Just got back from opening week in Colorado high country.... still on cloud nine! Got my first bull, and my 3rd elk ever (in 7 trips). All unguided, do-it-yourself, public land hunts.

Missed opening day due to excess work in real life, but hunted Sunday. due to the rain and warm temps, I hunted some low meadows at around 10,500 ft. Old elk sign, nothing fresh, no bugles. Gave up pretty early and went fishing instead \:\)

Second morning, my friend and I went WAY up high to spots we had found elk in years prior. Sure enough, there was a herd of 10-15 animals at the top of the mountain, around 12,700 ft elevation. As we were glassing them, all appearing to be cows/calves, I spotted a bull about 250 yards away down lower. He fed his way toward us, may have spotted us because he locked up at 66 yards. My buddy was to shoot, he was standing behind me, and I was ranging without an arrow even nocked. The bull barked at us, I cow called and he tried to work his way downwind of our position without coming directly in. He worked his way through an opening 47 yards away that was clear to me only without stopping, but wouldn't stop in the opening further down for my friend to shoot. He worked back and forth between the openings 2 or 3 times without offering a shot to my friend, so I asked him if he minded if I nocked and arrow and shot him if he came back into the opening I had. Of course, he didn't mind, so I stood up when the bull was behind cover, nocked an arrow and got ready. The bull came back into the opening for the 4th time and looked right at me for 10 seconds or so.... when he turned his head, I came to full draw, rapidly settled the pin and sent the arrow. It was still too early to see the arrow hit, but flight looked perfect right off the bow. The hit sounded good, my buddy confirmed a good sounding hit, and the bull crashed off in a death run. We heard him fall and gasp a couple times and knew it was over. I found the back 12" of the arrow covered in muscle blood, but no blood trail. We went another 30 yards or so and found him piled up. The arrow had hit perfectly right behind the nearside shoulder and the broadhead lodged just under the hide through the offside scapula. He travelled about 80 yards from where I had shot.

We took pics, and then the work started \:\) Killed him at around 6:15 am or so at about 11,700 feet elevation. Those bulls are heavy!!!! I'd estimate he's 600-650lbs, 3-4 yrs old based on tooth wear. Not the biggest bull in Colorado, but for a complete DIY, unguided, bow hunt, he's still a trophy of a lifetime for me! And in a unit that averages 9-10% success either sex with a bow, I feel pretty good to have taken my 3rd elk in 7 trips!

The rest of the trip was a blast, my buddy got to within 17 yards of a small 6x and a small 4x, but couldn't get the right angle for the shot. He also got to within 75 yards of the herd bull (a 280"er or so), but never released an arrow. He still had a blast helping me pack my elk out \:\)