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Old December 7, 2019, 02:12 AM   #7
huntinaz
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Join Date: September 21, 2010
Location: az
Posts: 1,314
Day 5

We were back to the same spot first thing in the morning trying to locate the bulls from last night but they were nowhere to be found. We moved our way down the canyon, looking for elk and assessing the new country. Tate mentioned to me his standards were slipping, maybe he wasn't ready to settle for a spike yet but almost any bull would do. I said that's fine but I'm ready to hunt the whole time to find you a bull. He agreed but he was ready to kill one.

By 10am we'd made it to the point we wanted to make it to and we'd seen nothing. We wanted to spend all day in this area given the elk sign we were seeing, the lack of human sign we were seeing, and the bulls we'd seen the night before. We made a plan that Paulie would go back to the best glassing spot we'd found that morning and we would wrap around and still-hunt a thick bedding area we'd seen some fresh bull tracks heading into. But first, we just had to go check out further down the canyon. The vegetation opened up dramatically along the north side of the canyon but there was enough vegetation on the north facing side that allowed shaded bedding. We decided to go maybe one more mile down and see how it looked. The problem was it was to wide open to move slowly along the rim so we had to get way into the flats and travel and then sneak up to the rim at intervals. Walking quickly in wide-open country mid day doesn't always seem like great elk hunting practice but in some circumstances it makes sense

About half mile down we were sneaking up to the rim behind a juniper tree, being careful to look at everything we could see before advancing every few steps so as not to spook out our glassing spot before we got there. We were almost to the rim when Tate said I've got an elk. It's a bull. I could not see it from my angle, the juniper tree we were using as cover blocked my view which was good. Dad stayed there to keep an eye on the bull. As we eased up to the tree and cleared past it to the right for a shot I ranged the bull at 310 yards. It was bedded in the sun and appeared to be looking our way but didn't stand up. Tate set up on sticks and dialed up to 300 yards. I looked the bull over quick and knew it wasn't big, appeared to be missing a lot of brow tines, so I said hey do you want me to try and find any other bulls before you shoot that one? His response was a flat "nope." He was gonna kill that bull. It was time.

He set up and aimed and just as I was about to whisper that he had plenty of time and not to rush the shot, he ripped one off. Clean miss right over the top. The bull leaped up and stared hard at the torn up dirt that had just sprung up behind him. Judging by what I'd seen the day before, I truly believe this bull elk was asleep and the bullet hitting behind him and the shot woke him up. He appeared to be looking our direction before the shot but the noise he would have heard first was the bullet impact behind him, not the report of the rifle, and that's where he was looking. Anyway Tate racked another and I heard him exhale. The next shot found its mark and the bull's legs gave out and he fell over backwards. Tate's first bull, our final bull, was on the ground! I said you did it buddy, you finally killed a bull elk. You waited four years to draw this tag and you filled it. He said to me "I've waited 32 years for this moment, Jacob"

My little bro's first bull elk, turned out to be a funky 3x5. His right antler base is bent forward, a gene we've seen once in awhile, and he's busted a brow tine off his full 6-point side:


Ready for the pack out:


The pack out wasn't too bad. We got back to camp well before dark and we tied one on. We figured there was cause for celebration. Four bulls in five days was a good feat for us. I love hunting the Arizona high desert. It was certainly tough to get snowed out of our normal spot but beating the odds and going out and having a fantastic hunt anyway was special. I just love to hunt, and lining up on a bull elk is right up near the pinnacle of it for me. So much of my life is wrapped up in elk. I've been cutting meat for two days now and though my freezer is filling up fast I know that it'll be emptying faster than the next tag will come and I can't wait to go chase them again. This was a long-winded post but I wanted to try and tell it as grand as it was to all of us, so I can go back and read it and remember how great it was. These aren't the biggest bulls around but they are special to us and this hunt will be tough to beat. I'm excited for what the coming years will bring. Happy hunting.
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