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My 15yo son got very lucky and drew a late season LE bull tag with only 2 points. We were very excited, but also a little nervous. I grew up hunting this unit, but I have never hunted the late season for elk.

I reached out to several of you for help and you were all very helpful to share info. Thank you so much to everyone that helped in any way!! We really do have a great community here.

Here is a quick recap of the hunt. I took the day off before the hunt started to scout. Drove a couple of hours to scout an area I hadn’t hunted before. Went to unload my 4 wheeler and discovered it was broke down. I had scouted another area the week before and hit several large rocks going up a trail. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a week later when it wouldn’t start and noticed all the oil in the back of my truck I realized I wouldn’t have my 4 wheeler for the hunt. I was really bummed, but did my best to stay upbeat. I drove the 2 hours home and called my Dad to see if I could borrow his sxs for the hunt. He happily offered it up and also volunteered to head out with me to scout for the night.

That night we went to an area we knew where elk liked to winter. We ended up seeing close to a hundred elk that night, but mostly cows and calves with a few small bulls mixed in. Without any better options, we decided to head back to this area for opening morning.

We ended up spending all day opening morning in this area. We probably saw 400-500 elk. My son got close to getting a shot at a 315-320ish 6 point, but the wind swirled before he could get set up and the bulls took off. That night we got into the middle of a very large herd of elk and my son passed on a couple smaller 5 point bulls. When the elk finally busted us it was crazy to hear how loud all the elk were. There were several hundred elk all around us and it was a truly magical way to end the day. As we were hiking back to the the sxs we were still seeing lots of cows and calves.

We weren’t able to hunt again until Tuesday evening. That night we went to a different area that a good friend told us about. We were at the top of a peak glassing lots of open country that had burned a few years earlier. About an hour before dark I glasses up 6 bulls in the very bottom of the canyon. There were three good 6 points in the group. Knowing that if we dropped in to chase them that the hike out would suck rocks, I asked my son what he wanted to do. He said let’s go get them, so off we went. On the way down, the sling on my 30-06 broke and the gun dropped. We were in such a hurry we didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back we probably should have been concerned. We were able to sneak to just over 200 yards from them and get set up for a shot. My sons first shot missed high and to the right. He then proceeded to miss a couple more times, but it was difficult to tell where he was hitting. Then on the fourth shot he hit the elk and it dropped like a ton a ton of bricks. We were so excited!! We watched it for several minutes, made a few phone calls (somehow we still had cell service in this particular canyon) and then started making our way to the bull.

As an excited dad I was walking 20-30 yards in front of my son. I wanted to get a video of him walking up on his first bull. When I got about 30 yards from the bull, it’s head popped up and it got to its feet and took off. I knew I should have had my son with the gun by me as we walked up on it, but I guess the excitement got the best of me. We gave chase and tried to get another shot off before it got too dark, but we were unable to. We spent some time that night looking for blood, but couldn’t find any.

To say the hike out of that canyon that night sucked, would be an understatement. Later that night I told my son we really owed it to the elk to head back to that canyon the next day to make sure we didn’t leave a wounded elk. It was a tough decision to make since it was such a tough place to get into, but I was very proud of my son for deciding to dedicate the day looking for that elk or any sign of him to make sure he wasn’t dead or somewhere still in that canyon where we could recover him. The hike sucked even worse the second day and we couldn’t find any sign of the elk, except for his tracks. We never found any blood. We believe that the gun got knocked off sight when it was dropped heading down into the canyon. We think when my son hit it that maybe he hit the antler and knocked it out? At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves.

We had work and school we had to attend to on Thursday, but we planned on hunting both Thursday and Friday. It was difficult to stay motivated at this point in the hunt. Besides hitting and losing a bull on Tuesday, with the cold and snow, it was hard to stay motivated and get out and hunt in the cold each morning. But, I was again a proud dad as my son pushed through and remained persistent.

That Friday we tried a new area (and a new gun that was sighted in) that a wonderful co-worker told me about. He had helped another friend with the same tag and was willing to share some info on some other bulls they had seen and passed on. It turned out to be great info as we saw 11 different bulls that morning. As we were making a move on a group of 4-5 bulls down a ridge line below us, we had a group of 6 bulls almost walk right into us. The bad thing was, that the wind was still blowing downhilll and the bulls busted us before he could get a shot off. We were again bummed at a close, but missed opportunity, but continued to press on. We were hopeful the initial group of bulls we had seen were still where we first saw them.

As we made our way down the ridge, we were disappointed that we couldn’t see the first group of bulls anymore. Rather than continuing down the ridge, we decided to sit tight and see if the bulls would come back out. We hadn’t sat for 10-15 min when I saw a nice little six point crest over the hill in front of us. My son was able to make a wonderful shot at 200 yards. The bull ran a bit, but my son was able to get one more shot in home to finish him off.

Earlier in the hunt we had friends and family with us on each of the days we hunted. Today it was just me and my son. It was a special and very tiring day to spend with him. We were able to get half the bull out that day and then my dad and a buddy came back the next day to help pack the rest out.

I guess that wasn’t that quick of a recap, but here are some pics of the hunt. In the first pic, if you enlarge it, you can see the bull laying in the snow that he hit in Tuesday evening. It’s just to the left of his left shoulder.

Thank you to everyone that helped or offered advice for this hunt!! It was a wonderful experience and I hope I can return the favor in the future.
 

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Great bull but the best trophy is that smile and the time with your son. Great Job!
 
