This morning we started hunting aprox 2 miles above where this bull was last seen. We are considering a higher spot to hunt that morning but after calling with location bugles several times & not receiving any response we decide to drop lower in hopes of hearing a bull. We dropped aprox a mile in distance & my Son Bugled & we heard a very distant bugle coming from the direction of that meadow, we found out later he was actually bugling well below it, so we heard this bull at a great distance away! We moved his direction as quick as the terrain would allow, as we got closer we could hear two bulls, we did not call anymore, instead we had a feeling that the bull was going to end up on that bench & possibly move through the meadow as he'd done in the past, this was also an escape route. That was our only chance at this bull, no way would we have an opportunity outside of that meadow because of the thick alders & underbrush as shown in above photos that surround it.
As we raced down that mountain we could hear the bulls bugling now & then at each other, we knew somehow we had to beat them to that meadow or our chance would be lost. The closer we got the more we were confident that the bull was doing what we'd hoped, he was heading right toward the meadow!!!! We could hear him coming & bugling from our right as we caught sight of the meadow but the bull was still 400-500 yards out coming towards our left. Our last 300yds to cover to get position was extremely noisy & rough as he'll to get down there! (grin) We were concerned that we made so much noise we would be heard but we had no choice & gambled he was still to far to hear well plus he was pre-occupied with this other bull.
We made it before him & now are just above the mineral lick aprox 35 yds it's below us & to our right! There is a trail or three that come into the lick & the small meadow, we didn't know which he would use? As we awaited his arrival we noticed with our wind detector that the wind was very iffy!!! It was heading towards the meadow & ever so slightly moving to our left, this was good but not real good as it seemed to hover in the meadow, we knew we had to take him before he or any elk hit the middle of that small meadow or we would be winded! This means we had about a 50yd window where he would come from the right side of the meadow towards the middle of it!
I really had hoped he didn't have cows because they would show 1st & that could blow the whole thing if they skirted into that meadow, we would be busted???? As the bull is now a 150yds out in the alders, he screams a lip bawl & a few seconds later another, I looked at my son & said CRAP!!! He's got cows & is rushing them ahead of him, sure enough within 30 seconds two cows emerge right into the lick area, they seemed nervous & scooted through it & headed across the meadow instead of through it!!! Wow, what a stroke of luck there! Then two more cows & two more, all scooted across the meadow instead of through it, our luck was holding out!!! Now we only hoped they didn't continue to our left or we would hear a "bark" game over!!! We didn't hear it, but did hear the bull bugle just a few yards in the alders, it was earth shattering, he was coming out & I could hear him give a 1/2 dozen glunks while still in the cover, to say I was excited with anticipation just desperately wanting to see him & to see if it was the same bull we spotted a week previously would be an understatement! (grin) I had an arrow knocked with that new Viper Trick & was trying to control my breathing, my release was hooked up & I was staring intently through my bow to break up my outline a bit, my son & I were feet apart on a slab of granite rock 30' high or so above the meadow floor so we had elevation on him. I was waiting for him to show & was very tense & awaiting the exact moment to draw so as not to be seen by him, I did not pay any attention to the cows. My son had his rangefinder out to get the exact distance although I had ranged several spots previous to his entrance, the plan was if he was walking I was to stop him with a nervous grunt for the shot & Paul would range him then, Paul was also trying to video here. I see his antlers emerge from the brush & I draw right then, as he quickly walks out he stops abruptly broadside looking in the direction of the cows & not at us, I am praying the wind holds up all this time!! (grin) I settle my 3 pins on him & ask Paul very quietly "how far"? He says 50yds, I hold a bit high because my 3rd pin is set at 40yds, I squeeze the trigger & see the arrow in slow motion heading right at him & smack!!! He hits the ground in a heap!! I'm stunned for a second not believing I hit him high? He's thrashing violently on the ground & I quickly knock another arrow & Paul says he's still 50yds hit him again, of course I was already in the process, I aim & fire & send an arrow through his lungs & clip his heart, this puts him down for good & shortly expires! WOW!!! What a rush guys! We were very fortunate for all of this to come together & work out!!! He is a great bull for this heavily hunted area, as you can see calling isn't needed at times to take elk, this was one of them!!