Do you know what makes a great hunter? It’s having the ability to stay focused for hours on end looking for that which doesn’t belong; that which doesn’t fit into a landscape cluttered with foliage and deadfall, a horizontal line, the flicker of an ear, the shape of an antler amongst a menagerie of sticks and branches, these are the clues that reveal a well camouflaged quarry. I came to this conclusion one day while hunting — day dreaming instead of concentrating on all of the above.
It’s a wilderness hell out there; it’s steep, it’s thick, there are but few paths, it’s what I refer to as the zoo; when the animals hold up in this terrain they are as safe as if they where in a zoo. Hunting it is difficult, not impossible. One wrong move in here though and your toast. A compound pound fracture could prove fatal and they may never find your remains.
So why do I hunt there you ask? Because no one else is fool enough to go in there, I have the whole place to myself, and the elk are hanging, It’s like this . . . hunters flock here from out of state and everyone wants to kill bulls, that takes desire, but few have the desire to hunt the zoo.
The bull let out a thunderous bugle shaking the pit of my stomach; it was like standing in front of a pipe organ in a grand cathedral. When he wasn’t bellowing for his cows, I could here him breath, he was a mere 20 yards in front of me now, hung up behind some small pine trees. I still couldn’t see him though, a five second visual was all I needed, five seconds to draw my bow and shoot. The wind swirled slightly teasing the erect hairs on the back of my neck. Crunch time; the moment of truth had arrived. I had to make it happen, so I let out a seductive cow call attempting to move him into view. The atmosphere erupted with a thunderous calmer of hooves as he gathered his cows and ran them into the next county. Oh well . . . such is the nature of bow hunting elk in wilderness hell.
Nothing is certain. However, when the snow piles deep in the high country and the hoar frost clings to the oak brush, these elk will migrate, many will eventually show up at the ranch and when they do, they will to pay.