Thursday: Scouting day. My buddy and I set up camp in the rain. Then it started to rain. After that rain, rain and more rain. After dark the rain stopped and almost immediately we heard a bull buglin close to camp. Got our hearts pumpin then after 15 minutes of some exceitement it began to rain.
Friday: Scouting day. We went out, in the rain, and heard a group of a bulls buglin in the distance. As we were trying to get to a ridge top to glass the bulls we bumped 5 cows and a small bull. Rather than spook the rest of the elk in the area we decided to back out satisfied that we had found what we were looking for and head back to camp, while it rained a bit more. My girlfriend also arrived at camp.
Saturday: Hunt opener. We didn't get much sleep due to some rain passing through the area....all night long. It was the kind of drops that sounds like baseballs hitting the camper roof.
We were in the area we wanted to be in and hiking well before first light. We heard bugles close to a mile away. The wind was right so we headed towards them. We knew they wouldn't bed far off on a South facing slope where we had watched them bed the day before. We tried to get between thier feeding grounds and their bedroom. But to our surprise it sounded like the elk were moving away from us. We couldn't figure it out until first light when we saw orange all over the mountain. We backed out and decided to circle 3 miles around where we thought the elk were headed.
When we arrived to our delight there were no hunters. We parked the truck and hiked over a mile. This was no normal mile, even by Rocky Mountain standards. There was a 300 foot deep gorge between us and our elk hunting grounds that had 50 foot cliffs in it. We eventually found a place to cross and exhausted from just crossing the gorge we stopped to have lunch. By this time it was 2:00 PM and warm, nearly 60 degrees. We had some lunch and started to do a little glassing. My buddy took a nap as I studied the landscape and decided where I thought there may be elk. At 3:00 with our plan set we headed to the top of a ridge. At the ridge top I let loose some "sleazy" cow calls. Instantly a distant bugle. It was nice to hear but we noticed another gorge between us and the bull. Again I called the same sequence. This time the bull cutt me off and bugled before I was finished. At what we guessed was about 1500 yds I see a bull on a dead run towards us. Acutally I saw him and lost him in the trees. I told my girlfriend in excitement that I had spotted a bull RUNNING at us and asked her to help me find him. She says, "I see him, but...um....babe....I think that's a cow." I said, "no honey it's a bull." Well it nearly broke out into an argument when my buddy interrupted us reminding us first that we were on an elk hunt and that a bull AND a cow are coming fast. (Don't worry we made up later. ) They were coming from two different directions and sparked the debate.
Ok the next part happens fast. I finally locate the bull AND the cow. We decide to start running towards the bull to close the distance while stopping once in a while to check his location. The cow was closer than the bull he crosses the cows' path and starts heading the wrong direction with his nose to the ground on her scent trail. I again let out my "sleazy" cow calling sequence and he turned and again started running towards us. But wait a second....if he's there....where is the cow? She's still coming and now 60 yards away. Worried that she would spook we stopped running and the 3 of us hid behind a bush or a tree, what ever was close and stopped calling hoping she would go passed us so she wouldn't spook the bull now 400 yards out and closing fast. She was a little to our left and the bull started head off to the right. I decided the cow wouldn't spook the bull so I jumped up, spooked the cow, and headed to a spot and the edge of the trees where I could get a clear shot. The bull is now in stealth mode looking for a hot cow. So we went silent and waited for him to come within distance. Finally he was at 200 yards and broadside. A soft cow call stopped him and suddenly the "sleazy" cow turned into a 3100 ft per second 175 gr 7mm partition. The shot looked good but a second one made sure.
We spent the next two days quatering and packing him out. He's not a monster but he's a public land OTC tag bull. It was an enjoyable hunt and shared with my girl and best buddy. Here's my 06 bull.