We were back bright and early the next morning. Jesse drove us halfway up the mountain in his side-by-side and after a short but intense 20 minute climb we were at the peak. Jesse quickly found a small group of bulls again with 2 nice 6 pointers in it, squaring off. They entertained us for a while before they headed back into the thick timber across the way. Then Jesse spotted a big black bear foraging down below us. It was exciting to see as we were in no danger with Jesse packing heat. After another day of seeing elk but not connecting, we were feeling a little discouraged to be honest. We called the guys up north to see how they were doing. We found out that Jon had a big 6 point bull almost in range that day, before a gust of wind switched and blew it out.
Tensions were starting to rise in both camps now, with only 2 days to go. Lucky for us we had a weather change moving in with a rain/snow mix and temps dropping into the thirties that night. It was just what the doctor ordered. As we pulled up to the same ranch the next morning, we could already hear a bull bugling on top of the hillside we were hunting the day before. It was foggy and damp, and Jesse was very excited. “This is exactly what we needed to bring the elk back down to the valley from the thick timber above” he said.
After a slightly strenuous hike up what Jesse refers to as “The trail of tears” we hit the top of a gorgeous butte with a rock outcrop. This was one of Jesse’s favorite ambush spots and he told us his hunters had harvested numerous elk sitting in this exact location over the years. We barely had a chance to catch our breath before we heard a deep bugle from the ridge across from us. Jesse quickly got Ross and I into position and gave two soft cow calls. We got an immediate response and the hunt was on. Jesse called again and said he expected one more bugle before the big bull made his appearance.
However, with the fog as thick as it was, it was hard to see more than 50 yards in front of us. The next thing we heard sounded like a horse coming down the hill through the brush in front of us. Jesse told me to draw my bow and just as I was at full draw, I saw this magnificent bull standing 30 yards away staring right at me. I held as still as I could with my heart was pumping wildly! The adrenaline was flowing through my veins. After what seemed like a minute, he turned and started back down the hill. He stopped and turned for one last look and gave me a perfect quartering away shot at 35 yd and I squeezed the release and hit home. The big bull stumbled 50 yd down the hill and fell over stone dead!