I spend Christmas down in New Mexico on a late bull elk hunt. The first day we saw about 25 bulls but mostly smaller ones and one decent one that I stalked for most of the day but decided it was only the first day and let him live.
Day #2 – blizzard day , it snowed sideways all day so we cruised around the logging roads out between the open areas they would feed at and the mesas. At about 2 in the afternoon we saw a quick glimpse of a bull on his feet on top of a old volcano for about 2 min then rebedded in the storm. I snuck in on him and tried to get a better look in the blizzard and needed more elevation. I climbed up a smaller hill that was next to the one we saw him on top of and hoped I could see over to him and maybe get a better look. After a few hour stalk it was snowing so hard we couldn’t tell what tree he was under so I backed out and planned to come back next day.
Day #3 – we snuck in and climbed up another hill about a mile away from where we saw him and hoped we could see his bed. The snow had stopped but we now had fog so we packed down to the jeep (old right hand steer Charekee from Japan with roof and rear racks and mudd terrains) and I drove the other guy over to a huge volcano that had great elevation so we could hopefully find them. I dropped him off and he began to climb up and I headed back to my glassing hill so w3 could cover twice as much territory. I get back to my hill and just get packed all the way back to the top and he hits me on the radio and says he sees them bedded on the edge of a meadow down from where we saw them. So I pack up again and head that way and by the time o get over there they were up and feeding so I made a wide loop around them attempting to sneak up on them to get a better look. He saw them feed into the thick brush and work their way South. So I take the long way around and creep into their same area assuming they were still about 800 yards South were we saw them last. Well, I get about 100 yards in that ridge and bump them out of their beds. They had secretly moved BACK towards us and re bedded. They ran into the old lake bed and slowly circled me and I got a glimpse of them from under a tree. It was a slight bump and they didn’t see me just hear a sounds and got up and moved so they only went about 900 yards and began to feed again into some real thick tree lines. I cut them off and beat them to a nice bush pile that I climbed into to hide and hoped I would catch them on the next lake bed when they came out to feed that night. Well they did but stayed behind the tree line so I made a good stalk and got to about 300 yards of the line and waited for them to come out. I sat till dark and they were just behind it feeding so I couldn’t get a shot, once again BACK OUT.
Day #4 – This SOB is gona die today !!! he has had me chasing him in circles for 2 days now , and I got a good look at him when I bumped him and had told my self I was going to stick with him for the remainder of the 5 day hunt unless I ran across something better. It has snowed all night again so once again we had fog all over. We climbed to the top of the mountain we first saw him on and glassed as the fog came in and out. It al lifted at about 9am for a bit and they were, now 6 bulls out in the old lake bed and feeding their way to us. They had picked up a few more bulls over the night so there was now 6. He was still the biggest and we let them bed down and now it was a blizzard again. I left my spotter and took off for a 3 mile look to get up wind from them and hoped to be able to take a poke from across the lake bed. I had a ways to go to get there so I was hustling to get around to the thick tree line I bumped them from the previous day. I had to stay far North of them so they wouldn’t see me scampering across the end of the lake bed to get back to cover. I was heading for a hug rock pile that was on the far East side of the lake bed so I would have some elevation. I was about 1,000 yards and my spotter hit me on the radio and said they were on their feet feeding so I started to haul ass to hopefully find this rock pile before they made it back to the thick stuff and we lose them. I finally find it and sneak over the top to get a look and I could see them all standing out about 480 yards feeding on the edge. The wind was in my favor so I dropped my pack and crawled up the rock pile dragging my pack and balancing my rifle on my back as this bolder pile has about 8” of snow on it and was an obstcle course to navigate crawling. IU sneak over the top and see them and get set up with my pack and range him at 464 yards. I took my time and used my pack for a rest and dialed my turets in for a 460 yard shot BUT I also had a 20 mph head wind with some gusts so I had to compensate for that and gave my self 2 extra clicks ad heald steady. I let er fly and was about ½ a click high as I hit him high lung area and just slipped it in between high lung and below the back strap. Now they all bolt back to the South so I threw another at him whioe he was runing and I lead him about 1-foot , but my the time my bullet got there and with a little wind drift I caught high hip and rolled him. Well now he is down (I thought) but he gets up and keeps going ut to find out he only went about 20 yards and bedded up. I was able to find him in his bed from my same perchon my rock pile and he was real close to some real thick dence trees and if he gets in there it will be a hell of a trcking day. The wind is now gusting between calm times so I get my pack set up exactly how I want and dial in on a 451 yard neck shot to end it. I took my time and relaxed and waited for a calm 20-30 seconds to slip in 1 last round. It all came together and I let the last one fly andas the bullet was on its way tohim he turned his head slightly and down so the bulled went into his head and out hius front nose and he was instantly done. Now we celibrate hahahahah and I head his way to start cuttign meat.
It was super fun 3 days of stalking him and getting busted and staling again until I was able to get him in a good spot.