Pete Sohlden, 2006 Elk Hunt
There was one hour of daylight left
on the last day of a 6 day hunt. Mel and I were walking up a cleared
pipeline. He planned to find a spot where we could see for some
distance both ways, and then sit and do some calling until dark.
My mind was reflecting on how long could my bad luck continue. However,
I was pleased that my partner, Wayne had an opportunity that morning.
He had to take a rushed shot at a 5x5 who saw him first and turned,
leaving Wayne a split second decision. He wounded the elk but after
2 hours of tracking, had to give up when the blood trail was lost,
and it became apparent that the wound was probably not serious and
we would never catch up to him. Well, at least we had some action.
Too bad Wayne didn't get a better look at that elk.
As my mind wandered, suddenly Mel
whispered "Elk", and we both dropped to the ground. "There's
a cow with a calf 200 yards up on the left edge of the woods. There
could be a bull behind them in th woods, Get Ready!" As Mel
scanned intently with his binoculars, he suddenly stopped, "There's
a bull behind them and he's coming out!" I swung my rifle off
the cow and on to the bull, who was now almost fully in the open.
"He's a 5x5" whispered Mel.
By now my heart was pounding. Again, I felt bad luck was about to
strike. We were stuck right out in the middle of this cleared pipeline.
The cow looked right at us, and I expected all 3 elk to spin at
any second and disappear back into the woods. Mel again whispered,
"I can call them out. Just make sure you're ready to shoot!".
By now, I was down on one knee with the sling strapped around my
left arm. I had no rest available. I didn't dare move. I had to
keep telling myself to breath deep and try to relax. Don't blow
the shot if it is there. Just don't.
Mel gave some soft cow calls, and the elk looked at us but didn't
spook. The bull took another step completely into the open and I
locked on him. Again, bad luck! There was a single tree between
us-right in his kill zone. I said "Mel, I can place a shot
just to the left of the tree and take him," Mel replied, "No!,
Don't do it! I'll call him out for a clear shot. If you wiggle and
hit that tree, we've lost him. I'll get him out."
Suddenly, the bull poked the cow in the butt, and they came running
out. The pipeline was about 100 yards wide at that point with an
uphill slope. They turned and quartered up the slope. I made up
my mind that I was not going to rush the shot. I placed the crosshairs
on his shoulder about 6 inches below his back, swung with him and
fired. He dropped immediately, pawing the ground with his front
legs, but unable to get up. I knew he was paralized and was going
nowhere. However, Mel did not want to take a chance, and after two
more rounds, he lay still.
I'm not sure who was more excited, Mel or me. He gave me a big "bear
hug", we did "high fives" and whooped it up. As we
approached the bull, I asked Mel the distance of the actual shot,
he said "About 270 yards". I felt a little sad as I approached
this majestic animal, I always do. But, it's the hunting experience
I cherish. It's natures beauty, the wonderful people I meet, and
the physical and emotional challenge that keeps me coming back.
Rick, Rita, Mel and Ron - Thanks for the memories.
Pete Sohlden, Wisconsin
Wild Kakwa Outfitters
RR 3 Site 3 Box 13
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada T8V 5N3
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