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"Mark's Colorado Elk Hunting Adventure"
Photo provided by: Mark Turner

Mark Turner (aka utskiman) shared in our forum the following story about his Colorado elk hunting adventure............

"Colorado Bull - Had a great bow hunt this year. Last year I was able to take a great buck with my 8 year old son by my side, and this year was able to take this awesome bull with my same, now 9 year old son by my side.

We got set up between some pines just outside of a tree line that emptied into a grassy flat with a small pond. I set up a couple of cow elk decoys to help hide us in the darkened area. It was not a spot that I had scouted much.

Then about 10 minutes before dark I heard movement up in the thick pines above the spot we were sitting. I could tell the elk were traversing the hill and were most likely going to come out to water at the pond. The only question was whether they would come down out of the trees within my shooting range.

The first cow emerged about 70 to 80 yards away. I knew I didn't want to shoot that far, but I also knew that if this was the path they would take, they would have to cut across the field toward the pond and would close the gap. This sentinel cow did her job as they always do. She came out about 20 yards, stopped, looked around and put her nose in the air for what seemed an eternity.

I whispered to my son to be very quiet and try not to move a muscle. We had a slight breeze blowing in our favor, so I knew that the only way we would get busted was if she caught any movement. She looked directly at us. It was a great test of the decoys. She looked away and began down her trail. Soon after, the train of cows, calves, spikes and small bulls began. A rag horn 5 point came down and my pulse quickened as I figured this would be the bull I would shoot.

No more elk followed. As they all spread out to feed and drink from the pond and small stream that emptied into the pond, they seemed very at ease. The rag horn went to the exact spot where the stream entered. I had pre ranged a few locations, and knew he was at 40 yards. He was broadside with his head down, but the problem was he had a calf just behind him. It wasn't long before he became annoyed with the calf and turned and pushed him away. Perfect! However, he had moved a little further away. I quickly figured he had only moved about 5 yards and drew my bow. Well, it must have been more like 15, because I watched in horror as my luminock flew right under his chest and into the mud.

I figured my chance was gone. But the bull only slightly jumped as he did not know what had happened. The other elk didn't even react. They all continued to feed and drink. The bull was even a little further away now, and I felt that I was out of luck and wouldn't get that chance again. I hung my head and whispered to my son that I had missed. While shaking my head, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye some movement back where the elk had all come out of the trees. One last elk emerged. It was the herd bull! He had taken his sweet time coming down out of the trees and lucky for me I had screwed up my first shot on the smaller bull.

The big 5 point had actually picked an even closer spot to emerge and was only 50 yards away, and was all alone. He stopped to casually look around. He also looked directly at us and must have figured that we were just a couple of cows on the hillside. He looked back down toward the rest of the herd. I whispered to my son that there was a big bull and to continue to hold still. He slowly turned his head and asked if I was going to shoot it. I was already in position and only had to pivot 90 degrees to make a shot. I nocked another arrow, lined it up and let it fly. I watched my second shot that evening sink deep into the bull. He reared back like a stallion, slowly ran about 50 yards away and stopped before he entered back into the pines. He lifted his head toward the sky and looked woozy and I thought this was it. But he regained his composure and went into the trees.

Although we found good blood where I had shot him, I was second guessing the shot and now it was getting dark. We went back to camp and waited about an hour. We collected the others from our camp and went to see if we could track the bull. We immediately found a good trail. As we approached the spot where he had stopped before he entered the trees it was evident from the pool of blood that he could not have gone far. We climbed about 50 yards up the hill in the dark over dead fall pines, following a steady stream of blood before seeing the bull. He was done, and probably was dead within 60 seconds of being shot. This was my first mature bull, and I went from that sick to your stomach felling when you're not sure if you will find it, to pure relief and excitement. High fives all around.

What a fun hunt! I felt very blessed to have been able to share it with my boy. Sorry for the long type up, and good luck to anyone still hunting that took the time to read it! If I learned anything, it's to have the patience to wait for the big one. I lucked out this time."

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