Headed out to Colorado a couple of weeks ago with Brenda Potts and Kandi Kisky for an elk hunt at the Three Forks Ranch!
This hunt got started off on the wrong foot, but ended up being one of the better film jobs I have done to this date. It turned UGLY on my flight from Denver to Hayden. This was only a 42 minute flight, but it was the most TURBULENT flight I have ever been on. The plane violently shook the whole way because of a big storm front that was passing through the area. Once we landed I contemplated kissing the ground!!!!!
Once inside the airport at Hayden I got my camera out so I could start filming. When I turned the switch on my camera started flashing all kinds of error codes!!!! Instantly my thought was, “This isn’t good!” I shut the camera off, removed the battery and tried restarting the camera after 5 minutes! Once again it started flashing several error codes!!
Instantly I get on the phone with my technical guru at the office and he starts to investigate the list of error codes I gave him. Once I give him the list of error codes we get in the ranch vehicles and make the 2 hour drive to the ranch.
Once at the ranch I call the office and we try to reset the camera with no luck. Once that doesn’t work I call Sony and talk with their service department. We go through several “reset” steps and they do not work! The technician then advises me that I will have to send the camera back to Sony to be fixed!!!! OH NO!!!!! This is not what I want to hear! This camera is like an extension of my right arm and I could run it with my eyes closed and now I’m going to have to run a backup camera for a couple of days until I the office sends me a backup camera.
The hunt gets started with the backup camera! We get out and see plenty of elk. The bulls are rutting and are very vocal. We hunt have several great encounters with bulls the first two days of the hunt.
On the third day, Sunday, we take a 2 hour drive to the South end of the ranch. As soon as our guide, Dave, parks the truck we start to hear bugles in the distance!!!! We get out, get our gear ready and head towards the elk. The darkness is slowly giving way to light and we are easing closer to the elk. We are sneaking up to an open pasture. First hunter up is Brenda! Dave leads us to the edge of the pasture and we set up behind some Poplar trees. We see the elk on the side of the mountain hiding in the brush. Dave gives a few cow calls and the elk starts to head our way. He clears the tree line and eases out into the pasture bugling nearly every step. Dave tells Brenda to have her rifle ready because this one is a shooter and when he presents an opportunity that he was going to get her to take him. The elk comes to within 80 yards and presents a shot. When Dave gives the command, Brenda DROPS him in his tracks!!!!
While were at Brenda’s elk, we heard another elk bugling on the mountain. After a few quick photos Dave told Kandi to get her gear ready because we were going after that elk! We get to the general location where the elk was bugling and he had moved up the mountain. Dave leads us up the mountain towards the bull!
It’s slow going! The terrain is steep and I have 50 pounds worth of camera equipment that is making me work for every step!
Another elk starts bugling between us and the bull we are after and he is not far from our location! We set up in a thick cover of Poplar trees. The elk is coming our way fast and we don’t get set up like we had hoped! He appears in the trees and Kandi and I can’t see him at the same time for her to get a shot. The nice 5×5 walks to within 15 steps before he smells us! We were unable to get a shot off and the elk runs down the mountain!
Once the 5×5 was gone, we continued towards the bull that is up the mountain bugling! Dave is pushing us hard to close the distance on the elk. I feel like I’ve blown out both lungs, but determination won’t let me stop! There is NO WAY I’m going to be the cause of us not getting a shot at this elk!
We come into a small meadow on the side of the mountain and the elk is only a couple of hundred yards. We set up behind a fur tree. Dave and Kandi sit on the ground and I get several yards behind them. No sooner do we set up and we see the elk crossing the mountain in front of us and disappear to our left behind the stand of fur trees that we are in! The worst possible scenario runs through my head!!! If this elk keeps coming the way he is come he will pop out less than 5 yards to my left and Kandi will not be able to get a shot! Dave does a soft cow call!! The camera has been recording the action since we took our position. In the blink of an eye the elk pops out 20 yards in front of us! Dave gives Kandi the command, “TAKE HIM!!!” Kandi does not hesitate and her shot rings true!!!
Kandi and Dave are excited because we have shot the elk and I’m ELATED because not only have I got the shot on film, I’ve got Kandi and the elk all in the same frame when she pulled the trigger!!! In all my years of filming hunts, this elk hunt is one I’m most proud of! A lot of time and effort has gone into this hunt and all parties have done their part to make it successful! We worked our fannies off and it will go down as one of my most memorable hunts to date!
Now the fun would begin!!!!! We have harvested 2 elk within 2 hours and we had to pack them out! I made a deal with Dave! If he would help quarter Kandi’s elk I would pack it off the mountain while he went back to get the truck! Needless to say I slept VERY good that night!!!