NV 2023 Elk

NV_Hunting

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2023 Elk Hunt

I scouted a handful of weekends and was not seeing the elk numbers I was expecting. Glassed, hiked into nasty thick stuff, glassed some more, hiked some more and covered a lot of miles. It wasn't until a few weekends before the hunt that I started to see mature branch antler bulls. No chance to scout the 2 weekends immediate before the hunt so I wasn't sure where they would be at. Glassed a few nice bulls and heard some bugles before opening day. Headed out from camp before 4 and got to a spot I knew I wanted to be at before sunup. I could hear 2 bulls making their way back up into the mountains and away from me and one bull to my right getting closer. He came out at about 400 yards, and I let a few cow calls loose and got him to come to 350 yards and turn partially broad side. Couldn't tell how big he was but he was at least a 6x and looked plenty good to me. I took a shot, and it dropped him, I couldn't see over the sage, but I could see his antlers thrashing around. I couldn't believe it, 15 minutes after legal shooting light day one and I filled my tag. I kept my rifle on him as my brother made his way down. Just as he got to me, we watched in disbelief as the elk jumped up and ran like hell! I took 2 shots at him and missed both. We watched him jump a fence into private run about 1/2 mile back onto public and trot another mile or so into the trees. We went to where he crossed the road to look for blood, nadda. not even a single drop, went to where I shot him, there was about a 4in circle of blood where he was thrashing and 3 drops over about 100 yards. At this point I'm feeling very sick to my stomach. The shot felt great and the way it dropped him I thought he was toast. Went back to the road crossing and met up with group of hunters who saw the whole thing. They saw exactly where he went into the trees. we spread out and looked for blood as we made our way up. At times on our hands and knees looking for any blood, again not a single drop. We've had our fair share of tracking jobs and are very confident in blood tracking, there just wasn't any blood from this bull. After a few hours and talking it over we figured I must have hit high and maybe just clipped the spine and that's what took him off his feet until he got his bearings back. Spent the better part of the day replaying the ordeal over in my head and reliving the highs and lows that we've all had hunting. That evening decided to hike to the edge of the tree ling once the thermals switched. I got set up in an area where he was heading and where I'd seen them come out. I let a few calls out and had 2 bulls responding. I kept calling and they kept getting closer, one on my left and one on my right. I told myself that whichever one comes out and gives me a good shot first is coming home. I can hear the bull on my right getting closer faster, so I start ranging trees and getting set up. I can now see partial antlers at about 120 yards and see where he might step into a clearing at 80 yards. I'm cow calling now and he's loving it. He steps out and is walking right towards me. I glance at his antlers, yep that will do just fine. I call again and he stops and is staring me down. I put the hairs on him and squeeze a round off. He drops instantly, kicks for a few second and it's all over. I wait 10 minutes keeping my scope on him. It's now almost too dark to see through the scope. I make my way over to him and put hands on him. What a beautiful creature and a great feeling knowing I'll have elk in the freezer again this year. I let my brother know he's down and tell him to drive up the old fire road and ill hike over. He has to cut through a camp down low to get on the road. The hunter in the camp happens to be an Awesome guy and him and his daughter offer to come up and check out the elk. "miracle" Mike as we call him takes his SXS to the elk and we gut it and somehow the 4 of us get it into the bed, it was a wild ride out, but we got it to the road and into the bed of the truck. Me and my brother were able get back to camp and break the whole thing down from the bed of the truck using the lights from the camper, that's a first for me. What a great hunt and adventure!
 

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You probably did hit the first bull high above the spine and the shock to the spinal cord temporarily dropped him. Chances are he'll survive just fine. In hindsight, the only thing you could have done differently is to close the distance on him while he was down, assuming you could have kept sight of him the whole time. I'd have no problem continuing my hunt after under circumstances like that. Congratulations on your bull!
 
You probably did hit the first bull high above the spine and the shock to the spinal cord temporarily dropped him. Chances are he'll survive just fine. In hindsight, the only thing you could have done differently is to close the distance on him while he was down, assuming you could have kept sight of him the whole time. I'd have no problem continuing my hunt after under circumstances like that. Congratulations on your bull!
I found out that the bull was running with group of cows and still fighting with other bulls 2 weeks later so that made me feel a little better about him making it.
 
Good job, nice bull

did you hear of any really big bulls showing up in that unit this year?
 
I found out that the bull was running with group of cows and still fighting with other bulls 2 weeks later so that made me feel a little better about him making it.
My BIL shot a bull like that. The next season I killed a bull with a scar on his withers in that same drainage.
 
Good job, nice bull

did you hear of any really big bulls showing up in that unit this year
I'm sure there were a few really nice bulls taken, I didn't see anything over mid 300''. There is quite a bit of private property in that unit and getting to some of the best habitat is very hard and as early of a hunt as it is I'd worry about meat spoil. With all that said there's some nice bulls taken out of there every year.
 

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