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montana hunting report

A Case of Bull Fever – [Fan Submitted Story]
By Matt Schauer


This story was submitted by William Waller of Fort Peck, MT:

Ok let me start by saying until that day I never truly believed in bull fever but oh boy after I look back I’m a firm believer now!

It started off just like any other elk chasing morning has, full of excitement, big hopes and dreams of killing a big bull elk.

As my buddy and I started off we pulled up to a point and started glassing for elk, right away I spotted a calf bedded down right at the edge of an open faced cut, so we backed off and the game plan began!

He didn’t have a coveted Missouri breaks tag like I did but he was my eyes from above just in case the herd moved he could watch them! We set up hand signals so I could plan accordingly! I told him I’m going to be patient and take all day to get to the mouth of that ravine and hide when they come out and I should have a shot that’s 20 yards or less! So he waited up on the hillside glassing with the spotting scope and watching!
So I begin the stalk going to south and getting in the large ravine below and the plan was to get straight across from them and see what cover I had for the wait! As I made my way across and up on the other side I belly crawled to a juniper and started glassing the elk! I could see 4 cows sitting there snoozing away in that warm September sun and right at the base of the cut was a sagebrush that would conceal me perfectly! At this point I was real excited that I had great opportunity and everything was in my favor except for one!

As I turned to crawl way I looked up at my buddy and was signaling me that something was right on top of me! His jesture was pointing right at his feet which meant 10 yards or less my heart about sank! I’m thinking my bow is 5 feet away and a big bull is behind me or right below and there’s nothing I can do! So as I slowly make my way for my bow I get the signal it’s gone so carry on! (come later to find out a coyote had walked up less than 5 feet away and was smelling my feet I’d like to think they smelled good but apparently the way he ran off and kept running I am wrong.).

So I backed off and dropped off into the big ravine and slowly worked my up to that sagebrush! Well about an hour later and about a 100 yards from my destination I stopped right behind a sagebrush and took a drink of water and told myself to calm down!

I was taking a deep breath and I looked up and here comes the lead cow nose in the air and coming right at me!

I knocked an arrow and at 40 yards she turned broadside and looked straight up the hill behind her not even realizing I was there!

At this point all I was thinking was shoot the cow shoot the cow! Out of the corner of my eye I see 10 other cows coming and I when looked back at the lead cow she was taking off so I started to focus on the other cows, when all of sudden probably still to this day one of the biggest bulls I’d ever laid my eyes on come walking down the BIG ravine (which was only 60 yards wide) his antlers extended way down his back and the longest tines I’d ever seen!

He was swaying his antlers just like the majestic beast should, back and forth back and forth! Ok at this point my mind went in overdrive instead of shoot the cow it went shoot the bull shoot the bull shoot the bull! At 40 yards he stopped broadside just like the lead cow and he looked right at me, I was at full draw and (in my defense that pin was right behind his front shoulder!) I released that arrow and for what seemed like eternity the arrow flew right thru his antlers dead center and slammed into that clay hill behind him with a thud and off he went!

Now as I walked back to my buddy who was only 300 yards away I took a couple of practice shots to see if my bow was off nope it was right on the money! I couldn’t believe I missed I was as calm as a brain surgeon something must have hit my arrow maybe it was deflected by that sagebrush that’s the only explaintion that I could think!

So I make my up the hill huffing and puffing and as I make it to my buddy I looked at him and I said that was a huge bull wasn’t it! He nodded his head yep and looked at me and said why in the hell did you shoot and I puzzling looked at him and said it was 40 yards and perfectly broadside you couldn’t have asked for a better shot! He shakes his head in disgust and said dude I was 300 yards away from you watching this in the spotting scope and you were shaking like a paint can at the hardware store I could only imagine how bad you were shaking sitting next you! Then it hit me BULL FEVER, ya I look back I was probably more nervous than ever!

This is why I keep bow hunting and the day I lose that its over. So to all of you bow hunters hunting season is here and I hope you all shoot straight and I hope you don’t get bull fever as bad as I got it that day! So shoot straight and good luck!!!

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