PSE’s Dustin Jones Documenting the Hunt
So recently I was asked to be a part of an elk hunting documentary called Elk Tour. This was a great opportunity to spend three days chasing elk in hopes of putting some meat in the freezer as well as capturing it all on film. I was like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. I had been looking forward to this hunt and was counting down the days.
My dad had taken the day before the hunt off and headed up and had set up camp while he patiently waited for my brother and me to meet up there. Once we got there we immediately began to plan what we were going to do the next morning. We finally narrowed it down and went to bed. That next morning we were up and headed out to the top of the ridge in hopes of hearing the elk screaming away. We made the climb and just as we got to the top, we heard a bull bugle off in the distance. My brother and I got all set up and my dad was set up further up the ridge calling. The adrenaline was going and we were all anxious to start seeing some elk. But unfortunately the elk never came into the calls.
We then made it around to our trail cameras we had on a water hole that we had found. We check the pictures to see if the elk were coming in for water and from both cameras we could tell that they were coming in occasionally but not as many elk as we would have liked to have seen. But they were coming into the water in the evenings, so we made a decision that I would sit up on the water hole that evening and my dad was going to sit down below near this meadow. As I sat up on the water hole, there was nothing moving. The elk weren’t talking and the night was closing in so I decided to hunt my way back down to where my dad was sitting.
As I came into the opening I could hear my dad cow calling so I made sure I was in the tree line as I slowly made my way closer. Just as I saw him he started waving to me to hurry over to him and pumping his fist; the universal sign of success. As I hurried up to him he told me the whole story. He was sitting there watching the meadow when he saw a cow and what he thought was a spike hot on her trail. The bull was chasing her around and they were moving in closer to where my dad was sitting. Then they made their way into the trees so he hustled down the trail and as he rounded the corner he could hear them walking around. He then spotted the cow through a little opening so he ranged her and she was just over 50 yards. So my dad got ready and just as he was getting ready, the spike busted the cow and there he stood in her place. He was just 10 yards further from where she was and my dad ranged him at 61 yards. He drew back and waited for him to turn just enough to give him a shot. Just as he turned my dad let the arrow fly. The bull was quartering away from him as he shot and my dad saw the arrow hit the bull. He was a little uneasy about the shot but as he explained it to me I thought without a doubt that he wouldn’t have gone very far. Where we were hunting there have been several grizzly bear encounters and even some attacks. So with the evening fast approaching and my dad was uneasy about the shot we backed out for the night.
The next morning my dad and my brother headed out in search of the elk while my buddy and I tried put another elk on the ground. We got all set up early in the morning at the top of the ridge and it wasn’t too much longer that we started hearing something walking through the brush. We glassed down the hill and saw several elk wandering back and forth so I let out a couple cow calls on my reed to try and draw them up. Then we sat and watched as the small herd zig zagged their way up the ridge our way. I started getting excited and the adrenaline was pumping. I had my arrow knocked and ready to go. My friend looked over and he said that he saw the broadhead just bouncing because of the nerves. They came within 60 yards of us but never offered me a clean shot due to some fallen timber they were behind. The lead cow ended up busting us and then they were gone.
We then side hilled up the canyon hoping to get a glimpse at the herd again. Unfortunately we never got another opportunity at that herd. But in our search, we ended up hearing a bull bugle further up the canyon. This was one of the few bulls that were actually vocal so we snuck into position and listened in. You could tell this was a decent herd bull by the way how vocal he was. I let out a few cow calls and he would bugle back at me. I then got him ticked off at me by letting of a young bull bugle in his direction. You could hear him raking trees, scraping the rocks on the ground, and running all over the place. This whole time he was doing this we were just waiting for him to show himself. We sat and listened for a while hoping he would just walk out of the timber and into the open. We then started noticing he was making his way back down the canyon so we tried making a stalk on them from behind. Luck wasn’t on our side this time either.
We then headed back to meet up with my dad to help pack out his elk. Even though packing out the elk quarters and the meat is always a lot of work, there is nothing better knowing that you have meat in the freezer. That evening we had some fresh elk back straps for dinner next to the campfire. We did go back out hunting that evening and the following morning but we didn’t encounter any elk. It was a great weekend of elk hunting and I was happy to have been able to share that moment with my dad and my brother. Nothing beats coming home with meat in the freezer.
Dustin Jones is a passionate outdoorsman who loves to hunt, especially bowhunt. He created his blog, HighCountryBowhunter.com, to share his experiences with others. He is a Field Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com and Adventure Team member for MINOX Hunting Optics.
Dustin was born and raised in Eastern Idaho where he currently resides with his wife and two sons.