Joining us on the hunt were Cody Nelson and Cody Goff (the Codys), Josh Flowers, and my wife Jeanne. To cover as much ground as possible, Michael and I would head out to hunt one area while I sent the other guys to look around in other areas. We hunted for a few days and things were progressing nicely, but it seemed as if the rut was a little behind that year. We received word on the second day that Darr and his archery elk client, Tim Allen, had harvested a giant 400” bull in another unit. We were very excited for them and ready to find a bull of our own.
Michael Park's 42nd elk with a bow grossed 435 4/8".
On the fourth morning of the hunt, we were almost back to camp when I got a text message from the Codys saying to call them. I called them, but only got bits and pieces of pure excitement and broken digital phone sound so we made a plan to find them. We came back to camp and got our scouts some extra food and water and were off. Upon arriving at their location, we could tell from their smiles that things were about to really swing in our favor. I got my tripod out, attached my binoculars, and sat next to the Codys as they described their morning events. I said, “How big?” and they both said, “Huge!”
They had the bull bedded across a canyon. I could see his front points from where I sat and knew that we were looking at a big bull. He was in a great place for Michael to slip in while he was bedded. The Codys said he had bugled a few times and had one cow with him on the hill. I was confident that Michael could slip over to him and get in close. We watched as Michael did just that. The bull got up and was raking his antlers, but it was too thick to shoot. Michael was at 21 yards for way too long. He had no shot, and then the wind swirled and the bull spooked as if he knew he was Number 42. He ran over a ridge, so Michael came back to us and we made a plan to split up and try to relocate the bull. We were unsuccessful that night but our spirits were still high. We talked about how much the bull would score and the consensus was around 410-415”.
The Codys had to leave the next day after the morning glassing session due to work and it was just killing those guys to think they might miss the madness. I glassed the bull up at about 8:00 in the morning. He slowly made his way out of the bottom of a draw, feeding the whole time with his head down. He angled into a jungle of thick juniper trees and I could tell that he was looking for a place to bed for the day. He was on the sunny side of the hill, but managed to find some extremely thick cover to take his nap.
At around 5:00 that afternoon, the bull finally got up and was angling downhill, feeding towards the bottom of the draw where he could drink from some puddles. Michael slipped along, seeing that the bull was feeding heavily and positioned himself in the bull’s path. As I watched, it was as if the bull had read our script and performed his role right on cue. He managed to feed right by Michael’s position and I watched as Michael drew his bow and centered his pin on the bull who was quartering away at 57 yards. Michael released and hit the bull perfectly, right through the heart. The bull stumbled over his last 40 yards and went down. Number 42 was a reality.
Jay's application suggestion proved to be a good choice.
With the giant down, I was very excited to get my hands on that awesome rack, as was Michael. Upon reaching Michael and his bull, I could see that he had even shed a few celebratory tears. It was really cool to see his respect for the animal that we so love to hunt. We set up for a few photos and just savored the moment as darkness fell.
When we guessed the bull would gross 410-415”, we were way off. The 7x8 ended up officially scoring 435 4/8” gross and netted 416 4/8” non typical. He had over 64” of mass, a 35” inside spread, main beams of 54 3/8” (L) and 52 2/8” (R), and nearly 12” of extras. Truly, Michael was blessed with the opportunity at such a great bull, but as icing on the cake, he returned to Oregon and harvested bull Number 43 with his bow about three days later.
To read more about Jay’s hunting adventures go to his blog at www.jayscottoutdoors.com.
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