Bowhunting Wyoming: Of Elk and Bears: Part 3

Part 3 of 3
Slowly approaching the area where the elk had been the previous evening, the first rays of a new day spilled upon the scene. As I made my way up the small drainage, cold thermals hit me square in the face – perfect. Approaching from below the elk, I had everything my way. Nearing the meadow where I fully expected to see the elk, I soon found myself facing a grim reality – something was seriously wrong with the situation; no elk were to be seen, or heard, anywhere nearby.

Slowly making my way through the area for the next couple of hours, frustration soon settled over my spirit. Clearly, something negative had happened in the area recently, evidently having sent all the elk in the area looking for greener pastures. But what could have happened? All I could think of was that possibly another hunter was in “my” area also. But somehow, this simply didn’t make sense for many reasons. In my gut, I felt that something else was up – but what? The answer wasn’t long in coming. The howls of wolves soon reached my ears! I couldn’t believe it – another, better predator had beaten me to the game! Why couldn’t they have been just one day later in coming through the area? If such had been the case, maybe they’d have found a gut pile awaiting then? I thought so. Oh well…. it was now time to regroup and start over – first day wasted. Ok, well, maybe not wasted.

The 6x6 bull the author shot in Wyoming.
The 6×6 bull the author shot in Wyoming.

Arriving back at base camp around noon, it was clear that Peg and Lulu expected to see blood on my hands – no such luck. After relating my hard-luck story to the troops, Blondie lifted my spirit, as always, with a great lunch and some kind words – even Lulu licked my wounds. Soon, I was stoked to get back in the game, and another night’s supplies were loaded into my pack, and I was headed out. Winners never quit!

Late evening of opening day found me a few miles from my previous choice of hunting locations. Hopefully, another group of elk that I’d located previously were lounging here, just itching to be hunted by a skinny Okie bowhunter. I was going to find out about that possibility, pronto. Throwing up a simple spike camp, I grabbed my Mathews and headed out – I was ready to do something productive.

Shortly, the sound of a nearby bugle floated to my ears. Slamming to a stop, I grabbed an arrow, clipped it and my release onto my string, and slipped forward – that bull hadn’t been far ahead. The wind was right, and everything was quickly looking up – just like that, I’d fallen into an elk hunt!

Slowly sneaking only 50 yards forward, suddenly, antlers came into view. With a brain instantly snapping into kill mode, I yanked my bowstring back, kneeling down to conceal myself behind a fallen log. In a matter of seconds, a magnificent 6X6 bull was passing my location at 20 yards! Settling the top pin of my Black Gold sight on ribs, the shot was off in an instant. Before my mind could hardly process the events that had just transpired, I had a great bull on the ground, only 50 yards distant! WOW! … that was fast! I could hardly believe my fate – it was simply amazing how fast fortune could change.

A grizzly found the elk carcass the next morning.
A grizzly found the elk carcass the next morning.

De-boning the carcass quickly before darkness could settle around me, I grabbed a load of the meat and headed for base camp, bypassing my spike camp on the way. Trudging into base camp a few hours after dark, I prayed that wolves wouldn’t find the carcass of my trophy before I could get back to it the next morning. Little did I know… .

Slowly approaching my elk stash the next morning, I was shocked to see an adult grizzly standing on the carcass – oh boy, here we go! A few hours later – after having ran the grizzly away from my meat stash – I trod back into base camp once again, with a final, massive load of meat. I had no intentions of going back and fighting a bear off my prize again — after all…….. I might not win round two!

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