My second trip out for the final five days of the season was less eventful, but still plenty exciting. It turns out the elk are smart and know that they are being hunted and that bugling gives away their location. After a few days of the season they virtually stopped communicating, rendering them much more difficult to find. The weather changed dramatically from my previous trip, with highs dropping from about 80 to 60 degrees F.
Some mornings I would hear bulls bugling before the sun came up, followed by silence as soon as it became the least bit light. Most evenings I would see either a lone cow, or a cow with a calf or two feeding shortly before dark. I made hurried stalks on three of these cows on separate occasions, with swirling winds putting an end to two of these attempts and a location miscalculation ending the other. I also spooked up a small heard from about 30 yards, watching a cow ass quickly appear and then disappear while listening to the thunder of hooves gradually growing fainter. Kris joined me for the last two days, bringing rainy, miserable weather with him.
The way things work in Washington, we still have another chance to harvest an elk during the late archery season, which lasts from November 23 until December 8. I'm sure I'll be out again then, trying to get luck and skill to align for a fruitful (meatful?) harvest. Only next time I'll have a bit more skill and require a bit less luck.