Editor’s Note: Rick and Julie Kreuter are the hosts of “Beyond the Hunt” that appears on the Outdoor Channel Mondays at 8:30 am EST and Thursdays at 3:30 and 8:00 pm EST. Rick and Julie have been married for 14 years, have hunted together for 15 years and have worn Mossy Oak for 8 years.
Once again, we were hunting with Daniel Richins of the R&K Hunting Company. (See days 3 and 4). Julie was hunting for elk with her PSE Stiletto bow. We were wearing our usual Mossy Oak Brush for this hunt and hunting in mid-September. The bulls to hunt every single day - both younger bulls and some really-nice mature bulls. But these elk caught us in an awkward position, and Julie couldn’t get a shot.
For some reason, luck just didn’t seem to be on our side. On the last day of Julie’s hunt, we went back to the spot where we had heard a lot of bulls bugling and had seen several herd bulls. There were two big herds of elk in the drainage we were hunting, and we’d been trying to pull one of these big mature herd bulls away from his herd. Once we reached the spot we wanted to hunt, we could hear several bulls bugling. Our game plan was not to call to the bulls, until we’d gotten behind the entire herd and as close as we could get to the herd bull. We had hoped we could get so close to one of those big herd bulls that when we started cow calling to him, he would just circle back to us and try to push us into the rest of the herd with the other cows.
Julie and I got within about 100 yards of the herd. Daniel set-up about 50-yards behind us to call. When Daniel started calling, we had five satellite bulls within bow range, but the herd bull refused to leave his cows and come back to us. We decided to stand-up and spook the satellite bulls. We hoped when the herd bull saw and heard all that commotion, he would come over to investigate or lead the herd away from us. Just as we were getting our packs on to try and spook the satellite bulls, the herd bull stepped out of the dark timber. We sat back-down and quickly took off our packs. I turned the camera on, and Julie nocked an arrow as the herd bull started walking straight for us. He was at 60 yards when we first saw him. As he came to us, he was bugling, and he had a tremendous bugle. What really surprised us was that this bull didn’t look like a herd bull. He had 5 points on one side, but on the left side of his antlers he had a 3-foot-long sword-shaped antler that split, and there was a large club-shaped drop tine coming off the main beam on his left side. He looked bigger than he really was.
As the bull came to us, one aspen tree would block the bull from seeing us and allow Julie to come to full draw. As the bull got behind the tree, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Julie draw. He finally stopped 10-yards from Julie, but she couldn’t take the shot. The big bull has turned to look for the satellite bulls, and his head was covering his vitals. He finally turned back and took a couple of steps. This put him 12-yards from Julie. Daniel cow-called again, and the bull turned broadside to Julie. She released the arrow and shot the bull in the heart at 12 yards. The bull ran about 30 yards and tipped-over. This was Julie’s first-ever bull elk with a bow. When you have an elk within 10 yards of two people, and he can’t see you, you’ve learned that your Mossy Oak camouflage is working.