of him. It seems you never get a second chance at a bull of this caliber, however everything was going perfectly and I thought we may get this bull after all.

Just as the bull was approaching our shooting lane, the wind shifted and he didn't stick around too long. This wasn't the last we would see of him though......
The next morning we were in position early and waited patiently to hear the Devil bull bugling. There were several different bulls bugling, but we hadn't heard one that we thought was him. Finally, just as it was getting light I heard the Devil bull and we made our move. We had to get by a couple other bulls on our way but soon found ourselves only 100 yards away from him! We were in the cover of the trees waiting for him to move to his bedding area again, but he had picked up several cows overnight and it made it much more difficult to stay in front of him without being seen. Eventually the cows move by us and we were able to sneak in on him. Enjoy the footage of Michael's close encounter with the Devil bull!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The blindfold bull

On the second day of my hunt with the Ellisons, we came across this bull. We were once again in thick cover and never got a good enough look at him to know if he was a shooter or not until he came into the open and offered a shot. It was all we could do to keep from laughing when he looked at us! Although well within range we decided to let this bull "see" another day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Opening morning roll call

Opening morning we followed this bull for quite a ways before we finally got close enough to challenge him with a bugle. We didn't know how big he was due to the thick cover, so we set up and were able to call him in to just 30 yards before we decided to pass.  There were bigger bulls in the area and the hunt was just beginning!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kjell's first archery buck

After arriving in camp just a few hours before dark, we hurried to one of our favorite glassing spots. Several deer were moving, but nothing very big. Regardless, Kjell was excited for opening morning. He was first up to shoot and had never killed a deer, let alone with his bow. Join us on video as we still hunt through a transition area trying to catch some bucks on their way to bed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jeremiah's December bow buck

The first Wednesday of the late archery deer hunt, I found myself glassing for a great buck that my buddy Derick had found over the weekend. Just before we got to our glassing spot we jumped a heard of deer. There was only a small buck in the group, but we were excited. The one day trip was off to a great start! Shortly after daylight Jeremiah found a buck with some does, but they were so far away we couldn't tell if it was the buck we were after. After some deliberation, and not glassing any more deer, we decide to put the sneek on that buck. We estimated them to be about two miles away. Fortunately Derick knew of a road that was on the back side of the ridge the deer were on, so we made our way back to the truck and drove closer to the deer. That move proved perfect as we only got a short distance from the truck before intersecting the deer. The deer had moved up the ridge from where we had glassed them and I was completely unprepared with the camera when we found them again. The buck saw us at the same time we saw them and I quickly ranged the buck as Jeremiah drew his bow. With a well placed 55 yard shot, the buck continued to follow his does for a short 100 yards before expiring. Just after the shot I turned on the camera to get Jeremiah"s reaction and recover the deer.

Jeremiah Johnson with his great desert archery buck!

Jeremiah and Derick

Nice tall desert buck!

Congrats on a great desert archery buck Jeremiah!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keenan's first archery bull

Toward the end of the 2010 archery elk season, Jeremiah and I got a day to go hunting with our good friend Keenan. This would be the last day Keenan would be able to hunt, so he wasn't going to be too picky as he had never taken a bull elk with his bow. The morning started out incredibly well and we found ourselves surrounded by bugling bulls waiting for light to break. The first bull we worked in to was a very vocal herd bull, but was only sporting a small six point rack.  This bull had culled a few cows off the main herd, but we chose to pass. The morning looked very promising. As we continued to shadow the main herd we were also able to call in a small raghorn.

The herd had two definite shooters in it, so we stayed with them all the way to their beds. We got to within 30 yards of the largest bull in the thick cover of his bed. Unfortunately he didn't offer an angle for a lethal shot. As we crept around to the side he got up and walked away still without offering Keenan a good shot.

After the long morning we found ourselves almost five miles from the truck! Fortunately we were able to track down Jeremiah's dad and catch a ride back. While eating lunch at camp a nearby bull started screaming! We gave chase and got to within shooting distance of this great bull right behind camp. Just as the bull was to step into our shooting lane the wind swirled and he was off.
We got back to camp and quickly finished our lunch. This had been a great day so far and we were anxious to get back at it. We decided to go to another spot that had lots of bulls screaming just a day before and see if we could find a bull to offer Keenan a quality shot. As we got out of the truck to glass we were greeted with nonstop bugling. The bulls were going crazy, so we pulled out the camera and bow and went to work! Check out the video of Keenan finally getting a shot at his first bull elk!

Congrats on your first bull Keenan!
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