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.
Last year I took the biggest bull elk I ever have taken. The bull was a 5x5, and he almost scored 300 Pope & Young points - in the 290 point range. My husband, Eric, and I had driven to the eastern side of Montana to hunt. The first morning of the hunt we spent scouting to try and decide where we wanted to set-up to take a bull. That afternoon Eric and I hiked back to the spot we had picked to hunt. Eric told me to walk out in front of him. Eric stayed a little behind me and began to cow call. Immediately, we heard a bull bugle. In a short time, I saw the bull. He was at 50 yards, and I drew the bow to take the shot. However, the bull wouldn’t stop, so I let my bow down. I drew my bow two more times to try and get a shot before I finally had the opportunity to release the arrow.
The area where we were hunting was really thick, and the bull kept walking. Just when I’d get ready to shoot, he'd step behind a tree. When the bull was at 42 yards, he stopped between two trees, and I had a prefect shot at his vitals. I had a good double-lung shot, and I released the arrow. As soon as the arrow hit the bull, he started running. He only went about 80 yards before he went down on an avalanche chute (a steep, loose, rocky area devoid of trees where an avalanche had disturbed and pushed rocks down the mountain). Every time we tried to move the bull to take pictures, he'd start sliding down the mountain. So, we had to tie him to keep him from sliding. We decided to go ahead, field dress him and carry the meat out in backpacks. I put a front quarter of the elk in my Badlands pack. I couldn’t believe how heavy it was, but I was able to carry it out about a mile.
I had an ear infection and was taking medicine during the hunt. The medicine affected my balance. The weight of that elk’s front shoulder in my pack and the loose rocks I had to walk across caused me to fall about 50 times - or at least it felt like 50 times. To make matters worse, dark had caught us when we got the buck ready to pack out. So, I could hardly see where I was walking. I would take about six steps. I’d start to fall, and I’d sit down quickly. Then, I would get back up and get back to the work. Eric and I made three different trips to get the meat and head out off that avalanche chute. I had shot the elk at about 5:30 pm, and we finally got the meat and headed out about 1:00 am.
To 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.