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    Escapades of an Elk Hunter - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Escapades of an Elk Hunter

    Chad Rodvold of Field Dress has been sending me weekly updates of his cousin’s elk hunting trip. “So what?” you may ask. Well, lots of people share their hunt experiences, but how many times has the first chapter of a story been about a monster, three-legged bull?

    Marshall - Every year my father, uncle, brother and I get together for a week of non-stop bowhunting in either Colorado, for elk, or North Dakota, for whitetail. This year is like no other, as everyone had a tough year financially and we decided we’ll have to wait until next year to get together. My uncle’s son, however, finally decided he would like to take up bowhunting and drew both elk and mule deer tags. In previous years, he would always join us in the woods, but he never had the passion for the actual “hunt”. He has been calling me every evening to not only rub it in, but mostly to get advice and tell me about the happenings. The story he told me the other night was one we’ll be telling around the campfire for years to come.

    He scouted pretty well and had been seeing quite a few cows and a couple monster mule deer on a consistent basis. In the morning hunt, he glassed the area they’ve been in and the valley was alive with activity. The mule deer bucks, herd of cows, and a couple rag horned elk were out. A friend came up the night before and the two devised the route to take. They had radios, a perfect wind, and my cousin set out on his first true stalk.

    He decided to go after the rag-horned elk, as they were preoccupied with each other in a morning scrap. It didn’t take him long to get within sixty yards. He feels extremely confident shooting within forty yards and as he stopped to figure out the plan, he heard the familiar “crack” to his left.

    Now, the rest might be hard for some to believe, but let me tell you, the boy doesn’t have it in him to lie. He looked down the ridge and there was the grand-daddy bull elk standing forty-yards away through the pines. He set up just in front of a pine and some brush preparing for the shot. He couldn’t tell how big, but could see a mass of horns walking directly to him. As the bull came through the pines into clear view, he counted eight points on one side and as he described it, “horns going every direction” on the other. He also noticed the bull had a limp and realized one of his back legs had been shot off just above the knee. An eight by (?), three-legged monster bull elk on his first elk hunt. The wind was perfect, blowing directly in his face and the adrenaline was kicking in as the bull kept walking to within twenty yards. Never offering a shot, the bull kept coming to ten yards. At fifteen-feet, the bull stopped to relieve himself and my cousin swore he felt the spray on his face. He absolutely had no idea what to do with a bull that close and continuing to get closer and closer. My cousin was slightly above him, as the bull had been walking up the ridge and fifteen-feet quickly became five-feet and then TWO-FEET. My cousin closed his eyes to try and calm down and when he opened them all he saw were horns surrounding his body. The bull had put his head down to feed and had he turned his head would’ve hit my cousin for sure. Being an agile young man, he slowly contorted to draw his bow, never realizing if he actually would extend his arm he would hit the bull directly in the forehead with the end of his arrow. As the monster grand-daddy lifted his head, they met eyes and I’m sure they both “shat” themselves. I can’t imagine the feeling of looking into the eyes of such a majestic animal at that distance. In a moment the three-legged eight-point grand-daddy monster bull was gone and my cousin was left standing to wonder what he could’ve done. To me, it doesn’t really matter. He might not ever get the biggest bull in our camp, but he’ll always be able to keep us captivated with the best elk hunt story ever told.

    He has another week or so to go after him and has promised to not forget a camera. I’ll keep you informed as I look forward to the evening updates.


    Cool, huh? Now I was hooked, so the next update:

    Three-Legged Bull Update!

    Well, my cousin is really getting into them. He’s been having the most luck in the morning hunts and yesterday was no exception. He spotted a couple cows and the monster muley in the same general area as before and headed out. A snow front started in which made for a beautiful walk in. About half way up he spooked something and froze. As he looked to his right, getting up from their beds were two moose. It’s rare, but every once in a while we’ll come upon one. This was a small bull and cow and they just kind of wondered off into the timber. He continued up the trail and got about one hundred yards out from where he saw the cows and stopped to glass. As he was glassing, down below him, the herd was moving his way. He initially saw numerous cows, a six-point bull, and more horns through the pines, but couldn’t make out their sizes. In his mind, however, all he saw was “Tripod”, the eight-point, three-legged bull, he’s seen over and over in his dreams since last week. He put out a couple bugles and got the answer he was looking for from the six-point. They talked back and forth for a while, but the big bull didn’t want to leave the herd. He thought Tripod must be in the area. Then suddenly, a nice four-point appeared in a clearing, forty-yards out. Perfect shooting distance, but Tripod got the better of him. First-time elk hunting and I think he believes its always going to be this way. Little sh*t passed him up and continued towards the herd. The six-point wanted nothing to do with his bugling and took the herd off into timber and again Tripod was victorious.

    How many of us passed a nice trophy because of the one that got away still fresh in our minds? In the field training for the rookie elk hunter. Whatever he is doing however, he must be doing something right. He was able to get a picture of the walk in on his cell and thinks he got some of the moose and elk. I’ll have to wait for him to get on a computer to send everything over. The way his hunts are going, I don’t think he’ll be in civilization until he and Tripod meet again. More to come…

    It’s kinda fun, following this.

