Today Scott Swensen, my outfitter, and I drive to the 9000 foot level on the mountain before dawn and listen. The day will be clear and warm, but now it is in the mid-40?s. We hear a bull sound off directly below us! This is no time to be shy, so I grab my gear and dive off the steep slope into the dark timber and attack. Scott will drive the truck around and meet me at the bottom sometime later, so I am on my own.
Rubs like these only come from on thing. Now I just have to find him.
Attack is something of a misnomer, since it is hard to be aggressive when the bull only bugles once every hour, and in between growls and groans once every half hour. But I manage to get on his tracks, and along the way find some fresh rubs, big tracks, and poop. This guy is alone, I believe, and I follow him for the next three hours. If I knew the country at all I would take a chance and try and race ahead of him, but I have to be content with tagging along. I cow call at him when he bugles and he responds each time until about 8:30, when he ends up on a steep mountainside covered in black timber, where I am sure he will bed for the day.
Very frustrated, at about 11:00 a.m. I use my Bushnell BackTrack GPS and make may way back to the wallow tree stand. It is .7 mile from where I left the bull. Nothing has hit this wallow or the one below it, so I hike out and Meet Scott at noon.
That afternoon I hike back over the saddle to the area near the wallows, but hear no bugling or see no elk. About an hour before dark the skies open up and it pours rain, something that is somehow very appropriate given how things have been going.