Written by Clair McCallum
With about 15 minutes of legal light left, I heard a faint bugle way off to the west. "Hmm!" I thought, "It could be another hunter trying to stir up some action, or not?" I waited until I had gotten back to my truck, then let out a bugle. By this time it was dark, so there wasn't much I could do, but I wanted to see what it really was to the west. Sure enough, I got an answer immediately. When I got home, I called my hunting partner, Red Fediuk, and asked him if he would come out with me in the morning and do the calling.
The next morning, an hour before legal light, while we were getting changed into our gear, we could hear a faint bugle coming from the same place I could hear them from the night before. We walked about a mile to where we thought we might be getting close. Red let out a bugle and we got a response right away. We then started working our way south, down an old over grown line to get on the down wind side of him. As we moved, we let out a call every 100 yards or so.
When the bull would answer, he was always a little closer. Then nothing, he wouldn't respond any more. Next time we heard him he was on the downwind side of us running away through the thick timber. As we were trying to convince this bull that he should come back and play, we looked down the line and there was 4x3 bull standing on the line staring right at us at 90 yards. I had been skunked the year before, so as long as he was legal, I didn't care how big he was. I was prepared to shoot a cow!
After a short stare down, the bull took off in the same direction as the previous bull. At this point we thought our hunt could be over. But, we kept cow calling trying to get those bulls to change there minds. Suddenly, we heard another bugle coming from where the first two bulls had come from. From the west! Well, we forgot about the first two bulls and concentrated on getting on the downwind side of this next bull. Red would bugle and the bull would bugle right back. The whole time, we were quickly making our way south. We came to realize that there were two bulls closing in on us fast. At this point, I could here a bull to my left and another on my right!
The bulls were coming through the brush making a heck of a racket; thrashing trees with there antlers and bugling just inside the tree line. As Red was calling, he was making his way away from the bulls into the opposite tree cover. Making a lot of noise himself, breaking trees and bugling up a storm. I couldn't decide which way to look, to the left or to the right. Then suddenly, I saw antler tips to my left coming out of the trees. I drew my bow and the bull came out onto the line and starts walking towards me, then he stops, realizing that I am not an elk. He was confused!
I couldn't really see his antlers very well, but I could tell he was legal! There was enough room through the vegetation; I could see his nose, throat and chest. When he turned to leave and his shoulder was out of the way, I'll let him have it. In a flash he was gone, crashing through the brush like a freight train. It sounded like I hit him, but I wasn't sure. In the mean time, Red and the other bull were still carrying on with their elk dialog, not knowing that I had taken the shot. I made my way to where the bull was standing. No arrow...no blood. Did I hit him, or not?
Suddenly, I heard a faint death moan "uuuuuhhhhhhhg...uuuuuhhhhhhhg...uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhg", he was hit! Then nothing, just Red still trying to convince the other bull to show himself. After a couple of minutes, I signaled for Red to come out. We gave him 30 minutes and then took up the trail.
At first there wasn't much blood, and then it became apparent that the hit was good. There was a heavy blood trail, waist high in the brush. After about 100 yards; there he was. HOOOLLY MOOLLY! To our surprise, he's a real nice 6x6. Yeeeee Haaaaa!! He dressed out at 535lbs. He's my best bull to date. Thanks to Red for the excellent calling and help getting him out of the bush!
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