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lighthorseman

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PostSubject: Spike Bulls   October 18th 2016, 1:29 pm

Spike Bulls

Years ago, I was hunting elk on some private property, down in the pinon pine country of southern Colorado. It was muzzle loading season and I was carrying my old "bear killin" 58. cal. flintlock. The night before the season opened, I was glassing a herd of about 50 head that had come down to graze in an alfalfa field just before dark. The old herd bull, was then and still remains about the largest I had ever seen, probably scoring well into the trophy class. I couldn't get an exact count on his rack, but felt fairly certain, he was at least a six by if not a seven, with antlers that reached his hind quarters when he raised his head. I had surmised, that each evening this old boy brought his large harem down off the ridge along a 40 acre square of private property which was surrounded on three sides by Indian Land. Each morning they would return to the Southern Ute reservation by this same route. As it turned out, this escape route was also owned by the same sweet elderly Hispanic grandmother who had given me permission to hunt her land.
My plan was simple. I would return before daybreak the next morning where I would set up and lay in wait to ambush this old regal giant as he returned to the regulated safety of the reservation.

I decided not to draw attention to myself by bugling but would set up and pray that God would allow me the opportunity to ambush the bull as the herd made it's way back up the ridge to safety. As light began to fill the eastern sky, I began to hear the sound of hoofs rattling the loose rocks which covered the ridge side. Not seeing anything, but afraid to move from my spot, I decided to use my cow call, and softy make the "mew" sound of a searching cow elk. Suddenly from the opposite side of the huge full cedar tree I was standing near, came the sound of a hot and bothered bull, making a guttural clucking sounds, while he was trying to determine where this possible new member of his harem might be. Both of us were frozen, with only the pounding of my heart and the stirred up old bull making any sound. Occasionally he would grunt and almost bugle, but then would stop, as though he wasn't quite sure of himself. The wind was right for me, but never the less the lack of visual verification of a new female intruder was more than the old boy could handle, and quickly he made for the barbed wire fence that acted as boundary for the reservation. Unknown to me, the border was only 75 or so yards away. Once the whole of the harem was across the fence, he stood on a ridge that was several hundred yards away and began to bugle like his mind was set on drawing this mystery cow to join him on the "Indian lands" side of the boundary.

A bit frustrated, I decided to go for broke and try and lure him back across the fence with a threat. I began to bugle like a big bull. The more that I bugled the more excited he got, running up to the fence but refusing to cross and then retreating again a couple hundred yards into the safety of the reservation. I guess he knew he was safe where he was, and if this "new bull" in the neighborhood wanted to fight, he'd have to come to him.

By now I had moved out into the open, hoping to get a better view, just in case he came back. Still bugling, I suddenly heard back behind me and to my left, the sound of rocks clattering again. Slowly turning my head, I discovered two spike bulls, not more than thirty yards away, curiously staring at me. Since I was using a mouth diaphragm to cow call and bugle, I repeatedly made both sounds now, thoroughly confusing these two youngsters who, though they were "in the blood", they had no idea what was going on and how to respond to it. Finally I knew that for me the hunt that morning was over, and I moved slightly, which caused the two spikes to move off slowly, still a bit unsure and rattled at the morning events, never the less making themselves perfect targets. As a sworn "ethical hunter" I knew the regulations wouldn't allow me to fill my tag with these foolish youngsters, so I let them walk away.

Years of elk hunting has shown me some interesting similarities between males of different species. I'm speaking specifically concerning elk bulls and human males. Okay bear with me on this. Young men, say the age of 16 to 25, are like spike bulls. They got it figured out that eventually they will be "herd bulls", but too often they're trying to strut their stuff long before they got it learned that they can't just run to any cow call or bull bugle that comes within ear shot. Now it's natural for a young man or spike bull, to have his thinking on all them young heifers.....women and cow elk that is, and wanting to romance the first one what ain't already taken by another bull......or man. But the problem is, just cause you hear the voice of a sweet young thing calling, it doesn't mean she's callin you, and it doesn't mean if you go a running full bore towards the sound, that you're going to meet up with the right woman.....or cow of your dreams. Fact is you might run into a big old herd bull that's got no tolerance for a young whipper snapper flirtin with his women folk. Worse than that you might run into a hunter who's not as honest as I am and who might shoot you...especially if you sneak up behind him. Never the less, though the danger might seem obvious, young men and spike bulls still make every attempt to impress their peers, male and female alike, with their strength, talent, education, virility and yes, even their ability to bugle.....or "toot their own horn."

