Tuck had a heartbreaking deer season this year. He missed a couple of shots at really nice bucks over the course of the season. We were both looking forward to his second season elk hunt for redemption. Tuck was determined to hold out for a bull, even though he had an either sex tag. At first light opening morning, we spotted some elk headed up into the timber and tried to circle around to get ahead of them, but we weren’t fast enough. The ground was dry and tracking was tough, so we started still hunting in the direction we thought they had gone. After about a mile we sat down for a break. While munching on our candy bars, I heard a cow whistle. We quickly moved in the direction of the whistle and soon could hear lots of cows calling. Unfortunately, by the time we found them, they were jumping the fence onto private property, but we did see a nice six-point with them as they made their getaway.
The next morning we got to the spot we had first heard them at first light, and sure enough, we could hear the cows talking. It was a big herd, and the junipers were thick so sneaking in on them proved a challenge. As we snuck around trying to find the bull, a cow would bust us and take off running with the herd in tow. Nobody else knew why they were running so they never went very far before settling down. It was tons of fun, with lots of excitement, but they eventually headed for the fence to private land, and we were forced to call it a day once again.
I’m a little slow, but eventually I always catch on. The third day we were waiting at the fence when the sun came up. Tuck was resting his new .30-06 on the shooting tripod and ready to go. We had to wait a bit, but eventually they showed up and started crossing. Cow, cow, cow, there is a bull! It wasn’t the six point, but it was a nice five. What to do? Had we missed the bull somewhere, or was he still in the trees? We only had a few seconds to decide. I told Tuck it was his decision, so he settled and pulled the trigger. We heard the slap of the bullet, and suddenly there were elk everywhere. You guessed it, the big six was just inside the trees.
When the dust settled, the five-point was still standing in a small opening so Tuck shot again and put him down. We were a happy pair as we approached his first bull elk. Examination showed the first bullet had broken the front shoulder and the second the spine. After some hugs, high fives and pictures, the real work began. By cutting him in half at the hips we were able to drag him 300 yards to where we could get a wheeler to him. While we were skinning him out, we both had to agree it was the best day ever.
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