There are not too many people crazy enough to pursuit elk with a bow in the high desert of Oregon. Why do you ask is it crazy? Well to put it simply there is nothing to hide behind, and what you do have for cover it is small to hide behind and very uncomfortable because it’s either rock or the hardest dirt in the world.
What I like about bow hunting here is that it is the truest art of bow hunting. There is no room for error and your calling must be dead on, because the big boys will not leave the comforts of their own herd for no reason. This was a special hunt because my two best friends and I always get to go bow hunting together and its my gift to them to be able to guide them and more importantly spend some time together in the outdoors. Scott’s mother had passed away from a terminal bout with cancer a few weeks before and he was uncertain if he would be able to attend, but knew that his mother would want him to continue on the hunting tradition so out he came… and my job was to make sure it was special. It started out with some wild boars running thru and Scott stalking a couple of them when all the sudden 30 baby boars came running down the dirt road directly at me and Grover. In fact, I think Grover had a few run thru his legs. They were the size of footballs.
So instantly I turned to Grover and yelled “Get ‘EM” Then we were off chasing them trying to catch one. I caught a little blond one with white spots after running like Carl Lewis thru the desert. Then the little son of a ….. started screaming so loud and freaking out I thought he was going to bite me, well the truth of it is I got scared and dropped him and off he ran. I am sort of lucky that mom didn’t do a big circle and come back to jump my ass. But she didn’t she just ran past me like it was nothing. As you can see from that photo there is nothing to hide behind that is above your knees. We played with some elk that day but rut has not begun and to warm for elk loving.
The next morning, we left at sunrise to hike in below where I saw some elk briefly from the hillside. The wind was perfect so there was a drainage I knew we could get too before they did if he hustled. It would be a perfect ambush site but would only work if the elk were callable. We worked fast and got there just as a cow elk was leading some cows down the drainage and heading towards the big canyon. I cow called but she didn’t really respond, but in the back of the small herd was a big bull and he was looking hard. If this was going to happen it was going to happen fast, so I ran past pointing to Scott to set up behind this tree and kept running until I got 30 yards behind him and cow called again. The bull came down into the drainage with us and I could see him at 150 yards standing looking at us but not making a sound and not committing to anything. I do not like to do what I am about to do, especially when nothing has bugled but that was the only option I had. I grabbed my bugle and tried to sound like a young bull that wanted a little piece of his herd. He took the bait, and bugled back and came running in. Scott gave me the sign he was coming, I moved back farther down the drainage and gave another cow call when he started to rake his horns right in front of Scott. I cow called very lightly and he stepped forward to the nice sound of a THWAAAACK. He ran out of the drainage I called to him again he stopped broadside and Scott him again right in the boiler maker. The sunrise that morning was beautiful, and the bull standing there not moving was a memory I will most likely never forget.
This is what the shooter does when he has an elk hit hard. Can you see the bull in the back ground?
Here is Grover (Scott’s father) and Scott posing with the elk at the bottom of the canyon. Now I know you have to be asking how that elk got all the way down to the bottom of the deepest canyon on the planet when it had two arrows in the boiler maker at the top of the canyon.