The second week of Archery elk hunting brought a great group of guys from Knoxville Tn. into camp. Tim and Marc would be hunting elk with Rod, and John would be rifle hunting deer with me. I wasn’t sure what the rut action was going to be like this week, and man was I surprised! I didn’t think the action could get any hotter than the first week, but it was. Elk were everywhere!! There were bulls bugling all over the place, in the morning, in the evening, and even during the middle of the day close to camp!! It didn’t take long for the guys to get into elk, in fact, they were into elk non-stop. Tim even mentioned that “there’s been more elk action on the first day of this hunt than the whole 7 days of my last hunt with another outfitter!” Rod and the guys had no trouble getting into elk, but seemed to struggle getting one in the dirt. The guys had a couple opportunities at small bulls, spikes, and cows at super close range, but the big boys didn’t want to come that last 30 yards into archery range. After a few days of being unsuccessful with the cow calls and bugles, they decided to get into “stealth mode” and try to get in range without calling. Marc was able to sneak in on a monster six point to 50 yards! He pulled out his range finder… ranged… drew his bow back….. and was about to squeeze the release when the big bull wheeled and bolted into the timber! So close!! Unfortunately both Marc and Tim were unable to harvest an elk, but sometimes that’s the way it goes hunting free range elk with a bow. Hopefully they will be back again someday to give it another try.
This wasn’t John’s first deer hunting trip with me and he was fully aware of what kind of deer are in our country. That being said, he was after the big boys! On opening day we saw several nice bucks, one really good four point, and a monster typical four point all in the same spot. This big buck had it all….mass, deep forks, width, height, and age! We spent the next five days hunting this deer. He was such a smart ol buck that he would only show himself a few seconds a day, and change his pattern up just enough to keep us guessing. Twice during the week he fed out into spots that seemed like he would present an opportunity for a shot, and twice he proved me wrong! Although we made a great effort, and made several attempts, the big dude won the battle and disappeared like big bucks do. We decided to hunt new areas the last couple days of the hunt and saw some really nice mature bucks, but not the “wow” factor buck that John was after.