This week we change things up and dedicate the entire episode to Western big game discussion- specifically elk hunting. Many of you followed along in the journey with myself, David and Chisum. From the time we drew our New Mexico archery elk tags, to the physical training, gear preparation, bow fine tuning and every other aspect of planning this on your own public land hunt that took place the first week of September.
So, this week we get three hunter’s perspectives on how that week in the mountains would ultimately play out. There were highs and lows for each of us, and we pushed our bodies until we broke and then pushed even harder. We start things off with my reflection on what truly was the hunt of my lifetime. I had the two best hunting companions I could ask for and ended up taking this 5 x 5 at 18 yards on the 3rd day of the hunt. Redemption was the theme for me after missing a bull in this exact same unit last season.
Next we check in with my lifelong friend and wildlife biologist David Morgan (the person largely responsible for getting me hooked on hunting a dozen or so years ago). I can honestly say that I have never hunted with a better woodsman or hunter than David and I believe Chisum would say the same. However, there is no guarantee with a bow and arrow and this hunt would prove to be one of heartache for Dave after he hit a 5 x 5 a little forward on Wednesday.
We get David’s thoughts on what happened with that shot and what he would do differently. We certainly appreciate him having the stones to come on the show and discuss the shot. A veteran bow hunter, who has taken countless deer, hogs and turkey with his bow- David hadn’t lost an animal in years. We tracked his bull for 2 1/2 days before the blood trail finally vanished. As ethical as they come, he put his bow down without hesitation after drawing blood and spent the rest of the hunt helping us out in any way he could. (David did take this awesome 6 x 6 on opening morning of New Mexico’s muzzleloader season last fall in the same unit we bow hunted this year).
New to mountain hunting, my college friend and longtime hunting buddy Chisum Cooke was the most excited of the three of us to learn we drew tags. Don’t get me wrong, I like bow hunting alot- but Chisum is obsessed with all things archery. He even has his own archery blog: www.devotedarcher.com. Throughout preparing for this hunt, we all kept each other accountable on the physical fitness side of things, but it was Chisum who would beat me over the head on an almost daily basis to make sure my bow was fine tuned and broadheads flying perfectly (which I am eternally grateful he did).
His first foray into mountain hunting was full of highs and lows, from being the person to find my bull after I shot it, to the other end of the spectrum and having a bona fide 6 x 6 bull of a lifetime at 8 yards and not being able to get a shot off. We get his take on the entire experience and how we used everything we learned over the course of the week to formulate a plan for the last day of the hunt. A plan that played out to a ‘T’ and resulted in a 15 yard heart shot on this 5 x 5 bull. Congrats brother!
So, if you’ve listened to the podcast by now I hope you realize that we are in no way tooting our own horns here, we are far from expert elk hunters. Dedicated, for sure- experts, far from it. And if there is one thing all of us want for you to take from this episode it’s that you are as capable of as any of the three of us at taking your own bull on public land.
That being said, our last guest today is an expert (although his modesty would lead you to believe otherwise). Randy Newberg is one of the most respected public land elk hunters in North America and has been hosting his own DIY (do it yourself) style public land hunting show for going on 6 years now. You might have seen “Fresh Tracks w/ Randy Newberg” which airs Wednesday evenings at 10:30 Central on Sportsman’s Channel.
So we pick Randy’s brain on all things public land elk hunting. How does he approach the very distinctly different parts of the breeding season (pre rut, rut, post rut etc)? We also get his insight on how to accurately predict where elk will be in each one of those time frames. Randy also gives us his take on calling as well as hunting bedding areas and water holes. Great stuff from one of our show’s oldest friends!