Believe it or not, sitting confined in a tree stand for 15 hours a day for 3 days straight is physically demanding. And when a total of one deer (a doe) comes in over that 3 day period, the mental strain is even worse; especially when you have a trail camera showing both deer and elk visiting the stand every single day for a month and a half straight.

herd of elk
                  Can any more elk crowd into this space?


Archery hunting elk in treestand
                               Not much wiggle room for a 15 hour stint


What happened to the deer and elk? I’m sure the influx of hunters into an area that had mostly been ignored by people for most of the summer. With gun shots ringing out from folks plinking at targets, to dogs barking relentlessly, it was no wonder that all the animals in the vicinity completely changed their summertime pattern/behavior. Unfortunately that is the price one pays when hunting public land.

two point spike bull elk  spike bull elk

              Legal spike bull...a 2 point spike                      Another one of the bulls coming into our stand


The first 5 days of the season I held out for a spike elk, even though my tag was good for either a spike or cow. However I never even got a shot opportunity at either. Thinking back on all of the trail cam pics I realize that I may have been lulled into thinking this hunt would be like shooting fish in a barrel…not even close. But as the second weekend rolled around, I knew I’d only have one evening to hunt so I decided that if I had a shot opportunity, I was going to take it.


rain storm during elk hunt
                 Storm clouds brewing


Friday evening found me in the mountains again, looking up to mostly cloudy skies. Fortunately it wasn’t raining since this part of the state had had continual rain for the past week. It had been just over 2 hours since climbing into my tree stand and I was fidgeting a bit to get comfortable. Snap…or was that a clank? Just as I moved I heard a noise, but I couldn’t be sure if I had just heard a tree branch break or if I had bumped something on my tree stand. For the next minute I listened intently and looked in every direction, nothing. I relaxed a little and continued to survey the area in front of me and to both sides.




As I craned my neck to my left and a little behind me, there stood a cow elk only 8 yards away. I froze. After a few moments the elk walked right underneath me at 6 yards and continued to my right and then began to loop out and around right in front of me. Perfect.


I went hunting elk, archery elk hunt
                                     Now the work begins, especially in this thick stand of pines


As the cow continued on its circular path in front of me, it passed behind a clump of 4 pine trees, that’s when I drew my bow. Seconds later the elk stepped out from behind the trees a mere 20 yards away, I let my arrow fly. The shot hit its mark on the quartering elk as it only traveled 70 yards, I had filled my tag!