Oregon Elk Bow Hunt
In September of 2002, my partner Rob and I took an elk bow hunting trip to eastern Oregon. The season started out hot and dry and the elk were not bugling or answering cow calls. We had seen a few scattered groups of elk but the weather and the early season hunting pressure kept them very spooky. Late in the afternoon on the third day of our hunt, we decided to split up and try to locate some bulls.
I chose a big drainage below our camp where I had seen sign on the first day. Several small creeks converged in the area and held some promising wallows. I had hoped for a cool evening hunt in the tall pines but it turned out to be stifling hot without so much as a breeze. I spent about 30 minutes sitting over a large mud hole with no response to my calls. It was still one hour before dark, so I began slowly moving back up the drainage on the opposite side that I had came down. I was on a good trail and stopped every few minutes to cow call and listen.
It was dead calm as the sun began to sink on the horizon. I decided to crank off one last loud bugle and a few cow calls. I waited about 15 minutes and began to move again. Suddenly I realized that on the hillside ahead of me there was an elk stomping and pawing at a seep.
I couldn't see horns at this point because there was quite a bit of brush between us. Within seconds he raised his huge head and I knew this was the bull of a lifetime. Before I could even formulate a plan in my mind, Mr. Big started walking across the hill right in front of me. I had just enough time to knock an arrow and take a deep breath. When the arrow finally quit rattling on the rest and I got my composure back, I released. He was only 18 paces slightly uphill. The arrow hit a little high but the broadhead did what it was supposed to do. He walked about 100 yards uphill away from me, but I kept him in sight until he layed down.
Apparently this bull had heard my calling and decided to sneak in and check out the action. He had stopped at the local mud hole to make himself pretty when I arrived on the scene. I jumped his barking cows on the opposite hill side just before he succumbed. I arrived at camp two hours later and informed Rob to get his work clothes on and grab a packboard. He could tell by my excitement that it was a good bull.
We got back to camp and fell into our cots around 2:15 in the morning. It was hot backbreaking work, but worth every drop of sweat. This was an unbelievable thrill for me and a trip full of memories that I will never forget. The bull should easily make the Pope and Young book. My wife even agreed to let me hang the mount in the living room, at least for awhile.