Idaho Archery 6×8 Bull Elk Hunt

In From The Field by Brian Rae2 Comments

From The Field

From the Field is all about you. Your best hunts, recipes, and general stories from Elk Country.

Have something you think should be featured? Submit Your Story.

I had arrived at the trailhead midday to meet my hunting partner who had been in our hunting area scouting and hunting for 2 days prior to my arrival. When I got there we discussed activity and locations and decided on a quick evening hunt as we still needed to head back in and I needed to set up my camp.

Around 6pm we were on the trail ready to hunt. After moving down a canyon for about a half-hour we heard a bugle. We started working towards it and got to within 100 yards and set up. I was the caller and began a calling routine. A satellite bull made his way towards us but my shooter was not able to get a shot. We shadowed the herd until sunset and then decided to back out and come back in the morning.

The next morning we found the herd in the same canyon and snuck towards them again. We got to within 150 yards and initiated another set up. The herd was ahead of us and above us on a small bench. I had my hunting partner Todd, the shooter, set up about 50 yards in front of me. I backed off about 25 yards and started with assembly calls and calf mews. The bull would respond to my calls but would not leave his cows. I moved about 50 yards to the left and back of my shooter and in about 5 minutes the bull was bugling directly above me but still on the bench. Next I moved off to the right of my shooter and the bull shadowed me and was again directly above me but still on the bench. I added in frustrated cow calls and estrus buzz’s and this went on for about another 15 minutes. At this point I decided to start raking a tree and breaking branches. My intention was to create a scenario in the bulls head where possibly another bull or one of his satellite bulls was now on those cows and preparing to steal them away. I did not want to bugle as I felt that would be giving the bull too much information, and I wanted the situation to be as mysterious as possible to the bull and let him use his own imagination as to what was happening. This action worked and committed the bull to coming in. I could hear his bugle getting closer and branches breaking. Next I heard a shot and then in the next instant a crack. Either Todd had hit bone or a tree branch. I continued calling to the bull and within a few seconds saw him coming through the trees. I was not in a great position to shoot as I was trying to conceal myself while playing the role of caller. The bull continued to work his way towards me and stopped about 15 yards from me. I could see that the bull was not wounded but was very nervous, looking back in the direction where Todd was at and in my direction where he expected to see cows. I however was pinned behind a group of trees and had no shot. After a short while he let out another bugle and started to angle away, back towards his cows. When he turned I was able to move to the edge of the trees I was standing behind and when he moved past a tree himself I had an opportunity to draw my bow and cow call to stop him. I didn’t have time to range him but estimated him at about 45 yards. My shot was held for his far shoulder as he was slightly quartering away. The release felt good, after it hit and he started to run I could see the placement was right where I wanted it. After his initial burst he slowed and made his way through trees and brush, stopping every few yards. I knew he wouldn’t go far. The blood trail was easy to follow.

I typically hunt by myself and am used to calling in my own bulls. I had decided that on this hunt I was not going to be selfish and play the role of a good “caller”. I was going to stay back behind the shooter and commit to helping another get a bull regardless of how much I wanted to watch or be the one getting the action. You never know what’s going to happen or how a situation is going to play out when your hunting elk in the high-country. You can only suggest what they should do. In the end It was me the “caller” who was able to seal the deal. Its funny how the universe works sometimes!

-Brian Rae, Idaho

Submit Your Story

By checking this box, you acknowledge that you are the original, full owner of the story/content, that my content follows the guidelines, and you have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the terms of this release.

The Media. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 5705 Grant Creek Road, PO Box 8249, Missoula, MT 59807-8249 (“RMEF”) is accepting media items (e.g., photos, videos, text) to be shared on social media and other platforms. The media items typically show members engaged in hunting and other activities related to RMEF’s mission.

Rights Granted by You. By sharing a media item with us on social media, you grant RMEF the nonexclusive right and copyrights where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the world, without limitation, the media item for advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent.

Warranties.You warrant that you are the author/owner/publisher of the materials you are providing and/or that you have obtained all necessary legal rights and permissions to use the materials and/or convey their use to others. You warrant that you are of legal age and have the right to contract in your own name.

Hold Harmless. By participating, you agree to be fully unconditionally bound by this agreement, and you represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements. By entering, you agree to release and hold harmless RMEF from any liability or damage that may occur from use of the media item.

THIS AGREEMENT IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF MONTANA, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of sharing the media item, you agree that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Montana having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with sharing the media item). You further waive all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports ethical and responsible hunting. In order to give your story the best chance of being featured by us, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • No nudity, foul language, alcohol or drug usage
  • No illegal or unethical acts
    • Legality does not constitute ethicality
  • Honor game, other wildlife, and the land
    • Adhere to ethical shots that result in certain and quick kills
    • Treat quarry with respect before and after the shot
  • Keep away from buildings, machinery, livestock and crops
  • Know and follow all state and federal regulations
  • Respect the values and customs of those who do not hunt