Well this was it, the last day before we had to leave. I was still on a high from having that close encounter the night before. Jodi and I both got out of bed again and got showers. The sleet that had come in the night before had turned to rain and the rain was still coming down hard. We figured it would stop soon, so we made some coffee and waited. Since this was the last day before we drove home, we were going to hunt hard.
At legal shooting light it was still coming down. Joey went in the back of the house in his rain suit and climbed up the hill. After about 3 or 4 minutes he came running back in. "The elk are in the pasture over by the supper highway," he said, "They are all bedded down!" Joe Senior said, "Jason, take Jodi on the four wheeler and drive around to the well pad where the mountain is scarred from the gas company. After that, walk down the hill towards where you sat the other night in that canyon. The elk will be bedded right out in front of you when you get there. Everyone else, we will go through Herman's and up the hill to catch them."
With that being said, we all put on our wet weather gear and headed out. It was a cold ride since the cold front had come through. You could see that it had snowed in the high country the night before. Cold or not, we were ready to get to the top of the hill and out after those elk. Jodi and I stopped about 100 yards from the gas well and dismounted. I was happy that the folks over at Gateway had sent some waterproofing powder for our fletching. It worked flawlessly.
Once to the top we peered out over the side to make sure there were no elk close by. Seeing nothing, we started down the side of the hill. The dirt was soft so the rain had made it into a cake. You know the kind that adds 5 pounds per foot every step you take. Once at the bottom, we dropped off into a dry creek bed and cleaned our Wolverines off. Great thing about these boots is they are waterproof and keep your feet warm. God I love Gortex!
After about 30 minutes of slowly walking, we were approaching the field. We would stop about every 5 yards and glass every single little bush or rock that could end up being an elk. Seeing nothing we slowly crept along. That is when I heard a bugle. A bugle that was very familiar. It was the big 6 X 6 from off the hill. Like I had said before, this boy had a distinctive bugle and I could tell it was him. You could see where the elk had gone across the field, so Jodi and I got on their tracks and quickly tried to cover the ground between him and us.
Once to the other side, I let out a cow call. Nothing, so I let out locating bugle. When I use a locating bugle, I don't growl or chuckle, just the bugle. As soon as I was done, the bull answered back. He was on the hill over by the super highway and working his way up to dark timber. Jodi and I quickly crossed the other field and I kept bugling the whole way. The bull was fired up and kept answering every time. I told Jodi that there is a chance we might get him to come away from his cows.
We got to the hill and I bugled again, this time the bull was working his way through the trees to our right. I needed to ensure that we were set up perfect for the shot and would not have a problem with the wind. We kept on the bull until and would occasionally glimpse his antlers. I was worried that the wind was going to switch at any moment, so we turned and headed straight up the hill. When I say we ran, we ran. Once we were above the bull, we would be able to call him to us with no problem.
Once we reached the top and after catching our breath, I called with a cow call. The bull answered and he was below us to our right. I could see from the fence up the hill that if we went any higher, we would run into Fred Eichler's place. I took Jodi and we went about 100 yards to the right sort of towards the bull. We both sat up behind a big pine tree, and I bugled. The bull was closer than I thought; because he screamed so loud my hair was waving. Talk about scaring the something out of you. He came busting in from the right, but was about 90 yards away. I bugled again and he immediately answered back. He started trotting towards us but then one cows mewed, which was answered by a bugle just on the other side of his cows. Now if you have never seen a thousand pound animal come to a dead stop, it is pretty funny. The bull put on the brakes while turning and headed back to chase off the bull closer to his cows. I mewed once more, and he didn't even pay attention to me. I bugled, but he had his mind set on the one that had his hand in the cookie jar.
I saw this as our opportunity to move closer. Jodi took the lead and guided us along the timber. We were starting to see cows so we froze behind some trees. I let out a bugle expecting him to come looking for us. He bugled, but this time he was across the fence on Fred and Michele's place. I Bugled and cow called, trying to imitate a bull stealing a cow, but to no avail. I guess he had had enough of the bulls trying to steal his cows, so he gathered them up and got out of there. I told Jodi to just sit tight and we will keep cow calling. I was hoping that whatever the bull was that challenged him and took him away from us, would come by to see if he could steal the "lost cow."
After an hour of listening to the bull torment us op the hill, we decided that the satellite bulls had followed the real thing. Jodi suggested that we still-hunt our way back to the house but taking the long way. I thought that sounded like a grand idea and we headed out. The rain had never stopped on our stroll back to the lodge and we were welcomed by a nice hot cup of hot chocolate upon our return. Joe and everyone thought that we might have gotten a shot since we were gone so long. After explaining the morning to them they all agreed that even though we didn't get one, it was a successful hunt.
The time was already 2:00 P.M., so we ate some lunch and formulated a game plan. Jodi and I wanted to go try and wait for the elk to come back down the hill, while Joey and the rest were going to head over to Chuck's place and see if there was anything new there.
Unfortunately, no one saw anything that night. I can't complain though, it is not like we had not seen anything. The best thing about this whole trip was the fact that I was enjoying the great sport of bow hunting with my best friend Jodi. Her and I have enjoyed every single thing we have ever done together. For only being married 4 years, we have gone skydiving, Scuba diving, climbing 14,000 ft peaks, and even zip lining through the jungle in Mexico. She had told me on the ride home that she is ready to get back in the woods again. She wants to look into a hog hunt and maybe arrow a nice buck this fall. That put a huge smile on my face that made me send a thank you up above for having her brought into my life.
I would like to thank a bunch of folks for making this hunt possible for Jodi and I. First off, Joe Provenza and his awesome family, Jodi and I really appreciate everything that they have done for us on this hunt and throughout my life. Second, Rich Walton and Robert Hoague, you guys have enabled me to partake in this great adventure and allowed me to become a part of the bowhunting.net family and for that, I am thankful. Third, All of the great sponsors that supported us throughout this adventure (Margaret and Jason at Bowtech, I know that we talked many of times and appreciate all that you did to ensure everything was right.)
Hopefully this fall we can show you some pictures of Jodi and I with some monster hogs or bucks. Until then, guys get your wife involved in the outdoors; you don't know what you are missing!