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Expect the Unexpected

By Paul Askew

My elk hunt was not what it was supposed to be, but it probably worked out better than it would have in the first place.

A disc herniated in my lower back again in June, so the elk hunt we were preparing in May was not going to happen. I decided to focus on deer in the early season and do a couple of short elk hunts in small road less areas that I learned of after my first surgery.

After a slow opener that was dedicated to Robert trying for a mule deer, this week I asked my friend Micah if he would like to do a 2 day hunt for elk in Central, OR. The plan was to hunt Friday all day and if we were not into elk by Saturday morning, we head home.

Well, we had elk talking Friday morning, but nothing close. Friday night, it was my step son Robert and I hunted by ourselfs. Micah set up alone  lower in the same drainage. Robert and I bumped 3 cows on are way into where we were going to try for an ambush, and got a little discouraged at that point. I figured that those couldn’t be the only elk in the area, so we went on a couple of hundred yards to a rock out crop that gave us a vantage point and sat up there.

I sat Robert on one side of the out crop, and I was about 50 yards away on the on the other side. The plans were simple, sit there and wait for elk to come by while calling every now and then.We did a couple of long calling sequences at first and then just did a couple of calls each every 5 to 10 minutes.

In between calling, I heard a bugle. I figured it was another hunter, but Robert using a Lead Cow and Calf call by Primo’s had a bull respond. The bull responded, and he was coming. I dashed over to where Robert was and had him drop back 75 yards. Robert continued to call and the bull continued to bugle. With shaky hands, I ranged off some trees and branches. Within seconds, a cow showed up in front of the bull first and stood right at a pre-ranged tree limb. The bull came up behind her but was behind a couple of small pine trees.

When the cow turned to look back, I drew and settled my pin on her first, because I had never shot an elk before, but thought no, that bull will step out in a second. Well, the cow took a couple of steps forward and then turned around and went back where she came from, and I thought it was over.

I decided to take a half step forward to try and find the bull. Sure enough, I had a good window at the vitals and knew the yardage. Still at full draw, I took my time, found his vitals, concentrated, and released.

I heard a solid thump, but not a thwack and got real nervous. I decided to give the bull overnight and am glad I did. After a restless and I mean restless, sick to my stomach, nervous wreck, sleepless night, I got up and started looking for the bull. I the shot hit a little far back, but it did the trick.

I got to thank Micah for all of his help getting that bull out and Robert for his calling. Had Micah not been able to go, I would not have attempted to drop such an elk. With just Robert and I to pack it out.