Two weeks before general archery season we were at our favorite spot overlooking a big draw. I was scanning the area on the face of the mountain that was a few thousand yards away. Tony, my brother, was glassing down into the gully when he said he spotted two elk. We pulled out the spotting scopes and there they were. They were both bulls and pretty decent ones for a general Utah unit. One had just stripped his velvet and the other was a 6x7, still in solid velvet.
We were just getting busy at work building fifteen new town homes so it made it tough to get out and keep track of those two beauties. We didn’t even get back out until the night before the opener but we worked hard at it and located them once again. We were back at our favorite lookout when we found them and put them to bed that night. We were sure someone would bump them in the dark so we decided to stay close to the RZR so that we could find them first thing in the morning.
Opening morning found Tony, Clay, Greg and myself on the mountain. We all had tags and wanted to find our own animals so we decided to split up. Tony and I stayed in the side-by-side, glassing from below. We spotted them right at daybreak.It was the same two bulls we had been tracking.They were on the move with someone bumping them just like we had predicted. After a few hundred yards, the bulls held up and bedded down in some mahoganies. A group of hunters started up after them. We decided to let them be the ones to jump these elk out of their beds and we knew it would be near impossible to stalk and fling an arrow in the thick trees. We stayed on the glass and watched as the other hunters attempted to sneak in. They ended up bumping both bulls. The bigger 6x7 stayed high and ran back where they had come from earlier. We jumped in the RZR and made it back around the face just in time to see him slip into some trees and lay down. We set up there to watch until we were ready to make a stalk that night. I ran back into town and got our friend Shaun, and a few sandwiches while others stayed on point.
A few hours later, it was time to set up Clay and Shaun as our spotters. The rest of us started the steep hike up the mountain to get into position a few hundred yards away from the bull. We wanted to be ready for him when he finally stood up. Tony took his watch at the west flank, just above the bull. Greg and I went to the east of him. Greg stayed low and I went a little higher. We all sat, waiting in the boiling sun for this big guy to make a move.
Over The Counter Velvet
At about a half an hour before dark, our spotters said he had stood up and was working his way towards me. I took off my boots and pack and got the Bowtech ready. I could see the brush moving but still could not see horns. I snuck up the little swell I was in so that once he stepped out, I would have about a 30 yard shot at him. I worked my way up, got on my knees, and waited for an opening to shoot. I was nervous that it was too dark to shoot, but then he stepped out in a perfect opening with just enough light to have a clear view. I picked a spot and let the Ramcat fly. It was a little far back but a complete pass through and he took off. I knocked another arrow and let out a bark, to which he stopped and turned. I guessed about 60 yards and I let another one fly. I heard a smack and knew it was a hit. As we made our way closer to him we instantly found blood and my first arrow, but we backed out just to be safe. We made the long hike back to the RZR and headed home. The next morning we got right on him, and a short time later we had him. He was a 6x7, still in velvet, and thanks to my good friend Shaun and his connections I was able to keep it that way. It’s awesome to have elk horns in the velvet. I couldn’t have done it without the group of guys that I hunt with. It was a team effort, but I was the lucky one to have flung the arrow.
Ten years ago we started a hunting business called Dominant Huntin’ Boys or DHB. We are passionate hunters that started making videos and selling merchandise. Check it out at our website, or contact the Avid Hunter magazine for more information.
By: Tim Lyle