We had a good day yesterday so we hoped for another good day today. It was better than good, it was great. We spotted a great bull at sunrise. He had left the agricultural fields and was heading up to bed. We glassed him for well over an hour and we put him to bed. Wes knows this property well and we have a good idea he will stay put. Wes was concerned with the wind - there basically isn't any. Dead calm. So that factors into our decision.
With the bull as option 1 we decided to look for an alternate option and that was Mule Deer. We got into some good bucks yesterday and they don't move around much this time of year so we went back to that same general area and we found the same two groups of bucks all over again.
Now we had decisions to make. The Bull or the Bucks? It was a tough call but we decided the bucks were in a better location for the wind than the bull. The bull was in the trees and with no wind it would be noisy and risky. The Muleys were in the open country brush in a draw. A better option. We headed up the mountain.
It didn't take long to get up there and before long we were inching our way down to the mule deer. We had a great stalk and we knew we were within spitting distance of both bedded bucks, but we couldn't see them. They were tucked down in some tall Mahogany brush at a steep angle. The wind was getting squirrelly so rather than wait it out we decided to move on them. It was a bad call, the bucks were closer than we thought - only 25 yards.
So when we moved they picked us off. The big 4x3 ran up the opposite hillside and looked back. It was a far shot for me, but I've been practicing for this hunt and I shoot my No Cam exceptionally well. most of the time - but not this time. I took the shot and missed clean. The video shows the arrow was perfect left and right, but I aimed too high at an alarmed buck and he jumped string. In all honesty, even without the deer reaction it was too high. It was a poke for us eastern shooters for sure. After a few minutes of beating ourselves up for blowing a good setup, Wes convinced me to try a 60 yard practice shot to see if my bow was on. I dead-centered a clump of dirt at 60 yards. Blame the shooter, not the gear.
We still have a great elk bedded. It's gonna be another terrific day.
We put a plan together and headed up the mountain to find that big 6x6. Wes had a good idea where he was bedded so we set up 100 yards away and did some very subtle calling. After a while with no response, we kept moving north through the trees in a very slow, deliberate still-hunt. We never found the bull. We don't think we blew him out, rather he probably slipped out while we were chasing deer and doing other things during the mid-day.
We ended up the afternoon by glassing the West side of the mountain. Wes found two bulls, a mature 5pt and mature 6pt. Neither was as good as the bull from this morning and it was far too late to do anything with them. There is a huge herd of elk somewhere in this area but they've not shown up yet. This has happened before to me, but the good news is we have lots of animals around and plenty of action. Looking forward to tomorrow's hunt.
Pat's Gear for this Bowhunt