Everyone has a starting point…
Before we book a client for a guided hunt, Lee & I discuss expectations with the client. Not every hunter has the same hunting experience or desires. We personally enjoy finding and hunting the biggest animals on the mountain, but at the end of the day, we love hunting.
Much of the expectations we discuss are based on the type of a hunt the client has been drawn for. Because we live and guide in Arizona, many clients with late season bull elk tags will be disillusioned into thinking all Arizona elk hunts are the same. Although killing a giant bull is possible anywhere in the country, most hunts don’t produce giant bulls.
In 2013, both hunters & guides wanted to kill the biggest bulls we could find. Ryan (from Colorado) had the bar locked on 350+ and Kale’s goals were to have his boys along for the hunt, but still wanted to hold out for a 340+ bull over the first few days.
We found multiple bulls over the first couple of days, but nothing over 310 inches. Kale had to leave to take his sons home, but made the long trip back the next day. Meanwhile, we found some more bulls in a canyon, but broken antlers crushed our hopes for Ryan that day.
Kale had never killed an elk and we were now 5 days into a 7 day hunt. We still had hopes of a giant, but as we discussed his goals, he was really wanting to get his first bull, before the end of the day.
Gray light was upon us, so began walking the rim rock country and glassing the canyons. We found a small bull feeding in the shadows about a mile away. We decided to work around the canyon and continue our search until noon, with the intentions of keeping the small bull as a back up.
As we reached a fork in the canyons, we heard the dreaded, “Boom…Boom… Boom…”
Scrambling, we hurried back down the rim to get a better perspective of what was happening above us.
We relocated our small bull and he was still feeding in the shadows, but 600 yards up the canyon, a group of 5 hunters sat on the rim looking down at the opposite side of canyon. By their body language, you could tell they were not happy. They must have missed whatever bull was in the back of the canyon.
Kale & I looked at each other in disgust. We were trying to get to the back of the canyon to glass, but like so many times on these late elk hunts, nothing was sacred. It’s just the nature of the beast.
It was now approaching 9 am and we had hunters sitting just 600 yards from our back up bull. All they had to do was walk down the rim 200 more yards and the bull was exposed. At that moment, the decision was made, this was Kale’s Elk Starting point.