The Alex Hiestand Elk

Posted by: Josh Sturgill on Apr 17, 2013

Date: September 17, 2012, Time of Day: 1.5 hour before dark, Location: Wyoming,  Weather: 55 degrees

Q: Tell me a little about what happened when the Elk was harvested?
A:  It was day 12 of a 14 day hunt. We had tried unsuccessfully to call a specific bull for two solid days. He would respond to all of our bugles, but stay just out of reach with his harem. On the third day we devised a plan for Phil and Larry to stay 400 yards back to bugle and cow call so I could gain the mobility to listen and know where the bull was located. It was my job to take my time, get into place, and harvest this magnificent animal.

AELK1

Several obstacles were overcome in the process of sending a broadhead tipped arrow through both lungs of this magnificent elk.

I was given one hour to navigate the hellish terrain and get into the perfect position just in case the bull decided to change his mind and come to their calls. As the silence of the thin western air was broken by the bugle of the beast we were chasing, I knew it was game on!  Every time Phil and Larry bugled so did the big heard bull. The bull threw in different sounding calls and chuckles every time he opened his mouth. There were never two calls that sounded the same. Every time he bugled I would take a step or two, inching my way closer and closer. This went on for over 2 hours.
Finally, I saw him working through an opening in the brush. I started to call but, he was following a cow and disappeared into some thick cover. My heart sank, I slowly dropped my head in disgust, but out of the thick timber I heard a noise. My cow calls had gotten the attention of a good satellite bull that was hanging around the edges of his territory. This new bull worked his way to the same exact spot as the big bull, but presented me with a 20 yard shot.  I drew back while in a double knee crouched position. I then watched as the arrow hit the back of both lungs after I was forced to stay at full draw for what seemed like an hour. He only ran about sixty yards before taking his final step.

AELK2

While bowhunting is a solitary sport, sometimes “teamwork” is the best medicine when animals are following the script.

Q: What were the major factors that helped you harvest this Elk?
A:  Dedication of the other hunters helping me, patients, Google earth, and a little luck!

Q: What adversity did you have to overcome to harvest this animal?
A:  Just two days prior my life was threatened by other hunters in this exact spot. I was dropped off and would be picked up in 5 hours with only my bow and side arm. Several guys came up to me and told me if they saw me here again, well you know. I made the choice to leave and hunt another day. It was national forest, but unfortunately not everyone wants to share the great outdoors.

Q: What adjustments to your set-up did you have to make during the hunt?
A:  As a deer hunter people drill your brain with the facts that you can't move or make a sound. In this hunt I was told to call, run, break sticks and basically….sound like an ELK. I made more than one mistake and blew my fair share of opportunities. Luckily for me, after every encounter the guys would talk to me about what I did wrong and I did my best to not make the same mistake twice.

Q: Anyone you would like to thank, for their help with this harvest?
A:  My Father Phil and his friend Larry. Without their help this harvest never would have happened.


Type Equipment Used:

Bow = Mathews Helim
Broadheads = Hellrazor
Arrows = Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 350
Camoflage = Lost Camo, Sitka
Calls = Primo- Cow Girl Elk Call
Scents = Hunter Specialties- cow elk urine wafers
Other = Do It Yourself Hunt

 

Josh Sturgill

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Cheyenne, WY
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