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2018 Archery Elk

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2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 1]

Going into the 2018 archery elk season has got to be the worst shape ive been in. Plenty of excuses to go through and my back problems weren't making things any better. Shooting my bow, going for long walks and practicing calling was the prep work for this year. No lifting or running involved. The week of my hunt has finally arrived. It was time to shoot the broadheads one last time and sharpen them before packing everything up. A slight slip of the hand and a few stitches later, I was finally ready for the hunt. What else could go wrong?

A few additions to my hunting gear. Not your typical upgrade if you want to call it that. 3 of us traveling decided it would be better not to have a trailer. Saving on gas money but the draw back is room. 100$ topper later we were set.
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BrentLaBere
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 2]

Crossing rivers like this one makes a guy wonder......"whats the fishing like"? No time for that yet.
Back to the top priority. Views always help a long drive
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 3]

It always surprises me the difference and difficulty of the terrain ive studied on maps all summer. After driving around for some time we finally settled on a camping/parking spot. Just enough time to set up camp and check out the trail head for the morning. The game plan is set and so is my alarm. Always a great feeling of anticipation for the first morning hunt. The trail goes up in the dark and into an unknown area, the hill is steep, my legs are weak and did I mention im out of shape. Its a good thing we started as early as possible. Still a few minutes before shooting light, so its time for a break. Took me awhile to catch my breathe. And when I finally did it was time to start calling. After covering a little more ground and a few more calls, we had our first bugle.

Covering a little more ground trying to pinpoint the bull it was clear he was coming. So many unknowns hunting a new area. And I didn't expect it to happen this fast. Not to mention this bull was all the way across the canyon from us. We decided to dive bomb to the bottom of the canyon. Nope, its too late. Hes on the ridge across from us in a clearing, glaring into the timber on our side. He bugles two more times and decides to head to the bottom. No way we were going to beat him so we set up. I moved down the drainage trying to keep the wind in my favor. The caller was up the ridge and more in line with the bull. The bull is hesitant as he drops down the ridge always keeping an eye where he hears the cow calls coming from. As he is hesitating I decide to up the calling with some raking and bugles cutting him off each time. The bull is clearly fired up and begins to side hill us but not coming any closer. The terrain is steep and I ranged him at 125 yards straight across from me. He refuses to commit and heads down the drainage and out of our lives. This bull was so fired up I thought it was going to happen.

Always looking back on the situation you need to learn something. In this case its simply the terrain. I didn't know it and it worked against us. After the long day hunt of blowdowns hot hillsides and naps on ant hills, we got a quick glimpse of the bulls view on our way back to the truck that night. The timber we were in wasn't as thick as we hope for. Where he paralleled us and looked for cows was open enough for him to see something. He didn't and wasn't coming any further. A decoy would have worked wonders in this situation. But, to put it point blank, the bull beat us today.

We had another encounter that evening but it wasnt one we were proud of. Moving in too quick on an old bull thats played the game before. His bugle sounded far off but he was just in the right place with the right wind. It was a close encounter, but we werent expecting it. Overall it was a great start to the hunt
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 4]

Where the hell is the popcorn emoticon? Who owns this damn joint anyway! Good stuff Brent, enjoying the ride ;)
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 5]

Recapping on the day it sounded like we were the ones that got the best elk action. Both groups decided to pick new areas to hunt the next day.
After some barley pops and food we had a spot picked out on the map. We would start from the same location and branch out. Another early start for the slow poke, thats me, and were off with the clear skies giving us enough light to navigate in the dark. Two ridge lines separating a big basin was a good point to go our on ways. My hunting partner and I went up the one to the right. Looked ok from the start but soon we were sliding on dry ground trying to get our footing. My bow is taking a beating climbing with hands and knees at some points. Looking up ahead was worrying. Almost getting cliffed out in the first quarter mile we start to think we took a bad route.....ya think? After some navigating and tossing the bow to use both hands we made it to the ridge. Covered in sweat and tired without covering much ground we take a break and listen for elk. Crickets for the most part besides those elky sounding birds.
We cooled off and got our gear in order. I was the shooter again. Working the ridge line slowly calling and looking/smelling for elk we come across a small 4 point that my partner saw. Bull! he whispers. I try to get ready quick and range the elk as its moving through the timber. 87 yards with no luck for a shot. We move after this small bull in hopes of catching him. I keep giving him pleading cow sounds but he wasnt interested.
This is normally the point where the shooter caller switch in our group. Youre up, i said to my hunting partner. He denied his opportunity and said he wasn't going to count that.
He move on the ridge and its starting to flatten out to some more benchy open type country. The smell of elk is in the air. Starting to give a few cow calls with a few whiny ones mixed in. I give out a location bugle. One fires back with some intensity. Game on!
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 6]