As a dad of young bulls.....I have discovered like all dads, that our son's have decided often before they reach puberty, that the old herd bull don't know very much. By the time they are 20 something, they decide, not only does dad not know very much, but they actually could rule the herd much better than dad, having learned with great wisdom, all the mistakes that the old herd bull has made. This so called "wisdom" is often worn by these young upstarts, like a crown of majestic antlers which reach near to heaven, carrying on them such impressive tines as like precious jewels......in other words "showoffs!"

"Ole Dad", now must take his place outside the herd..........living a solitary life. Wandering aimlessly, looking for soft forage that his now toothless mouth can digest. Waiting for that fateful day when his tired old joints have finally given out. His rib cage looking like a wrought iron fence. His hide rough and mangy, missing patches of hair. His toothless grin dripping drool. Finally the once magnificent stag lowers his aged frame upon a soft grassy ridge, just as the sun's fading light cast orange and blue hues upon the western silhouetted horizon. He lowers his head to the grass, closes his tired nearly blind eyes, takes his last dying breath and finally forever rest with his forefathers. NOT!

Take heart guys! Just because you're forty something yourself, I hear from even older bulls than I, that eventually these youngsters figure it out that, we ain't so dumb. Why some of them even come around and ask our opinion sometimes. But there's an even more sinister group of bulls out there, that don't belong to the family. The "Satellite Bulls".

These are the 4x4 and 5x5 bulls. You know the type. They are late twenties to mid-thirtyish. Most of the time they got a bit of a smart mouth. Bugling when they ought to keep their mouth's shut. Making so much racket, every hunter in the woods knows your location. They are the ones who hang around the herd trying to pick up stray cows (daughters?). They're the ones who even have the audacity to challenge the herd bull for "supremacy". Call him the young executive. He's the up and coming. He might even be that young associate who you've befriended cause........well, you like the guy. You see his talent and potential and want to give him a head start. Sorta reminds you of yourself when you was his age. So you encourage him. You bring him into the business. Give him his big break. Take him under your wing. Suddenly you're being challenged from this young upstart. Not so unlike that spike bull, you find this guy thinks he knows more than you do. Thinks he's got a better way to run the herd, and if you give him an inch while you're sparing, he'll take a mile. So you flex your muscle and bow your neck a bit and he backs away, but he's found your weak spot and next time pushes you further. Finally you have to give him a sound thrashing, if you're going to maintain order in the herd. Push him hard enough and he'll go packing. But that may be a problem, that is...... he might be the very best candidate to replace you when nature finally takes it's course.
 
Yep it's a hard job being the herd bull. Everybody is watching. Make one bad move and "BANG!", you're hanging in camp upside down, guts ripped out, with flies flying around your private parts. But remember something. Being the herd bull means that you've been dodging bullets all your life. It means you were smart enough to slip in and out of hunter infested country without being seen. Even though tired old eyes that couldn't see the "hunter orange", you could still smell 'em! You heard them trying to sneak up on you. And when the lead cow barked, you were the first to skedaddle. So let those youngsters spout off. Let them think they are smarter than you. Let them go snooping around even though you've told them a million times not to. Just remember. It's those spikes and satellite bulls that get shot first. Keep your head down and remember your own wisdom......and okay, pray for the young bulls too!

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falcon

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PostSubject: Re: Spike Bulls   October 18th 2016, 6:25 pm

Very good.  

Yes, the young spikes do sometimes need our prayers.
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Fishmagnet



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PostSubject: Re: Spike Bulls   October 18th 2016, 6:34 pm

Thanks for the advice. Really enjoyed reading this.
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lighthorseman

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PostSubject: Re: Spike Bulls   October 18th 2016, 11:04 pm

Thanks guys! t up

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