Another elk season has passed and once again I am blessed to have been able to take part in a lucky hunters hunt of a lifetime. Mr Rob Carelton from Mansfield Pa was lucky enough to draw a bull tag in zone 7 for the 2012 season. You've all heard the expression its a small world but it truley is strange how we are all connected. Rob knew my dad and my brother and they have both done work for him in the forestry/timber business in the past as well as for Robs parents. I grew up in Blossburg, a tiny town about 5 mins away from Mansfield, so when i saw the tag awarded to a hunter from Mansfield i was pretty certain that i would know some of the same people that Rob did...and sure enough it was a match!
After several conversations with Rob he came on board with Elk County Outfitters and it was a no-brainer that with our connection that i would be guiding him for his hunt. Rob came into camp sat before the hunt around lunch time and got settled in with his gear. Off we went to a remote section of game lands in zone 7 for an evening scouting trip...WE WERNT DISSAPOINTED!!!
The previous two morings i was in this same area and had seen a huge 6x6 with about 20-30 cows but i always watched him from quite a distance...prob half mile or so. This section of zone 7 is known for very wild and spooky elk and i didn't want to risk bumping the herd the previous mornings. Sat eve found us slipping along the edges of the various game commission food plots in this large complex when a bugle rang out about 500 yards ahead of us in the woods. I knew they were headed for the same area i had seen them the previous mornings so we hustled around to get a better view and be closer to them than i had ever been.
Sure enough as we rounded an island of pines we could see the cows streaming out of the woods onto the open grassy hump in front of us. I glassed a good bull but was certain it wasn't the one i had seen from a distance. After a couple minutes the big boy came into view and he was impressive. A clean 6x6 with all the classic western look you could ask for...wide, heavy, long tined and majestic as ever herding cows and bugling in front of us about 400 yards away. We slipped away as darkness fell and left the herd to their normal routine knowing that we would be back in the morning.
Morning came and found us back in the same area but before we could get to where we though our herd would be we bumped elk in the pre dawn light and they thundered away leaving us with only a glimpse and crushed spirits. The rest of the morning was fruitless and my mind began to spin trying to devise a game plan for the following mornings hunt. This particular game lands has a healthy population of elk and is a popular place for other outfitters and DIY hunters as well. Knowing that we would have company in the morning had me concerned but i knew the bull was to big to not try to hunt for at least one day.
My guess was right and as we pulled through the game lands gate in the darkness monday morning we were greeted by several vehicles and horse trailers. A quick introduction with the other outfitter and it was clear that we both had different game plans and that we wouldn't interfere with each other so off we went in the direction of the big hump and where i hoped to find the herd. The moring proved to be a wash with only deer sightings. We broke for lunch back at the truck and got word that another lucky hunter with ECO had got a nice bull so we headed out to see what was on the ground.
Monday afternoon we were back in the area of the hump hoping to get into our herd but it was obvious with all the pressure around that the elk were shook up and out of their normal routine and our day ended with no luck.
Tues morning we were in a different area and were on bulls right away. We made a sneak on some bulls feeding in a field but they weren't quite the size we were after so Rob passed. Mid morning we got on some other bulls with 2 definite shooters in the bunch. We watched them bed down from a distance in some tall grassy/goldenrod field with sparse pines. We were sneaking along the top side of the bulls glassing in the grass for beams and tines when we noticed another group of hunters closing the distance below us. I immediately called us to a stop and we all watched the other hunters as they put a stalk on the bedded bulls. The lucky hunter was able to tag a good bull out of that group, an 8x7. Tuesday evening ended uneventfully and we called it a day as the light faded behind the mountains.
Wednesday morning found us in the same area and stalking the edge of another close by field in the morning shadows. We saw a smaller bull with a goofy rack on one side and knew that he wasn't a bull were after so we passed on him and continued up the edge of the field. As we rounded the corner of the field to look back into another section that was blocked by view another bull busted out of the brushy field edge into view and this was no slouch of a bull! Rob quickly went to his shooting sticks and i dropped to one knee bringing the rangefinder up to my eye. "160 yards" i hissed and then switched to my cow call to stop the bull. One chirp and he stopped on a dime and looked back...i went to my binoculars for a better look. Rob hissed "is he the one?" I wasnt sure and continued to glass him up and realized he wasnt the big bull we were after in that area but a shooter none the less. I whispered to rob "its not him but hes a good one...its your call Rob". He whispered back "I'm not even looking at horns I'm on his chest...you tell me if hes a good one!" I made the quick decision that he was a shooter and Rob dropped the hammer on him and made a perfect shot!
The bull ran about 80 yards over a crest in the field and out of sight. We collected ourselves and tried to catch our breath and started towards where we lost sight of the bull. As we crested the rise i could see a weird shape and color about 100 yards ahead in an old tractor tire path in the grass. I raised my binoculars and could see it was a beam rising above the tall grass...HE WAS DOWN!!!
Robs bull is a beautiful 6x7 with a kicker of of the fourth tine on the 6 point side making it a 7x7. The bull had a green gross score of 359 6/8 and a dressed weight of 596 lbs making it around 850 lbs live weight before the rut. After the excitement calmed down i realized that i have video and pictures of this bull alive from late in the rut at the end of September...
rob and his trophy...
rob and his brother who was along for the hunt...
me and rob...
Hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as i did typing it because it brought the whole rush of emotions and excitement back to me that we experienced that day and the whole week for that matter...THANKS FOR CHECKING IT OUT!!! Also we had a professional camera man along with us for the hunt and it will be featured on an up coming episode of TOMBOB OUTDOORS featured on the pursuit channel and several other networks in the near future. When i get a positive conformation of when the episode will air I'll let everyone know