Monday, April 25, 2011

Texan's Successful First Bow Hunt for Elk

I have a Dentist that has become a friend through his practice. He and his staff saw me through some difficult times with a couple of root canals and crowns. They have become more or less extended family. Most of my family and many friends have been treated by Doc and his staff, we recommend them to anyone we know needing dental care. If you live in the Round Rock, Texas area you should check them out too.

This article is not about Dentistry, it is about archery hunting for elk and beginner's luck. Dr. Ducote or Drew went on his first bowhunt for elk this last year and I kind of armchair coached him on the bowhunting part. Anyhow Doc gets set up with a bow, starts practicing with his bow, hires a guide and takes his father with him on an elk hunt. I think I will let Drew tell the rest of the story, but I will throw in that the first elk called in was a gollywhopper and being the good son Drew lets his dad fling the first arrow. It unfortunately was flung right over the top of the big bull elk, such are the stories of first time elk hunts. Here is the rest of the story straight from the horse’s mouth, or maybe I should say from the Doc’s mouth. Wild Ed


When: September 25th 2010

Where: CedarEdge Colorado

First morning of the first day of a 5 day guided archery hunt. My FIRST bow hunt! First animal I've ever taken with a bow!
The night before was cloudy which blocked the moon and from what the guides told my Dad and I; would make for a good morning hunt.
During the rut the elk will become almost nocturnal if given enough evening moonlight.

That morning we woke to a light drizzle and overcast skies. The perfect elk bowhunting weather.

The experience was nothing like hunting whitetail as the technique was to listen for bugling and sprint off in the direction of the noise.
After an hour ride in a 6 wheel ATV followed by an hour hike up to 11000ft we arrived at first light for what turned out to be a thrilling morning.

We immediately heard some aggressive bugling (which to my untrained ears sounded like it was miles away). We took off following the guide through thick brush trying to protect our bows before our face and arms. My Dad and I chose to hunt together with one guide to maximize the experience and be there to witness should either of us harvest an animal.

I was completely puzzled that we did not have to be quiet like hunting most game. The guide explained that during the elk rut the bulls are rather noisy and as long as we don't speak and are not scented they will just assume it's another bull encroaching on their territory. It can actually play to our advantage.

We suddenly came to a small clearing with knee high grass and low hanging cedars.

Our extraordinary guide also named Ed (in his late 50's who kicked our butt up and down the hill carrying a 30lb pack with a first aid kit, field dressing equipment and emergency gear) told me to move up wind 50 yards and "get ready" I did as instructed at which point he proceeded to let out all manner of bugles and cow calls. He was a master with those tubes! Sure enough here came from my right what looked to me like the largest elk on the planet. I pulled back to full draw using my newly broken in Bowtech Destroyer 350 set to 60lb draw weight. Thanks to Double G archery in Georgetown for answering my rookie questions and getting me set up with the right gear for the hunt.

So now I was locked at full draw in a semi-squat with the bull approaching broadside at 30 yards. It seemed like an easy shot if I could just stand enough to ensure my arrow did not deflect off a branch at my current eye level. Just then while trying to decide my next move with my arm starting to quiver, he turned and stared right at me. Seemingly puzzled and learning that he was a young bull, he tried to figure out what I was - with no scent attached to my camouflaged silhouette. It seemed to drag on for minutes with me trying to be still and him trying to decide whether to charge or run away. He turned his head for a split second in the direction of Ed (my guide) and my dad who were standing together watching the entire scene unfold. This was my chance! I stood and let the 2 blade Rage mechanical broadhead sail. Double lunged the bull - perfect shot! He turned and ran over a small hill where he laid to rest not more than 200 yards from the point of impact.

Needless to say I was extremely lucky but also well prepared.. With the success rate around 6% for archery bulls in this unit, I spent many hours conditioning and practicing with my bow so when the moment presented itself I would be ready. The remaining time we hiked 8-10miles per day in search of a legal bull for my dad Kent. He did not connect this trip but we have booked our return for next September.

I must give special thanks to Wild Ed for encouraging me to pick up the bow and enjoy the outdoors. I had some reservation about switching from a rifle to bow but he told me there was nothing like it and he was right! I left my rifle in the case the rest of the season and took my bow with me to the deer lease. The challenge is great but the reward is too.

Best of Luck

- Dr. Drew

Dr. Andrew Ducote
Patriot Dental P.C.
503 E. Palm Valley Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78664

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