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OneWhoKnows
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Bow Hunt Report (Week 1) AKA My Elk, His Deer and The Shot I Did Not Take

tl;dr

Myself and two hunting partners arrived in camp on Friday night around 11pm, setup and went lights out around 11:30 with plans to head out on foot at 5:30am.

At about 8am, we're getting up and packing up - the rain doesn't help with motivation - but we're in the thick of it by 11am. At around 11:30, my hunting partners move back 100 yards from my position to make cow and bull calls in response to a bull that was about 150 yards out.

It sounds like a symphony of poorly tuned clarinets and oboes. 10 minutes pass by when the bull stops responding. The initial rush of adrenaline has passed, my breathing is normal and my body is like stone except for my eyes which dart back and forth straining to look beyond my eye sockets. I hear a bull challenge-call behind me and I know it's one of my hunting partners. I hear another, unexpected call about 80-100 yards to my left which must be a satellite bull come to check out all the commotion.

Then I hear it. A thundering crash. Small tree branches snap off of trees and the brush underneath crackles and breaks under the heavy weight of a bull. 20 yards directly in front of me a 4x4 bull wanders in. It's probably about 3-4 years old and very massive. It's a surreal experience when you see such a magnificent creature storm into your eye sight and it makes you wonder how you didn't hear it coming sooner. It lifts its head slightly and bugles. It starts off with a guttural growl and peaks into a high pitched squeal that almost makes me cringe. It's pointed straight at me, but doesn't seem to see me, then it turns left and quarters me. I raise my bow as slowly as possible, drawing all 75lbs in the process until the let off gives me reprieve. It steps between two trees and blocks my shot. I exhale slowly, the only thing I can hear is the rain, my heartbeat and this bull elk.

It bugles again and my hunting partners mimic the call, it gives me a broadside shot but is behind too much brush. Could I take the shot? Yes, but would it be a sure kill through the trees and fern? No. I don't take the shot. It turns and quarters me again. It either catches my scent or a bad feeling and turns completely and starts to move back. It hits a clearing at 80 yards out, according to my rangefinder. I've taken plenty of 100 yard shots and even have a pin for 75 yards, but the rain and whipping wind make for too many variables and I won't take an unethical shot. The bull moves on to live another day.

6 miles and about 1,000 feet of climbing later in terrain that would make Bear Grylls beg for an early check-in at whatever posh hotel he's staying at, I curse that fucking bull and vow to shoot the next thing that moves.

The following day we jumped a pair of deer (doe and fawn) and one stopped, completely broadside to us. Myself, I won't shoot an animal that still has a baby to take care of even if it's likely that the fawn/calf can live on its own, but one of my hunting partners didn't have such qualms. I ranged the doe for him at 37 yards, an easy shot. He didn't have a clear view from his vantage point, but I did. I told him to move 5 yards to his left and he'd have a clear shot... but he let his arrow loose from where he stood. The arrow either deflected or it was a bad shot from his angle, but when we recovered his arrow, the fletching and shaft was a dark green - which means a gut shot.

We waited 60 minutes (the reason you wait is because if you chase the animal right away, it will continue to move and the chances of you keeping up with a deer or elk in the woods is slim to none. You wait so that it can run off and bed down, then bleed out quickly. In my opinion, even that is too much. No deer, elk, bear or other creature that doesn't speak English (with the exception of Mexicans who may or may not be illegally working on my lawn) should travel more than 20 yards before death.

We followed the blood trail for about 200 yards before it became evident that the doe had found mud to roll around in (to stop the bleeding) and the rain had washed away too many signs for us to track it. We never recovered that doe.

