Bow Hunting: Elk On The Move In New Mexico | Missouri Deer Down (Episode 463 Transcript)

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GRANT: (Whispering) Tell me yardage. I can’t see yet.

GRANT: Last year I used Hosted Hunts to help my friends and I find an elk outfitter that met our objectives.

GRANT: Conway at Hosted Hunts listened to our needs and concerns and ended up pointing us to an outfitter in Northeastern New Mexico.

GRANT: During my first few days of that hunt, I had many close encounters. We were definitely hunting a great area but with 30 minutes left to go during the last afternoon, I hadn’t shot an arrow.

GRANT: With light fading, we heard some bulls bugling in a canyon and took off after ‘em.

GRANT: While making our way down the canyon, we heard two bulls fighting and started making our way towards the ruckus. Their fight was carrying them away from us, but we hustled in there and finally found ‘em and closed the distance and I took a shot.

GRANT: (Whispering) How far?

CAMERAMAN: (Whispering) 60 (inaudible).

GRANT: (Whispering) I can hit it if you can put it there.

CAMERAMAN: (Whispering) 64, 63.

GRANT: (Whispering) Take the quartering away shot?

GRANT: Look at that. Oh my gosh. I’ve never.

GRANT: This was the first elk I’d ever tagged and it was an incredible hunt.

GRANT: Hey, this is a workout right here man. I don’t know what this head weighs, but that baby’s a toad right there. Whew!

GRANT: Based on my friends and my experience, it was a no-brainer to work with Hosted Hunts again this year and book an elk hunt at the same place.

GRANT: Between when we booked the hunt and the hunt was to occur, I had a kidney transplant – just the way it worked out. And I actually had the transplant seven weeks before the elk hunt.

GRANT: Seven days out from the transplant. I feel great. In addition, I plan on chasing elk in the Rocky Mountains about 35 days from now. Watch and see.

GRANT: Just weeks after the surgery, we were packing our gear and heading to New Mexico.

GRANT: Dead elk. Can’t wait to get there.

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GRANT: From The Proving Grounds to where we were hunting is about a 13-hour drive. So, when we got there that afternoon, the first thing I wanted to do was shoot my bow and make sure all that traveling hadn’t vibrated the sights off.

GRANT: Okay. 13.5-hour road trip, 40 yards, pressure, got the guide watching me.

GUIDE: No pressure.

UNKNOWN: That’s a pretty strong wind.

GRANT: Let’s see what happens here, folks.

UNKNOWN: Dead hit.

GRANT: The Prime Logic shot true and I was feeling good about the hunt.

GRANT: As light began to break over the horizon the first morning, we could hear some bugles and took off that way.

GRANT: We slowed down to hone in on where the bugles were and plan a strategy and while we were standing there, one bugled very close.

GUIDE: Let’s see if we can get him. (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) I’ll try. (Inaudible)

GUIDE: (Whispering) If he comes, he’s gonna come fast.

GUIDE: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: It was time to get in position.

GRANT: We hustled, actually, because the bull bugled again; and you could tell he was cutting the distance and getting close.

GRANT: The next bugle was so close, it about blew my hat off.

GRANT: Based on the location of that bugle, Daniel and I repositioned and started to get ready. Suddenly, the bull appeared. We’re ten minutes into the hunt.

GRANT: (Whispering) How, how many yards you think? I’m thinking 30. You got your rangefinder?

GUIDE: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m scared to move.

GUIDE: (Whispering) (Inaudible). He’s back behind this tree (Inaudible).

GUIDE: (Whispering) You good?

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m gonna turn the (Inaudible). Ah, he saw me.

GRANT: This opportunity happened very fast. When I saw the bull, something, I guess in my subconscious, told me it wasn’t right and I didn’t take the shot.

GRANT: Rather than force it, I let the bull walk.

GRANT: There were other bulls screaming in the distance. We regrouped, listened and decided which bugle we should go to.

GRANT: (Whispering) Let’s go get in front of some.

