Editor’s Note: Bill Custer of Clovis, California, is a member of the Mossy Oak and PSE ProStaffs and has bowhunted most of his life. He’s hunted elk in Oregon, New Mexico and Utah, but 90-percent of his hunting is in Colorado on public lands where he can buy a tag over the counter. The 2013-2014 season will be his 33rd hunting elk on public lands, and he’s taken 27 elk with his bow.
This section of Colorado where I hunt homes a lot of range cattle too, besides wild animals. When I arrived at one of my favorite spots to hunt elk, a small herd of cattle was there. I just stood still, not wanting to spook the cattle that potentially could spook any elk in the vicinity, if the cattle stampeded. I decided to let the cattle feed on through that area. As the cattle were leaving, I gave a very-soft cow elk call. To my surprise, I heard a very-soft bull elk grunt. “This is cool,” I said to myself, as I hunkered down next to a Christmas-tree-sized pine tree. I gave the bull some more cow calls, but he never bugled. However, each time I called to him, he’d grunt. After about 5 minutes of talking to the bull elk, I spotted him coming toward me. And, as I looked off to my right, I saw another bull moving toward me.
I looked all the way around me, and I counted five bull elk – all different sizes and coming from various directions. I tried to decide which one I wanted to take, which naturally was the biggest bull I could. I had a 5-point bull within 8 yards of me as I waited in full Mossy Oak camouflage. That bull continued to stare at me, attempting to determine what I was. That bull turned around and went back the way from which he’d come. Another bull was off to my right, and the other three bulls were about 25-yards away from me feeding. The bulls were in a horseshoe shape around me. The biggest bull was one of the three out in front of me feeding. I drew my PSE bow. Since I was concentrating on the big bull, I didn’t see that the original bull I’d had at 8 yards had turned back around to return to where I was to give me a second look. That bull spotted me when I drew, wheeled around quickly and bolted. I immediately gave a chirping sound on my cow call. The big 6X5 I wanted to take out in front of me, about 13-yards away raised his head and prepared to bolt. I released my arrow. The 6X5 bull turned and ran-off with the other bulls, never realizing he was hit. He went about 1/4-mile before piling-up.
I shot this bull about 6-miles from camp. I went back, got my truck at camp, picked-up some of my hunting buddies to help me field-dress, quarter and bone-out the meat and drove to within 1-1/2-miles of the bull.