Archive for the ‘Elk Hunting’ Category

UPDATE – Outback Outdoors Bow Giveaway Winner – REALLY Scores!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
Here is an update from our 1st Quarter Bow Giveaway for 2011 winner Andrew Basabe. He scored this fall with his new Hoyt bow he won on Outback Outdoors 1st Quarter Giveaway… Congrats again Andrew… Here is the story!
When I received my residency in Montana, all I could think about was how exciting the upcoming archery season was going to be. Little did I know, the season was going to consist of an endless stream of unfortunate events. I honestly do not know how I kept my composure and continued to strive toward success. The combination of inconsistent wind currents, wolves, bears, high temperatures, an abundant number of other hunters, and limited time to hunt created a perfect recipe for failure.

I eventually ended up relocating to a different area in attempt to find some unpressured elk. After my son’s football game I was able to put in a good afternoon hunt. Once I arrived to my new “honey hole” Tthe temperature was starting drop and the conditions were shaping up in a hurry. The elk were close so I decided to hang tight and wait for a bugle in order to play the wind and make a move. Within minutes, a deep screaming bugle echoed a few hundred yards away with two other bugles following. I rushed to the edge of a clearing and quickly set up. I then moved about thirty yards toward the action. I blew a few soft cow calls from my temptress in the opposite direction and waited patiently. The bulls were going crazy, the wind was in my favor, and this was my chance! It was no more than thirty seconds before a bull came crashing off the hillside. He quickly let out a scream and scanned the clearing, looking for cows. The bull saw my decoy, started to lick his lips, and quickly closed the distance. I could tell he was a respectable bull and there was no doubt in my mind that I would take him if an opportunity was provided. He was coming in on a string; I drew back and waited for the bull to walk by broadside. “Meeeeww,” the bull hit the brakes and looked in the dark timber behind me. I settled my 30-yard pin in his armpit and watched my arrow punch its way through his vitals. My Hoyt Rampage Xt that I received for OO performed flawlessly. The bull crashed through the timber and quickly stopped. I made several more cow calls, attempting to ease his emotions. The bull slowly walked through the timber and disappeared.

 

Another long thirty minutes passed before I found myself on the huge and always reassuring blood trail. After 100 yards of tracking, the blood trail was tapering out. It was now down to pin drops and I was starting to second guess my shot. I found a fresh broken limb lying on the ground and beyond that some small, thick pines. I analyzed the small pine needles and found some dried blood that had been brushed off the bull. I looked up and there he was, piled up in the middle of the thick pines. I rushed over to lay my hands upon my trophy. A respectable 6×6 with a small sticker between his fourth and fifth points. I found myself lying on the ground overwhelmed with emotions of joy. I finally got my break! After all of the discouraging events, I never would have thought I was going to make that telephone call seeking help to pack out my elk. I could not have been happier with my first public land harvest in Montana. This had been a long time coming . . .

We had a very late spring this year and a late summer followed! I assume this is the reason for the late rut. In reference to Adam Wells, he is spot on with his “herd shadowing” tactics. Every bedded bull that I pursued situated himself in an area that was cool, heavily timbered, and had swirling winds. Adam’s advice was very helpful. I was fortunate Adam was able to harvest his bull before I did, therefore he was able to provide the useful information. Thank you once again Trevon and the rest of the OO team for the bow as well as the useful tips and tactics on the site.

Keep the wind in your face

Andrew Basabe

Wyoming Elk, Stalking Strategy put to the Test

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We needed to cover over three hundred yards in the wide open if we wanted to catch up to the herd.  The ankle high sage would only cover our Kenetrek boots so now it was time to put our gear to the test.  With three of us in a line perpendicular to the elk we used a Montana Decoy “Cow Elk III” as a shield.  The herd was 400 yards away and we were in plain view during the time it took us to cover 300 yards of open ground. 

My Camera man Chris Callinan was the lucky recipient of a Wyoming archery elk tag.  On this trip, I was running camera while Chris was hunting. Joining us on this adventure was good friend Wade McCammond who took care of the calling.  The Red Desert of Wyoming is not  what your ideal elk country looks like and anyone who knows the area can attest it is more like typical antelope country.  Surrounded by flat rolling hills covered in low sage there was  not a tree in sight.   With the lack of good cover our Montana Decoy played a key roll in the success of the hunt.