This is why I will always and only take the ethical shot.
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Old 09-07-2009, 02:47 PM OneWhoKnows is offline  
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MadDog
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Interesting, what does 4x4 mean in relation to the bull that you could have shot?
Old 09-07-2009, 03:28 PM MadDog is offline  
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Social Misfit
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Good story, bow season doesn't open up here (Oklahoma) until october. Shame you couldn't get a shot on the big boy.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:29 PM Social Misfit is offline  
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bggrthnjsus
 
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you should step it up a notch from bow hunting and just sneak up on animals and strangle them
Old 09-07-2009, 03:34 PM bggrthnjsus is offline  
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OneWhoKnows
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadDog View Post
Interesting, what does 4x4 mean in relation to the bull that you could have shot?

4x4 means the number of prongs on its antler. For deer you'd call a 4x4 an 8 pointer. For elk (on the Oregon west-side, at least) it's a number for each side. You can have a 2x1 spike, for example.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:56 PM OneWhoKnows is offline  
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MadDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneWhoKnows View Post
4x4 means the number of prongs on its antler. For deer you'd call a 4x4 an 8 pointer. For elk (on the Oregon west-side, at least) it's a number for each side. You can have a 2x1 spike, for example.

ahh, makes sense
Old 09-07-2009, 04:01 PM MadDog is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadDog View Post
Interesting, what does 4x4 mean in relation to the bull that you could have shot?

The number of points on the "rack" of antlers.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:02 PM pyramid is offline  
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OneWhoKnows
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Some aftermath pictures:

Broke my stabilizer clean off after a 20 yard spill down a nearly sheer hillside. Boy was that a little hairy


The broadhead I was using this weekend.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:07 PM OneWhoKnows is offline  
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You should have used an RPG
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:59 PM tegandje is offline  
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matt00926
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Good story - I wouldn't want to go hunting with your friend again though. Not because he was willing to shoot what you weren't, but because he didn't even bother to listen even though you had a more accurate depiction of the scene.
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:27 PM matt00926 is offline  
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k1114
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Good story, bow season doesn't open up here (Oklahoma) until october. Shame you couldn't get a shot on the big boy.

You going out this year? Planning on going out my first time next month
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Social Misfit
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You going out this year? Planning on going out my first time next month

Will be my first time too. Not going for bow though, rifle only this season. I'm having to buy my first deer-sized weapon and i'd rather have a new rifle than a bow or muzzleloader.

I'm planning on hunting the Three Rivers WMA down in SE OK, near Broken Bow.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:55 PM Social Misfit is offline  
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Quote:
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Good story - I wouldn't want to go hunting with your friend again though. Not because he was willing to shoot what you weren't, but because he didn't even bother to listen even though you had a more accurate depiction of the scene.

True. It sounds like he was too caught up in bagging whatever he could find and didn't stop to think of the consequences.

The OP however sounds like the kind of hunter that everyone should aspire to be. Although he didn't get a deer, he did the right thing and didn't let an animal suffer.

I applaud you! You seem to know that there is more to hunting than shooting animals.
Old 09-07-2009, 07:11 PM ritalinjoe is offline  
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OneWhoKnows
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ritalinjoe View Post
True. It sounds like he was too caught up in bagging whatever he could find and didn't stop to think of the consequences.

The OP however sounds like the kind of hunter that everyone should aspire to be. Although he didn't get a deer, he did the right thing and didn't let an animal suffer.

I applaud you! You seem to know that there is more to hunting than shooting animals.

Thanks.

It seems like more and more, hunting is just another name for driving along logging roads until you come across an animal and then shoot it.

Myself and the guy I usually go with (who taught me how to hunt) prefer to go into areas no other hunters go. Tracking animals by their tracks, droppings and other environmental factors is so much rewarding whether or not you actually catch your game.

It's also one hell of a workout in the areas we hunt.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:36 AM OneWhoKnows is offline  
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k1114
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Originally Posted by Social Misfit View Post
Will be my first time too. Not going for bow though, rifle only this season. I'm having to buy my first deer-sized weapon and i'd rather have a new rifle than a bow or muzzleloader.

I'm planning on hunting the Three Rivers WMA down in SE OK, near Broken Bow.

I'm not crazy enough to go on public lands during rifle season... That's insane in this state!
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