GRANT: We worked our way into a canyon and spotted some elk moving through junipers and pinyon pines.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: As we worked down the canyon and across the valley to the other side where we’d seen the bulls, a young bull came in silently and caught us with our guard down.

GRANT: Not long after that encounter, the elk went silent and it seemed they’d made it to the bedding area.

GRANT: Rather than risk pushing them a long ways away, we decided to back out and try again that afternoon.

GRANT: (Whispering) First afternoon of our hunt. We had some great encounters this morning. Kind of got a feel for where the elk are and we think some are bedded back here. So, we’re staging up here pretty early in the afternoon, thinking they’re moving this way to feed over here.

GRANT: (Whispering) Pond down there about 250 yards, so we think we’re in a good place. Just heard the first bugles of the afternoon. I’m pumped up.

GRANT: During the hunt that afternoon, we saw several elk, but all of them out of range.

GRANT: (Whispering) There he goes. He’s gonna come out on the right side. (Inaudible) Dominant (Inaudible). He’ll come out on the right side – there he is right there. He just came out.

GRANT: As we were walking back toward the truck, we got that great news that one of my hunting buddies, Todd from Redneck Blinds, had shot his first elk.

GRANT: That made the rest of us in camp very excited for the next day.

(Several talking at once)

GRANT: (Whispering) Second morning of our elk hunt, we’d been hustling because the elk are ahead of us. Getting ready to go across the canyon and up the other side. Think we can catch up with them this time.

GRANT: The next day we saw a couple of elk in the distance, but my buddy Rob, from Fourth Arrow Tree Arms, arrowed a nice elk.

ROB: I think I did start crying when we saw it laying up here.

GRANT: I don’t blame you.

ROB: It seems like – yeah, what a year of frustration.

GRANT: We weren’t far from his location, so we started walking that way to help celebrate and load the elk.

GRANT: That afternoon – even though it was hot – we heard a bull early during the hunt.

GRANT: (Quietly) Second afternoon of our elk hunt in New Mexico. We’ve had some good encounters, but not a shot yet. We’ve got a south wind today, so we’re coming in the north side of the canyons where we think some elk are bedded. We’re here early. We’re just gonna stage up; listen.

GRANT: (Quietly) There’s a water hole up here. May sit by that water hole ‘cause it’s pretty warm. And then try to follow the elk down; cut in at the right moment.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Bull’s just (Inaudible) across the ridge. We’re headed down. We’ve got the wind in our face. (Inaudible)

GRANT: As we closed the gap of this bull, we could hear cows and actually saw some.

GRANT: This herd was determined to keep going over the mountains and we couldn’t catch up with ‘em again.

GRANT: During the first two days of the hunt, the weather was cool and some rain even moved in. But by day three, the temperatures had heated up.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) When it’s really hot like this, a little secret I’ve learned is get a field wipe. Just take one out. Not only can you cool yourself down, which I’ve already done. Put it in the top of your hat because that moisture will evaporate – especially in this dry climate – and keep your head a lot cooler.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s just the opposite of putting a stocking hat on in the winter. Putting something cool and moist in your hat sounds weird, but it will cool you off several degrees.

GRANT: Elk are very large animals and walk a lot of miles. They need a lot of water. So with the heat that afternoon, we decided to sit by a small pond and put out a Montana Decoy.

GRANT: Decoys serve two great purposes when hunting elk. One: to be an additional attraction to your set up; and two: to take the attention of the bull and put it on the decoy rather than the caller or the hunter.

GRANT: No elk visited the water hole where we were set up that afternoon. But, a couple canyons over, my buddy, Terry Hill, had a great encounter at the water hole he was watching.

GRANT: (Whispering) Did you get the weather balloon? Did you film it?

DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: Early the next morning, it sounded like some elk were still down in the valley feeding while others were already in the canyons moving toward the bedding area.

GRANT: Elk hunting strategies are relatively simple. We usually try to get between where elk are bedded and feeding or vice versa. Very similar to chasing whitetails.

