Below is a hunting story being shared by someone I consider a mentor. See his original post: @bjornimperfekthuman this is one of my favorite hunting stories...
scroll down for a play-by-play on each photo.
this is september 2016, forest in central montana. despite starting to hunt with my dad in the late 70s, this represents my first completely solo hunt. from picking the area, to packing the animal out, it was all me. honestly, i prefer hunting to be a team sport...i love relishing in the entire effort with friends and family. but doing something solo can also be rewarding.
as i drove to the 1000s of acres of public land for an afternoon and evening hunt, the parking area i had e-scouted was already occupied, and i could see a pair of hunters slipping into the woods right where i wanted to go. time to call an audible. i had lightly scouted an area further west that i had never really walked around, so i decided now it was time. my target was elk, but i had an "a-tag" (buck) just whispering my name ever so softly. not far from the truck, i let out a loud, raunchy locater bugle...ya never know. as was typical for this hunt, silence. i quickly made my way about a mile from the truck and some open country, wanting to get into the timber and find 'em bedded or feeding in the shade. i wasn't but a few hundred yards in the timber, and i jumped this buck. the wind was in my favor, so he didn't blow out of there. i managed to get within 30 yards, and we played cat-and-mouse in the thick timber...just when i thought i had a shot and would just about draw back, he would move. this game lasted a few minutes until he tired of it and trotted off. no matter, i was after elk anyway. he went to my left, i went to my right. not much further, i found this hidden gem of an open grass field about the size of a football field. i nestled between some pines to see if the herd bull i was dreaming of would bring his ladies to feed. my first visitor was the same cat-and-mouse buck. he quietly fed about 60 yards away. it was fun to watch. he made his way back into the timber. time passed...still no elk. the remainder of the story continued in the comments.