Johnny’s Story – 2016 Idaho Elk Hunt

Johnny's Story

I never thought 2016 could top my previous season, but in my eyes, it already has. Our trip was full of emotions and success as Jeremy and I traveled 2,600 miles from the Northeast to Idaho in search of public land elk.

The trip began with several full-day hikes through rough terrain that pushed our skills and endurance to their limits. The mountainsides were silent and no bulls were answering our calls. On the 4th day, everything changed.

On this particular morning, after our 6 mile hike in, we received a response from an elk approximately 500 yards up the mountain. With quick communication as to where the noise was coming from, we were greeted with the presence of a 5x5 elk running full tilt into our setup.

jbfinal2As he closed the distance between us, I ranged the gap he would step in and drew my bow. I watched him stop behind a large blow down only to let out a slight squeal and chuckle. It felt like forever as I slowly let my bow back down. I recall feeling the wind blowing slightly in his direction and felt the heartache of “if” he caught our wind.

Quick thinking from Jeremy prompted him to give a light cow mew and the bull responded by proceeding forward another 15 yards, but this time, he was facing head on. Within his short distance travel, I was able to draw on him while his head dipped behind another blow down.

There he stood fully upright looking for whatever it was he caught a whiff of. Countless hours of practice were burned into my mind. I knew I was correctly anchored and I leaned out around a Douglas Fir ten yards in front of me. The branches were spaced evenly across his vitals, but I was able to hold my pin on the swirl of hair on his chest.

I released the arrow and watched my Easton Full Metal Jacket sink down to the fletch as he turned and ran back in the direction he came from. His first step away I knew we had a long day ahead of us as a garden hose of blood sprayed the forest floor in front of me.

Grabbing my bugle, I let out a squeal as I heard Jeremy behind me hitting the cow calls. A few branch pops and some growling later, Jeremy and I celebrated our first animal down on the trip.

After those first few days of hard earned miles, there was no better feeling than Jeremy and I getting it done on a great public land bull 6 miles deep in the national forest. I was then looking forward to sharing the same success with Jeremy later in the week.

This animal was hard earned and in a team effort, well deserved. The lack of elk we heard bugling during our time in the mountains confirmed we needed to capitalize on any opportunity we were presented with.

A special thanks to our friend, Corey Daily with Little Lost Outfitters for allowing us to stay at his cabin and pointing us in the right direction.

As always, I can’t thank my wife and family enough for the support you have given to me to chase my dreams. It means more than you will ever know.

Last but not least, I want to thank my hunting partner, Jeremy. The work you put in to help not only shoot this bull, but pack into those mountains twice to help me get it out will never be forgotten. As always our hunting trips were loaded with constant laughter and topped with success. Thanks for being there bud and I look forward to future trips ahead of us.

- Johnny Brown



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