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Colorado’s Mike Miller Tells Us about an Opening Morning Elk Archery Hunt


I’d been watching this large herd of elk for a couple of weeks that had one big herd bull, about 300 cows and eight satellite bulls. When I got my client in the position where he could see the herd, I said, “Okay. Here is the herd. We’re going to attempt to move close enough for you to get a shot at the herd bull without spooking the rest of the elk.” I knew where the herd probably would go, because I had been watching them for a while. “We will walk about mile or two to get around the herd and reach a saddle in the mountain through which I’m very sure the elk will walk.” I thought we had missed the herd, since I heard some cows calling above us. But we sat still for a few minutes, and I heard the bull bugle below us as he came up the trail. So, I didn’t call. We took a stand about 100 yards down the trail from the saddle in the mountain. I heard the elk bugle when he was about 1/2-mile away at the base of the mountain.

MikeMiller_day3That bull took his sweet time coming up the mountain. We saw cows and satellite bulls pass by us on the trail. I knew that the herd bull more than likely would be near the back of the herd. I saw a really nice 6x6 coming up the trail that I thought my hunter would want to shoot. However, then I looked back at the trail again and spotted the herd bull, I told my hunter, “Don’t shoot the 6 point. The herd bull is coming.” When the big herd bull was 25 yards out, my hunter was at full draw. I gave a light cow call to stop the bull. In my mind, I knew that the bull probably would fall off or run off the mountain when the hunter took the shot. I watched in amusement as the hunter released the arrow that then flew right over the bull’s back without even cutting a single hair. The bull ran about five steps and then continued to walk up the hill.

I told my hunter, “The bull was at the end of the elk train, so let’s back out away from the trail. I will go out the top of the mountain to see where the elk have gone.” I climbed up to the top of the mountain, left my hunter behind me and saw all the cows and the bull bedded down. I came back to my hunter and told him, “Okay, let’s rest, and eat lunch. Then we’ll try for that bull again. I know where the elk will go to another watering hole not very far from here, after they rest.” We got down to the watering hole at about 11:15 or 11:30 am, and sure, enough all the elk showed up at the watering hole, including the herd bull. My hunter was much more settled down than he’d been that morning. Once the bull was 60 yards away, my hunter came again to full draw and released his arrow. This time the arrow flew true. The 343-point bull only went about 50 yards before he piled up.

Day 2: Colorado’s Mike Miller’s Best Opening Day Bull Elk

Tomorrow: Colorado’s Mike Miller and the Deep Canyon Bull Elk

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