Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Archery Bull Hunt Success"
Written by Shane Todd

Archery Bull Hunt Success
I finally drew a New Mexico public land archery elk tag. On opening morning I had several bulls around me but was unable to get close enough for a shot. The next several mornings I tried to get close enough for a shot, but due to the thick timber was unable to get a shot I was comfortable with.

The next morning, my father-in-law and I were glassing the hill sides and thought we had spotted a couple nice size elk down in a bottom. But due to the distance, we were unsure if they were bulls or cows. We decided to try and get closer to see exactly what we were looking at; well it turned out to be cattle! Quite frustrating considering we just walked about seven miles away from the truck!

It was still early and the wind was in our face on the way back to the truck, so we decided to climb back up the ridge and see if we could locate a bull. I spotted some cows (elk), and decided to go into the timber alone and see if there was a bull with them. After about an hour of trying to relocate the cows which had busted us, I heard a chuckle about 200 yards away. I was able to get in and got a shot, but the only thing I hit was a branch.

The next morning I was able to locate the elk again. There was another hunter in the canyon, so it became a time game. I knew I had to get on them before he did. I was able to get in front of the elk that had been down in a valley feeding. I cut them off in a saddle at the top of the ridge. I had cows all around me and could not move, but I could see the herd bulls antlers. It was too thick for me to shoot and I did not want to kill another tree. I tried cow calling and nothing but bugles all around me, so I decided to try and bugle. BIG MISTAKE! He gathered his cows and went about 100 yards down the ridge. I saw two satellite bulls on the other side of the valley going into a thicket of trees on the top of the ridge, but I wanted to get the herd bull. I was able to get back on him but just when I was about to set up the wind changed and they busted me. I decided to go back and see if I could get on the satellite bulls. I went in silent, following the bull's bugles. I was walking on the top of the ridge and looked up and saw a cow staring at me. We stood there and looked at each other for what seemed about 10 minutes (30 seconds), then she started to walk down the other side of the ridge.

As she started to leave the bull came running and bugling thinking his cows were leaving him. Once the cows got out of view I was able to parallel the bull and slip in between him and his cows. I found a clearing, made sure there were no branches and stopped him with a cow call. I shot him at 26 yards and broke his back dropping him right there. I shot him one more time to finish him off. He's my first big game animal with a bow, and my first elk.

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