September 18: Dawn Jensen

Dawn had a serious case of déjà vu on a mountain in New Mexico on her recent archery elk trip.

Her and husband Beau had been chasing elk for four days and had multiple encounters, but no shot opportunities. In the morning of that fourth day, near the top of the mountain, they crossed paths with a good bull whose bugles made it clear where he was. Their Nomad Mossy Oak Break Up camo allowed them to get in close enough to bed him. With a lock on his location, they decided to back out and come back later that evening.

The plan was to catch him on his feet coming back down to the valley. Dawn and Beau drove half way up the mountain as the shadows grew long. Cool breezes swirled on the mountainside as they shoulderd up the Tenzing packs at the truck. Their Danner boots picked a path to where they thought the elk might travel and after only ten minutes of hiking, the déjà vu struck.

It was bugling and it was coming from the same elk they bedded that morning. A quick check of their Scent Crusher vapor affirmed they were in a good position…so long as the elk cooperated.

But it looked like he had plans to head back up the mountain and away from Dawn. Then, at the last moment, he made a turn and started directly for her. Her heart raced as her eyes locked onto the brown and blonde hair just behind the animal’s shoulder. At 20 yards he stopped with two tree trunks bookending either side of his vitals.

Dawn took a breath and came to full draw on her PSE Evolve. Her 20 yard pin floated over the pocket behind his front leg as she executed the shot. In an instant, a Rage Hypodermic punched through the bull’s hide and into lung. He ran 90 yards then collapsed.

The best elk of Dawn’s life came as a result of her willingness to walk away from it when the conditions weren’t right. It’s not always the case, but in this instance, she was rewarded with a great opportunity later that day…and she didn’t squander it.

Dawn’s case of déjà vu came to a close as the sun dipped behind that New Mexico mountainside.  While she had grown extremely familiar with this animal, he never saw her coming. 

As told to Tim Kjellesvik