The archery elk season is coming to a close here in Montana and I had a very successful guiding season with Dog Creek Outfitters. This year due to some new drawing results only 2 clients were able to draw elk tags. The above average moisture we had this spring and summer made food sources readily available in every area where the elk called home. I scouted our ground for a few days prior to the clients showing up and found some really big bulls this year.
The first week for the hunters was during the full moon phase which alters the elk movement drastically. The mornings were slow due to the elk seeking cover in the timber at first light. When you hunt during this time you have to stay out in the field all day. We would experience great mid day action with the elk getting up to feed and the bugling was intense between 11 and 3 o clock.
The mid day has some good steady wind currents and you can make a play on the elk as they stay in one general area. A good tactic is to get close to the herd and make suttle cow calls and mimic a small bull. This will give the herd bull the idea that some of his cows are feeding away and that a small bull has come in and is trying to take one of them.
We hunted hard all week with many close calls but my hunter never released an arrow but left with some great experiences and visions of huge bull elk forever etched in his mind.
The second week proved to be more intense with the new moon and cooler temperatures. The elk rut was in full swing and each day we had several close encounters with world class herd bulls. The elk in the area that I guide in respond better to bugles than cow calls which is very different than most areas. I believe this because of the high number of large mature bulls and the 2 to 1 ratio with the cows. These elk like to approach the other bulls and try to take their cows away. On more than one set up we had several bulls come in at the same time almost trying to out run each other.
The afternoon hunt found us following a small herd with a very vocal bull. He has a few satelite bulls following him and was busy keeping track of their location as he pushed his herd toward a meadow to feed. We set up on the edge of the meadow and I went to the far side of it and began calling very aggresively. I knew the herd bull would get aggravated with my calling and hopefully pull him to the edge of the meadow where my hunter would get a shot. After nearly 30 minutes of calling and moving around as I bugled the herd bull made his final mistake. The plan worked perfectly as he came to the meadow to look across at his make believe opponent and my hunter was able to make a perfect shot. This big bull expired within 75 yards and more memories were made at Dog Creek Outfitters.
This bull was the result of hard hunting and the never quit attitude I try and hunt with. He was very happy and I look forward to hunting with him again next year. Any elk with archery equipment is a trophy but to harvest a 7×6 in the 340′s is a once in a life time event.
We also offer the best big horn sheep hunting in the world as proof of this broomed off monster that scored in the 190′s.