My brothers, Kenny and Mark, and I worked for months to get in shape for this high country elk hunt in Wyoming. We ran the bleachers at the local football stadium five days a week for almost three months. I changed my diet, and I lost 15 pounds. It had been years since I was in such great physical condition. It paid off in September. We met our guides in Cody and drove to the trail head. From there, it was a 5 1/2 hour ride on horseback to the base camp.
We arrived at camp in time to get settled in and have supper. We would be back in the saddle before daylight the next morning. Seven days of elk hunting was before us. We were in grizzly country, so that added a little edge to the whole affair. Too much to tell in this short story, so on to my elk.
Just the day before, I was at full draw on a bull that may have set a new Wyoming archery record, at TEN YARDS! Problem was, I thought my brother had just sent an arrow through this bull. So, I held my shot, only to watch the monster walk away. My brother’s arrow struck a tree, after his knock flew off at release. The bull was never touched. Lesson learned: Insurance is good.
On the 4th day of our hunt, we were 2 hours horseback ride from camp, and had bulls screaming all around. I had already made my mind up that I was going to stick the first legal bull that presented the opportunity. Well, this 5×6 came walking straight at me when he rounded a pine at 15 yards. We were at 10,400 ft elevation. I was standing up with no cover around me. He kept walking right toward me, and never knew that I was there. At 12 yards, my pin settled on his chest. I released my arrow and it hit it’s mark. The bull whirled around and went right back the way he came. He crashed within 20 yards, and fell against a tree. Otherwise, he may have tumbled and slid another 100 yards down the steep slope. My arrow went full length through his body and exited the other end! My Mathews HeliM was set at 62# and my draw length is 28″. The bow did it’s job. And, I had my first elk!