10 - 18 - 2021 // NE
Fall 2021 nebraska elk
Last month I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the elk woods with my good friend Ryan. Earlier this year I drew a Wyoming General bull tag with Ryan and I was excited about heading back to the same spot I hunted last year. Well, Ryan lucked out and drew a once-in-a lifetime Nebraska bull tag shortly after we drew our tags in Wyoming. When your elk hunting buddy draws a coveted once in a lifetime tag, you put your other plans on the back burner and put all your efforts into making that experience as successful as possible.
I have to say, I feel like we really got the FULL Nebraska elk hunting experience. 15 days worth for Ryan and 13 days worth for me actually. We were in elk every day. I was nearly run over by elk a couple times and we had bulls screaming within a few yards of us on multiple occasions. We never missed a sunrise and we never missed a sunset. There was excitement, worry, frustration, defeat, confidence and just about every emotion in between throughout the month. We saw some giant bulls and passed on a lot of smaller bulls. It felt greedy at times but Ryan had a goal in mind and he stuck to it. He told me from the beginning that he didn't have a specific score in mind but he wanted to shoot a good solid bull he would be proud of.
Around day 12 or so we sat overlooking a wallow in corn field. The elk were basically rutting all night and living in the corn pivots during the day. The big bulls would go back into corn before it got light out and not come out until after dark. For over 12 hours straight we sat overlooking a wallow(mudhole) in the corn field with no cell phone service. Just listening and staring...all day. Temps got up to around 90 degrees that day and we were baking in the sun. Towards the end of the afternoon a nice respectable 6 point bull came in at just 15 yards and bedded right in the wallow facing the other direction. The wind was in our face and it was literally the perfect scenario for a bowhunter. This was probably a 300-320'' bull and Ryan leans back and asks me, "should I shoot him?!" I knew he wouldn't be happy with his decision afterwards and I shook my head 'no'. Even after all that he had been through I knew he really didn't want to shoot this bull but I think he was trying to justify the decision in his head with my encouragement, ha!
On the evening of very last day Ryan could hunt with less than 10 minutes of legal light left Ryan had the opportunity to punch his tag on a beautiful Nebraska bull at just 30 yards. It felt like it was meant to be. We spent all night processing the elk and finished it with some fresh tenderloins before crashing. I'm grateful for the many days we got to spend hunting elk this year. We had more close elk encounters in those couple weeks than I have had in years and years of elk hunting out west in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. When and IF I ever draw my Nebraska bull tag, I hope I am fortunate enough to get the full experience just like Ryan did.