The bull was a few hundred yards away and we cover the ground fast. Im in the lead with my hunter partner 75 yards behind me cow calling our way in. The bull is firing off every time we call to him. The wind is going slightly down hill to our right as we move in. I drop lower than where the bugles are coming from anticipating the bull to possibly circle to get our wind. We are now within what we think is 100 yards and my partner cow calls behind me and im ready with my bugle. The bull fires off and I rip an intense challenge at him. Immediately i hear branches breaking with huffing as the bull moves towards us. He lights up a couple more times as he tries to get our wind. I spot legs and antlers moving 70 yards or so in the timber ahead of me. Oh no! hes going to get my wind. The bull is almost directly down hill from me now with the caller trying to move to draw the bull in without the wind in his favor. Mother nature is on our side today. The bull has now done a complete circle around us and is now where we walked in on him from. The wind is in my face and this bull is looking for the cows behind me. He starts to display 40 yards away but i cant get a shot. This goes on for a few minutes and Im nervous that mother nature is only going to help us for so long. I pick up my bugle tube and rip a nasty lip bawl. Setting down my tube I take a few steps forward anticipating which way the bull will clear the thick trees. He takes the side to my left and bugles as he looks for his challenger. I barked at him stopping him with a few limbs in the way, shoot no shot!. taking two steps I bark one more time to buy a second. The window is clear and my pin is set. whack!
The bull whirls and falls over trees on his way out. We only heard crashing for a few moments and then the woods were silent.
Here is the location of my shot.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 7]

The wait is up and the search is on. 18 yards was the shot and I start looking for my arrow. Here are his tracks but no arrow and no blood..... the feeling you get in your stomach. Slow moving we search for tracks and find his. Moving in on them we find a few drops here and there but nothing to make me feel any better. Oh man this sucks.... but its no time to feel sorry for yourself. Ive been in this situation before. I have his direction he was moving and tell my hunting partner to stay at the last track and blood we found. I slip off my pack and knock an arrow moving slow through the timber. After crawling along like im still hunting I look up hill from my location and see a rack moving in the trees. Hes bedded and alive. Rushing the shot like a damn rookie, I launch my arrow for 30 yards at the bedded bull. He takes off and im hoping for a good hit.
meeting back up with my buddy we bow walk in the direction he went. Again, not much blood besides the bed he was in. Im feeling horrible at this point but not hopeless.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 8]

Catching a glimpse of hide in the timber I pull up my binos. He had expired trying to flee from my last shot about 100 yards away.
This is what I walked up to.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 9]

Taking a few quick pictures and then moving him to even ground where we can start breaking him down.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 10]

The rest of the story to come.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Swede » 11 30, 2018 •  [Post 11]

Great story and congratulations on a fine bull.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby ElkNut1 » 12 02, 2018 •  [Post 12]

Brent, awesome brother, you played him like a true Pro, that's how to deal with an aggressive bull, congrats!

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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby stringunner » 12 02, 2018 •  [Post 13]

Looking forward to the rest of the story. Great so far and dandy bull! Congrats.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Indian Summer » 12 03, 2018 •  [Post 14]

Congratulations Brent. Very nice bull.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 04, 2018 •  [Post 15]

Thanks guys.

