Harvesting Elk with Recurve on Horseback with Patrick Wallschlaeger

Hunting

Elk on Horseback

This was a special hunt for me. Not only because I harvested a nice elk, but it fulfilled one of my bucket list items. I always wanted to do a real horseback hunt with real Cowboys. Not the typical, ceremonial ride back ten miles to set up camp, tie up the horses, then never use them again until you pack out a kill. I wanted to follow the bugle up the mountain, get off my horse and set-up on the bull. Besides the practical side of sparing your legs for a more robust hunt later in the week, it was quicker than hoofing up the mountain.  This allowed for more set-ups on bugling bulls and resulted in harvesting my bull in the first couple of days. I was in front of three bulls over 300 inches in two days. Some on horseback, some working our way down the mountain.

Harvest with Recurve

The second requirement to my bucket list was to harvest a bull with my traditional bow and arrow. This meant I needed to get within 30 yards of the animal to assure a good kill. I would use a 50lb recurve built by one of our local bowers Kevin Termat, a two blade Magnus broad head with small cutters, carbon arrows, and a fast flight high-performance string.

The preparation started months in advance. Power walks of two miles up and down the hills behind my home, followed by 200 steps on my stepper, broke up into 50 step increments and ten arrows each leg at a target in the woods. This was to get my heart rate up and simulate the excitement and adrenaline rush of the actual hunt. The first ten arrows and fifty steps saw the arrow dead in the bullseye, by the 200th step and 40th arrow the group got larger. Coincidentally the shot that harvested my bull elk was at 15 yards. My caller and guide Gene Moses coaxed the bad boy right past me, right after he did a number on the tree shown above. The adrenalin rush was exciting as the majestic animal with huge sabers walked by me, but the shot with the help of a quick prayer was what I practiced hundreds of times.

Doubted My Physical Strength 

I turned 66 this year, and many doubted both my physical strength to handle the rugged Bridger Tetons and of course most, even my guides questioned whether I could harvest a bull elk with a traditional bow of 50 lbs with no sights shooting instinctively. With the right equipment, including my Skre extreme mountain clothing, which came highly recommended by my outfitter, a good horse and a skilled guide anything is possible.