I must appologize to the loyal readers first. Archery season for elk started the 3rd of Sept. and the bugle has just gotten really hot over the past week. Sorry for the lack of fishing reports, but I really want to kill an elk this year with my bow. I will be more up-to-date over the next few weeks.
I have been guiding a little, but I have spent many many hours hiking the mountains around West Yellowstone searching for bull elk. My Dad is here to bow hunt along with me and we have had tons of fun. This morning was the most successful hunt we have been on yet. Another friend, hunting partner and local fishing guide, Brian Worley, hunted with us this morning. He had gotten into a hot bull the night before, after a day of guiding the Madison and we went back in there to get on him again. Right away he was bugling and we got right on him. After many bugles from him and us, he bugged out and we thought the morning was over.
On the way back to the Land Cruiser another bull bugled and was even hotter. Dad and I went ahead while Brian stayed back, rather unselfishly, and called at this bull. He was raking trees and screaming through the forest as Dad and I put the sneak on him and tried to close the gap. Brian was behind us 80 yards working this bull with cow calls. At about 35 yards, he let out a raging bugle and my breathing skipped a beat. This bull was right in front of us, but through the trees. Dad saw him first and then I picked him out through the pines. We snuck a little closer, nocked an arrow and got set for a shot. The bull came to 20 yards, stopped broadside and then out of nowhere another bull ran in 10 feet from him and ripped a bugle. His 5th and 6th tines reached back to his hind quarters. Both of these animals were large. All we needed now was for both bulls to take 3 steps out from behind the pines and both of us would have had shots at our own bulls. We had been careful to cover our scent, but with hiking all morning, we had worked up a little sweat. The second bull caught wind, bolted and then I cow called and stopped the other bull from spooking. It worked, but he was nervous and after about a minute he busted out breaking branches with his rack as he ran.
That was the closest we have been over the past 6 days of non-stop hunting. These kinds of things haunt ones memory. I have been this close before, but not with the opportunity to shoot. Days like this are the reason I keep hunting and fishing. “What ifs” are played out in my head after every day spent in the woods bow hunting elk…..especially after this morning. I truely think that bow hunting bull elk during the bugle is the most kick ass thing an outdoorsman can try to accomplish. But don’t get me wrong, trout fishing with a fly rod is right up there with it.
As for the fishing…….there are a few browns running up into the Park, but it is crowded. The Madison in Montana has been alittle tough on the bright sunny days, but the fish are still eating nymphs and dries with a well placed drag free drift. I will be guiding Thurs, Fri, and Sat and will give a more updated report then.