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Limited Opp Any Elk Hunt Success - Two for One

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I remember the first time my buddy and I stepped foot into this unit we walked up a ridge and found just under 20 sheds on it in two days of prowling around. From that moment on I knew this place was something special and I had a new place to hunt. The better news is that it is in a unit that has about a 50% draw rate so I wouldn't have to play the odds for long.


I was fortunate enough to pull the tag this year, second year of putting in for it 1st choice. In my mind, "Any Elk" meant "Any Elk with Antlers" right from the get go. I knew there were bulls in this area and while there are some giants, they are few and far between. I just wanted a bull and knew I had to do some homework to pull it off.


My finace' and I hiked into the area this summer to do our little bit of scouting and research. I ranged all my points, getting potential yardages and finding the best vantage points. Finding water sources was key in figuring out patterns and why these bulls did what they did. The area is nothing but a boulder pile with extreme cover and deep pockets, elk paradise. I figured the potential longest shot would be just under 850 yards, better have a gun to handle it.


As the hunt was getting closer I decided to utilize a Western Precision Rifle built by Brent Jacob out of southeast AZ. I have been around the rifles for a few years, working with DC Outfitters on their late bull hunts. I knew the capabilities of the guns and I knew they would not let me down if I did in fact end up having to take a long range shot.


We did no other scouting besides that one trip in during the summer, either the elk would be there or they would not. I was a bit nervous leading up to the hunt as the weather had been pretty warm and a ranch near there had shut down all hunting for the year, so there was no pressure to push those bulls into their winter range, which this was. The other thing I was paying attention to was the moon, full while I would be there...not really desireable. Despite the fact that this hunt lasts a month, I had to get in early due to work schedules and what not so I was at the mercy of the elk gods on this one.


With the hunt starting Friday I decided I would leave home on Wednesday morning, this would give me that evening plus Thursday to do some scouting. On my way in I stopped at an intersection to stretch and I look up and boom!! There is an bull elk bedded in the rd!




This is a great sign and after a long day of driving I am pumped to get into the "good stuff" just a ways away.


I arrive at about 3:30 pm and hike to the top of a small knoll facing south to glass for the rest of the evening. I see no elk, bummer. But, I did glass a deadhead...it was so late when I spotted it I decided I would get it midday Thursday. Time to get back to camp and get it set up.





My hunting buddy showed up that night and we knew where we would be glassing from in the morning and also made it a point to plan our day around the deadhead. We awoke Thursday morning at 4 am and trudged our way through boulders, brush, and cactus to get to our first glassing point. The moon helped light the path and we made it just on time...to glass, and glass, and glass, and see nothing. About 10 am we decided to rim around and see if we could cut any sign in what I thought would be the best area within this range. One track, big..but only one fresh track. We decide at this point to go get the deadhead and head back to camp and regroup.






Turns out to be a heck of a deadhead, old heavy 8x6. His right is chewed up but all in all I am jacked to find this. We took turns hauling it back the 3 miles to camp. That is my buddy taking his turn packing it, he is 6'1'', gives you some idea of how big it is.


That afternoon we decided to drive down to a spring in a canyon we had glassed from up high. On our way down we notice there are elk tracks in the road so things are looking up. We get to the spring and there are some elk tracks, fresh elk tracks at that. We decided to go a round about way back to the 4 wheeler. We get about 50 yards from the water and sure enough a bull elk jumps out not 10 yds in front us! Perfect, this is what we need. We hastily back our way out of there and hope we didnt disturb it enough to push that elk or any others that might of been there out. We spend the rest of the day checking a few other things out but at this point we know where and how we are going to hunt opening morning the next day.


Opening morning, alarm goes off at 3am, time to roll. We have a heck of jaunt up a steep face to get to a bluff overlooking the spring. We get there at 5 am under moonlight and as quietly as possible. We settle in and wait for first light, listening and taking in the majesty of big country under a full moon.


First light comes and we are hearing a rock roll under us to the left every so often. Neither of us can get eyes on anything. It starts to get cold, my buddy is shivering like crazy and I am getting frustrated cause we are not seeing anything.


Finally, there is an elk...a good elk...a one horned elk! Dangit! Not the one for me.




Keep glassing, there has to be more, we hope. 10 minutes go by and sure enough my buddy glasses two bulls under us on the same slope! They are rag horns though, opening morning I can be a little picky! These little bulls head straight for the one horned bull across the canyon.


Nothing happens for awhile, we are watching those elk and glassing for others. At one point I am watching the bigger one horned bull and he stops and looks south down the canyon...hmmm. I pan to the left and not a 1/4 mile down here comes two more bulls! Another small 3 pt and a decent 6x7...I try not to get too excited. He is palmated on the right, isnt a monster, but he is a good bull. He is just under 900 yds away when I spot him and they are moving to the other bulls we were watching.





We decide to be patient, the elk arent nervous and we are in a great spot to keep watching and hopefully bed them...this gives me time to make up my mind. Shoot a bull on opening day, or try to hold out for a bigger one? This is a limited opp hunt so there aren't supposed to be options like this, especially on the first morning!









Well, I decide he is exactly what I am after and I would be proud to harvest him if my rifle functions, if I dont flinch, and if I hit him. He beds at 748 yds, the Western Precision Rifle will have no problems at that range. But, the bush in front of the bull will cause some problems so I have to wait.







Well we waited a long time on opening day but I ended up punching him at the 750 yd range and a final round at 300 yds. The rifle performed perfectly and everything came together nicely. It was a great hunt and I am blessed to have great friends and a great fiance' that helped make this all come together.








Thanks for taking the time and best of luck in the woods and all your other paths!

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Cool bull. Looks like you have a great spot in what can be a very tough hunt. Good work.

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I can't get enough of when these animals are palmated. Congrats on an awesome bull and thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for sharing your story. What a monster dead head and looks like that "limited opportunity" hunt is more like shooting elk in a barrel. Way to do your homework and know where the few elk are located. Way to get it done.

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