The elk rut falls right in the heart of guiding season and, as a fly fishing guide, I rarely have the opportunity to hunt in September. I row a boat while all my friends send photos and text messages about their experiences in the field each day. By no means am I complaining about my job. I love it! It can be frustrating at times however, to be on the water when you’re daydreaming of chasing bugles. I’ve had close calls in the limited times I’ve hunted elk, but I’ve never let an arrow fly. That was all about to change.
Last September, I finally got my chance to hunt in the peak of bugle season.
I made my way into elk country, as fog slowly lifted around me. Within minutes of leaving my truck, a bull was screaming only a few hundred yards away. I called to him and closed the distance as quickly as I could. Suddenly, through the trees, I could see antlers and he was coming in fast. Exactly nine minutes after leaving the truck I watched my arrow disappear into a beautiful bull elk.
It all seemed surreal. I’ve dreamt of that moment my whole life and as I called the people closest to me, it all sunk in. I had harvested my first elk.
As amazing as that moment was, getting home to have my wife and 2 year old son come out to greet me was something I’ll never forget. Watching my little guy grab hold of a tine and stare at the bull in amazement almost brought me to tears. Still, to this day, he talks about “daddy’s big elk”.