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Falling in Love with Elk Hunting


Editor’s Note: Wendy LaCrosse Drake from Libby, Montana, has been elk hunting for 6 years and has been a member of the Mossy Ok Pro Staff for about 5 years. Her favorite pattern is Mossy Oak Treestand, because she believes it best fits the terrain where she hunts - primarily northwest Montana.

drake-day1-2My husband, Eric, bought me a bow and helped me learn how to shoot it. After a couple of years, I decided I wanted to go elk hunting with him. At first, he was really excited about us hunting together. However, he had a hunting buddy he usually went hunting with, so, later on he wasn’t as excited about me wanting to go elk hunting with him. When we go out of town, Eric and I hunt together. But here at home, I've got some little spots that I hunt by myself.

The first time I ever went hunting Eric’s dad and uncle went with us during archery season, and I guess that’s when I really got bitten by the bug. On the second day of the hunt, we had just bugled, and Eric’s uncle said, “There's no elk around here.” We were taking a break. I had removed my shoes, because I had blisters from walking so much. While I was busy trying to put Band-Aids on the blisters, the elk sneaked in close, bugled a couple of times and then walked right out in front of Eric. I thought to myself, “This elk hunting is really easy except for all the hiking.” The elk stopped at 60 yards. When I saw that elk, I knew Eric could make that shot, because we practice out to 100 yards with our bows. Eric drew his bow and released the arrow, and he hit the elk.

drake-day1-3When the elk took the arrow and ran off, I immediately put on my socks and shoes. Since we knew Eric had made a good hit, we waited a few minutes before we started blood trailing the elk. The bull only went about 60 or 70 yards. When we reached the elk, I saw how big his body and his antlers were. At that moment, I knew I was hooked on elk hunting. I just thought how amazing it was that you could sit out there in the woods, call in an animal that big, make a shot with your bow and put that animal down so quickly.

I was also excited that Eric actually shot something. We’d been hunting quite a bit before this hunt. We’d gotten to the point where we defined elk hunting as, “Taking our bows for a walk.” I had hunted with Eric for two or three seasons without ever seeing an elk. I thought that watching him call that elk in, making a perfect shot and putting the elk down quickly was one of the coolest things I ever had seen. On those early hunts when we didn’t see any elk, I lived on hope. I’d learned to really love to shoot the bow. I had determined the first elk I ever took I was going to take with my bow, regardless of how long I had to hunt before I fulfilled that dream.

drake-day1-4To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oaks Pros Know Bucks and Bows” on Amazon. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.

For information on making jerky from your elk and other big game animals to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book.

Tomorrow: Bowhunting Elk Dream Comes True

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