I’ve had bulls come in while using the decoy and it has helped in many situations.  Its main use has been to entice a bull into range or help animals feel secure.  Now, using it as a shield, I have another tactic to use for closing the distance and helping my success as a bow hunter.  Chris, Wade, and I were shoulder to shoulder sneaking through the sage with the decoy leading the way.  Hiding our silhouettes and sending out the occasional lost cow call we covered ground with ease.  The herd gave us little attention as we skirted our way to a pre designated hill which we would use to make a calling set.  Now in position a little ahead of the herd Wade started calling and the monarch of the prairie came charging in to 60 yards.  Although this set didn’t produce a shot it was proof that using a Montana Decoy as a shield opened up another opportunity that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.

A couple days later this strategy would pay dividends as it would get us in on another herd.  Using two Cow Elk III decoys we jockey with the herd until our position would allow us to pull away a satelite bull and with camera rolling Chris slips an arrow behind the shoulder of a Red Desert Bull.

I know you will enjoy this show as you watch us use the decoy to stalk and entice this bull into bow range. It’s my hope that you too have the opportunity and enjoy the thrill of using  this strategy to get into position and slip an arrow into a trophy of your own.

Dave Beronio – Team Outback Outdoors

Colorado Elk Season Rolls On

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The 2011 elk season rolls on here at Outback Outdoors and sometimes we aren’t always the ones actually pulling the trigger. As most of you know all of us at OO are hardcore hunters at heart but we also spend a lot of time guiding other hunters. The OO crew met up on Big Mountain Ranch where Adam Wells guided Graylen Goff and Jim Brennan guided her brother Rudy Goff to nice 6 X 6 bulls during Colorado’s 1st rifle season while Trev ran the video camera capturing all the excitement.

There is something awesome about young hunters in the field successfully harvesting trophy bulls, but more so is when a 14 year old gal (Graylen Goff) shows great composure and whacks a great bull on video….well that is just dang COOL!

Keep checking back at Outback Outdoors for Adam’s upcoming archery elk hunt and also for Graylen’s….. and maybe even another surprise archery elk hunt where Dave Beronio switches places with cameraman Chris Callinan and Chris gets it done with his bow!

The 2011 season is ROCKING! Let us hear from you and how your season is going! The rut is just around the corner and team OO is getting ready to head out to Missouri and Kansas for some big whitetails, too! Good luck and shoot straight and fart downwind.

Team Outback Outdoors

Outback Outdoors Rolls On – Adam Wells’ 2011 CO Archery Elk

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The 2011 Colorado Archery elk season started off very slow, the rut was late and the bulls didn’t show up in any numbers until the last week of the season.  I had three days to hunt this last week and all I can say is “WOW” the elk were going crazy, the rut was in full swing. The problem was there were so many elk, so many elk calling at each other we had to get in close, very close for the elk to engage my calling.  As amazing as it was to be surrounded by upwards of 100 elk at a time, it was a difficult challenge to get in close to that many eyes, ears and noses. Especially the noses!

The tactic Trevon and I employed on this hunt was what I like to call “herd shadowing“.  This is one of my favorite ways to hunt elk, what I like to do is locate the herd from a distance, wait and observe the elk, the wind conditions and try to anticipate where the elk are headed, and what the winds will do.  Once I have a good idea of both, I maneuver into the herd at an angle that will keep the winds favorable and get me in front or parallel with the movement of the herd.  Just like with fly fishing where you read the currents of the river, I have learned over the years how to read the wind currents of the mountains. Believe me when I say that the locations that elk choose to bed are not by accident, they choose areas that are not only cool, but have swirling winds. This is where I have learned just how close to push the herd and where to sit on them without letting my wind drift into the elks location.  Knowing the wind and the location of the elk are key to being able to successful is this type of hunting strategy.

