Freshly Rubbed By Jared Nelson
Every year my family and I look forward to hunting in the southwest desert, but this year was going to be my chance to fill my bull tag.
I love hunting in Southern Utah with my dad and uncle. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy hunting in the sagebrush in 90 degree weather? If any of you know what it's like to follow my dad and uncle around the hills, it's a lot of work! Especially when we get on the dreaded “death march”, where dad says, “It's always better over the next ridge!”
The evening my elk was taken started out with a five mile backpack trip into where we wanted to hunt. This was the same canyon that my dad and uncle had harvested their bulls the previous year. On the way up the canyon it started to rain so we pulled off the beaten path and found a tree for some shelter. The minute we sat down, we looked below us and spotted two cow elk feeding. It was amazing that we hadn’t scared them off. As we were sitting there quietly, I looked over at my uncle and he is hunched over with his face as red as can be. He looks at me with tears in his eyes and says, “I have to go!” Just from watching the look of so much pain on his face, we just couldn't hold it in any longer and busted out laughing. No sooner than we did, he stood up and there was a big six point bull that took off running. He would later be called the “diarrhea bull”. After a few unspoken words and a quick stop behind a tree, we set off again.
After some distance we could hear another bull bugling in response to our cow calls. We set off after it and got within about 200 yards. He was coming closer and closer and then he just stopped. So we devised a plan to put the sneak on him. My dad set up and called behind us while my uncle and I moved in on him. We took no more than five steps and heard a bugle. The bull was right in front of me! I could see it, and for some odd reason my dad and uncle just took off running the opposite direction to avoid being busted, which as you can imagine didn't work out.
So a few more choice words later and another good bull botched, I was ready to give up. My dad assured me that we would get another opportunity and suggested that we try the same hill that my dad and uncle harvested their bulls on named Madia Mountain. Upon arrival we heard a very faint but distinct bugle of a bull that we instantly recognized as Growler, a much sought after bull that had put the slip on my uncle the previous year. We set out on another “death march”, got into the same canyon as the bull, and started cow calling. We spotted him on the ridge and he was heading our way. My dad and uncle set up about 50 yards behind me and started calling. We could hear him getting closer and closer and then he was right there. I could see him behind the tree and pulled back, he walked out broadside at 30 yards and I shot. All I could see was my arrow hit him and bounce right back out. I knew I had hit him low.
He ran about 30 yards and sounded like he was raking a tree so they kept calling, thinking I might get a second chance but then it just went silent. My dad and uncle came up asking if I got him. I told them I didn't know because my arrow just bounced out. Talk about a sick feeling! After a little tough love and common sense they convinced me to wait until morning. The only problem was they couldn't convince themselves. So we devised a plan to follow his tracks to see if I had actually hit him. After a 50 yard sneak with my bow, I found him lying under a tree. Talk about excitement! The rest of the night was filled with a lot of yelling and “high fives”! Not to mention our customary celebration Pepsi®!
Three trophy bulls taken within a 1/4 mile of each other with three different family members. It doesn't get any better than that. I will never forget this hunt and the time I got to spend with my dad and uncle. That's better than any bull I could imagine!