Office to Elk

Squinting into the sun I glance uphill. Sweat beads and falls into the corners of my eyes. Mouth agape I try to control my breathing. Two seconds of rest and we are moving again. Time is not on our side. A short drive up the mountain after work has us in elk country. We only have a couple hours to try and make something happen.

After leaving the truck, roughly an hour of traveling at breakneck speed finally has us in a good position. From high on a ridge my friend lets out a bugle. Almost instantly we get a response. The game has now changed. We pause briefly, I sip water and eat a snickers. The sweat on my back cools. Shifting into low gear we begin to creep into the valley.

Halfway down the bull lets out a guttural bugle followed by a couple chuckles. In the still air he sounds deceptively close. Now in the shadows we continue our sneak. Cows become visible on the opposite side of the timber choked valley. The bull continues talking to anyone who will listen. We close the gap.

Photos by Steven Brutger

Photos by Steven Brutger

Crossing a small stream and moving through a fresh wallow we are getting close. Cognizant of every movement each step is deliberate. Our cow call is answered by a scream as the bull makes his intentions known. He’s not going any where. We are instructed to join him. At seventy yards we get our first glimpse of the majestic animal.

Despite the apparent lack of wind the entire air mass was ever so slightly moving toward the elk. We were pinned. With light beginning to fade our only option was a last ditch effort to circle the bunch and get down wind. We forced our hand.

At last light the cows busted us. Given more time the move might have panned out, but that wasn’t an option. Leaving the country the bull continued to bugle. His way of letting everyone know where he’s at and gauging the distance between those left in the dust.

 

 

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