September, for many western hunters, is a special time. It marks the beginning of a new hunting season and another opportunity to stock the freezer with free range, organic wild meat… and the elk rut!
With high hunting pressure, wolves, warm weather, and a general lack of rutting activity, this season turned out to be a tough one.
Traditional bowhunting for elk, especially with a primitive bow, is a low odds game. But what it lacks in efficiency it more than makes up for in romance, simplicity and aesthetics. Even with the short ranges that this type of bow hunting requires, persistence can often pay off. This year we used every ground hunting technique from spot and stalk to ambush, and calling elk. The bulls never started rutting hard and with little bugling, we eventually came to rely more on ambush in the end.
Follow Clay Hayes through his 2018 archery elk season as he tests his woodscraft against backcountry elk and tries to bring home a bull elk with his osage selfbow and bamboo arrows.
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