The particular herd that Trevon and I moved in on was very vocal, both bugling and cow talk.  We could never see the elk herd as the vegetation they we in was very thick, but we could hear where they were and where they were headed. We kept a safe distance from the herd, about half a mile to a quarter mile, just close enough to listen to the herd and keep track of their movements. While waiting for the thermals to stabilize and the prevailing wind to set up, we had some exciting encounters with some very nice satellite bulls. Once the winds were favorable, Trevon and I made a big loop to get even with the elk and get the winds favorable.  We worked in close to the herd, stalking up on a few more satellite bulls and keeping our calling to a minimum, calling just occasionally to get the herd bull to bugle. I knew he wouldn’t commit to coming into the call until we were in his “red zone” as there was too many other bulls in the area for him to want to leave his cows. We followed the herd without seeing them for almost an hour.

Finally the aspen grove we were set up in had a thick understory of Chokecherry, visibility was less than 10 feet in most of the area, and in some areas the Chokecherry would thin out and we could see upwards of 20 yards.  (There is nothing more exciting than hearing an elk bugle less than 20 yards away just waiting for it to step into the clear.)  We again shadowed the movement of this herd for almost 2 hours. The elk finally bedded down in an area where the aspen stand turned into a mature stand of gamble oak. This oak grove was very open and shaded. This is where the bull wanted his cows to bed as he could see other bulls encroaching on his harem. Of course just like normal this was a key strategic location complete with swirling winds.

This is where we first started catching glimpses of the herd bull, a very nice 6×6. We set up close to the herd but still keeping our wind favorable, and started calling. We were literally overrun by elk. Cows, calves and small satellite bulls. We were actually surrounded by elk but the herd bull kept just out of my clear shooting lanes. We were still not quite in his “Red Zone” and we just couldn’t grab his attention with our calls as he was busy herding a hot cow or chasing off a smaller bull. We had to get closer!

Once the elk herd that surrounded us settled down and went back to the bedding area we slowly stalked in closer.  We set up in the area the herd bull was most active in but we couldn’t move closer due to the swirling winds. We were as close to the herd bull and his cows as we dared go.  After 15 mins of sitting and doing some soft, cow calls, we saw the herd bull pushing a cow back into the bedding area. The cow went through a shooting lane and the bull was in hot pursuit. The big bull entered the shooting lane at a run and I tried to stop him with a loud cow call, but he didn’t even break stride.  No shot.

Finally though we were in his “Red Zone” and we engaged him with the call.  He got that cow back into the bedding area and circled back to herd me into the bedding area. This time he came into us at a slow walk, I drew my bow while the bull was behind some oaks, when he entered the shooting lane I settled the 30 yard pin tight behind his shoulder and let her fly.  I knew my shot was on the mark and made some quick and excited cow calls to calm the bull down. He only ran about 20 yards, stopped and offered me a chance to put a second arrow in him. My second arrow hit inches away from my first.  Two double lung hits, I knew the bull was mortally wounded as he crashed down the slope.  Trevon and I waited a few minutes to let the bull expire and heard his last cough and a crash about half way through our wait.  The blood trail was thick and short. The bull a beautiful 6×6 was down and better yet, a short downhill pack out.

My 2011 archery elk season was over, a tough one in the beginning but one with an incredible ending.  I can’t wait until next year to do it again.

Adam Wells – Outback Outdoors

Outback Outdoors Scores Again – Trev’s Wyoming Public Land Bull Elk

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

With archery elk season in full swing and one antelope buck bow kill in the books, I headed to meet good buddy Quentin Smith owner of QRS Outdoor Specialties at their lodge on the Split Rock Ranch north of Rawlins, Wyoming for some archery elk hunting. This tag took me a LONG time to draw and I knew there was going to be some great bowhunting action as I anticipated awesome bugling bull encounters.

As the hunt unfolded we came to realize that the rut seemed to be 2 weeks late. The bulls weren’t really talking and the big bulls hadn’t even started taking over the small band of cows and young bulls yet. Never-the-less we saw multiple bulls everyday as we covered a lot of country and had numerous close calls.

I unfortunately was only going to be able to hunt 4 days as Quentin had to leave to guide other hunters at his Colorado camp. When the last day rolled around, and with no bull on the ground, my buddy Jeff (and ace cameraman) had to leave to head back to Fort Collins, CO for prior commitments. Quentin and I talked Travis Stevenson, the  ranch manager for the Split Rock Ranch, into running camera for us and we headed off for one last valiant effort.

