Bow Hunting Bugling Bull Elk In New Mexico (Episode 410 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: He was screaming so loud, I thought he was gonna blow my hat off.

GRANT: Johnny Morris, the creator of Bass Pro Shops, believes so much in conservation and sharing Creation that he spent the past several years creating a gift to, what I consider, all of society. He has created the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.

GRANT: After decades of developing his vision and working on the Wonders of Wildlife, we recently celebrated the grand opening. Tracy, Daniel and I had the distinct honor and pleasure to attend this grand opening event.

GRANT: The three of us met up with my friends, Jerry Martin and Allen Treadwell and started touring the Wonders of Wildlife.

GRANT: I mean, this would just be awesome for any museum right here. I mean, you know, just this right here.

GRANT: There’s tens of thousands of displays. But, I’m not talking like a normal museum. I’m talking about 4D galleries – like Africa, the Hall of Horns, North America, Lewis and Clarks’ Journey. It’s incredible to walk through this tribute to conservation.

GRANT: The Wonders of Wildlife is all about celebrating the huge successes of hunters and anglers and conserving our natural resources.

GRANT: Incredible.

GRANT: There’s a mile and a half of trail through state of the art 4D dioramas that celebrate the most extreme wildlife and fish found on the planet.

GRANT: And I’m talking animals that I’ve never seen before. Critters from all over the globe all there to honor the tremendous natural resources we all have available through the gift of conservation.

GRANT: One of my favorite galleries is filled with – I don’t know – maybe hundreds of white-tailed deer mounts, many state records or world records – original mounts, not replicas – from all throughout the whitetails’ range and descriptions of each one.

GRANT: I could spend hours just in there learning and being entertained.

GRANT: It was a perfect evening at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium and I can’t wait to go back, take Raleigh and Rae – of course, Tracy and my mom and dad – and spend the day enjoying Creation from around the planet.

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GRANT: As exciting as that evening was, I was eager to get out of bed when the alarm went off at 3:00 a.m. the next morning for Daniel and I to head to New Mexico and start our elk hunt.

GRANT: When we arrived in camp, one of the first things I always want to do is shoot my bow. So, we set up a Morrell target, backed up to 40 yards with all the guides watching, put a little pressure on myself, fired an arrow.

GRANT: You like that?

GRANT: Clearly, the Prime have traveled well and I was ready to hit the woods.

GRANT: There should be signs (Inaudible).

FRANK: (Inaudible) You know, shopping place, you know. A lot of people, uh, live off the land, so gathering wood…

GRANT: We are in New Mexico the first afternoon of our elk hunt. We’ve got a stout, steady wind which is perfect. They’re gonna be feeding over here we’re told in the afternoons in some large alfalfa fields but bedded back in the canyons. We’re gonna set up halfway in between. I’m so excited I can’t stand it. So, let’s start this elk hunt.

GRANT: I don’t mind sharing I had never tagged an elk before but when I saw this property, I just got that feeling and became super excited.

FRANK: (Whispering) Obviously, uh, two bedding areas really good from this morning where they had settled in.

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.

FRANK: (Whispering) So what you want to try here – if they’re come in and which side and then just set up.

GRANT: Our guide, Frank, told us that this was an excellent listening point. There were canyons on both sides and if elk were moving through, we should be able to hear ‘em, move in front of the elk and maybe get a shot.

GRANT: It was warm that afternoon. But as the light faded, we heard a distant bugle, dropped off into a canyon to see if we could catch up with the bull.

UNKOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) Elk season has officially began because everyone knows I’m hard of hearing and even I can hear one bugling.

GRANT: As we cut the distance, we could hear several bulls bugling and they were clearly headed toward the alfalfa.

GRANT: (Whispering) I would say we’re out of camera light, before anything got to us.

FRANK: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) We’re just gonna let ‘em rest and get the heck out of here.

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: We tried to cut the distance but we simply couldn’t get there before the bulls passed and made their way to the feeding area.

GRANT: I was a day and a half late getting to elk camp due to some other commitments but that worked in my favor. Now, I hated not hunting with my buddies, Terry, Terry and Rob, but the guides at this camp were quality people and even though all of their hunters had already shot elk, they hung around just to help us. I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty special walking around with four guides trying to help me find an elk.

