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September 2019
Story by Paul Pare
Hunters: Paul and Helen Pare
State: Montana
Species: Elk - Rocky Mtn

My wife and I were each successful in harvesting a 6x6 bull elk with our bows on the same morning of the same day within an hour of each other on the same ranch. This was her first elk ever, let alone with a bow. She had practiced extensively for six months, and this was her third attempt with her bow. She made a perfect 20-yard broadside shot on her bull with a complete pass-through. Her bull went 60 yards before expiring.

My bull was spotted the evening before, but darkness kept us from closing the distance. The following morning, we came into the valley from above as the wind had shifted from the west. After hiking into the drainage, we heard elk bugling. Our stalk revealed a 7x7 herding his cows into the timber away from another large 6x6. We cow called to the herd and were able to draw several cows in our direction. The 7x7 kept heading into the dark timber, but the 6x6 turned toward us and came past the closer cows to my guide, Bill’s, cow call. He stopped 43 yards out, but a pine tree limb prevented my shot. Just when I thought he would return to his cows, Bill gave several estrus cow calls and the bull took four more steps to clear the limb. I held the 40-yard pin behind his shoulder and released. The arrow hit slightly high but right in behind the shoulder. The bull whirled and ran 300 yards into the dark timber. We heard a crash but decided to wait two hours before trailing him. Meanwhile, the 7x7 and other satellite bulls continued to scream.

We discussed the shot and measured the shot distance, which turned out to be only 38 yards as the bull had moved closer on clearing the tree limb. We crossed the 300-yard clearing and picked up his blood trail, which quickly played out. We split up, but Bill had not gone 25 yards when he whistled at me that my bull was dead at his feet. We then set about taking photos and quartering the bull to hike out. While we were dressing out my bull, my wife texted me about her bull. Congratulations were going back and forth. Later back at camp, we exchanged details of our respective stalks along with high fives. I’m so proud of her and so fortunate to hunt with my best friend and love of my life.