Bowhunting.com team members are scattered across the western U.S. this month in search of bugling bulls. From Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, we’re expecting big things as the team climbs into the high country. We hope to bring you semi-live updates from elk camp as the hunts unfold when and where adequate cell service allows.
My New Mexico elk hunt with Foster and Kathy Butt of Gavilan Creek Outfitters just cranked up outside of Chama, New Mexico. The night before the hunt, we had the opportunity to spend the evening in camp with legendary elk hunter, Wayne Carlton. Wayne shared some words of wisdom on calling, encouragement for our hunt, and a closer look at his new elk decoy, the ButtHead Decoy.
Day one started off fairly quiet as my buddy, Max Baker, and I dropped off into the first drainage to give things a look. However, just one hour into the hunt, we walked up on a spike bull just across the creek from us. I personally hold pretty tight to the saying, “Don’t pass up on the first day what you wouldn’t pass up on the last day,” so I slipped down to within bow-range of the young bull to make a move. It would have been a pretty quick and easy kill. However, another bull in the distance began to bugle. The bugles honestly saved the fuzzy antlered spike’s life. I shot a few photos, and we quickly moved on down the drainage to check things out.
The bigger bull bugled a few more times as he headed to bed but the remainder of the morning proved pretty uneventful. The weather forecast this week is a little warmer than we were hoping. Temps have been getting up into the upper 70’s during the day and 40’s overnight, but we did wake up to frost on the ground on the first morning.
The afternoon hunt found us back in the same creek drainage to try and get back on the bull. We did a little cold calling on the way in and actually had a bull slip in on us silent. We never knew he was in the world until we heard hoof-beats and crashing through the timber. Busted.
We went on to hear two bulls bugle half a dozen times before we made the long hike back out for the night. The bulls seem to be lazy an uninterested in calls of any kind at this point. We’re hoping the action cranks up in the next few days and rutty bulls begin to play the game.