090523_Terry Nelson-ELK-WY-DIY-PL


By Terry Nelson | ELK-WY-DIY-PL

August 31st, the day before the Wyoming archery opener, my pickup is loaded and I’m off… but not to elk camp. Instead I was headed back to work in the oilfield for a two week stint, where it’s going to be difficult to focus because you know that the elk rut is kicking off while you’re stuck at work. Stuck (and possibly sulking) while others are chasing screaming bulls. Let’s not even mention all those inevitable, unavoidable, unforgettable big bull pictures soon to be up on social media. You begin to realize that every bull you’ve scouted over the course of the summer is probably not going to be in the same area. You begin questioning where you were going to start first and what your strategies would be. My arrival on September 15th meant that early season tactics would begin fading out by the time I hit the mountain. That bulls would be feeling the hunting pressure and would be a little call shy. But any experienced hunter knows that every season is different and never really knows what to expect until they arrive. 

After completing my last 12 hour shift, I head straight for the mountain. The 11 hour drive can’t go fast enough; Mtn Ops “Yeti”, sunflower seeds, and a short nap, play a role in my midnight arrival at the trailhead. As my 4 a.m. alarm rings, I hop out of the pickup, and begin gathering my gear. While going over my gear list, making sure I’m not forgetting anything, I begin to hear bugles. As anyone that lives for this time of year knows, this sends that rush of hand-clenching, heart-racing adrenaline into my veins and I begin to shake. With a smile from ear to ear, I whisper to myself, here we go… you’ve waited all year for this! 

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