Radical Change
Jordan Seitz

While cooking fresh grouse over a small fire at my season’s end, I concluded that bivying in the snow in a place devoid of elk didn't seem fun anymore. If my goal was to kill an elk within 36 hours, then I needed to radically change my plans.

Hours later, I was 1000 feet lower with four bulls in earshot!
The bull I decided to focus on wasn't just bugling anymore, but screaming like he owned the mountain and covering ground fast, so I dodged through the aspen and stopped twenty yards below a rock bluff that would funnel him towards me. Within seconds, half a dozen cows and calves emerged, almost running into me before veering into the small opening to my right and feeding six to ten steps away. The last cow walked into my shooting lane along the bluff with the bull screaming in the shadows behind her. Nearing sensory overload, I drew back as the bull stepped forward, immediately cutting his cow back into the brush towards the others. She trotted past me and I pivoted as the bull screamed again and pursued. At ten steps he was level with me and I uttered three loud mews before he froze to stare, drool dripping from his snout. With my pin tight behind his shoulder, I released and watched my arrow drill him up to its fletchings.

He charged out to 53 yards. Instead of sailing smoothly towards his vitals, my second arrow fishtailed through the trees and I lost sight of it as the bull crashed away.

The next morning, 50 yards from where I lost the blood trail, I was crawling through some dense firs and following my nose when I came up on my bull - with my second arrow protruding from his neck!
Revelling in the memory, I am reminded that even a really good plan needs to be scrapped when the weather and elk dictate a radical change!