Set up for the last pack out. I was nervous about my back, but the more I moved the better it seemed to get. The temps were high for the after noon but cooled off nice at night. Several times frost lined the tent and coolers in the early morning, so keeping the meat in the creek bottom was no worry. But it would have to get to town the next day. Heres the makeshift meat pole.

We made a quick hunt in the morning and had a buddy come with me to town. the drive was much further than we anticipated but the burger and beer was well worth it.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 04, 2018 •  [Post 16]

I wont post the others stories until they get a chance to do what they want with it.... but in the off season I will have plenty of encounters to discuss. Calling was the name of the game this year and we had some fun.
We also ran into pressured elk and quite a few hunters. But that's just part of the public land game. Hunted with someone new for the first time this year and had a great hunt with them. It seems we were magnets to dead fall and quickly got the reputation that we would try and pick the hardest route. Plenty of cuts and bruises but we had good laughs around the fire telling stories before we head our separate ways. You can see how the topper was needed. We were fully loaded and had to get creative with seating arrangements.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 04, 2018 •  [Post 17]

Getting back to reality and hearing sad news across the hunting community can set you back to look at the big picture. Getting out of the woods safely and heading home to your family is something to be thankful for. Hunting bear country in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem has its challenges and dangers. Even on a side note from that. Ive heard plenty of times that you are more likely to get in an accident driving to and from your hunt. That was just about the case for us. I was able to swerve out of the way of a passing vehicle in the opposite direction. The semi they were passing had to swerve as well but it didnt turn out too well for the hood of my hunting buddy behind me. Something fell off the trailer and smashed into his hood. No time to react. A fraction of a second either way it could have turned out much worse for the vehicle and worse yet the driver.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Elkhunttoo » 12 04, 2018 •  [Post 18]

Wow!!! That was extremely close.... glad everyone was okay... thanks for sharing your great season with us, I need to do the same one of these days when I have a bit more time... congrats!!!
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Roosiebull » 12 05, 2018 •  [Post 19]

Man! What a great read! Thanks! Beautiful heavy bull too!

What ended up being the shot placement on your bull? Did you hit him the second time?

Great, great story!
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 05, 2018 •  [Post 20]

Roosiebull wrote:Man! What a great read! Thanks! Beautiful heavy bull too!

What ended up being the shot placement on your bull? Did you hit him the second time?

Great, great story!


Took a few pictures just didnt get both sides. It was a pass through. High and back for the first one and the second one was above the shoulder blade and a pass through as well. Basically a back strap/neck shot, you can see a little bit of blood from it in the pictures. Im thinking the arrow deflected off a branch on the second shot.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Swede » 12 06, 2018 •  [Post 21]

BrentLaBere wrote:We also ran into pressured elk and quite a few hunters. But that's just part of the public land game.


I too have enjoyed going along on your hunt Brent. It is a good read and the pictures help to bring us along. I have been wondering just what you were telling us in the part of the story I quoted? Were there parts of your hunting area that was not pressured from too many other hunters? Were the elk you got pushed into the area by the other hunters? How were you able to call in elk where other hunters have been constantly pestering them?
Where I have been hunting the elk quickly go to the ranch as soon as the hunters invade the woods, and the cattle cover nearly all the landscape. The elk don't answer and will literally run away from even an excellent location bugle. I am thinking there is something different about our hunting areas, but I don't know what it is.

Thanks for your answer in advance.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby saddlesore » 12 06, 2018 •  [Post 22]

Swede wrote:Where I have been hunting the elk quickly go to the ranch as soon as the hunters invade the woods, and the cattle cover nearly all the landscape. The elk don't answer and will literally run away from even an excellent location bugle. I am thinking there is something different about our hunting areas, but I don't know what it is.


Hey Swede,that is about all of Colorado public land now. I did get Luke Kessler far enough back in last year to get past them though.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby ElkNut1 » 12 06, 2018 •  [Post 23]

swede, pressured elk react as pressured elk. Non-pressured elk react as Non-pressured elk no matter the state or unit! That's the real world difference!


