October 22, 2008: We left by truck that morning at 6:45 A.M. and went to an area where we had seen some elk the night before. On this morning hunt, we saw a group of 15 bulls at first light. As we were sorting those bulls out, another 7 were coming up the draw feeding. As we continued to work our way higher up the mountain, we kept our attention on these 22 bulls. JP then spots another 7 bulls in a line walking on the ridge opposite of our position. There was a bull that stood out in the group, so we took off running to get in better position. Once we got on top, Matt said of the two standing side by side, shoot the one on the right. There was a metal stake post that I used as a rest as I was looking at the bulls through my scope. I pull the trigger – and bang – the bull is hit hard. He takes off running angling downhill and then does a nose-dive. Game over as I just shot a nice 6×7 340” bull. After a few high fives and pictures, AJ pulls out this Jim Bowie knife and makes very fast work of field dressing the bull. Matt & AJ leave to get the ATV and truck. They used the ATV to drag the bull off the mountain and then loaded the full-bodied elk onto the back of the ranch truck. We then went to town and made arrangements with the butcher to cut and wrap.
The second day of our hunt was October 23rd and we went out on horseback. As we rode up into the mountains and peaked out on top, we found ourselves looking at 150-175 head of elk in a grassy meadow with about 20 bulls. There were a couple of bulls that were very actively bugling with the cows calling. Based on the sound of this one bull that was directly across from us, we decided to ride to the opposite side and sit on the bugling elk and wait out the day. We got into position around 11:00 A.M. and waited in the rocks until 5:00 P.M. and realized the bull that was bugling had moved to the other side. Riding out, we rode directly into this herd of elk that by now were all up and feeding. There was this loud rumble as the elk all herded up and they all headed in the same direction we were going. As we were on the horse trail heading there were elk all around us running to escape. It was now dark and this herd of elk ended up not far from our camp.
On the third day of our hunt, we were riding on the same ridge that we had seen most of the elk from earlier in the day. It was late afternoon and Matt put us in position to sit and wait for any kind of elk movement. Dusk was approaching and we began to hear bulls bugling and cows calling not to far from where we were positioned. As we were losing daylight fast, Matt wanted to close the distance and we ended up with a head on collision with a herd of elk moving in. They split and would becoming in on the backside so we repositioned and found ourselves covered with elk. All of this is taken place from 30 yards to 80 yards. There were approximately 50 elk with 15 bulls less than a 100 yards from us feeding and making all types of elk noises. There was one really unique bull that had a trilling sound to his call. There was so much traffic with this large group in such a small area that you could not shoot.
The final day of our hunt October 26th: It was breezy, cold, stormy and snowing. It was decided that JP, AJ, Chad & I would head out together in a truck to an area where some bulls had been seen the day before. Matt and Mike would go to another area close by and we would have radio communication with them. We saw a few bulls at first light and then Matt calls to say that he has spotted some bulls that we should check out.
After looking at the three bulls, JP says, “Let’s go make it happen”. The bulls were out in an open sage flat about 700 yards off the road. We drove down the road a bit and took off on foot towards the bulls keeping a small rise between the bulls and us. Once in sight, we made our way around to the right to a cut in the rise creating a bank where JP got ready to shoot. After picking out the best, JP did not hesitate. With one shot at 325yards, down goes the bull. After much celebration and pictures, we loaded the bull onto the truck and drove back to camp. JP had shot a nice 6×6 330”-340” class bull.
We drove the bull to town to have the meat cut and wrapped for the trip home. On our way back, we stopped and went fishing at some lakes on the ranch. We caught 20”-22” rainbows that would weigh up to 5lbs. After fishing, we went to camp where we loaded the trailer for the trip home and had dinner.
We left on October 27th after breakfast and saying our good byes to the wonderful people. Picked up our meat and put on dry ice for the 17 hour drive home.
This was a great trip and hunt. JP & I were both successful in killing 330”-340” class bulls.
– Mark Simas