GRANT: We assumed the bulls would spend the night feeding around the alfalfa, so the next morning before light, we made our way through the brush, got in front of ‘em and hoped to cut ‘em off as they headed for the canyons.

FRANK: (Whispering) Looked like a bull, but how big?

FRANK: (Whispering) Try to get the back. It was a small five by – not too big. Let’s go.

GRANT: As the bugles got closer, we settled in by a pond thinking the bulls would either stop by for a drink or the pond would bottleneck ‘em and we’d get a shot.

FRANK: (Whispering) …the other side of the water. Okay?

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay. Just making – I need ranges, I need ranges.

FRANK: (Whispering) The green juniper, right here in front of you, 45.

FRANK: (Whispering) That little tiny tree, 51.

GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, I see one moving through. Right here, right here, guys.

FRANK: (Whispering) What’s the range?

GRANT: (Whispering) 70 yards. 70 yards.

FRANK: (Whispering) They’re going back to the right.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, they’re gonna go to the right of us.

FRANK: (Whispering) There. There. Right in front of us.

GRANT: (Whispering) Oh yeah. Good, good, good bull, good bull, good bull, good bull. They’re coming right there. Right there.

FRANK: (Whispering) That cow is starting take off to the left; so, let’s try to get around them there on this other side. Kind of a hard shot (Inaudible)…

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

GRANT: Based on my past elk hunts, I thought, “Well, heck. This hunt’s probably over. That’s as close as we’re gonna get.” ‘Cause that’s pretty much been my experience. But while we’re still standing there, we heard another bull fire off not that far away. Heck. This is starting to get like turkey hunting.

GRANT: (Whispering) That one’s that way of us, isn’t it?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m thinking right now that I love this…so much.

GRANT: (Whispering) 70 yards.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) It’s a calf.

GRANT: This bull came in close and we saw a cow, but they drifted off to the safety of a canyon.

FRANK: (Whispering) What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna get these guys up here doing some calling. We’re gonna go – wrap around…

GRANT: (Whispering) You can see him, Daniel. Right there.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s right through here. He’s working a tree. Right through there.

GRANT: (Whispering) 100 yards, maybe 120.

GRANT: Knowing he probably had cows with him and a lot of noses and eyes were working, we decided to slip out, let him settle down and start chasing again that afternoon.

GRANT: That night, rain moved in and it continued through daylight. In fact, it was raining hard enough, it kept us in the truck to protect the camera gear. But we weren’t panicking because we thought as soon as the rain let up, the elk would be on their feet and very vocal.

GRANT: Watching these bulls, there’s no doubt the rain and cooler temperatures had ‘em fired up. We enjoyed the show but were eager to get chasing. And these bulls moved into a canyon about the time the rain was letting up so the chase began.

GRANT: Suddenly, we saw antlers. We waited ‘til these young bulls moved out, heard a distant bugle and took off another direction.

FRANK: (Whispering) Come over here and let’s set up over here.

GRANT: Started calling and shortly, a young bull came in silently behind us.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Tell me when to draw.

FRANK: (Whispering) Draw.

GRANT: (Whispering) You sure?

GRANT: It seems easy just to say, “Hey, wait ‘til their heads down or somethin’ and draw.” But, it doesn’t work out when you’ve got six foot tall critters looking over trees and watching every move where they heard sound coming from.

GRANT: (Whispering) Guys, we’ve got to get a decoy in view so they can come to that decoy.

GRANT: About that time, another bull bugled and was coming in fast.

GRANT: (Whispering) 50 yards…

GRANT: He was screaming so loud, I thought he was gonna blow my hat off.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) I need yardage.

FRANK: (Whispering) (Inaudible) 37. 37. (Inaudible)

GRANT: There were bulls everywhere. I’ve never had an elk hunting experience similar to this. Given I’d blown several encounters that morning, I asked the guides if we could put up a Montana Decoy. My strategy was to get the bull’s attention on the decoy versus the source of the calling and give me an opportunity to draw.

GRANT: All of the sudden, another young bull was running toward the Montana Decoy.

GRANT: (Whispering) Stop him.

GRANT: (Whispering) No, I’m not gonna take it.

