Re: NM 7 x 7 Elk
Here is the recap of my hunt:
My hunt started Wednesday afternoon; we set up in an area where he was seeing cows the past few days. After sitting an hour or so we heard a bugle, off we went and set up. The bull answered us 5 times but would not break the 100 yard barrier, never saw him.
Thursday morning we had 3 bulls going, two kept getting further away but one was interested. We relocated on that bull, after a few cow calls I had a cow walk over the knob 15 yards, she got to 12 yards and kept looking over her right shoulder – wow a nice bull was there about 75 yards away. Having the cow so close my guide could not do any calling, just waiting for the bull to close the distance but he actually turned away and walked off. I was feeling pretty good, saw a nice bull and had a cow 12 yards away.
Thursday evening we heard only 1 bull bugle, the problem was we only had 20 minutes of daylight left so we decide to leave him alone.
Friday morning my guide made a bugle and four bulls answered. We decided to set up on the two that were closer but after about an hour they kept getting further away. My guide suggested we take a mile or so walk to a small meadow where he thought the other two bulls were this morning. We got to the meadow (which was 500 yards long??) and my guide let a bugle out, within 15 seconds we had an answer, he was on the other end of the meadow. We worked the edge slowly and almost to the end Jeff bugled again, the bull answered within 5 seconds but was 75 yards in the woods.
OK what to do, we crossed the meadow and faced a steep hill, Jeff figured the bull was heading up to bed or up we went. His comment was welcome to Colorado style of hunting UP and steep! We hustled up the first section, came to a flat then up the second steep section. At the top of the second steep section we were catching our breaths and Jeff decides to bulge to locate the bull. WOW the bull cut him off and within 3 seconds he was 40 yards away, we were just standing there side by side no arrow knocked and both winded. I got an arrow knocked and the bull moved from 40 to 30 to 50 yards which took about 10 minutes and I had no shot, he went up the hill about 80 yards and just looked at us. After about 5 minutes the bull “barked” at us, Jeff did the same back and he came running. I took a small step to the left and snapped a twig – bam the bull stopped and just looked at us from 60 yards. Again he came down to 50, 40, 30 yards and I still had no shot. Then he left back up 80 or so yards.
We worked out way up slowly and after 100 yards Jeff said “freeze”. WOW he was back and at 60 yards but it was thick, after a minute or two the bull headed away from us and up. We figured he caught our sent because the wind was getting bad at this point.
We went another 75 yards up and the bull bugled below us, I got set and Jeff setup about 40 yards behind me. I was looking at my 2 when Jeff bugled only to be cutoff buy the bull but he was at my 11. All I could see was rack coming up the gut and he turned towards me, we were in a pine forest but I had nice shooting lanes and when the bull went behind two large pines I drew – he took about 4 more steps and I stopped him – shot – he ran 40 yards and stopped. I watched him for 2 minutes but could not see any blood. Jeff was looking and giving me the thumbs up!! All I was thinking was fall over!! Well he took a few steps and was out of site for me but Jeff could see him still giving me the thumbs up. Next thing I hear is the sound of a running elk – all I could think was he winded us and away he went, well what happed was he lay down and was kicking!! Jeff came over to me laughing at my facial expression and told me to go find my arrow, it was at that point I could see my bull laying above us about 50 yards.
After the photo session we quarter him, hung the quarters then headed for the truck with the cape, straps and rack. Back at camp we got our frame packs and went back to haul the quarters out.
After a few drinks and food we scored him at 329 3/8ths and then the drinks started again
It was a hunt of a lifetime, one which I will never forget.
Thanks for the nice comments, I would recommend this hunt to anybody but would suggest not making the drive from PA to NM and back by yourself!!