As we approached the approximate spot where the 5x5 and cows crossed the ridge earlier in the day I elected to pull out the bugle and give a location bugle. We were now situated about half way between the 2 bulls and if either were at all in the mood to answer we should be close enough to pinpoint their locations and plan an approach. A high pitched location bugle mimicking a young bull seeking the company of a herd is what I threw out, within seconds the old herd bull answered close below and to our left deep in the crease of the dark timber comfortably out of the wind and driving snow. I dropped my pack unstrapped my bow, stowed my trekking poles, and put my pack back on as quickly as I could. Pez didn't appear to have the same sense of urgency that I had and my past experiences told me that we had to move quickly and/or the bull could be making a B line in our direction. I motioned to Pez to stay on my hip as we bobbed and weaved our way down through the shredded pine trees that covered the side of the ridge leading to the bulls hide. The wind continued it's unpredictable patterns but as I sporadically checked the wind it never indicated it was heading toward the bull. We made our way down the ridge as the smaller, more concealing pines became less abundant and gave way to larger more open timber, as I cut the distance I got aggressive with the bugle adding some growls and chuckles to the mix that resulted in the most intense reactions that we had experience thus far on the trip. As the more concealing pines started to leave us more exposed in our approach I stopped to reevaluate where we were in regards to the location of the bull. It became clear that our best course of action was to stop calling, move back up the ridge away from the bull, cross the crease above him and make our decent directly down the timber covered hillside that he was bedded on, so we did just that. A certain amount of anxiety hits you when ever you have to cross any relatively open ground when you have a bull in theatre that is looking for his challenger. I was hoping that the route back up the ridge and the heavy trail we chose to cross the crease was well out of the bull's eyesight and that the 30 yard wide opening we scurried across didn't give us up. Upon reaching the timber on the safe side of the crease the bull again sounded off and I was pumped that we had pulled off the move, the trick now would be approach the bull and eyes of the many sentries that were sure to be aware of a possible challenger to their champion. We were now confident that we were within 100-120 yards of the old bull and I could tell that Pez had shifted in to predator mode a bit more than when the scrum started just 15-20 minutes earlier. THIS was elk hunting at it's most exhilarating and it's moments like this that cause you to drive for endless hours and days to experience these fleeting encounters! Comfortably across the divide and in to the cover of the timber we slowly made our way down through the steep knarly timber toward the elk. Within the first 50 yards I spotted the blonde rump patch of an elk just 70 yards in front of me standing facing away, I hit the ground and motioned to Pez behind me to do the same. I had the advantage of a large pine tree with a mix of large dead branches and sparse vegetation growing up through the branches between me and the elk which allowed me some freedom of movement as I raised me binos to glass the elk and the hillside around it for other elk Pez was 20 yards or so behind me but he was a bit more exposed and sitting in one of the rare sunny spots on the side of this hill. By this point it had been several minutes since we had last elicited a bugle from the old bull and we were close enough now that I felt that a challenge bugle might alarm the elk that was just 70 yards in front of us so we elected to be patient and see how things panned out. After a couple of minutes the elk in front of us moved enough that we could see that it was a spike still in velvet. He began to act like he suspected something wasn't normal and he turned and walk about 3-4 steps in our direction and now facing directly at us at about 60 yards. I started to get the reason the spike was getting curious as I could feel the shift of the wind on my neck as I watched the spike raise his nose in the air struggling to figure out what the subtle change in the wind was revealing. Within moments the spike turned and walked away and down the hill obviously alerting the rest of the herd that things were amiss. The adrenaline rush was short lived as the elk moved out of our lives to who knows where. After reminiscing over what we had just experienced, we gathered ourselves and still hunted our way down through the dark timber hoping beyond hope that the herd hadn't made us and had just relocated. By now it was late enough in the afternoon that hiking to another canyon wouldn't afford us the opportunity to realistically get on another herd so we took our time on the long descent to the bottom coming out on the road about a half mile from where we had parked that morning. We were a little ahead of schedule for our rendezvous with brushy and Barnaby so we made out way to our spike camp, made up some coffee, broke camp, and drove down to where we planned to meet them and enjoyed a little nap while we waited. The road out of this drainage that would take us back to base camp was the main tarvy road that headed in to town just another 30 minutes the other direction. We had planned ahead to got o town for a shower and dinner and to fuel up the truck. upon arriving at the truck stop we weren't surprised to find 83 and Dan already there watching the lions playing on Monday Night Football. We all made the most of the $7.00 hot shower and the best, and only, pizza in the county and watched a bit oft he game. Brushy, Barnaby, and I elected to head back to camp leaving Pez with 83 and Dan to watch the game until halftime. They ended up watching the rest of the game and getting lost on the way back to camp but eventually stumbled in sometime in the middle of the night none the worse for wear. The alarm was set for 3:30 as our plans to return to where the elk were, it would be a short night for Pez!