If some of you recall last year’s hunting story, here in region 1, about the evidence on the bull I took last year
of being confronted by predators. In that story because of not seeing or hearing them howl that I didn’t write of at least two animals running in on us from behind seconds after the bull crashed, and leaving as fast as they came in from catching our scent. I would be willing to bet the ranch it was a pair of wolves that came in from the 7 to 8 minutes of bugling the bull and I had.
Which now brings us to the hunting story for 2010 in region 1 and somewhat closer to the Canadian border. It was Oct. 2nd, the plan was to meet up with my son-in-law Cory and his dad Dick Cowley at 4:00 am, to make the 40+ mile drive well before light in order to bugle up a response in one of many drainages that we plan to try. Once there, with numerous attempts of calling in the dark, only two options prevailed. Not exactly like years in the past with a response in almost every drainage and sometimes multiple answers. Now with Dawns early light upon us our decision of which bull to go after was made. Geared up with bows in hand Dick led us through the thick woods and just before approaching the creek and since I was packing the big kahuna (an over sized grunt tube) I opted to be the caller of this threesome. It was time to make some noise and see if he was still interested or even around. Oh Yea, with an immediate response from the bull we were all reminded of how much fun and exciting this sport is. Still some distance off, we will need to move in on him, which brings us to the bank of the creek. Well let me tell you it was more of a good sized stream and there was no way in hell we were going to cross without getting our feet wet and in this 20 degree weather I’m sure none of us were ready to do so. That’s when I saw it, an old giant spruce tree just upstream from us was spanning across to the other side like a bridge, that’s if a guy was crazy enough to try it on all that slippery bark. So Cory and Dick had no choice but to follow me across if they wanted to be in on the hunt. Once on the other side we encountered brushville so it took us a little time just to find a place that we might be able to get a shot. Without wasting anymore time Cory went to my right about 20 yds. and Dick to my left about 20 yds. even though I couldn’t see him I knew he was ready for me to cut loose with a bugle, and Bam, the bull gave us his version of “get out of my house” and that’s when I realized I didn’t have a clear lane anywhere and had to move up about 10 yds while on my knees. I found one fairly clear hole through the brush and this was going to have to do because we could hear the bull raking some trees and it was time for me to call his bluff. With the big kahuna pointing towards Cory I cut loose with a here I am! That’s all it took before we could hear some movement and catch a glimpse of a tan body cautiously coming our way. This is when my adrenalin goes into warp speed, and that pounding in your ears is your very own heart. About 28 yds out he stops, with no clear shot , looking for this bull that dares to challenge him. Just a couple more steps and I’ll get the shot, finally he moves forward. I came to full draw with one more step and he stops with a body jolt looking right at me, that tells you one thing, you have less than three seconds to do your thing or it will be game over. With not much thinking going on in my head, instinct took over and picked a spot. The hit was proceeded by a crak of some brush, the bull whirled to his left with my arrow sticking out of what looked like his shoulder, not exactly the place I was aiming. A lot of us, right after the shot have learned to bugle or cow call, already out of sight I hit him with a bugle and bam he bugles right back as though this was just a game of tag, so I bugle again and dam he bugles again with no hesitation, not exactly what you want to hear right now, so I gave him about 1 min. before I bugled and once again he responded but this time ending his bugle with a few grunts. I’m thinking now to be quiet for a while and consult with Cory and Dick of what they saw and what should be our next move. After about 8-10 min. of discussion I bugled one more time with nothing but a tree squirrel scolding us just for being there. Either the bull was starting to feel the effects of the shot or he’s continued up this endless brush covered mountain for good. With cool and clear weather we decided to back out and give him some extra time. Finally finding some sunshine, to warm up and get a bite to eat was great but I was still very uneasy about my shot and how the day would end up. Hunting with people who are more than just good friends must add to the confidence of the days outcome. It was time to pick up the blood trail and just a few yards from where I hit the bull Cory found my arrow snapped off right behind the broadhead with not much blood on the shaft. Heading in the direction the bull exited the spots of blood started to appear through the heavy cover and finally after climbing up on a shelf where the bull must have last answered me for the pools of blood looked more encouraging, now moving with extreme caution to make sure not to bump in to the bull. That’s when we herd the first howl that sounded like it was about 18 of a mile away,I think it was Dick that asked was that the bull? My reply was and I’m not sure why I knew this but, that was a wolf and he’s calling the others. Within 3 minutes
there was one howling in front, above and below us with the one behind us much closer, realizing we must be close to the bull. This time the wolves honed in on the sent of the blood. I decided to move us about 20 yards farther up the hillside with the wolves continuing to howl all around us especially the one below us, even though they weren’t 50 yards away they never showed them selves. I suggested to hold tight and be at the ready for our intruders. With the situation at DEFCON 5 I somehow noticed the bloodtrail going up the embankment and crawled up a few yards, as I stood up I saw the bulls antlers tip from one side to the other. Ducking back down to let Dick & Cory know the bull was right above us not 25 yds. away. I attempted to get a second shot at the bull but with stumps and brush in the way, that just was not going to happen. by now the only wolf howling was the one below us and after several more minutes that one finally became quiet. As I watch intently the bulls rack lay still for some time for the knowing my bull died in piece and the realization if we were 20 minutes later on his blood trail that these alfa predators would have torn up this majestic animal that we love to see, hear, and hunt. I called down to Cory and his Dad, we have our bull; It wasn’t just another bull for me, it was about a confirming experience for all three of us and how much trouble our wildlife is in from the Holocaust imposed on them by the liberal fools that they are. It was time to fill out the tag and take numerous photos of(Almost Wolf Bait) and me before the work starts. The next 10 hours of labor well into the night finally found our selves back at the truck with all the meat, cape and antlers, tired, hungry, and cold wet boots, three grown men took a few seconds for a group hug before jumping in that nice warm F-150 and headed home.
Paul H. Martin