I promised my wife a long time ago that this would be her weekend to hunt elk. I would take her out and do all of the calling etc. We were going to be hunting an area she had drawn a tag for in which I couldn't hunt, so I would be an innocent bystander. She does real good putting up with my non stop forays so I felt I should give her at least one weekend of elk season.
But there was a catch she wouldn't be able to go until after noon on Friday. Since I had Friday off I figured I could get a quick run up the mountain before she would be home. So when she left for work at 5 a.m. I headed for the hills. I put on my headlamp and hiked for an hour before the sun came up. I was climbing a steep ridge that has held elk in the past but since wolves and a fire the numbers are drastically down. I had just shot my first stump of the day when I heard a bugle. I moved up into a little draw and started my calling sequence. every time I would bugle a bull would respond but he didnt seem to be closing the distance. So i headed across the burn real slow trying to figure out where he was. Just over the ridge I busted 2 whitetails who ran off snorting and crashing through the brush. I figured my chance was over. As they were running off I cow called 3 or 4 times in hopes the elk wouldn't catch on. Just then I heard a screaming bugle directly above me. As i was standing in the middle of a burn I had doubts of being able to hide. I looked below me and saw one large rock next to a tree that might hide me. I quickly moved there and before I could knock an arrow I saw the bull running down the hill my way. I started to peel off my frame pack, bugle, and binoculars but only got my left arm out by the time the bull was 40 yards and closing. The elk came straight to me as if on a string until he stepped out from behind a bush at 9 yards and saw a strange shaking rock. The bull stared for a second and busted out. I quickly gave a cow call with my mouth and the bull stopped at 20 yards and looked back. Perfect shot except the only tree around was right in front of the goodies. The bull kept looking at me then would look around. I thought no way is a shot going to happen. This whole time my arm was trembling and I was wondering how i would ever shoot with all of this stuff hanging on my right arm.
The bull finally lost interest and turned to leave. As he walked away at a perfect quartering angle I drew back and shot. Instantly I could see it was dead nuts perfect. The bull ran off with just a bit of my fletchings showing. I stood up and gave a huge bugle in excitement and the bull stopped for a second at about 75 yards before flipping over backwards dead. The simmons safari had buried through the bull and was just poking out the opposite shoulder leaving a heck of a nice hole.
Since it was only 9 am I figured I could easily pack out the bull by noon and save my wife's hunt. It was straight downhill for a mile or two should be easy right?
Luckily i had my frame with me and decided to take a front quarter, a hindquarter, the head and my hunting gear on the first load. I soon realized my mistake and struggled to get the first load down by noon. My wife met me to pick up the first load and I went back to get the next. This was a front, a hind, and a bag with all the backstraps, tenderloins, and scrap meat. For the next few hours I struggled until it was finally out. By the time it was out I was severely dehydrated and cursing myself for turning down help to pack it out.
Luckily my wife was waiting with about 6 powerades and some subway for me. We had the meat hanging in a cooler by about 7 PM.
This morning we got up at 4 and headed to her spot to hunt. We spent 3 hours playing games with a nice 6 point but no shooting. I don't remember ever being so sore in my life as i am right now, but suspect I have felt that way before.