GRANT: (Whispering) I can see ‘em. I can’t figure out which way they’re going. They keep changing paths, so we’re behind a tree line, kind of playing cat and mouse with ‘em. Hopefully, we can close the distance.

GRANT: We tried to get between the herds to make something happen.

GRANT: Suddenly, we heard a bugle close by, probably responding to the calls, and we tucked in behind a juniper.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Don’t move. 120 yards. Right in front of me. Just barely to the right.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s like a spike on one side, broken off on the other.

GRANT: (Whispering) Man, he’s beautiful standing there.

GRANT: Even though this was a young bull, it got my blood pumping.

GRANT: We saw several other elk crossing where the young bull had came from.

GRANT: As soon as we thought we wouldn’t alert those elk, we went that way. But unfortunately, the elk had already crossed a canyon.

GRANT: Elk can cover a lot of ground quickly. And it rarely pans out if you’re behind the herd.

GRANT: I really liked the canyon this herd crossed. It’s the same canyon where I tagged a bull last year.

GRANT: Based on a few experiences in this same area, I realized it’s a pinch point for elk traveling to and from food and bedding.

GRANT: We decided to back out and return to this area that afternoon to see if the herd traveled back through.

GRANT: (Quietly) This morning we watched a herd, including a pretty good bull, come through here. We were a few hundred yards away – couldn’t do anything with ‘em – and they crossed the canyon right behind me – went on that flat. We assumed bedded down. We could hear ‘em bugling, but knew if we went over there, we was gonna bust ‘em. So, we backed out.

GRANT: (Quietly) Fortunately, got a great wind – strong wind – coming this way. So, we should be able to hear ‘em bugle; plot their course; get in front of ‘em and prepare for a shot.

GRANT: We got in position fairly early; had a favorable wind – but unfortunately, it was all quiet.

GRANT: Suddenly, to our right, we saw a bull crossing a large open area.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) On that. What do you think?

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible) I see another one. He’s gonna follow the same path. (Inaudible)

GRANT: As we got set up, the bull changed his path and got downwind.

GRANT: It was obvious when the bull caught our wind, which didn’t surprise me given there’s a hunter, a cameraman and a guide.

GRANT: The bull turned and drifted away.

GRANT: There was a larger bull behind him and that bull kept coming on what seemed a more favorable path.

GRANT: As he closed the distance, he started taking the same line as the first bull and all we could do was enjoy the show.

GRANT: (Inaudible) I didn’t know if I needed to. (Inaudible)

GRANT: This was a great looking bull and I was super excited just to have the encounter.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) These cow, I’d take. (inaudible)

GRANT: The next morning, my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby, and his guide had chose to set up on a waterhole. It’s hard to express how excited I was when I got a text that Terry had a bull down. He had made an incredible shot and once again, the DeadMeat had worked perfectly. The bull ran 50 yards and tipped over.

TERRY: I saw where the arrow hit and I thought, hmm, or the bow hit. That’s not in the best spot, but let’s see if that ole DeadMeat does its work. And it did.

TERRY: Really, really a great, great broadhead. I won’t shoot anything else ever.

GRANT: After celebrating, cleaning the bull and cleaning ourselves up, we loaded the bull up and headed back to the lodge.

GRANT: Even though I didn’t harvest an elk during this hunt, I had a great time and truly felt blessed. It was seven weeks after a major surgery – a kidney transplant.

GRANT: I was able to carry my bow and a pack every day, averaging about six miles a day.

GRANT: I had several encounters with good bulls and shared camp with some really good friends. I celebrated their victories and shared stories every afternoon.

GRANT: All of us, including me, on this hunt considered it a huge success. So you can bet we’re working with Hosted Hunts to return again next year.

GRANT: If you’re like me and you’ve been dreaming about going on an elk, muley or hog hunt, I suggest you check out Hosted Hunts. I’ve found they do a great job of studying the outfitters and matching an outfitter with the hunter’s goals.

