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Eugene - Bull Elk Hunt

Eugene - Bull Elk Hunt

Eugene - Bull Elk Hunt
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As the month of August 2015 rolled around the excitement of our public land DIY Utah archery elk hunt was kicking in. In 2013 my cousin, brother and I stated talking about a out of state elk hunt. First question we had was which state? Doing research began on the internet, over the phone, on multimedia sites, and websites. Of course I had to purchase a year long subscription to Eastman's. Searching between Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming we narrowed it down bye success rate and cost of tag and license.

Most out of state public land DIY hunters were under a 5% kill rating for a bull. So Utah seemed to be the cheapest by far, with similar success rates. After 6 months we finally landed on Utah. The real work began now as picking a unit, a date, and making sure our leave was granted. Shooting in 3D tournaments, weekly, and hunting still in California our shooting was looking great. February April 2015 came with a deal I couldn't pass up. I had bought a new Strothers vital bow, and with only 4 months to set it up and sight it in the stress level was building. The pressure was surreal as I drew the lucky number to shoot first!

 Saturday August 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm truck loaded down and we hit the road. My excitement of our first out of state hunt, and the first time elk hunting was so intense I drove the whole 17 hour drive. Pulling over on a dirt road at 2 am for a quick power nap. As our alarms went off we all quickly jumped out to change into our kuiu gear and headed down the road.

Another hour of driving and we pull over at an opening to glasses some clear cuts. Not 3 minutes went by before my brother whistles and says look! I see 3 bulls running along the bottom side of a clear cut followed by one cow. My heart started pounding! A couple hours later we found our way to our camp for the next 8 days. Driving around mid and that evening only to find camper after camper, quad after quad. The next morning we woke up and headed out to a road that would lead us to the top of those clear cuts. Not seeing anything we headed back up to the road to follow it down. About a mile back a small meadow appeared our attention is focused to the side. At 25 yards I happened to look straight in front of us 2 feet off the road to see a fawn calf. We all freeze knowing the heard could be anywhere. In this unit our tag enabled us to shoot a bull, spike or cow. Hoping that the mother of this calf had some friends along to pick him up. After a long 3 hours of waiting nothing! As the hunger sat in and the was starting to set we had a good trek back to truck.

Walking back down the road we made it about 125 yards to truck, there's a small pond 50 yards from the road. As we make our way up through some small trees I see a giant brown horse. I knock my arrow. Sneaking our way to the edge of this road I can see a giant 6x6 bull standing broadside at 86 yards. Knowing your equipment is very important. I for one would never take a shot that far on a animal that big. So as we watch this stud my brother taps me says there's a cow way closer coming from the pond. As the elk came out of the drainage I saw the darkest set of horns I've seen.

 I draw my bow right as he stops. At 58 yards broadside my heart is ripping out of chest. The bull turns his head looking straight at us. At full draw I am shaking a bit in hopes he turns again. Within seconds the bull starts walking straight at us. Holding my bow back for what seemed like a lifetime the bull finally broke at 26 yards. Turning broadside once again holding my pin in the only small opening I had between the two small trees, as the bull steps into the clearing "smack" my arrow hits the!
Shaking uncontrollably I fall over trying to regain myself. As we are watching the light fade fast we talk about the shot placement. I told my brother I drilled him, my cousin was standing behind me and to my right side, said I hit way forward. In my mind the bull proceeded to walk in the opening, reality had it he actually paused. 45 minutes later our head lamps are out and we're not seeing any blood. I go to the trail he ran up and only see his hoof prints. As we all split up my cousin goes high I stay in middle and my brother low, I start to feel sick. My stomach is turning, my mind is racing...... Then I hear I my cousin yell " hey fat" my heart bounced back to life. As I quickly get to him he shines his light across the draw to this giant brown bull. Unsure of the shot and not finding blood, my brother and I hurried down quietly to 20 yards as I draw he picks up a stick and hits the Bulls horns; nothing..

This beautiful 5x5 bull was on the ground and in my hands. Looking for how this bull died I see my entrance hole. The shot was placed in front of his leg. By some miracle the bull had snapped the arrow lodging it straight into his heart. He expired 80 yards from impact, and 250 yards from the truck. After 2 hours of caping and quartering we finally made it to camp at 1:30 am. 
I've been told how lucky of a hunter my brother and I are. Together we have over a 90% success rate. This bull was harvested with family and now being shared with friends.

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