Close Encounter of the Special Kind: Captain’s Column (9.24.15)
By angelamontana

Posted: September 24, 2015

This week I would like to share with you an actual father and daughter hunting experience as told to me by Guy Leibenguth of Lolo, Montana:

My daughter Kali, is 17 and loves the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Recently she turned her interest to bow hunting here in Montana….She bought herself a new compound bow , practiced and could group a set of arrows in a 6 inch circle at 30 yards. So with this in mind I decided to take her on her first archery hunt for a Bull Elk.

On a warm day this month our hunt began with a climb of perhaps 3-4 miles uphill. Upon reaching the top of this mountain we both changed from our wet shirts in to our camo clothing, sprayed our wet shirts with Elk scent, put on our face paint and started our trail across the top of this mountain perhaps another 2 miles. As we glassed into the clearing to the next mountain we spotted a herd of 20 cow elk. We also noticed the antlers of a bull who was standing just behind the cows.

With this in mind I set our hunt plan in motion. I positioned Kali between two trees that were s two feet apart, as I would try to bugle that bull in. I then moved 25 feet from Kali and started bugling. On my first or second bugle the bull decided to answer my bugle with his own bugle. I have learned from experience that if you “but in “while a bull is bugling it makes him mad and he takes this as a challenge of another bull trying to steal his harem. So each time that bull started his bugling I immediately “butted in” with my call.

Within a few minutes that bull came cruising thru the brush looking for the bull challenging his harem.

I could see his antlers waving in the brush side by side as he was weaving through the trees trying to find that bull.  All the while, my daughter Kali is positioned between this bull and my calling position 25 feet away. Suddenly the bull is so close to me that I had to turn my head so I didn’t make any eye contact. In just a matter of seconds the bull is so close to Kali, as it shook his head, the snot from his nose and mouth was landing on her arm.

As my daughter stood still and silent between those two trees, the bull did not see her. Its rage in rut was only to find that challenging bull. Kali stood motionless, frozen in excitement and fear as this bull elk was 1 or 2 feet away from her. She held her bow with a notched arrow by her side and was ready but could not move to draw her bow. After a few seconds this bull sensed or smelled Kali and in that very moment the bull was gone.

I asked Kali why she didn’t shoot, “ Dad he was too close, I had my bow held across my body and if I tried to move or turn my bow , the arrow would have brushed him”, still excited she said, “I could see the holes in his nose, and I could see the hair in his nose, he was so close I could see his tongue hanging out, and my heart was beating so hard and fast “, she said as she put her hand over her chest. Recalling her encounter a few moments later my daughter was still in awe, “It was so great and beautiful and even though I couldn’t shoot it was just so neat to see it”.

After exchanging high fives we moved down the trail looking for another close encounter of the special kind you can only find in the Montana outdoors.