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afirsttimer08

Unit 27 Late Bull Hunt - Year 2

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Hello all,

I’m sure several of you are in the same boat as I am— excited to start your hunt first thing in the morning. Last year I had a semi-live hunt going on the site and really enjoyed sharing my first tag experience with you all. Luck would have it that I was drawn for the exact same hunt this year—the late bull hunt in Unit 27! I will post as often as possible keeping you updated on how things are going. Until then, here is my first bull elk from last year and some photos from scouting this past week! Hope you all enjoy following along, and I hope I can end this thread with a success post!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving,

 

John

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Well, last year it took 3 days to get a bull down. This time it only took a few hours. It wasn’t quite the way we drew it up, but I couldn’t be happier for another year with an elk-filled freezer.

We left the camper at 0500 this morning and got set up on a small incline overlooking some meadows we’d seen elk in this past Tuesday. After hearing a few different shots around us, we figured the elk must have been in the next valley over and we missed our opportunity for an opening day, first-light kill.

Around 0815 we decided to relocate to another ridge line a few miles south so we hiked back to the car and piled in. As we were heading back into the spot, my wife and buddy spotted 2 bulls trot across the road about 150 yards in front of the car. They said one was likely a young 4 point and the other was a more mature bull but they didn’t get a good look at it. We decided to park the truck and see if we could get on their trail. Luckily, a little bit of snow this morning helped us pick up the tracks of the 2 bulls and we were off!

As we hiked up the hill, I spotted the younger bull and thought to myself that I was blessed enough with a beautiful 6pt last year, and this year I would be thankful just to fill the freezer and enjoy another year of elk meat. If I caught up to him and had a shot, I’d take it.

Unfortunately, the young bull crested the hill and went out of sight. My buddy continued following their tracks while I stayed a bit to the right, trying not to directly follow their trail. All of a sudden we hear a truck somewhere else in the valley. I couldn’t see it, and I didn’t even know another road came back into this same area but all I could think was “this truck is gonna scare these elk off and I’ll never be able to catch up or find them again”.

Well maybe that truck confused the elk because all of a sudden my buddy half whispers, half yells at me. I turn and look over in his direction and couldn’t believe what I saw. I was so focused on where I thought the elk had topped the hill that I wasn’t even paying attention to where my buddy was or what he was seeing. I look over and there is the mature bull, broken on both sides, trotting 20 yards in front of my buddy’s face and 40 yards from me.

My buddy immediately drops to the ground and I bring my rifle up only to realize that I’m zoomed in at 9x and can’t locate what part of the bull I’m aimed at. I quickly dial back to my lowest setting (3x) and re-aim at the bull, but it dawns on me that my wife, father-in-law, and my buddy’s girlfriend were a couple hundred yards behind us and in the general direction I’m now aiming. I take a second to double check my shooting lane is completely clear, aim at the vitals as the bull continues trotting past, and squeeze the trigger. The bull stumbles about 200 yards before finally laying down under a tree, and a few minutes later I know he’s gone.

It still amazes me how fast everything happened and how much I had to adjust/take into account for my quick, 45 yard shot. From my buddy spotting the bull coming back toward us to me pulling the trigger might have been 5-6 seconds but it felt like a lifetime. He’s not quite the bull I tagged last year, but he’s perfect to me. I couldn’t be happier for another successful elk hunt and another year of great elk hunting memories. I’m slightly disappointed we’ll be heading home earlier than planned this year, but it’s for the best of reasons: tag filled.

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Heck yeah man! A taxidermist can fix those antlers.  You learned a lot last time around and reading between the lines you had more confidence this time around.  Seems like it paid off. Congrats on a full freezer and great time spent with family.

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29 minutes ago, CatfishKev said:

Heck yeah man! A taxidermist can fix those antlers.  You learned a lot last time around and reading between the lines you had more confidence this time around.  Seems like it paid off. Congrats on a full freezer and great time spent with family.

Thanks Kev! I appreciate the kind words. After 3 years of freezing my butt off, I’m definitely starting to feel more like an arizona elk hunter. I love doing it every year. Maybe I’ll have to put a pause on the late hunt and start saving points for an early archery 

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Congrats dude. Having that tag 3 years in a row is pretty unbelievable. You have much to be grateful for this year.

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