The last morning brought 25-30 mph Wyoming winds and 20 or more other hunters to the area where we had been encountering numerous bulls in our prior days of hunting. The morning came and went with no encounters as everywhere we went there was hunter or an ATV already there. After a quick lunch we headed back out to try and find some new honey holes where we knew some bulls had to be hiding with their harems.

As we drove to a new area Travis suggested we stop and try calling in an area that was “too easily accessible” (using reverse psychology) hoping that it would have been overlooked by other bowhunters because it was SO close to the road. We hiked in over a ridge and Quentin ripped off a bugle. Sure enough a bull hammered back about 200 yards in a small draw below. The hunt was on!

Travis and I sprung into action as Quentin continued to call and keep the bull talking. We moved forward and met up with the bull (by this time getting quite aggravated at Quentin’s infringement on his territory) and his cows. We found ourselves in a thick stand of small pines and had a cow come into 4 yards and the bull bugling at Quentin at 7 yards, but it was so thick I had no shot. The bull bugled again making the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention. I finally found a shooting lane where I thought the bull might walk through and drew my bow. Somehow the bull caught the movement and spun and blew out. Travis and I did are best to cow call and calm the herd as we knew they had not winded us.

Frustrated and disappointed we met back up with Quentin and worked further down the draw. Excited at the encounter but dejected at the lack of a shot opportunity we decided to try calling again and the bull answered immediately having just crossed the bottom of the draw. Travis and I back tracked and set up in the draw’s bottom which was filled with tall lodge pole pines and dead falls. In this setup at least, if the bull came back in, I would have some shooting lanes.

Quentin aggressively called and 15 seconds later Travis looked up and said, “He’s coming!” I got ready and Quentin’s calling brought the bull across the draw at a run. He came to withing 20 yards and I stopped him broadside in a gap between two trees with a quick cow call. I let the top pin of my Spot Hogg – Tommy Hogg sight settle just behind his elbow and released the arrow. The bull blew out and I quickly cow called after him as he crashed through the scattered down timber. He went a mere 40 yards and crashed hard! He was down and we had gotten it done in the 4th quarter, on the last afternoon of our hunt. I was overjoyed and to top it all off our “rookie” cameraman, Travis, had captured the exciting event all on video as if he was a seasoned pro!

I can’t thank Quentin Smith of QRS Outdoor Specialties and Travis Stevenson of the Split Rock Ranch enough for all their help on this adrenaline packed archery elk hunt!

NEXT… Colorado Archery Elk, hopefully I can do it again in Colorado! Look for this exciting hunt on Outback Outdoors soon and check back often for more updates and webisodes of what is starting to look like a banner hunting season at Outback Outdoors!

Trev – team Outback Outdoors

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Nevada Draw Results

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Nevada draw results were posted today and I was only able to come away with one tag. Although I had a good chance to draw multiple tags in my home state I came away with one, an archery cow elk tag.

After killing a great bull in 2006 I now have a waiting period of ten years before I am able to apply again. The waiting period is kind of a bummer but it doesn’t stop us from getting out in the mountains with the elk.

Many of the western states have great elk hunting and may provide residents the opportunity to hunt bulls every year. Not here in Nevada. We look forward to any chance to chase elk, cows or bulls, it doesn’t matter.

Anyone who spends time chasing elk through the tall sage or quaking aspens will appreciate my luck in the Nevada draw. 

Nate Johnston and Dave Beronio, with Nates NV archery cow elk

So while waiting for my ten year holding pattern to end on bulls I’ll be enjoying getting in on cows primal style and putting meat on the table for my family and friends.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I am still waiting for results from a few other states. Hoping you as well are blessed with the opportunity to hit the mountains with tag in hand.

Elk Hunting – Rembembering the 2009 archery elk season

Friday, February 5th, 2010

My reward for the year in wildlife management is the archery elk season.  I love all aspects of hunting, but there are few activities that are as challenging and exciting as pursuing elk with a bow and arrow.  I average about 30 days a year hunting or guiding archery elk hunts. I feel that from the amount of time I spend calling and hunting elk and the areas I am able to guide and hunt in has given me not only some incredible memories and experiences but also a great education in how to hunt elk.  It is this education and some fun stories I want to share with you here from time to time.

