Multiple Quarters….

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The bugle had been lingering in the background since jolting me awake at 1:24 a.m. I was growing impatient watching Andrew finish his breakfast.  It was time to go.

We had glassed this bull and his 30 cows last night as they fed into a timber and sage covered meadow across the canyon.  Exactly the situation we had been searching for, we sat down our packs and made camp.

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Andrew enjoys another meal from the Jetboil! Photo by Mark Seacat

While eating dinner, we watched as the herd began feeding their way toward the upper portion of the meadow.  Above them, a brief ridgeline separated the herd’s meadow from a dark tract of timber that ran on for miles.  In the mid-morning tomorrow, the elk would likely disappear into this area to bed.  We knew catching up to them in the heavy timber would be difficult.  Our best chance was to be above the herd at first light.

Andrew was still working on his breakfast as we began wading across the river.  We were late, but the ridge leading us to the elk was direct and we made good time in the breaking dawn.  Twenty minutes before shooting light, we dove off the ridge to our left, directly into a steady headwind.  We still had a couple hundred yards to close when the bull screamed for the first time since breakfast.  As Andrew promptly veered off to begin calling, I paused momentarily to nock an arrow before continuing quietly in the direction of the bugle.

At shooting light, just 50 yards in front of me, I watched as the bull moved hurriedly between his cows on the outer edge of the herd.  Barely acknoledging his presence as they fed amongst the sage, the cows only briefly glanced up as the bull fired bugles in the direction of Andrew’s calls.  I knew I needed to get above the herd immediately, and by using the sparse trees in the meadow as cover, I moved quickly toward the ridgeline.

Soon I had connected with a game trail that would put me directly above the herd.  As I neared the upper ridgeline, I spotted the bull moving through the trees below me at 25 yards out.  While he passed behind a large tree 15 yards away, I drew my bow.  At 11 yards he stopped completely.  He stood there for a moment, quartering slightly away and bugled once more.  I held my spot and released.  Twenty minutes later, Andrew and I were walking up to the first elk I’d ever harvested with a bow, an unmistakable red arrow adorning my quiver.

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A good sign. Photo by Mark Seacat

After taking some photos, we quickly began the process of field dressing and quartering the bull.  Less than an hour later, we had a large pile of boned meat and four quarters sitting in front of us.  I asked Andrew, “Do you think we can carry all of this out in one load?” “I don’t know, but I think we should at least try it,” he replied.  For a moment I just stood there watching as Andrew began loading his Crew Cab, these were going to be some heavy loads…

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Hindquarter, Front Shoulder, and Head. 150 plus pounds! Photo by Andrew Crow

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Negotiating the final obstacle... Photo by Andrew Crow


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4 Comments

  1. Luke Johnson
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    You are an animal! We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!!! LOL.

  2. Joe S.
    Posted August 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Damn Dude,

    You guys are keeping it real for the military who can’t always make it home for hunting season and live it through pics and text. Congrats on a great bull, and enjoyed the hell out of the article in “Bugle.” It seems you know who to talk to in the Spec. Ops communities, so what’s your in and who is it on your staff that’s an alum., cause we’re liking your packs to hump our chit.

    V/R,

    Joe S.

  3. David Simon
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mark, I love your story on your first bull elk. I have been hunting elk in Montana for 10 yrs. and have not yet baged a bull, but have had many fabulous stalks, its all about being there, can”t wait for september .

  4. Mark Seacat
    Posted August 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Joe S.~

    I really appreciate your comments, but more importantly your service. Mystery Ranch began… or should I say was “saved” by building our packs up to the standards of the Specs Ops community. Our in… is our gear. Our military experts are our DESIGNERS…. they listen to what you guys need and then turn those designs over to the Mystery Ranch production staff…. Our STAFF… is the recipe for success…. PERIOD.

    I’m out hunting right now… (in Utah chasing elk) but with all the adventures and all the trips… I can honestly say the GREATEST experiences I’ve had in the past few years have been working with an organization called Camp Patriot (http://www.camppatriot.org). Camp Patriot helps wounded veterans do AMAZING things… and for two years now I’ve participated in the Mt. Rainier climb with these awesome guys. I myself have never served, but those who have and do… have made my dreams possible here at home. THANK YOU.

    Check out this video from the 2009 Camp Patriot Mt. Rainier climb, and please, please spread the Camp Patriot word.

    Very Best and Stay Safe.

    Mark Seacat

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