Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Written by Chad Schow, aka bulldown here at

This year's season began back in April when I posted a thread on the message board. The thread stated my situation for the up coming hunting season. You see, my wife and I were expecting in October and the elk hunt I had hoped to go on in late September had to be canceled in fear of not being present or available if my daughter decided to arrive early. My quest was to find a good archery hunting area close to home that provided an abundance of elk with few hunters. I was aiming high, but what the heck.

This is just one of the many big rubs they found in "Wallyworld".
My quest shortly became a reality when I received a response from a member on the board by the name of, "Ahunter". Ahunter, now known as Mike, presented me with remarkable information on an area close to home that produced quality bulls and where he had seldom encountered other hunters. And, after extensive email and phone conversations, Mike agreed to join my hunting partner, Ben, and I on a scouting trip into the area.

Our first scouting trip was a success, as we encountered four six-point bulls and roughly 10 cows during our all day excursion. Visuals weren't the only accomplishment during the day, as Mike also showed us many of his favorite wallows, ridges and basins. Ben and I immediately fell in love with the country and returned for a second scouting trip two weeks later.
During that trip, we covered as much ground on foot as possible. In my opinion, true scouting involves getting into the timber and finding rubs, scrapes and bedding areas. One wallow that Mike mentioned, but fell short on time to show us, reputed the name "Wallyworld". Mike claims this is the biggest wallow in the world and I have no reason to believe it is anything short. With that said, Ben and I set a goal to uncover Wallyworld.
But, after 16 hours of hiking, our efforts fell short in finding the wallow. However, we did find a heavily used bedding area with multiple rubs pushing 7 feet high. We were excited for the hunt!

Labor Day weekend finally arrived and our 2002 elk hunt was underway. Opening morning started quick when several elk busted through the timber seconds after I let out my first bugle. Sign on the hillside indicated that more than a few elk were living in the northeast-facing basin.
All was silent until 10 o'clock when a small bugle rang through the canyon. Two more bulls followed, exhibiting their vocal rank. The game was on!

Ben and I quickly acknowledged the situation and forecasted our game plan. The bugling choir continued for about an hour, allowing Ben and I to mark a more precise location on the bulls.
Hours later, we reached our destined ridge. I let out a short unchallenging bugle that produced a quick response. The responsive bull was close and surprisingly hot. Focusing on the wind, Ben setup 75 yards below me as the shooter.
After a few hyper-hot cow calls a 4x5 appeared, splitting the distance between us, but not premising a shot. From below, a much larger and demanding bull stirred up the action when he decided to get vocal as well.
Several minutes later, after exchanging bugles, the 4x5 became impatient and escaped while the big bull grabbed his cows and headed further down the drainage.

That evening as we hiked out of the basin, three bulls were warming up their voices. We headed towards the closest bugle, and to our surprise a 300 class 6x6 was standing broadside less than 100 yards away. We were completely busted, but surprisingly it didn't alarm the bull, instead, he continued to bugle at us!
Ben bugled back and caused the bull to thrash the innocent bush in front of him. The wind was strong and was in our favor, but daylight was running thin. I attempted a quick stalk knowing that my time was limited.
When the bull would rake the bush, I edged towards him. When he looked up, I stopped. Ben quietly cow called keeping the bull interested while I managed to close the distance to within 65 yards. Another 15 yards and I was going to take my shot.
Then, the bull started to move towards the timber but I was right behind him. At 55 yards, I had a shot opportunity, but chose not to take it because of the daylight condition. The crazy thing to note about this whole situation was that this un-spooked bull followed us out of the canyon in the dark bugling every 30-60 seconds. That concluded a crazy, but also very exciting ending to our opening day hunt.

Chad with his 5x5 "Wallyworld" bull.
Ben and I returned two weeks later after several close encounters without success on opening weekend. After three weeks of hunting pressure and the rut in full bloom, I was confident that the Wallyworld drainage held elk. One hour before daylight found us on the opposing hillside facing Wallyworld. Distant bugles assured us several bulls were in the basin and we zeroed in an approximate location on one of the bugling bulls and commenced our stalk.

By 1:00 p.m., Ben, Chuck and I agreed we were within 100 yards of the bugling bull. After setting up, I let out a challenging bugle hoping to get a "No Trespassing" reaction out of the bedded bull.
Bingo! My Primo's Hyper-lip bugle nailed the perfect note and within seconds, a growling bugle responded less than 75 yards away. I followed with a quick angry bugle that triggered a response from not one, but three different bulls all within a 50 yard circumference.

I moved to a better shooting location and started cow calling. The three bulls were going nuts! Just as one bull started bugling, a second would begin and then another. The fired up bulls wouldn't take a break long enough for me to call without interrupting. I could hear one of them breathing and busting up a tree right in front of me. I let out another challenging bugle to stir the excitement as a fourth bugle or something to the sort rang out, bluuuhhhhhhhhhhhHHH! I remember thinking, "Holy smokes! That has to be a HUGE bull!" His bellowing bugle never even reached a high note!

To the left of me a large 330 class 6x6 appeared at 25 yards. I went to full draw as he was walking towards Chuck, who was about 100 yards above me chirping on a lonesome cow call. I cow chirped to stop the bull, and the big bruiser stopped right on key, but didn't allow a vital shot.

BluuuhhhhhhhhhhhHHH! Crash! Crash! Crash! The giant bull was charging in to see what all the commotion was about! I slowly turned, only to catch a glimpse of this monster laying his enormous rack on the ground to go under a branch. I quickly cow called to stop him, but it didn't work. Following him was a 4x4 who halted in a wide-open shooting lane. There was no way I was going to shoot this bull with a 330 class bull 20 yards to my left, so I turned back to the 6x6. I cow chirped again to stop him as he crept towards the lonesome cow call. This time, he stopped leaving me a gut shot. I had to pass.

Meanwhile, all five bulls continued their bugling frenzy. Just as the 330-inch bull escaped out of site a 5x5 following him materialized. Walking in the same path as the 6-point, the 5-point managed to stop on key after my cow chirp, providing me with a 20 yard shot behind his front shoulder. I released and watched my two-bladed Modoc broadhead pierce through both lungs. The bull leaped over a dead log and quickly expired after traveling only 30 yards. A great conclusion to a great hunt and better yet, we still haven't found the wallow of Wallyworld!

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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