Be Willing to Let Your Hunting Buddy Take a Bull Elk with Mossy Oak’s Mike Magrew
Editor’s Note: Mike Magrew of O’Fallon, Missouri, is Mossy Oak’s whitetail regional ProStaff manager for Illinois, Missouri and Kansas and has been hunting whitetails for 35 years.
In 2014, I went out West to hunt in Colorado. I had an elk and a mule deer archery tag in my pocket. I was hunting about an hour west of Colorado Springs on a draw unit. A friend of mine told me there were some really nice elk and good mule deer in this area where I'd hunted previously. I'd taken a black bear off this unit before.
I went out 4 or 5 days before the season arrived to scout and try to find a bull to hunt. That’s when I discovered the biggest herd of elk I'd ever hunted - probably 100 animals. Two giant bulls were in the herd. If you're planning an elk hunt for 2015, I strongly recommend that you go in several days early, if you'll be hunting on your own, and scout the property to help insure (as much as possible) that your elk hunt will be successful. I learned this tactic several years ago, and it’s really paid off well for me.
These two monster bulls that I located would each score 350 points plus. Although I hunted them hard, I never could get a shot at either one of those big bulls. However, I did have a 5x5 bull come by me, but I passed him up, hoping to take one of those monster bulls. I called in several small bulls, but I wouldn’t take the shot. Once again, I was holding out for the two big bulls. As the season progressed, muzzleloader season arrived, and the elk got hushed-mouthed because of the hunting pressure they experienced.
I wanted to hunt the region I’d drawn, since I noticed every year I went out there the elk were really vocal. After several days of hunting and listening to the silence of the mountains, I decided to hunt wallows. One afternoon I spotted a really nice 5x5 bull with my Leupold binoculars. He started moving up the mountain toward another wallow where my hunting buddy had taken a stand. If the elk continued on the route he was taking, I knew he'd pick up my scent before he reached the wallow where my hunting buddy was waiting in a tree stand. So, I got down and left the wallow where I’d been hunting to give my friend a chance at this bull. As I continued to watch, the bull seemed to be trying to decide whether he wanted to come to my wallow or my friend’s wallow. Once I saw that the bull had made his decision to come to the wallow where I was hunting, I hurried back down to my stand that I’d been in earlier and got into my stand.
If the bull came in, I was confident he wouldn’t spot me, because I was wearing Mossy Oak Brush camo. A lot of aspen trees and open parks were where I was hunting and had my stand. In this type of terrain, I felt that Mossy Oak Brush made me invisible. I waited until the bull got to the wallow about 30 yards from my stand, drew my Bowtech RPM 360 and released the arrow that was pushing a Rage Hypodermic broadhead. I got a double lung shot, and the bull went down.
I quickly learned that because I saw an elk going in one direction didn’t mean he would stay on that course forever. I also learned that by coming out of my stand when I saw that my scent was probably going to spook the bull that was headed toward my buddy’s stand was the right thing to do. Because I was willing to give up this elk and let my buddy take him, I feel that I was rewarded by the elk turning and coming back to my stand. Regardless of how well we plan and set-up, wild game can’t read the script that we write. That’s what makes hunting so much fun for me.