by Paul Martin
It was the morning of Sept. 27, 2006 at that same favorite hunting spot in region 1 but this hunt I was on my own, it had been numerous years since I’d been here and only a mile or so up the trail with gaining light as I crossed a small spring I could see the canine like tracks in the mudded areas, sign I am not happy to see .
Further up the trail and the next spring crossing the predator’s tracks were everywhere and not just large ones, but medium and small ones to, holy crap families of them. How long will it be before hunting here becomes a wast of time? I had to rid those thoughts out of my head and keep going if I was to find anything. Another mile or so up the trail I finally cut some elk tracks. Now with some hope I continued on and started to do some calling, but nothing as of yet would answer.
Up the trail again I found a set of large tracks, and it was time to bugle, but once again nothing, so a change of direction in my calling was in order, and this time the response was the kind you like to hear. That long screaming bugle ending in one big freaky nasty grunt. You just know this is going to be interesting. Being aware of my wind direction I need to run up the trail and find a way in this brushy thick hillside. Finding a clear shooting lane is something of a problem, now is this starting to sound familiar or what? O.K. I’m setup and cut loose with a bugle and the response was immediate, oh yeah, the hunt is now, but now I’m thinking this is a bad spot to get one in, so I charge forward to a new setup, with hopes of not busting into him. I let out another bugle and he comes right back with that long scream. Once again I’m not happy with this spot and charge forward for the final move (I think). Setup and bugled he answers much closer now, directly in front of me. I grabbed a stick and did some raking, he bugled again, but somehow he was to my right. “Bang”, holy crap again, that’s when I heard the crash of their antlers hitting together. Oh man, what to do now? They weren’t 40 yds. away, but with all the brush I could barely see them. I had to get closer. With all the crashing brush busting noise and excitement going on I didn’t see the one cow they must have been fighting over. As she ran off right by the two bulls, I thought for sure I had done it that time, but these two gladiators were so intent on killing each other they didn’t even notice the cow leaving the scene. I tell you this was no sparring match between a couple of buddies, but an all out frantic display between two 800 lb bulls. I was sure to witness one of the bulls death if one of them didn’t give up.
After about ten minutes it finally happened, one of the bulls turned to get way. I watched him take a brow tine in the rump from the other bull. As the loser of the fight went by me from my right to left I turned to the right and got a good glimpse of the 6×6 going back up the hill to find his cow. I looked back at the bull still moving to my left and drew my bow on purpose for him to catch my movement. As he stopped broadside and turned his head towards me, in the only clear lane to be had, I could see his heavy breathing from the exertion of the fight, I watched my arrow pass through his chest and on to somewhere in the woods of Montana. He trotted forward the 35 yds. where he would fall just out of sight.
On my knees regrouping my thoughts from the last minutes and seconds, I recalled something odd about his antlers, that’s when the bull up on the hill broke the silence with a good long bugle, expecting a response from his opponent, who now lay quite on the forest floor. It was time to claim my trophy, and recognize his life in the wild, and to admire his antlers as no two are exactly alike. With no bez tines he’s a P&Y 5×5 with a fairly wide spread. Once again it was time to fill out my tag and take many pictures.
Realization was starting to set in that I was in trouble and was going to need some help. This was the hunt that taught me any distance from camp to pack game bags in case we kill one. It was a chore just gutting him out and with no cell service it was all the way back to camp and to the main road to call a friend. Craig Jore arrived about 3:30, and was I glad to see him. The over 4 miles from camp, it took Craig and I over two days to get cape, rack, and well over 4 hundred lbs. of meat back to camp. I vowed to him “if I ever hunt here again I will arrange to have horses pack it, but it’s times like these that we’ll never (in a good way) forget. I’m sure we’re not the only ones that give some of the animals we have harvested pet names, to me they are not just trophies on the wall or scores to boast about, but I take their lives so we can exist, so I named him Brutus, it just seemed to fit, like the bull I harvested on Sept. 25, 2009, the bull Diann named Mr. Sumo, who was the winner of that fight in 2006. And now you know the rest of the related story.
P.S. In total belief they appear to be at least half brothers if not full brothers.