I feel that when archery hunting elk, first and foremost, is you need to simply be able to enjoy the experience. For me just having a close encounter with a rut crazed bull is as rewarding as harvesting that big herd bull.  My first bit of advice is to just enjoy the moment, enjoy the hunt and the people you are with. If you base your success on just the harvest, I feel you miss out on so much of what archery hunting for elk is all about.

The bull pictured below is a great example of a close call.  When calling to elk, or any game for that matter, I try to create an illusion of a scenario where that bull would naturally come to.  Calling is more than just making elk noises, it is knowing how to “communicate” with a particular animal. This bull was a classic example of this.  There were four or five bulls bugling in the canyon below where my hunter and I were listening from.  I guessed there were 40 to 50 elk in the herd, the wind was not perfect but workable, my hunter was capable of getting into position so we made a play. Now here was the challenge, how do I make my set up more attractive and enticing than 40 to 50 real elk, all talking their fool heads off? A cross wind that is far from perfect and a fairly new archery elk hunter that is still needing some coaching on how to set up, when to move, when to sit, etc.  1st thing we did, before ever making a call was to find a spot close to the elk, but were I could call out of sight of the elk but in sight of my hunter. We found a great “break” in the hill that would accomplish this beautifully, as long as the wind holds… well it was looking like a good set up.

Now for the calling, how do I get a bull to leave 40 to 50 cows? First I gave a lost cow call, then a minute or so later one more. Even though I didn’t get a response to either call, I knew that the bulls could definitely hear me.  Then I gave one more lost cow call with a squeelly little bugle right after… that did it, now I had one talking back! Ok, so now how do I keep the attention of this bull and get him to come upwind of my hunter? Can I get the bull committed or will I loose him to the mass of elk below? I hit the bull right back with an excited cow call, trying to say “hey big boy, get this little guy away from me…” but right as he bugles back to the cow call, I cut him off with another little squeelly bugle. Oh, that is just flat out rude was the bulls reply to me cutting him off!! But I can see now that I am getting under his skin, I have his full attention, and he is coming closer… perfect!  Now I would have liked to have set up closer to the herd, but with an inexperienced hunter, questionable wind, and a great spot to set up a little over 150 yards away from the herd….. well I made the most of the set up. The bull being an elk like he was started to circle down wind of my hunter and I, so I changed my location to keep the bull coming on a line that would bring him upwind and close to my hunter. All the time continuing my conversation and illusion of a small bull running off with a hot cow. Well, now I hear the bull has “hung up” I was anticipating this as we had to set up further away than what I find is typically successful distance to be. The bull would continue to respond to both the cow calls and the bugle, but was not wanting to leave the 40 to 50 cows in the canyon below. From experience, I could guess that this was as much as the calling would do, so I shut up. By going silent on the bull, I was giving my hunter and I the opportunity to move in closer of need be, or see if the bull’s curiosity would get the better of him. When the bull kept bugling at me after I quit calling I felt his curiosity might get the best of him, then after a few more bugles at me without a response, the next bugle was closer, a lot closer. Then I could see his tan hide moving thru the brush but he was going to be down wind of my hunter before a shot could be had, so quickly I made a soft cow call, it worked, he turned back on the “line” I had planned out for him. But now, I was so close he could tell right where the call came from. Good thing I picked a good set up spot as I had the break of the hill to my advantage, the bull now was 25 to 30 yards from my hunter and about 50 yards from me so I he could see where there should be a cow elk standing. Here is where a Montana decoy is a killer!! I had the decoy popped up but laying on the ground next to me, I slowly held the decoy up, saw I had the bulls attention and slowly dropped it back out of sight. That did it! Here he comes! When the bull was 10 yards from my hunter I stopped him with a loud and quick cow call in the best shooting lane my hunter had. Everything was perfect, the elk 10 yards away from the hunter, his full attention on my location, but he quartered his shoulder towards the hunter. So close but no shot at all. He stood here for a what seemed like a life time and finially detected that something was just not quite right and turned and walked away without ever offering an ethical shot.  I was able to snap a quick picture of him here right before he walked into the shooting lane.

For me, working the bull, getting him close to my hunter, and having that experience is what I live for.  I hope by me sharing my story, I am keeping the fire in you for next September and maybe you learned a little too.