This fall we had the opportunity to work with our long time partner Bear Archery on a promotional video to help launch their 2018 lineup of bows. With tags in Montana we hoped to fill during rifle we knew we would need to venture out-of-state to shoot an archery elk video. With a quick turnaround we knew a September elk hunt would fit the bill. One short scouting trip left me with some local info but film permitting forced us to hunt areas of the unit which I’d never stepped foot in. With enough previous elk experience under our belt we still felt confident we could show up and eventually be in the thick of things.
We arrived late in the afternoon and were able to dip into the head of a basin that we hoped to hunt in the morning. A faint bugle and a few elk spotted just before dark left us feeling hopeful for the morning. The alarm came quick and without much pause we were headed down the mountain and began to sidehill through a large, timber filled basin. We had hoped to hear bugles but were greeted only with small amounts of sign and nothing of much excitement.
After the morning hunt we hopped into the truck and decided to move a few basins to the north. A short drive down the road revealed multiple camps setup on the basin we had just hunted. Our fingers were crossed that the next spot would be empty but we only found more of the same. That night we quickly chowed down dinner and then scrutinized the maps and tried to decide on a new spot hopefully with less people. Two days later we were in a new area with much more depth to the topography. We hoped this would keep a few people out and our hike in the dark left us thinking of what might lie up the canyon. As dawn barely began to show itself we heard our first bugle not more than a few hundred yards up the trail. As we waited for shooting light we could hear multiple bulls sounding off further up the basin. We continued up the draw and soon decided the best bet would be to chase the bull bugling closest to us and go from there. We quickly climbed uphill following this bull headed to his bedding area. When I felt we were on the verge of spooking some of the herd I decided now was the time to challenge him. The next five minutes were spent exchanging bugles as I slowly worked closer. Without a caller and with a cameraman in tow this can be a tough game to play but this day it worked to perfection. As I moved up an elk trail I saw tines through the small pine trees ahead of me. With an open lane in front of me I hooked up to my D-loop and waited. As the bull disappeared behind the last tree separating us I drew. Soon he emerged in the opening at 22 yards looking for his challenger. One quick cow call slowed him enough to take a shot before he cleared my lane. My arrow hit further back than I’d hoped but still caught lungs and I was able to watch my bull crash in a small rock field just 80 yards away.
We took a few minutes to soak in what had just happened and then went to find my arrow.
Stuck in a log my arrow was covered with bubbly, red blood. It was a sight for sore eyes as it had been a few years since I’d been able to tag a bull during archery season. A short walk left me admiring an awesome bull elk taken on our beautiful public lands. We are truly blessed to do this.
As we finished breaking the bull down it began to pour rain. With about six hours of daylight left we knew we could get this elk back to the truck before dark but it would be wet and miserable. For elk hunters it’s what we expect and the pain and hardship is eagerly welcomed.
Two trips up and down the mountain left us at the truck, sipping a cold beverage pulled from the YETI. With daylight quickly fading we packed the truck up and headed home.
After getting home Travis quickly got to downloading all the footage and beginning the edit process. A week later the edit was done and delivered. Here is the 1 minute Bear Archery promotional film:
If you haven’t checked out the new lineup of bows from Bear Archery you can do so right here > 2018 Bear Archery lineup
The bow I shot was the Bear Approach, an entry level bow that prides itself on exceptional value. When I got it I wasn’t entirely stoked knowing this was an entry level bow. As an avid hunter I like to have the best equipment I can get my hands on but I swallowed my pride and gave the bow a chance to show its true colors. After shooting and successfully hunting with this bow I was blown away at the feel and value that any bowhunter could get from a $399 bow. It shot as good as I could shoot, was quiet and dead-in-hand, and most importantly easy to tune. I had about 4 days to setup and tune this bow before hunting with it and if I didn’t feel comfortable with it I definitely wouldn’t have taken it. At the end of the day it has to feel good in your hand and shoot well and this bow did both.
-Written By Zack Boughton