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My 15yo son got very lucky and drew a late season LE bull tag with only 2 points. We were very excited, but also a little nervous. I grew up hunting this unit, but I have never hunted the late season for elk.

I reached out to several of you for help and you were all very helpful to share info. Thank you so much to everyone that helped in any way!! We really do have a great community here.

Here is a quick recap of the hunt. I took the day off before the hunt started to scout. Drove a couple of hours to scout an area I hadn’t hunted before. Went to unload my 4 wheeler and discovered it was broke down. I had scouted another area the week before and hit several large rocks going up a trail. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a week later when it wouldn’t start and noticed all the oil in the back of my truck I realized I wouldn’t have my 4 wheeler for the hunt. I was really bummed, but did my best to stay upbeat. I drove the 2 hours home and called my Dad to see if I could borrow his sxs for the hunt. He happily offered it up and also volunteered to head out with me to scout for the night.

That night we went to an area we knew where elk liked to winter. We ended up seeing close to a hundred elk that night, but mostly cows and calves with a few small bulls mixed in. Without any better options, we decided to head back to this area for opening morning.

We ended up spending all day opening morning in this area. We probably saw 400-500 elk. My son got close to getting a shot at a 315-320ish 6 point, but the wind swirled before he could get set up and the bulls took off. That night we got into the middle of a very large herd of elk and my son passed on a couple smaller 5 point bulls. When the elk finally busted us it was crazy to hear how loud all the elk were. There were several hundred elk all around us and it was a truly magical way to end the day. As we were hiking back to the the sxs we were still seeing lots of cows and calves.

We weren’t able to hunt again until Tuesday evening. That night we went to a different area that a good friend told us about. We were at the top of a peak glassing lots of open country that had burned a few years earlier. About an hour before dark I glasses up 6 bulls in the very bottom of the canyon. There were three good 6 points in the group. Knowing that if we dropped in to chase them that the hike out would suck rocks, I asked my son what he wanted to do. He said let’s go get them, so off we went. On the way down, the sling on my 30-06 broke and the gun dropped. We were in such a hurry we didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back we probably should have been concerned. We were able to sneak to just over 200 yards from them and get set up for a shot. My sons first shot missed high and to the right. He then proceeded to miss a couple more times, but it was difficult to tell where he was hitting. Then on the fourth shot he hit the elk and it dropped like a ton a ton of bricks. We were so excited!! We watched it for several minutes, made a few phone calls (somehow we still had cell service in this particular canyon) and then started making our way to the bull.

As an excited dad I was walking 20-30 yards in front of my son. I wanted to get a video of him walking up on his first bull. When I got about 30 yards from the bull, it’s head popped up and it got to its feet and took off. I knew I should have had my son with the gun by me as we walked up on it, but I guess the excitement got the best of me. We gave chase and tried to get another shot off before it got too dark, but we were unable to. We spent some time that night looking for blood, but couldn’t find any.

To say the hike out of that canyon that night sucked, would be an understatement. Later that night I told my son we really owed it to the elk to head back to that canyon the next day to make sure we didn’t leave a wounded elk. It was a tough decision to make since it was such a tough place to get into, but I was very proud of my son for deciding to dedicate the day looking for that elk or any sign of him to make sure he wasn’t dead or somewhere still in that canyon where we could recover him. The hike sucked even worse the second day and we couldn’t find any sign of the elk, except for his tracks. We never found any blood. We believe that the gun got knocked off sight when it was dropped heading down into the canyon. We think when my son hit it that maybe he hit the antler and knocked it out? At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves.

We had work and school we had to attend to on Thursday, but we planned on hunting both Thursday and Friday. It was difficult to stay motivated at this point in the hunt. Besides hitting and losing a bull on Tuesday, with the cold and snow, it was hard to stay motivated and get out and hunt in the cold each morning. But, I was again a proud dad as my son pushed through and remained persistent.

That Friday we tried a new area (and a new gun that was sighted in) that a wonderful co-worker told me about. He had helped another friend with the same tag and was willing to share some info on some other bulls they had seen and passed on. It turned out to be great info as we saw 11 different bulls that morning. As we were making a move on a group of 4-5 bulls down a ridge line below us, we had a group of 6 bulls almost walk right into us. The bad thing was, that the wind was still blowing downhilll and the bulls busted us before he could get a shot off. We were again bummed at a close, but missed opportunity, but continued to press on. We were hopeful the initial group of bulls we had seen were still where we first saw them.

As we made our way down the ridge, we were disappointed that we couldn’t see the first group of bulls anymore. Rather than continuing down the ridge, we decided to sit tight and see if the bulls would come back out. We hadn’t sat for 10-15 min when I saw a nice little six point crest over the hill in front of us. My son was able to make a wonderful shot at 200 yards. The bull ran a bit, but my son was able to get one more shot in home to finish him off.

Earlier in the hunt we had friends and family with us on each of the days we hunted. Today it was just me and my son. It was a special and very tiring day to spend with him. We were able to get half the bull out that day and then my dad and a buddy came back the next day to help pack the rest out.

I guess that wasn’t that quick of a recap, but here are some pics of the hunt. In the first pic, if you enlarge it, you can see the bull laying in the snow that he hit in Tuesday evening. It’s just to the left of his left shoulder.

Thank you to everyone that helped or offered advice for this hunt!! It was a wonderful experience and I hope I can return
 

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Awesome bull young man! You have great character to have persevered!

Good job dad!

I enjoyed your brief recap nonetheless! Lol👍👍👍👍
 

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Very cool and big congrats! That elk he killed will mean that much more because of the extra effort it took to get it. Way to persevere!
 
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