The fall of 2012 was full of exciting elk bowhunting adventures, both in Wyoming and Colorado. My hunting buddy, Jason Stafford, started early in September by taking a tremendous 350 inch bull deep in the Wyoming wilderness. I’ve been side by side with Jason during many of his archery elk successes, but this one was special due to the extreme effort put forth.
Several days after packing Jason’s bull out, I was on my own hunting the motionless silent bulls. While using combined tactics of still-hunting and calling, I was able to call in a nice 320 inch bull and make a clean shot. He went down in sight. I was lucky for my buddies that helped me pack out.
On September 12th I left Wyoming and headed for Colorado to meet up with longtime Kansas friend Matt Palmquist and a couple of his friends.
Close to sundown, Matt and I were working a ridge where we had spotted elk earlier that morning. After several cold-calling sequences, we traversed out into some aspen groves. Matt set up as the shooter and I began working the calls. I could see Matt from where I was calling, and after 15 minutes, I began to hear some branches breaking near Matt’s location.
I lifted my binoculars to see that Matt was absolutely motionless and intently focused. Now I could definitely hear elk moving near his location, but was still confused why he hadn’t repositioned to shoot. From my vantage point, I could see Matt, and also a little bit to his right. There were trees obstructing my view just two feet to his left. I lifted my binoculars again and Matt was still frozen in place. Just then, I saw the head of a cow elk emerge from behind the screen of trees and watched the most incredible thing I’ve seen in 29 years of elk hunting. While watching, jaw agape, I held my binoculars with one hand while frantically trying to retrieve my video camera from my pocket.
The cow elk stretched her neck even further and she pressed her nose firmly into Matt’s Flash20 pack. She pressed hard enough that I saw Matt sway slightly. She then lifted her nose higher and pressed it into his pack once more. Her next move was lifting her nose up to the side of Matt’s face. Once her muzzle touched his cheek, she finally spooked and ran 20 yards toward me.
We both hustled toward each other in disbelief of what had just happened and high fived about the encounter. Matt admitted to being pretty nervous while watching her out of the corner of his eye, especially when her muzzle grazed his face. While neither of us shot an elk on that trip, the event will forever be remembered. I’m still kicking myself for not having the camera rolling, and I gladly would have traded places with Matt. After all, how many hunters can say they’ve been kissed by an elk?!