We at Elk County Outfitters had the privilege this year to be able to guide the hunter who had the winning bid for the 2012 PA Conservation elk tag. Mr Stanley Boots from the Syracuse NY area was the high bidder for the tag that was auctioned off this year at the Eastern Chapter of the North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) banquet that was held earlier in the year in Jan. My wife and i attended the banquet in hopes of being able to meet the winning bidder and get our, ECO's, information in his hands for consideration of our services.
Mr. Boots was very interested that evening after the auction when i was able to talk with him briefly and get him a brochure. The Conservation tag was created 4 years ago by the PGC in an effort to raise funds and awareness of the PA elk herd. By the definition of the law that was created with the tag is that its to be auctioned off by various conservation groups like the , NWTF, RMEF, SCI, FNAWS last year and this coming year i believe the tag will be auctioned off through DU. The group that puts the tag up for auction each year is required to give back to the PGC 80% of the generated proceeds which the PGC is required to use specifically for elk research, habitat improvement and all things elk related in PA. The group is then able to keep the remaining 20% of the generated funds to their discretion. This past year FNAWS donated their 20% back to the PGC for a 100% fund contribution...a true gesture of wildlife conservation!
Mr Boots tag allowed him to hunt starting Sept 1 through Nov 10 which is the end of the regular 1 week PA elk season. Mr Boots was able to hunt any elk hunt zone and use his weapon of choice. Most hunter dreams of a chance to hunt pa elk but to have the opportunity to hunt PA elk during the rut is something that is hard to describe! After many phone calls and emails traded, Stanley made the commitment to hunt with ECO and we immediately went to work looking for the "right" bull.
Our hunt actually started labor day weekend when Stanley and his wife Donna made the 5 hour trip from the Syracuse area to come to camp Nick (ECO headquarters) for a meet & greet weekend so to speak and he actually could hunt sat Sept 1! It was a great weekend getting to know Stan and his wife and listening to his incredible stories of hunts abroad. Despite the brutally hot weather that weekend we managed to see a few bulls but not the "one". Stan left that weekend with plans to return in 3 weeks once the rut started to kick in.
Stan came into camp on sun Sept 23 to find great weather and high hopes from all of us at ECO. We had located "the one" and were pretty sure we could make a play on him the next day. Stan, Donna and i found ourselves monday morning in some of the thickest fog i think i have ever seen...not the way were hoping to start! But the fog actually helped out in the long run and we were able to slip around in the brush moving towards the bugles of nearby bulls. The fog lifted around 9:30 and it became apparent our bull wasn't where we thought and hoped he'd be. A quick relocation to another nearby property we had permission to hunt on turned the bull up and it was go time! We saw the bull at a distance but he was off of the property but moving in the right direction. He went out of sight into a thick draw of autumn olive and we were set up for the shot and able to cover the two possible ways he would come through.
The bull stepped out of the olive at about 220 yds and stared right at us...we were busted and he took off! Stanley was dropping to one knee and getting the gun in the shooting sticks as i went for my cow call. A couple chirps on the call and the bull stopped and Stans first shot went forward of the bull into the grass. He quickly chambered the second round and hit the bull low in the chest right in the boiler room and he did i high mule kick. I knew he was hit hard! We watched the bull run about another 100 yds and go down. I turned around to high five Stan and when i looked back the bull STOOD UP!!! I couldn't believe it...i had Stan ready for a third shot but he went down again. We quickly gathered our gear and closed the distance to the bull and put the finishing shot on him. Stan was grinning ear to ear and couldn't believe the size of this bull. Shortly after the shot the reinforcements arrived and lots of high fives, hand shakes and hugs were given out!
We had been watching this bull for about 5 years and knew he was destined to be a true trophy so we tried to pass on him in the previous years hunts knowing that he had great potential. We guesstimate the bull to be about 8 or 9 years old...the 5 years we kept track of him and figure he was probably 3 or 4 already the first day we layed eyes on him. We rough green scored the bull at 412" gross non typical. He's 60" wide tip to tip and has 10 score-able points on the right beam and 8 on the left. Stan is the kind of guy who isnt interested in scores but more so trying to take mature animals and benefiting the herds of the animals he hunts. I think we accomplished our goals by taking an animal that was in its prime and had already spread its genes for future generations.
Stanley is a world traveled hunter who has been to many countries in his hunting career that i don't think i can spell let alone find on a map! He is a consummate sportsman and conservationist who has done more than his fair share to give back to wildlife world wide and it was a pleasure to meet and hunt with him. All of us at ECO thank him from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to take part in a true hunt of a life time and we all as PA sportsman should be thankful for his generous monetary contribution to our PA elk herd
stan and his bull:
me and stan:
me with the bulls rack from behind...his most impressive view i think:
the group...and no the dog was not used in the hunt in any way...lol
jack and the bull:
i have another group pic that im having trouble uploading...i'll post it up once i get it working