In 2016, the elk in Oregon weren’t talking very much, and the weather was hot at the first of bow season. Ryan and I decided to use a cow elk decoy in conjunction with our calling. I actually went on this hunt with my boyfriend, Stacy Locks. However, Ryan and my cousin Mark Hay became involved. My brother Ryan and I always carry a cow elk decoy in our packs, but most of the time we don’t need it, or we don’t have time to get it out and set it up before the elk comes.
However, on this particular hunt, we had spotted a big spike with eye guards, so I guess he would have been a 4-point eastern count and a 2x2 western count. The bull was bedded down. Stacy asked me, “Do you want to try and take the bull because this is one of the last days of our hunt?” I quickly answered, “You betcha, I want to fill up my freezer with elk meat.”
We backed out to a spot where we could set up our decoy. Then I took the decoy and got in front of Stacy, who then started calling. Once the bull spotted the decoy and heard Stacy cow calling, he jumped up and ran toward us. I gave a cow call to stop him, so I could take the shot and also to prevent the bull from running over Stacy. The bull was only 15 yards from me when I took the shot.
We investigated the spot where the bull had been standing when I took the shot. Although we didn’t find any blood, we saw the direction where the bull had run. He’d gone into some really thick brush. Because night was approaching quickly, we decided to leave the bull and come back and try and find him the next day.
The weather was cool that night, and we didn’t have to worry about the meat spoiling. The next morning I called Ryan and my cousin Mark, and they went with Stacy and me to search for my bull and help carry the meat out. When we were on the way to look for my bull, we heard two other bulls bulging. Ryan and Mark went after those two bulls, but after about 30 minutes, they rejoined Stacy and me.
Stacy and I had hiked in six miles from the truck and set up a spike camp, so I shot my bull about 13 miles away from the truck. Because we had four people, we got the meat back to the truck, and then Stacy and I went back to our spike camp to finish the hunt. My 2016 bull required quite a pack trip to get the meat out.
To get John and Denise Phillips’ free cookbook, “Miz Denise’s Outdoor Cooking: More Than 35 Recipes for Elk and Mule Deer,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.
Part 2: Krissy Knox’s Best Bull Elk