AZ Bull Elk 2011 Part 1


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wankerjake
December 13, 2011, 09:37 PM
Well some write-ups are overdue, had another good AZ elk season this year. I was able to tag along on a bull hunt, we had numerous tags in camp but my job was to find my buddy Clark a bull. Clark actually contacted me thru the "Hunting Mentors" thread here at THR. This was his first elk hunt. I had taken him out for coyotes down in Tucson a time or three, but he was never able to connect.

The first day we spotted a herd with a spike and they were a good 1000 yards away and headed the wrong direction. We were both hoping for better than a spike anyway, especially the first few days. That afternoon I spotted 2 bulls, not big but they weren't spikes and we decided to head after them. They were roughly a mile away I'd say when we tried to head them off. We spooked some cows on the way but we never found the bulls. On our way back to the truck Clark spotted a coyote. I got him set up and blew a very quick set on the coyote call. This guy came right in and Clark nailed him at ~60 yards:
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/bullhuntdog.jpg
Day 2 we had my dad and brother on a high point spotting for us, and we were still-hunting the area they were glassing (couple square miles of country). They got us on the radio that they could see a herd of 6 bulls, one whopper. They tried to guide us in but elk move really fast and we were a little farther away than we thought. We ended up spooking a decent bull on the way but didn't get a shot. The 6 bulls split and we did end up getting a look at 3 of them. We could see a really nice bull, and it turns out he wasn't even the biggest one. Too bad we couldn’t have gotten on one of those big bulls. That afternoon we pulled a sneak on a herd of cows (hoping for a small bull). We made a great stalk and they all fed broadside at ~100 yards, but they were all definitely cows. They never saw us.

Day 3 we really wanted to put one down. I had to leave the next day, and Clark’s wife has a baby on the way. The morning found us on a high point and after awhile we found 2 bulls, again a good mile or more out. We headed after them and jumped them at ~150 yards with no shot. My brother watching from the hill said they didn’t seem too spooked but he lost them in the thick cedars. That afternoon we glassed up 2 bulls just before dark. The more I think about it, the more I think it may have been the same two bulls from earlier in the morning. Shooting light was ending about 5:45PM, and it was 5PM when we spotted them about a mile and a half out. I was content to let them be, but Clark wanted to chase them. I let my brother and Clark trot the mile down the hill, thru the fence, and towards the eastern edge of a clearing that we picked out as the “head to” point. No sooner did they start down the hill when the lead bull pick his head up and start walking directly to the spot my brother and Clark were heading for. They did stop and feed a little, but they were feeding along quickly to a large clearing. I could tell the one in front was the bigger bull but it was hard to tell how big from roughly a mile away. I lost the bulls for awhile and when they popped out, they were very close to where I’d seen our hunters last. I tell you what, I was shaking watching thru binoculars waiting for Clark to shoot. Finally I heard the report of the rifle heard that tell-tale WHAP! And knew he must have connected. I could only see the smaller bull in back when he shot. That bull hemmed and hawed, having no idea what was going on, and surprisingly I saw Clark’s bull emerge and try to run away with his partner. He made it about 20 yards before I saw him stumble to the ground. “He’s down!” I hollered, though of course they couldn’t hear me. It turns out our hunters saw the bulls first at about 200 yards and they were feeding towards them. Clark was able to get prone and the lead bull offered a shot at ~60 yards just before dark. Clark sent “180 grains of pain” downrange and the rest was history. Here’s some pics:

Look at that smile!
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/bullhunt2.jpg

Turned out to be a 5x4, though the 4th point is just a tit. Not the biggest bull in the woods at all, but we hunted hard for him and feel lucky to have gotten him. If those bulls hadn't met them half way, I don't think it would have happened before dark set in:
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/bullhunt4.jpg

Love getting bloody :)
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/Bullhunt1.jpg

Me and Clark skinning his first big game animal:
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/bullhunt7.jpg

All and all it was an awesome hunt. Clark got to hunt hard, and his hard work was rewarded with success. He put 2 years of preparation into this hunt, starting by contacting me on this site to take him hunting. He bought a rifle, scope, and shot until he was capable of killing an elk when he needed to. He hunted hard, he watched, and he continually showed improvement. We humped hills, canyons, ran after elk, and we came home happy. He didn't bat an eye at reaching into that bull when it came time to gut and skin, and he was beaming when we got back to camp. There is just nothing quite like seeing an elk go down after all that hard work and preparation. Congrats to Clark, he did a fine job if I do say so myself. I'm glad to have net him, he's become a good friend. Thanks for letting me tag along buddy, lets go do it again!

I also had a great time with my little brother. We both feel privileged to have put Clark on a bull, and we made good memories doing what we love to do together. Here's a closing shot of my brother and I. I think we were as happy to get that bull as Clark was. Like I said, I had buck fever watching from binoculars a mile away! Hell of a trip:
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/bullhunt14.jpg

Stay tuned for our antlerless hunt...

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Coltdriver
December 13, 2011, 10:28 PM
Congratulations to all of you. That is a great story!!

The one thing I learned just in the last couple of years is that you have to hustle if you are going to hunt the big country. Every story I read has this same theme, move fast and go far and you can spot and stalk and get into a great shooting position.

What a great reward for persistence and hard work!!!

elkdomBC
December 13, 2011, 10:47 PM
congrats on your successful elk hunt!

good job helping out a guy on his first elk!

mudmanfloyd
December 14, 2011, 01:24 AM
Clark here. Thanks for a great hunt Jake. I had a blast and am still pumped about busting a bull. You can't beat the poor man's AZ elk hunt with the Wanker Brothers' guide service.

I attached a few pictures. One is of Jake napping--I mean glassing--hard.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=154737&stc=1&d=1323840078
One of me holding the bull's head with good meats hanging in the background.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=154738&stc=1&d=1323840078
And one of me and Jake's dad holding up our trophies.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=154741&stc=1&d=1323840078

Now all we gotta do is draw bull tags next year and shoot matching 400's.

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