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2018 Archery Elk Kill

My life is devoted to God, my wife Gabby, my 5 children, helping people live a healthier lifestyle, and then enjoying the hobby’s that I have in life.  One of those hobby’s is archery hunting.   I especially love the time with my Dad and the memories that we create as we both enjoy doing something that we love.  Now before you say, “EW, I can’t follow you any more, you kill animals.”  I want you to know that first and foremost we do this to fill our freezer with meat to feed our families.  We follow the footsteps of our ancestors who killed, cleaned, and cooked their own venison. There’s no meat that you could buy at the super market that will compare to what we can find in the wild.  We work fast to clean the animal, cool it down, clean it up, and process it before putting it into our freezer.  This is our 2018 Archery Elk kill experience in Idaho.  Watch the video at the end to FEEL the emotion.

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For weeks I’ve been studying bulls, their calls, and archery shots on Instagram and YouTube.  I told Gabby this is are year.  Every year they come in, and now we know what we’re doing. 

Around 5:45 am we walked in the dark back to our tree stands which are situated about 80 yards apart.  I guided my dad to his stand and then cut over to mine. This is our third year using them and each year we’ve had elk come in. This time we moved my dads 80 yards off to my right where he is visible to me (he chose the spot), whereas it was straight in front of me at about 100 yards previously and not visible. 

The trail camera ms showed that elk had been coming in sporadically around 8:30 am. Some days yes, and some days no. 

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About an hour had past and it was light enough to shoot so I stood up to get comfortable in my stand as it was opening morning.  It was chilly and I had to keep putting my hands into my jacket pocket to keep them warm.  I sat back down at around 7:00 am. I gave a couple cow calls and sat waiting for 8:00 to roll around, the time when elk had been coming into the trail camera images.  

As the sun is starting to rise I caught a movement from of my left side.  I slightly turned to see a herd of cow elk coming in right where my dads stand used to be.  I slowly stand up and hook my release to my string on my bow. I completely space my newly mounted GoPro video camera and forget to turn it on. I give two quick cow calls with my “Primos Cow girl call” and the elk spook and head out of the path they were on and up the little hill further away from me.  I feel a little defeated and frustrated as we’ve never called elk into the same place twice in one day.  

I keep my eyes fixed in the direction they are moving and they’re not coming back in. I see 2 or 3 of them through the Lodge pole pines and one lingering back about 30 yards. They’re about 125-150 yards away. 

Without thinking about it really I lean to my left and bugle out of my Primos bugle that is still hanging from the side of the tree. I’m crouched down on my knees to reach it.  Within seconds I see an elk come charging in and he bugled right back at me.  It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I’ve previously ranged every opening I have and he’s trotting broadside at about 57 yards.  I can clearly see he’s a big bull so I cow call a couple times as I re-notch my arrow and hope that he stops with an opening and clear shot. He looks my way but about 45 degrees off to my right as he continues that pace I realize he’s running straight to my dads stand to my right at about 80 yards out. 

I lean slightly to the right and around a group of lodgepole pines and see that my dad has a full draw on him as he come straight  at him.  I watch and when I felt he was close enough for a good shot, I ripped another powerful bugle and the bull stopped, turned broadside to my dad, and looked back at where I bugled from. 

The next 5 or so seconds felt like a minute as I waited to hear the bow shoot, and see the bull turn and bolt.   My dad had no idea of the size of this bull as he was fully drawn, focused on where the bull was looking, and watching for that kill zone to open. 

The arrow flew and the bull stumbled as he turned and went back in the direction he came from. He took a hard right, went up the hill, and about 40 yards across the flat hilltop where my dad saw him stop and them move out of sight into the trees. 

Then I began shaking with adrenaline. I was completely calm during the action but when it stopped I could control the shakes. 

Did he have a clear shot? I hope he smoked him! Is this going to be my dads first archery elk? Will we have to track him far? 

Our text messages came next. 

Dad: I stuck him good I think!

Me: yes!!!

Dad: He held up behind me on top of the ridge 

Dad: That was awesome. I hope I got it in him good. Facing toward me a bit. Arrow went half way in. Only 10 yards. Praying 🙏

Me: Praying too! Dang!

Dad: keep cow calling, calm him down maybe. I’m shaking, had the bow pulled back a long time!

Me: I have the shakes bad ever since he took off after you shot! How far did it penetrate? 

Dad: At least half way. I know I got it behind his front shoulder. It all felt good. 

He was huge!

Me: a 6 point right?

Dad: I believe so. I was focused on the kill zone.  I need to stop shaking 

Me: Good! I’m so pumped for you!!!

