Every year my father, uncle, brother and I get together for a week of non-stop bowhunting in either Colorado, for elk, or North Dakota, for whitetail. This year is like no other, as everyone had a tough year financially and we decided we’ll have to wait until next year to get together. My uncle’s son, however, finally decided he would like to take up bowhunting and drew both elk and mule deer tags. He has been calling me every evening to not only rub it in, but mostly to get advice and tell me about the happenings. The story he told me the other night was one we’ll be telling around the campfire for years to come.
He scouted pretty well and had been seeing quite a few cows and a couple monster mule deer on a consistent basis. In the morning hunt, he glassed the area they’ve been in and the valley was alive with activity. The mule deer bucks, herd of cows, and a couple rag horned elk were out. A friend came up the night before and the two devised the route to take. They had radios, a perfect wind, and my cousin set out on his first true stalk.
He decided to go after the rag-horned elk, as they were preoccupied with each other in a morning scrap. It didn’t take him long to get within sixty yards. He feels extremely confident shooting within forty yards and as he stopped to figure out the plan, he heard the familiar “crack” to his left.
Now, the rest might be hard for some to believe, but let me tell you, the boy doesn’t have it in him to lie. He looked down the ridge and there was the grand-daddy bull elk standing forty-yards away through the pines. He set up just in front of a pine and some brush preparing for the shot. He couldn’t tell how big, but could see a mass of horns walking directly to him. As the bull came through the pines into clear view, he counted eight points on one side and as he described it, “horns going every direction” on the other. He also noticed the bull had a limp and realized one of his back legs had been shot off just above the knee. An eight by (?), three-legged monster bull elk on his first elk hunt.
The wind was perfect, blowing directly in his face and the adrenaline was kicking in as the bull kept walking to within twenty yards. Never offering a broadside shot, the bull kept coming to ten yards. At fifteen-feet, the bull stopped to relieve himself and my cousin swore he felt the spray on his face. He absolutely had no idea what to do with a bull that close and continuing to get closer and closer. My cousin was slightly above him, as the bull had been walking up the ridge and fifteen-feet quickly became five-feet and then TWO-FEET. My cousin closed his eyes to try and calm down and when he opened them all he saw were horns surrounding his body. The bull had put his head down to feed and had he turned his head would’ve hit my cousin for sure. Being an agile young man, he slowly contorted to draw his bow, never realizing if he actually would extend his arm he would hit the bull directly in the forehead with the end of his arrow. As the monster grand-daddy lifted his head, they met eyes and I’m sure they both “shat” themselves. I can’t imagine the feeling of looking into the eyes of such a majestic animal at that distance. In a moment the three-legged eight-point grand-daddy monster bull was gone and my cousin was left standing to wonder what he could’ve done.
To me, it doesn’t really matter. He might not ever get the biggest bull in our camp, but he’ll always be able to keep us captivated with the best elk hunt story around our campfire.
by one of our readers