I was like a kid on Xmas this year when I logged into my game and fish account and saw I had drew my Elk tag for 16B. I called up everyone that had put in, cause we had all said this was going to be the year. By the end of the day I had found that 3 out of the 5 had drawn a tag for the area. But two other friends had drawn a tag so there would be 7 total. When it came time, it was like the opening day took forever. the hunt started Oct 18-22 but we headed out to the parking area next to the cliff dwellings trails on weds the 15 to spend the night in the trucks and ride in the next morning and set up camp. Well had some fun with the switch backs with all the pack animals trailing along. I was on WILD BILL (he got that name for a reason) but I didnít care, we were on our way. We made it to North Mesa and called it good for this would be home for the next week.
The next morning (Friday) half left to go for the rest of the gear and water, while I and the two new guys stayed behind to get firewood and set up camp and unpack the food into the "kitchen tent" and scout around the tree lines.
The next day was D day, I was up bright and early getting the fire going and looking for the coffee pot. After we all saddled up and decided who was going with who we left camp and headed north, that morning was nice with all the rubs everywhere but we were a little shocked not to see any elk..Til late in the afternoon when my father and brother in-law jumped a small forky bedded in a valley. That got our hearts pumping! As we started back toward camp we jumped a HUGE BULL around 200 yards way on the other side of a rolling hill, my bro saw it then I did. We were off the horses and on him in a second, but as I heard the first shot go off he booked it and I took the shot but it was not a good one.. I knew it as soon I left on the trigger. He was at least a 350-375 score at least. Man I was unhappy with myself to say the least. I didnít sleep well seeing that monster in my scope every time I closed my eyes.
Sunday was a good day for the other guys as they came up on a herd of around 15 cows but the bulls were in the tree line and never came out for a clean shot, as for us we covered 22 miles and didn't see anything.
Monday morning as we spit up near the white rocks it wasnít 5 minutes when I heard the first...second....third...forth...fifth shot...sixth, I got on the radio and asked if they had got one or two or if I needed to call in an air strike (13 shots in all), lol. The two new guys had taken out a 5x5. We on the other hand had spent the day tracked some large bulls that had water near antelope tank, but to no avail, as for the new guys...they were happy..But more so cause they were headed home lol. That afternoon I saw a yoter almost 300 yards away looking at us, I had to redeem myself and took him out as he was running away. the yardage was around 325-360.
Tuesday was not to good as we had run out of water...someone should always tell new guys that when your out there DONT drink if your not thirsty. Lucky that we had more water in the truck so as the others left we packed a new case of water for the rest of the hunt. We hunted only a few hours and only near camp, but I was starting to wonder as the horses and mules would from time to time look into the tree line and act like something was there, I had found bear and elk tracks but just blew it.
Weds was it! we had said all bets are off, the first one to see or shoot and hit is theirs. We rode hard and circled so many canyons I though we would make it all the way back to the truck..But didnít see anything. On the ride back to camp as the sun was going down on our backs we had just said "thatís it! I am not picking up my binos unless a damn bulls runs into me". We all started to laugh when my bro yelled "there's one!" WE all jumped off and pulled out sticks from the scabbards. It felt like milliseconds from the time we saw it till the time my brother let one go and then I squeezed off my first round, THUD he was hit in the liver first shot, as he was running from tree line to tree line to our south at a light trot, when the shot hit, he slowed up just enough for me to touch another off into his shoulder and down he went, the 7mm rem mag with my 150 scirocco load had did him in! After a minute or two of jumping up and down and all the excitement, I looked back and the horse had left us!!!!! We were only 1,000-1,200 yards away from camp so they must have just thought no way am I staying out late. lol. I ran all the way back to camp and met up with the others that had stayed. We loaded up and headed back to the downed bull. It was dark cold and sweet that night. I have to say that even though I had missed that first big bull and had ridden 20+ miles a day to see nice trees and tracks, I was the happiest guy in the world that night. I had to and still have to say thanks to all the guys in camp that helped one another with everything and making this elk trip one to remember. Oh yeah my bull was taken less than 100 yards from where I had popped that yoter on Monday.