Archery Elk Smackdown

I Watched This Spectacular Sight My Second Morning Hunting

I Watched This Spectacular Sight My Second Morning Hunting

I calculated that I walked almost 70 mountain miles getting into and out of the backcountry with a backpack weighing 60 plus pounds for 9 days. I ran into two rattlesnakes fully-coiled up, shaking their rattlers ready to strike in the pitch dark, only to be surrounded by an escape route of some of the nastiest scrub oak on the planet. I ran out of water on a hellish bow-hike back to the trailhead in the middle of the night with three hours separating me from some liquid. I angrily watched/bumped into more hikers/backpackers (not hunters) 10 miles into the wilderness than I ever have in my whole life. This led me to leave my pre-scouted honey hole and took me to three different mountain ranges looking for the almighty, bugling elk. I passed on two small satellite bulls, one at 40 yards and one at 35 yards. I called a bull to within 30 yards of my friend Kyle, only to be baffled as to why he didn’t shoot him. It turns out, that at the time of Kyle’s drawing his bow the bull walked right into his backpack lying on the ground and the bull did a 180 degree turn and ran out of the Colorado region. Ten minutes prior to the backpack bull, I anxiously spotted my brother stalking to within 40 yards of two bedded bulls to only watch them blow out of their beds due to unforeseen swirling wind. I watched 4 bulls, my last afternoon hunting, on the opposite ridge line feed on the edge of an alpine meadow at 12,000 feet. I gladly dropped 2,000 feet and gained 2,000 feet in less than two hours only to feel the wind switch from blowing in my face to blowing at my back in less than a millisecond, promptly forcing me to watch elk explode out of every nook and cranny. Most regrettably, a wall-hanger 6×6 at 70 yards sprinted away with his antlers held back staunchly. And to top it all off, yesterday was the last day of the Colorado archery elk season and the only thing I’m eating is tag soup.

Despite The Hardships...You Can't Beat This View

Despite The Hardships...You Can't Beat This View

If you’re like me you are probably thinking or saying out loud, “Excuses, excuses…!” You might be right, but damn that was the hardest I’ve ever worked to not come home with a bull. It has been 20 years since myself or someone in my hunting party didn’t tag a bull. My brother Dave, our friend Kyle and myself all came home empty-handed. What a disappointment! My measure of success every hunting season is proudly packing trophy bull elk out of the wilderness. Not to have tasted that success this year leaves me thinking one thing: never again will I abandon my elk hunting area of 20 years ever again. I must now measure this seasons’ success on my upcoming Colorado mule deer tag in November.

I did internalize something though… bowhunting is the ultimate challenge. There’s nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you set foot into the backcountry; camouflaged and shouldering your backpack with bow in hand! I do admit, I got knocked down by the mighty wapiti and my ears are still ringing. However, I can only hear the eight count because a true champion gets up even when he can’t!

Good luck and hunt rugged!

Backcountry Water...There Is Nothing Better

Backcountry Water...There Is Nothing Better

Hanging On By A Thread

Hanging On By A Thread

My Reptile Friend

My Reptile Friend

When The Going Gets Tough...A Little Humor Goes A Long Way!

When The Going Gets Tough...A Little Humor Goes A Long Way!

Lightning Strike...100 Yards From My Tent

Lightning Strike...100 Yards From My Tent

After A Tough Hunt, You Must Smile

After A Tough Hunt, You Must Smile

A Motivational Chant

A Motivational Chant

Grin And Bearing The Adventure

Grin And Bearing The Adventure

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About the Author

Marc Montoya

Marc Montoya

Marc Montoya is a dedicated Colorado bowhunter who cherishes the challenge and mental fatigue that bowhunting presents. Marc has a passion for backcountry pursuits with his bow and arrow and wants to share that passion with the world.