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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Swede » 12 06, 2018 •  [Post 24]

ElkNut1 wrote:swede, pressured elk react as pressured elk. Non-pressured elk react as Non-pressured elk no matter the state or unit! That's the real world difference!


Are you sure? Do pressured elk in an area, where there is no sanctuary within many miles, react the same as elk that just needs to jump a barbed wire cattle fence to escape? Do elk that get pressure through a season react the first day of the season as they do on the last? Do bulls that go to the ranch to herd up cows come back to a pressured area? How soon? Are elk in the mountains of Idaho, where roads are often miles apart going to behave the same as elk in central Oregon where you can't find a space between drivable roads 1/4 mile apart? Do pressured elk in areas of very heavy cover behave the same as their open country relatives? How many hunters per square mile, tooting on their elk flutes, does it take to call a place "pressured"? Does wolf predation or cougars affect how elk respond? Please tell me if they are all the same where to draw the lines with these nuances.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 07, 2018 •  [Post 25]

Swede wrote:
BrentLaBere wrote:We also ran into pressured elk and quite a few hunters. But that's just part of the public land game.


I too have enjoyed going along on your hunt Brent. It is a good read and the pictures help to bring us along. I have been wondering just what you were telling us in the part of the story I quoted? Were there parts of your hunting area that was not pressured from too many other hunters? Were the elk you got pushed into the area by the other hunters? How were you able to call in elk where other hunters have been constantly pestering them?
Where I have been hunting the elk quickly go to the ranch as soon as the hunters invade the woods, and the cattle cover nearly all the landscape. The elk don't answer and will literally run away from even an excellent location bugle. I am thinking there is something different about our hunting areas, but I don't know what it is.

Thanks for your answer in advance.


Yes, we certainly found pockets that hunters hadnt touched or pressured yet. Cant say with certainty or not that the elk moved to these locations because of pressure but its how I looked at the situation going into the hunt. I would say its harder to call in elk that have been pressured. If not impossible at times. When we were in areas of high pressure, the elk wouldnt respond at all or very little. They would clam up and move slow through the timber just out of reach for the most part. But, being pressured versus elk busting the hunter is way different. We called the same herd bull in twice. The first time through we didnt get shots and he was scrambling chasing cows and looking for more. Second time around when we bugled at him he pushed his cows away, wasnt playing the same game twice. It didnt help that we were too far away either but adjusting to cow calls and moving in fast to him gave us another opportunity. He turned and came to swoop the cow up that he heard (pleading and whining trying to catch up) offering a shot away from the herd. I would also say I didnt get many responses, if any, with simple location bugles. It was usually on the 3rd or 4th bugle. I thought of it more like advertising and displaying type bugles. Thats what got the response and it seemed for the bulls without cows, they were not having another bull come into their area and display. A lot of pre rut type action. We did have other encounters where you cant do the full out bugle to get them excited and come in. It was almost like they got their butts whipped before and would simply respond to a bugle but would be more interested cow calls and come to those. I certainly dont believe in the 1 play in the playbook method. Adjusting to the elk is key and its not always easy.
There are areas of private that hold elk but they will go back and forth. The way I adjust to this is hunt later in the year or after the peak rut. Seems like other elk will go into areas you can catch them away from all the commotion of the later rut activity. Dark and deep timber is what I will be hunting and simply trying to cut them off.(im a magnet to deadfall if you remember parts of the story i described) Little to no calling at all for this type of hunting though. Completely different styles. Also needs to be added, im not a picky elk hunter.
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby Swede » 12 07, 2018 •  [Post 26]

Brent, you answered what I wanted to know. How long have you hunted that area? You have a lot of elk wisdom adjusting to the situation where you are hunting. I am hoping this is a learning opportunity for many here.
Thanks
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby otcWill » 12 12, 2018 •  [Post 27]

Well done Brent! Enjoyed the story
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Re: 2018 Archery Elk

Postby BrentLaBere » 12 14, 2018 •  [Post 28]

Thanks guys.
Biologist aged him at 6 years.
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