Morapos Creek Archery Hunt
John, Tom and Steve came to hunt archery elk in Morapos Creek in 1998. We packed them in as usual and gave them the same story of where to set up and potentially good places to watch for elk, and left them to hunt on their own. While showing the country at 2 pm, the elk were coming over the ridge to the places we had just shown. Seeing them, we moved quickly on up the trail, not wanting the elk to spot us and be leery of coming out the next day (opening day).
At that time of year, the camps need to be checked daily because weather is warmer and meat will spoil if not packed to a cooler in short order. Day one: As the hunters settled in for the evening hunt, John got nestled under a pine, ready for the sun to lower and hopefully the elk would come to his wallow. He had just got settled in when he heard a noise behind him. Looking around, he was face to face with a mom bear and cub six to eight feet behind. He came flying out from under the tree, forgetting his bow in his haste, yelling and floundering around like a banshee. Mom bear, not wanting to tangle with this wild thing, ran off to the other side of the park. A short time later, she was joined by her cub. I'm sure she was telling her cub not to go near that tree---"did you see that thing?" ------------Well, John gathered his wits about himself, thinking he had muffed his evening hunt, and settled in again. In his hideaway hole, he started keeping a vigilant eye for animals (bear included) and trying to settle his heart rate to a more normal rhythm, while observing the scene in front of him. Thinking all the time no elk would come by after all that commotion. To his surprise, there came a bull about 45 minutes before sundown. Placing an arrow in what seemed to be a good area of the chest cavity, and feeling confident about it, he waited for the bull to go down as a good hunter does. As he waited, he heard elk coming down on the opposite side of him. To his amazement, a bull in the group had an arrow sticking out of it's head. Knowing his partner was in the direction the bull came from, he watched to see where the elk ran-----again, not pursuing, but waiting and watching. In good time, Steve came into view following the tracks of his bull. The head held arrow was Steve's second shot (a near miss), the first shot was the fatal shot as found later.
At this point it was becoming dusk, and hard to find a trail. Neither bull could be found, so the party of three headed back with flashlights to camp, planning on coming out early the following morning to trace out their bulls.
Following GPS signals, they were on track ----however, in the middle of the park, the ferns were so high, it was hard to catch the trail leading them back to the tent, about a mile away, up hill. While talking and discussing the events of the evening, and trying to find the trail, they heard a snort. Flashing lights at the noise, they found a wounded bull facing them, hair raised and glassy eyed. John recognized it as being the animal he had shot earlier. Immediately knocking an arrow, with a flashlight in his mouth, he proceeded to shoot the animal at a short distance. While letting the bow string fly, caught his flashlight and nearly tore his teeth out. Now pitch black, except for the other's lights, he let a second arrow fly, striking the bull in a vulnerable area, creating more tense atmosphere for both bull and hunters. The bull now lay his antlers down in a dead pine and proceeded to tear it to pieces in his rage. At this point, the hunters were trying to find something to hide behind, and John was yelling "don't break your antlers!" At one o'clock AM, they got to camp for supper --could call it early breakfast -- and bed after skinning and hanging the bull bagged by flashlight.
Larry Menygoats and I came in the next morning to find a note on the tent door, directing us to the tracking area. With five of us tracking, we found Steve's bull 150 yards from where John had watched him run by. Larry M. and I packed out the two bulls, and came back the next day for the hunters.
In the year 2000, these fellows came back with a party of eight, and only took one bull home, but they had a great time, and saw a good number of elk. John had a painful time riding out, however, and finally had to walk. Later, he found he had a kidney stone problem.
Hey John! We may forget the ride out, but I bet you won't. The rest of the story, I will always remember. I enjoy hearing you tell it.
These are hunts one will remember for a life time, and stories told over and over again, making life really worth while. Plus the fact more life long friends have been made.