Dad: You did awesome on the bugle. 

I pulled bow back right when I seen him coming. Had to hold it for awhile. Suprised how calm I was. 

Last I seen him was where we split off trail to come down to my stand. 

Me: I know it’s crazy I was calm the whole time until after I heard your bow shoot! 

Dad: Getting excited to go find him. Dead !!!!!

After this I came down the tree stand still shaking a little with adrenaline.  I checked my trail camera and made my way over to check my dads. There was a glimpse of his bull running in the direction of his stand which is pretty cool to see and you’ll see it in the video below. . 

I hugged my dad and we checked where the bull was standing and where the shot was made.  There was no sign of blood as we circled around a 50 yard radius.  I was a little worried as we need that trail to track him.  We decide to go up to where my dad last saw him enter the timber and we began looking for sign of blood on the fallen trees.

As my dad has his head down looking I just stand and look in a straight line of the direction he ran. Within seconds I see a tan body laying on its side with some dark horns reaching up to the sky just inside the timber. I’m about to scream in excitement but hold it in to make sure it’s down for good and then tell my dad as I push record on my phone video camera. 

We hug and celebrate then begin walking in the direction of his bull as I’m recording him. As we get closer and closer we realize just how massive this bull is and the video captures perfectly the emotion and joy of the hard work and planning that went into this hunt. It’s one of the greatest memories I have with my dad and I’m excited to tell the story over and over to our future generation of hunters . 

The STORY from my Dad’s perspective.

Well I have a fun entry to tell ya all about. Right now it’s 7:00 Thursday night and I’m sitting 25 feet in the air in a tree stand waiting for action. Scotts about 80 yards away roosting in his tree stand. 

Last Thursday August 30 on the opening day of the hunt we were doing the same thing except it was early in the morning. Our game cameras showed that we had elk and deer activity but not a whole lot and no bulls. Everything seemed to be coming in after 8 am so I was just kinda hanging out waiting for some action. About 7:05 I spotted some elk coming towards us off to my back right. Scott seem them at about the same time. Scott barked on his cow called but they stopped and started to turn back away from us. Scott could still see an elk further back in the trees so he let out a sweet bugle. Immediately a big bull answered him back. I then seen him coming in straight at me on my left side. When I seen him coming I drew back my bow. He was probably 100 yards out but I knew them elk can cover a long distance in a short time. It seemed like forever holding back that bow. I’m shooting a diamond carbon cure with a 65% let off. The Easton arrow was loaded with a 125 grain thunderhead. The bull kept coming and my total concentration was on the vitals of this bull coming in madder than all get out looking for that other bull. While still at full draw I thought can I keep it pulled back long enough? Should I release the tension and pull back when he’s closer. I chose to keep the bow at full draw in hopes that he keeps coming and Scottie stops him when I need him to stop. The bull was coming right at me and closing the distance. I knew there were horns but didn’t really know or care how big he was. I just wanted to put an arrow in the vitals and get my first archery elk. At 20 yards scottie blew his bugle again and the elk stopped. Left side front leg forward just where I needed it to be. He was more turned toward me than broadside but I felt that I could get an arrow down through his lungs. There was a small lodge pole pine in my shooting lane so I had to lean a little forward toward my tree to thread the arrow into this bull. I had the vitals in my sights. Took a deep breath and release the arrow. The arrow hit the mark I was aiming for but noticed it looked like it only went in about half way. The bull didn’t know what hit him. I still kinda grin when I think about it. We totally had him fooled. He wheeled around to his right and started running back the way he had come in. The bull went 30 yards and I seen him stumble and I thought he was going down. He kept running and I watched him circle back behind me and heading right towards the truck. That was good!! I watched him till he disappeared in a small grove of trees. 

Then I stated shaking. I couldn’t even send scott a text without calming down and controlling my shakes. Soon after my shot scott bugles and cow calls to try to calm him down so he don’t run far. 

The time was approximately 7:10 and after numerous excited text between me and Scott we decided it was time to go look for him. We had waited about 30 minutes. Scott did ask me if it looked like we may have caught the elk in my game camera? I told him there was a chance. We checked the camera before we went looking for the bull and we did get just a short video of him right before I shot him. 

We tried to find blood but didn’t find any. We then just went to the spot we last seen him and Scott spotted him first. He only went about 100 yards and piled up. It was pretty exciting to get my first archery bull and to have that experience with my son. The bull was huge. Rough score for pope and young is around 320. Scott made a video of us walking up on it. It’s on his you tube channel. We were proudly only 300 yards from the truck. Pretty fun day and one I will never forget.

 

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