2012 Arizona Elk hunt unit 5B South


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Lennyjoe
December 28, 2012, 10:41 PM
As promised, here is my results of the hunt that we had in Unit 5B South. It was the late season rifle hunt for bull Elk.

We arrived up in the hunting area on Wednesday eve and set up the RV at Happy Jack RV park just off of National Forest Rd 3, or Lake Mary road known to others. The weather was clear and the moon rose at sundown and shined bright all night long.

Thursday we went out scouting and found several good areas with promising bull Elk sign. One thing we realized right off the bat, the roads suck! Tons of rocky roads up there and they were rather rough at spots. Thats ok though because my 07 Ford F-150 FX4 performed like a champ. So we decided to work an area just West of Grapevine tank by FS road 82.

Up early Friday morning and off to the location. We had 3 in our party and 2 went into the wind up to the top of the hill and worked our way around. The 3rd person went North towards 2 tanks that the Elk were using to water. Needless to say, opening morning, there were a ton of other hunters out there and I had 2 walk up on me. They came from almost a mile away, walking with the wind blowing to their back. Basically, that morning was a wash, not many shots in the area.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were pretty much the same. We worked different areas and one of our party got onto some Elk but they were cows with a couple of small bulls running with them. He decided not to shoot one of the smaller ones just yet. I didn't see anything but there were plenty of sign. We seen them off of FS 135 just West of Tremaine Lake. Worked that area all day Monday but didnt see any other Elk.

Tuesday faired a bit better. We moved over to an area where others have seen Elk and a nice 6x6 was taken in that general area. The guy we talked to with the 6x6 said there were a couple of other bulls with the one he shot. We hit the area early in the morning and up to about 11 am, all was quiet. Around 11:30 I was working my way back over a ridge heading to the truck, pretty much minding my own business. It had gotten warm out so I stopped and took a layer off and packed it in the backpack, sat on a down tree and took in some water. One buddy was 2 ridges over to my West and the other a ridge over on my East. As I got up, rifle slung over my shoulder, I walked about 200 yds when I seen 2 bulls jump from the bed. I took a knee, slung my rifle off my shoulder and got a good look at the lead bull. He was a 5 x something and parked it behind 2 hardwood trees. I had about a 1 ft window between the trees that he stopped behind, 50 yds away. As I was raising the rifle, he pulled what I call a Houdini act and dissapeared. If he would of gone straight, or backwards I would of had him. But he took a hard right, behind the hardwoods and all I seen was back side. He never gave me a shot. Never seen him, or the other one again....:(

Wednesday we hit another area where we found a tank about 1.5 miles from any roads, up in a meadow, surrounded by juniper and pine trees. Gary David Tank was our target and we started working that way from Jack's Tank off of FS 704. We worked the southern ridge up til 0930 and headed into the North wind towards Gary David. Me and a buddy still hunted that way and the Elk sign was everywhere. As we hit the ridge just before the tank, my buddy took up a spot and started shedding a layer of clothes. I head down towards the tank, which was about 700 yds from him. I hit the tank and hung out in that area til around 11. Headed East towards Tremaine Lake and about 200 yds away from the tank I ran into a vehicle. No roads around anywhere. I seen 2 hunters carving up an Elk so I took a hard right and headed up the ridge to my buddy. I got about 100 yds away from the vehicle when a Spike Elk jumped up and gave me a 30 yd broadside shot. Since I missed out on the 5 x whatever, and we only had 2 days left, I put a 180gr Nosler Partition in him. He went about 8 steps and fell over. After the shot, the 2 guys from the truck came my way to see what I shot. We talked for a bit and they told me they took a Spike about an hour after sun up. They drove their small truck up over the side of the hill and there was no way I was gonna do that with my F150. Too many rocks and the longer wheel base wasnt gonna take it well. So I humped the 1.5 miles back to the truck while my buddy gutted the bull. Got the truck to about 1/2 mile from the elk and used the ATV to get him drug back to the truck.

So there it is. Pics to follow.

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Lennyjoe
December 28, 2012, 10:51 PM
Pics below.

First one is us checking out Grapevine Tank #1.

Second was of Diablo Canyon. Plenty of Elk sign, as well as cat tracks!

Third is of an area we hunted. Took a break for some lunch and my buddy was rock hunting.

Fourth is me, in the leafy wear getting ready to head out.

Lennyjoe
December 28, 2012, 10:55 PM
Elk.

First photo is me after the harvest.

Second is the Spike before we use a winch from the truck to lift him, skin and quarter him up.

Third is us in the RV processing the meat. De-bone, sliced and packaged in the foodsaver.

Fourth is fresh steaks that night on the grill for dinner.

Lennyjoe
December 28, 2012, 10:57 PM
So, all in all, he wasn't the biggest bull in the area, but he filled the freezer. There were several nice bulls taken in Unit 5B South but we didn't get one. My other two buddies did not harvest one so I shared the meat. One buddy, who was stationed here but PCS'd last fall to Virginia, drove all the way back to his base at Quantico without filling his tag. He got a good portion of the meat for his efforts. I saved enough for some steaks, burger and jerkey.

SO there you have it. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

Ms_Dragon
December 28, 2012, 11:04 PM
WOW!

Thank you so much for sharing.

I've seen pictures of bagged elk posed with hunters and I'm always surprised how large they are.
I'd be worried, not so much about bagging one, but how to get it back the truck once I did.

I guess being small in stature changes your perspective a little.

wankerjake
December 28, 2012, 11:04 PM
Cool! Spikes are good eating. I've hunted the same areas, I love 5B south. Thanks for the write-up.

sixgunner455
December 31, 2012, 12:29 AM
Nice! A spike's a great eating animal.

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