GRANT: While Daniel and I were in New Mexico, Tyler and Clay were holding down the fort here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: We’ve made it known that we need to significantly reduce the number of does on the property this year. Even though the temperatures were warm here in Missouri, Tyler and Clay believed the deer would be feeding one afternoon.

GRANT: With the wind forecast to be about ten to twelve miles an hour out of the south, they picked a couple of Summits at the north end of a plot we call Tombstone. That way they could approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.

TYLER: (Whispering) You may recall that Wes and I actually were out here last fall on a scouting mission in a Redneck trailer blind just out there and harvested three does from this plot. So, this is the actual first archery hunt in Tombstone. So, we’re set up on the north end of the plot. We’ve got a south wind blowing our scent back behind us.

TYLER: (Whispering) Deer are coming from our left – working out into the Fall Buffalo Blend. So, we’re hoping to punch a couple of doe tags and get that much closer to our management goal here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: This wasn’t Tyler’s first hunt at the plot we call Tombstone. Last year, when Tyler was an intern, he tagged a nice doe with the Winchester.

TYLER: (Whispering) Right now?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah, if you can.

TYLER: (Whispering) Ready?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Ready.

GRANT: Tyler impressed me so much as an intern, that I hired him and he’s now a full-time part of the GrowingDeer Team.

GRANT: Tyler didn’t have to wait long. Because soon after they got in the stands and settled down, a doe entered the plot.

GRANT: Tyler waited patiently until the doe got 30 yards broadside.

TYLER: (Whispering) What was that?

CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

TYLER: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible)

TYLER: (Whispering) Good?

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

TYLER: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Go down; go down; go down.

GRANT: The DeadMeat hit exactly where Tyler was aiming, and she went down in the plot.

CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

TYLER: (Whispering) Man.

CLAY: (Whispering) Nice shot, dude.

TYLER: (Whispering) First one of the year. Dude. It’s not even a buck.

CLAY: (Whispering) I know, dude. I was shaking up here. It’s been a while.

TYLER: (Whispering) It’s been a while. It feels good and she is down in the plot.

GRANT: By harvesting this doe, Tyler got us one step closer to our herd management goal and put fresh venison in the freezer.

TYLER: A couple of does came out about 30 yards, just like we thought they would as they were showing on camera. Um. Let ‘em get comfortable; get out in the food plot a little ways.

TYLER: I had a DeadMeat – did the trick. She didn’t go but 50 yards from where I shot her. Uh. Went down in the plot. So, here she is. One more closer to our management goal here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: A lot of folks have asked about our doe management goal. But, it’s important to realize that the whole herd needs enough food – especially during the late summer and late winter stress periods – for ‘em all to have ample quality nutrition, so they can express their full antler and fawn production potential.

GRANT: This spring, Tyler planted all our food plots using Eagle Seeds Spring Buffalo Blend – including Tombstone. So, we had a lot of memories, while sitting in that stand, of planting that field.

GRANT: It’s just that he got to reap some of the benefits.

GRANT: When I watched Tyler’s hunt – especially the shot – in slow motion, it was obvious that this doe had just started to react when the arrow got there.

GRANT: You can see the muscles tensing in her shoulder.

GRANT: Last week, we shared some research we’d been working on for a while that clearly shows deer can drop several inches before an arrow reaches them.

GRANT: I received several questions from viewers that ask if it’s the noise of the arrow or the bow shot that’s alerting deer.

GRANT: Our research strongly indicated that given the speed of sound, it’s the noise from the bow that’s alerting deer.

GRANT: We are very hopeful that this research will help all hunters make better shot selections. And I encourage you to share that episode with all your bow hunting friends.

GRANT: Whether you’re romping around out west or simply going to work every day, I hope you take time to slow down and enjoy Creation. But, more importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

GRANT: We’re focused on hunting The Proving Grounds and if you’d like updates on our progress and hunting techniques, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.