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As a kid I used to laugh at my dad when he would pop in a VHS tape watching Elk being taken on camera while practicing using his rubber band cow calls and grunt tube in our living room. I watched my dad’s living room practice sessions pay off during a public land, DIY Elk hunt in Idaho. At 13 years old, watching this bull come in screaming changed my life and lit the fire for my love of Elk hunting. I was proud to lead out Sam (the mule) who was loaded with the beautiful bull that my dad and I had taken. Since then, I have always looked forward to final days of archery Elk season that typically hold the promise of frenzied bulls aggressively seeking cows. Waiting for daylight to crest over the horizon, we glassed from the timbered edge into a large feeding area with the hopes of spotting a big bull on his feet before returning to his bed.
Wanting only to get some video of the bulls, my dad set up on the edge of the timber doing a series of cow calls. While we were hunting this spot, the other public land hunters had spooked a nice 5x5 off of one of the wallows where I had a tree stand hung. That night, I set up in the same feeding area that dad and I had called in the silent 3x3 and spike with the hopes of getting on a bull when he left his bed for the evening.
Not one but two bulls came in, both hanging up around 80 yards and whining from below me wanting to come in closer but apprehensive in doing so. The trail camera pictures that I had been getting of mature bulls going to water to either drink or wallow were all in the morning before 10:00 AM.
I headed out with the plan to sit one of the wallows that had been getting used by bulls intermittently. With time in the season growing short, I spent the next morning trying to get a bull to locate without any luck. Heading up the timber ridge, daylight had just crested the horizon, when my dad accidently rolled a rock down the mountainside just as he spotted his first glimpse of the cow Elk in front of him. As dad eased out into the opening towards a depression in the ground where a small weep was located, he saw the towering antlers.

In a fit of panic, the bull circled in a 50-80 yard radius around my dad silently picking up the remainder of his harem and moving them into the timber in a desperate attempt to locate his missing cows.
The photo below shows a magnificent 6x6 that had been living in that same draw during the summer.
Together my dad and I spent the day seeking out the 6x6 that he had encountered the day before. Dad and I spent the day checking wallows for recent activity and game trails looking for fresh tracks in an attempt to figure out what the silent and nocturnal Elk were doing. During the heat of the day, Dad and I gathered up all of my trail cameras and tree stands packing them back to our spike camp. The weather was due to cool on the following day by some 20 degrees and I went to bed that night hopeful that my luck would change on the final day of archery season.
She Reads Truth, LLC makes no representations or warranties in relation to this website or the information and materials provided therein, and will not be liable to you in relation to the contents of or use of this website for any indirect, special or consequential loss. His eyes would bug out, face reddening from blowing on the old calls making for a comical evening.
I was 13 years old when my dad used his old school bugle to chuckle in a spike and 5x5 bull Elk.
Having passed on countless cows, spikes, and four young branched bulls already in the season, I had only nine more days to put a mature bull on the ground, no easy feat, especially on public land and DIY. The hot and dry conditions were limiting hunting hours to the first and last thirty minutes of daylight. The two young bulls came in silently, literally running past me at 40 yards making their way to my dad.
I avoided hunt this spot in the mornings as the wind blows right down to where the bulls bed and come to water. The bulls weren’t bugling and the hunting pressure was intense as there were at least two other groups of public land hunters after the same Elk as me. Doing a series of cow calls and bugles a bull finally answered from his bed when he got up to go feed around 7:00 PM.

I didn’t get a look at these two bulls as my thirty minutes of daylight ran out fast. With 80 degree days it seemed the bulls wanted to get cooled off and muddy up to keep the bugs down before bedding down for the hot of the day. At daylight I found myself less than 100 yards from a huge herd of Elk with one angrily screaming bull and a second bull letting out a traditional locate bugle. This time I dropped down below where the Elk had bedded on private land the morning before so that I could reach my tree stand before daylight.
On day four, I was not fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time; my dad on the other hand who had just returned from his trade show, to hunt Mule deer had the luck that I wished I was having.
A mere 50 yards away the 6x6 bull fed in the small opening, oblivious that some of his cows had busted my dad making his way up the draw. At that point in my life I had no comprehension that what he was practicing would actually draw in a fervent bull Elk during the rut. If you require advice in relation to any legal, financial, medical or psychological matter, you should consult an appropriate professional. The bull dropped down to move his cows as they fed above me towards their bedding area at 90 yards. The bulls quit bugling 30 minutes after daylight and bedded down on private land that I did not have permission to hunt. Unfortunately, he did not come down within bow range and the terrain was too open for me to make an attempt at a stalk without being busted. Knowing where the Elk were, I felt good about my chances for the next day as I also had not spooked them out of the area.

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