Our fall big game season starts with archery elk in early September and runs through mid-October. The hunts that we offer take place in some of the best trophy elk country in the hunting world today. It is not uncommon to hear six to eight bulls answer a guide's bugle from a high ridge at daybreak. The bulls are more vocal in this area than in other places. I believe this is due to minimal hunting pressure and a high bull to cow ratio, estimated by government studies to be about one bull to four cows. This area has one of the highest percentages of mature bulls (7+ years) in the general herd population in the nation.
Most of our hunts start with the guide taking the client to either an area with active wallows or an area the elk are utilizing for feeding. A combination of cow calls and bugling is used to coerce the bulls nearby into letting us know their location. If the bulls don't have cows with them they will normally answer and come to investigate the intruder. The bulls that currently are in the company of cows will usually respond to the bugling but they will not leave their cows and sometimes they even herd the cows the other way. In that case, it is necessary for the guide to figure out the best way to approach the bull and his cows. Often by getting within a hundred yards and cow calling, a bull may be lured close enough for a shot. Sometimes a bugle at this close range will enrage the bull and cause him to charge within moderate bow range of 15 to 30 yards. Most immature bulls (four years old or less) will come quietly and cautiously to the calling and arrive on the scene without any warning. Occasionally, a large bull will sneak in unannounced.
In the opinion of many outdoorsmen, bugling a bull elk within bow range is the most exciting outdoor experience available. I know I feel that way and I'm certain that you will too once you have a close range encounter with these majestic animals. The excitement one feels seeing an 800 pound bull (with antlers as thick as your arm and towering five feet over his head) walking towards you, his rib cage heaving violently as he grunts and bugles in anger, seeking his competition for the right to procreate is an experience that must be witnessed to be truly appreciated.
Wilderness back country hunts as well as our standard lodge hunts are available for the dedicated archer.