    My cousin devised a way to set-up a bow cam, as he is hunting by himself. He was so excited after his morning hunt, he drove back to Denver and wrote the following, along with posting the video on YouTube. Sorry for the shameless plug in the video…he is my cousin however. Gotta love him. The bull comes into great focus and range about 2 minutes in.

    Again, I started my morning hunt in the same spot I have hunted now for the last couple of weeks. I leave the truck and start on the trail at 6:30 am. It’s only about a 15 minute hike to my first glassing point. I glass for only a couple of minutes before spotting the herd a little over a mile away. I have a nice little trial that drops down low off the ridge and dumps me right into the open meadow where I saw those moose a couple days ago. On my way down, I spot a cow moose out in the field grazing. I know the bull is around somewhere. I slow my walk down until I get to the bottom, still watching the cow, and find a nice spot behind a couple of pine trees. Note to self, if you are going to take electronics out on a hunt, make sure they are functioning properly before you spot a 30 inch bull moose laying down in the brush 50 yards away! That’s right, I go fire up my bow camera, and the tape is set on lock mode to prevent recording over previous items. Usually not a problem, just pull out the tape, flip a little deal on the tape, pop it back in and video some moose right there in front of me. It is a big deal when you have your camera bolted down to an aluminum plate which makes it impossible to do the switch without any tools or scaring away the wildlife. Luckily, I had my backup Nikon in the pack and was able to take some good shots. Meanwhile, I can hear the elk bugling out over these moose moving across the ridge. It’s time to make a move. The only problem is there is a big moose in the way of where I need to go to get to where the elk are moving. I spit out a couple moose calls to let them know my presence. Normally, I would have sat there all morning without them noticing me but the elk are getting away. A couple poor moose calls later, the cow moose gets comfortable and lies down. Fifteen minutes later, I announce my hiding spot by getting up and walking back over to my pack. Finally, they get up and start walking away. First time I have actually wanted to scare a big bull moose away. I can make my way over to the other side of the ridge where I get set up to start in on the elk calls. This is where the fun begins.

    I start in on my cow call. I get set up where if the come through the trees in front of me, it makes for a nice shot. Another problem occurs. The first bugle I get from my call is behind me a couple hundred yards. I quickly get up and move to the other side of this nice little gully probably 50 yards wide that runs up the bigger ridge. I just reversed my plan, so to speak. The wind at this point is barely moving. I get set up in my new spot, flip open that bow camera that I have been so eagerly waiting to use, hit record and spit out another cow call. Right on the other side, I hear this massive bugle unload probably 80 yards. I haven’t got a visual yet. A couple more cow calls, I finally get this “nice six-point” to come out in the open. My cow calls get this bull to drop down the rocky facing, unleash several enormous bugles that only the video camera can begin to describe, and walk across this gully only to disappear into the pine. I keep after the cow calls and while I can only hear the six-point, I accidentally called in another bull behind me. I just realized that my “nice six” was now more interested in this other bull. I hear both sets of bugles and slowly start to follow. Finally when the both sets meet up, all I hear is two massive set of antlers go at one another less then a hundred yards away. I pick up the pace to maybe get a small glimpse at what I can only hear. I keep seeing “Tripod”, the massive eight-point three-legged bull in my mind. This battle went on for well over a minute. I am guessing that second bull had to have been pretty good size to go at it with the one I was watching. Before I get up to the scene, I spot the herd of cow elk trotting across up on top of me. Probably a dozen go by before I see the bull that won the battle that I tried to observe. I decide to go right into the bugle thinking maybe with how worked up he is, he might come after another big bull. He trots off through the pine, herding his cows along the way. Meanwhile, I take a seat and start to recap on what had just happened. I get interrupted by a cow call right on the other side of my little gully. So I cow call back. This goes on for the next couple of minutes. I get these half a dozen cows to become pretty interested in me. So I sat there and worked on my cow call a little bit with the real thing. Kind of fine tuned it a little to get ready for tomorrows hunt. On my hike back to the truck, I listened to several more bugles coming from deep into the trees. I know they will be out tomorrow. It’s just another typical day seeing the elk and exchanging bugles with bulls less then the length of a football field away. I am the only one hunting this area. After watching the video a few times of that bull elk bugling right into the lens of my camera, I can’t wait to get up a little earlier and do it all over again tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow’s hunt I won’t get distracted by the moose. It’s probably time to plot a new way around the bull moose to hunt the bull elk


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    One Response to “Escapades of an Elk Hunter”

    1. Escapades of an Elk Hunter | Mode & Design Says:

      [...] Chad Rodvold of Field Dress has been sending me weekly updates of his cousin’s elk hunting trip. “So what?” you may ask. Well, lots of people share their hunt experiences, but how many times has the first chapter of a story been about a monster, three-legged bull? Marshall - Every year my father, uncle, brother and I get together for a week of non-stop bowhunting in either Colorado, for elk, or North Dakota, for whitetail. This year is like no other, as everyone had a tough year financially an Se källan [...]