Author: sydneyleann40    Photo : @wildliferstv
“You worked hard.” That’s the one thing I continue to tell myself. I set a personal goal to get an archery bull elk this season on public land – my first season hunting elk.

I’ve spent hours shooting my bow, hundreds of road miles acquired scouting, and hiked relentlessly into the high country every opportunity available. I had two incredible encounters, one in which I will never forget.

Having a bull bugling at 50 yards changes a person. The sounds of that encounter were beyond intimidating: limbs cracking, prominent steps, and the screaming . . . He bugled 8 or 9 times, each time getting closer and closer. My body was trembling because it felt like my moment. Right as he reached the tree line, he stomped the brakes and stood for what felt like an eternity but was truly no more than a minute – I had no shot. He bugled once more.

The wind swirled. My heart sank because I knew what was coming next; he turned and ran back the way he came – a beautiful 5×5. All my hard work had came down to that one moment. I needed him to take only a few more steps, and I would have had a clear shot.

As I walked down the mountain towards my truck, my disappointment faded along with last light. That single experience was WORTH all of it. I never wanted my archery elk season to be “easy,” and it damn sure wasn’t. I spent the majority of my time alone in the pursuit of a bull with my bow: learning, making mistakes, cursing, crying, bleeding, growing frustrated, dehydrated… But I gave it my all until I literally couldn’t carry my pack anymore because of a pulled muscle in my back. That was the most frustrating moment for me this season, when your heart wants to go but your body can’t.

The entire season wasn’t spent alone – I had some pretty awesome friends tag along with me at times! Thank y’all. 💛

On Saturday, I’ll grab my rifle – and warmest camo – and head out for a brutally cold season opener. Good luck, y’all!

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