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 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way

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Bemused

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Location : Arizona
Registration date : 2015-06-08

PostSubject: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:30 am

My wife was drawn an any elk tag in a limited opportunity area this year. We've been hunting this area for the last 3 years with mixed success. The terrain is terrible but there are elk around if you know where to look or can get above 10,000ft on the mountain. Last year she had a cow tag and all we could find were bulls. So we had high hopes when she drew the any elk tag... perfect. She is strictly a meat hunter and the only reason to shoot a bull in her eyes was for more meat.

Last year was a tough hunt, we hunted some every day and put a lot of tough miles in rough terrain to not even see a cow elk the whole hunt. She likes to eat elk and kinda likes to shoot them but she does not care for a tough hunt. After predator calling in elk country last winter though I was convinced I had a secret weapon. I found a certain distress sound that would bring in elk like rabbit calls bring in doe mule deer. I was sure if we could get within earshot of some cows we'd be able to get them in to the call and this time of year they should have a bull with them.

The hunting spot, from our house. Definitely a perk:


Due to circumstances though, neither of us was completely mentally prepared for this hunt. A few things happened over the last two weeks that killed the excitement completely for her and set me back as well. Opening day found us at our old honey hole in the burn and while the view was beautiful, her spirits were down and there was no elk to be found.



We tried calling after watching for an hour or so but no luck. We decided to hit the next spot. No luck there either. By this time she was convinced this would be her last elk hunt and I was almost dreading the next 3.5 days. However, the evening spot I had picked out was about to pay off.

After she had a nap at the house we headed for a spot I had a hunch on. This is a place everyone who hunts this area says there a NO elk in until after dark. I know elk and I knew this was an elky spot and I refuse to believe that all the elk migrate to and from 10,000ft twice daily every day (I am assured this is the case by every other successful hunter on this mountain BTW). So we set up and picked a spot where I thought the elk would come out of the canyon and would come by us to see the call. Pretty thick area near a high mountain clearing, could see maybe 150-200 yards in each direction and had a couple shooting lanes to 100 yards or so.

We heard some cows/calves talking briefly about an hour before dark and then a bugle. I tried a few cow/calf chirps with the Hoochie Mama with zero response. I thought it sounded like a hunter anyway but we stuck to the plan and a half hour before dark I started distress calling on the Foxpro. After 5-10 minutes we heard a loud limb crack in the canyon and then heard the loud thumping on elk running in the steep forest floor. Only elk make that sound in this forest so we got positoned to shoot and in a minute a cow elk appeared. Then a calf and another cow/calf. Then I could see an antler following. I said there's a bull wait for him and after they gathered up they made their way in front of us and through our best shooting lane. She let the lead cow walk thru, then her calf. Then the bull. I hit a cow chirp with my Hoochie Mama and he stopped and looked. My wife was not expecting this and came off the rifle! When she got back on it the bull was walking again. She fired and he took it like a champ, just kinda finished walking thru with a slight increase in speed. No jump or hunch-up or flinch. Telltale tough elk. They bunched up and started to leave the way they came. THe cows busted but he came walking back thru the same clearing. She busted him again, I could see that hit him for sure by the slight hitch it caused in his step. Then after about 10 yards he did a nose dive into the dirt and was down for the count!

She was shaking like a leaf after that, that was one of the most exciting things I've ever seen. Animals respond differently to distress sounds than say rut sounds or normal elk sounds. They came in just like coyotes, ancy and ultra interested. They come with determination. Calling in a herd of elk to distress calls shooting a herd bull at 60 yards is very, very fun. Pretty nice 6x6!



Not bad for a meat hunt huh?


Was a late night getting him loaded and skinned and hung, my sister and brother in law met us at the house and we got it done.


Couldn't be happier about this, and I think she wants to do it again! We like our elk meat around here Wink
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Bemused

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Location : Arizona
Registration date : 2015-06-08

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:30 am

Bonus material:

She hit him twice, right thru the boiler room at around 60 yards. First one blew thru, second one stopped on the far side hide: 300WSM, 180gr Nosler Accubond over 66.6gr AA3100. I love this rifle and so does she. She shoots it like a champ, even though all the girls on the internet say most men can't shoot a Magnum without flinching and you don't need that much gun for elk etc etc. I am reminded every year how damned tough these animals are. Two great shots and he barely reacted to either. Elk can flat carry a bullet and that's why I like tough bullets. You have to get to the vitals and if you can break bones too that's a plus:

Side one; one hole is an exit, one is an entrance:


Side two, the entrance and exit were in the same big hole:


Perfectly mushroomed 180gr Accubond:


Nevermind the handsome devil cutting that meat, the point of this pic is that I lost maybe a handful burger on the front leg from the bullet wound. Bonded and monolithic bullets don't create that big mess of shocked meat and you just cut around the hole and you're back in business. Love it.


View of our calling/kill spot, this is from behind us where the elk didn't come. Much thicker on the side we called and killed him on but I think this is the draw, the reason they stage in this area before dark. They feed in that clearing at night.


There's no better family time as far as I'm concerned. Screwing around an hour before we killed that bull. She likes to take selfies. I usually resist making a normal face during these events.



Questions, comments and concern? Happy hunting everyone. Time to grind some elk burger.
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bosun1

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Location : fly over country
Registration date : 2012-10-23

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:16 am

elk is the best tasting game I've ever had!
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Bemused

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Location : Arizona
Registration date : 2015-06-08

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:37 am

Yeah I'm partial to it myself. Yield on this bull as follows:
100lbs burger
25lbs Italian Sausage
25lbs Breakfast sausage
~75lbs steaks and roasts
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Carlos
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Age : 59
Location : Chestnut, IL
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:45 pm

Cool!  Glad not much meat was ruined.  I cannot tell you how many deer shoulders I have been tasked with finding something to grind that did not have bone chips in it.  And the stories from some of these Illinois shotgun hunters about how every time it flinched, they shot it again.

Beautiful country out there.  But 10,000', I might not be able to catch my breath.

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"Never turn your back on a Breen".
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kitobi

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Age : 47
Location : uk, plymouth
Registration date : 2015-05-30

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:27 pm

fantastic shot Mrs bemused, looked like an awesome animal

I'm always very impressed when the kill is made for a good reason and you eat the whole animal with little to no waste

good eating to you both, I wish we could do the same here but alas its not allowed

andy
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Bemused

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Location : Arizona
Registration date : 2015-06-08

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:34 am

Carlos- yeah 10,000ft is no joke. I live at 7000ft and I can feel it past about 8000ft.

Kitobi- Yes she made two good shots. She is consistent in practice as well. Many folks can't settle down and make the shot when it counts- she can. Some people are naturals, some people work hard to master it and some people never learn it. She's a natural. I just wish she liked it as much as I do. Everyone has their own priorities and for me, elk are at the top.




Made a pate out of the liver this year, turned out well. I'll do this again, worth the work:



And a nice Armagnac to go with:
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History Prof 1861



Location : Cincinnati Ohio
Registration date : 2016-10-16

PostSubject: Re: 2016 AZ Elk Hunt: Wifey Smokes a Bull the Fun Way   Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:03 pm

Makes me want to look into the kentucky elk season more.
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