Elk with a Bow 

I wish I could say that I was able to call in my bull elk to within bow range this past archery season. Or that I was able put on a great stalk and arrow my bull. However that just wasn't the case, it was all about being in the right place at the right time...along with a bit of luck.

6 point bull elk in velvet, archery bow hunt
        6 point bull elk...too bad I only had a spike elk tag...


After weeks of scouting for elk and deer, the Utah archery hunt finally arrived. My son had an archery deer tag in his pocket and I had both a deer and spike elk tag in mine.


archery deer and elk hunt, utah bow hunt
         My son and I the day before the opener


Early opening morning we headed out in hopes of finding a velvet antlered animal. We spent two hard days of hunting, only to see one nice 3 point buck that Dallas just missed at 60 yards. In fact, the shot right at dusk was so close to perfect that we both thought he had hit the buck. After a small celebration we walked up to the spot where the deer, which moments ago had jumped straight into the air before it bolted into the timber, last stood. Much to our surprise we found Dallas’ arrow just past the place where the deer once stood and there wasn’t the smallest hint of blood…the classic "clean miss".


3 point buck archery bow hunt utah
                 Nice 3 point hiding in the shadows


Unfortunately for Dallas his hunting season was over after just two days because of obligations to work and school. But luckily for me, my trip was only half over! The next day, Monday, was fairly uneventful. I did see one little 2 point buck that I watched for nearly an hour, but he was just too small. I did end up having a close encounter with that buck just minutes after he caught sight of me while he fed at 40 yards. Obviously he couldn’t tell what I was because he repeatedly raised and lowered is head as he tried to detect movement in my direction. Slowly the buck worked uphill to within 7 yards of me! The air currents were definitely in my favor early that morning because that young buck never detected my presence. As he turned broadside and slowly fed away from me, I couldn’t help but imagine what the outcome would have been if that buck had been a big ol’ 4 point or a spike elk…


spike bull elk velvet archery hunt utah
                                       Just the kind of bulls I was looking for!


Then it happened! It was the last day of my trip, I hadn’t seen anything all morning, it was 12:55 pm, the heat of the day was bearing down on me and I was kind of bummed out as I headed down the canyon back to camp for lunch. Just as I rounded a slight bend in the canyon, I happened to look up onto the side hill and saw several elk staring straight at me 120 yards away. 

Oh no, I was busted! Instantly a cow and a calf turned and trotted away. Quickly my eyes scanned the remaining elk that polka-dotted a 30 square yard patch of quaking aspen looking for a spike…and there he was!

It was as if time stood still because within an instant I contemplated a slow stealthy stalk (which I figured would spook the already alert elk before I could get close enough for a shot), returning for an evening still hunt across this hill side (but I figured why leave when I have a bull elk within sight) or making my way straight at the bull at a steady deliberate pace (which I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain). 

Halfway between me and the spike bull stood a big old pine tree. I backed up a couple of steps until my view of the bull elk was completely blocked and started walking directly at the bull. As I arrived at the pine tree I had no idea whether or not any of the elk remained. I half expected, well, I did expect that the elk had slinked away undetected. Now that I was standing right next to the tree, through the pine bows I could see a cow elk staring right at me. Her presence was a great sign! I now knew that there was a great chance that the spike bull would also be near.

Without hesitation I drew my bow and stepped out around the side of the pine tree. There he was at 65 yards! I settled my 60 yard sight pin near the top of his back and let my carbon arrow fly. The muzzy broadhead did its job and I was cleaning my elk within the hour.

spike bull elk archery bow hunt  velvet spike bull elk archery hunt

                  Nice 22 inch spike with my bow!                                     Back to camp with my bull elk


Even though I wasn’t able to share the moment with my son standing at my side, I was able to share the moment (pictures and all) through a quickly placed cell phone call right there on the mountain!