Live Hunt: Calling in a Cow

After packing out my bull and cow, my hunting buddy Fred and I took a break from the mountain for a few days. This would allow the elk to calm down a bit and give us a couple nights sleep in a real bed to recover from our long pack out.

Our plan worked great and things were hot and heavy when we arrived back at our base camp. We could hear several bugles from what we thought were three different bulls on the eastern ridge line about 500 yards from camp. We headed straight to the top on the next morning. Before the sun had even crested the horizon we had several elk within 100 yards of our position.

So as soon as we knew we were in legal shooting light, I started a calling sequence. Within three minutes of calling I could hear a cow heading straight for Fred and I knew she would be meeting her end in a few short yards. I was right and I heard Fred's bow go off less than 20 yards from my position. The cow ran straight above me after the shot and I could see the entrance hole on her left side. She was less than 15 yards from me and and about 20 yards from Fred. Fred crept in for a second shot and put the cow down for good.

While all this was happening, the herd bull was closing in fast … This was turning out to be another crazy morning on the mountain! I started really laying on the estrus calls and the bull was closing in at 75 yards. I motioned to Fred that I would stay by the cow and he should push forward to try and kill the big 6X6 that had been keeping us up all night with his bugles. At this point I couldn't see anything that was going on above me, but I could hear enough to get the general idea.

Fred had closed the distance to 40 yards. He was in thick dog hair timber and I was praying that he would be able to find a shooting lane. Well, the hunting God's had a different plan that morning and the winds swirled 180 degrees from where it had currently been blowing. The timber erupted! I could see several cows moving out fast to the north and the bull we were after filled the air with a loud bark. At this point I figured I would see Fred's smiling face in a few seconds and he would have a hell of a story to tell.

I was right. Fred had gotten within 34 yards without a clear shot. It was a great morning either way.

We gathered our things and shot a quick video on how to debone an elk as we took took care of Fred's cow.

Over the next 5 days we never got within 100 yards of the big bull we were after, so he'll have to haunt our dreams until next year. Fred did pass on a few lesser bulls during that time, but we had plenty of meat at the processor and Fred had set his goal on the big 6.

It was a great elk season for Fred and I, and we can't wait to hit the mountains hard again next year.