GRANT: When this young bull come in, it was thoroughly focused on the decoy, but like most critters, they’re gonna circle around a little bit and this one circled a little bit out of my comfort range.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: What an incredible morning. It seemed like there were bulls everywhere. We’d bust one, or a set up wouldn’t work out, and it wouldn’t be but a few minutes, we’d be on another bull.

GRANT: Throughout the morning, we’d been working relatively immature bulls. We hadn’t seen massive bulls and we hadn’t even seen a cow. The guides told us that these are probably satellite bulls or young bulls and the bigger bulls were keeping cows down in the canyons tucked away to themselves.

GRANT: (Whispering) This has absolutely been the most incredible day of elk hunting I’ve ever had and I think it’s gonna get better. This front’s moving through this afternoon and tomorrow. Could be awesome. There’s a pile of elk here.

GRANT: I had more close encounters that day than I’d had during several previous elk hunts. I was so excited. And we all gained some information – I’m talking real time information and felt we knew how to hunt them the next day.

GRANT: We’re down to the last day and we all felt we needed to push hard and make something happen. That night the temperatures dropped into the 40s and we felt for sure the bulls would be very active.

GRANT: Way before shooting light, the bulls were screaming.

GRANT: As the sun came up, a bull sounded off and it sounded like he was less than 100 yards away. I felt certain we had a good plan.

GRANT: (Whispering) That one’s not real far. That one’s not real far.

GRANT: As elk often do, they changed their path and dropped into a canyon below us.

GRANT: We could tell that several elk had dropped in this canyon so we decided to get down in there with ‘em and mix it up.

GRANT: We got set up but the herd kept moving. Elk are big animals and even when they’re walking, I just about have to jog just to stay up with ‘em.

GRANT: We could hear the elk and we were moving and chasing and moving and chasing. It was hard to be in position for a shot.

GRANT: We closed the distance on one elk but it was a spike.

GRANT: (Whispering) Get outta here.

GRANT: Then, we saw a cow. We were getting close.

FRANK: (Whispering) Are they already up there?

GRANT: As we were carefully moving through the junipers and pinyons, we were spotting elk everywhere. We had caught the herd.

GRANT: With bulls screaming all around us, we finally spotted some of the elk and they were young bulls.

GRANT: Finally, Frank and I saw a mature bull and backed out and tried to circle around.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s looking at us.

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah. Let’s go that way. (Inaudible)

GRANT: Throughout the hunt, we had many encounters of elk. But none of ‘em had worked out for a shot. And I gotta tell ya – as we walked back to the truck, I knew I had one last hunt to seal the deal.

GRANT: As we prepared for the final afternoon of our elk hunt, I took a moment to reflect and realized I hadn’t had this many close encounters with elk in my entire elk hunting career. It was an extremely satisfying hunt. But this year, I wanted to punch my tag. This year, I wanted to bring some elk steaks home. And the last afternoon – that last hunt was so exciting; so much elk rutting action and so intense, I gotta tell you, I’ve never experienced anything like it. I don’t want to cut it short. And next week, the whole episode, we’re gonna share that last hunt.

GRANT: It’s been an ongoing joke in my family that daddy never gets an elk. And the reason was probably pretty easy to figure out. I would try to pick do-it-yourself locations on public land or research outfitters on my own and take their word for it. And it never worked out very well. So, this year, my buddies and I decided to use Hosted Hunts and let them pick the outfitter. They’re professionals. We simply told ‘em our goals and objectives, our price range, our physical abilities, and let them match my group with the appropriate hunting location. And I gotta tell ya, I could not be more pleased.

GRANT: I’m so pleased that I’ve worked with Hosted Hunts – you can enter a code – GrowingDeer, if you go to their website and work with them to find the location that fits your dreams.

GRANT: You think he’s 350?

UNKNOWN: Oh yeah.

UNKNOWN: He’s pushing 350.


GRANT: You think he’s over 350?


UNKNOWN: Well, he has a (Inaudible) – he’s got a mass; he’s got a long (Inaudible).

GRANT: It was incredible to go to the Wonders of Wildlife and seek Creation in its natural habitat from around the world. But, you know, we can’t do that every day, but we can get outside and take a walk or go fishing and do something to enjoy Creation. But most importantly, no matter where you are, slow down every day, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.