2016 NM Elk

LIWolverine

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 3, 2017
Messages
735
Location
Magnolia, Texas
Even though I'm new to Rokslide I figured I'd share my 2016 NM elk hunt. I hope it conveys the emotion of the hunt and hopefully gives some motivation to someone. I'm gonna break it up so it's not just one giant post. I also didn't know the best place to put this so if it belongs somewhere else I'll happily move it.

New Mexico Elk Hunt 2016

Alrighty. I'm gonna attempt to put my story down. My dad, my brother and I were all invited to hunt a friend's elk club in New Mexico Unit 21B. My dad couldn't go and I couldn't swing the money for the trip so his birthday present to me was to pay for the whole thing and I just he to get myself out there. (One of the greatest birthday presents I have ever gotten!!!)
Fast forward to August and I have made my plans and scheduled off work for 6 days to travel out there and hunt for 4-5 days; September 6-11. Well my brother calls and tells me he has scheduled his plane to land in El Paso on the 6th and to leave on the 14th. Ummmm......isn't this a 5 day hunt?? "No, we can hunt 8 days!" He informed me. . Thanks for the heads up. This whole time I had thought it was a 5 day hunt and now I know I will be the first one leaving camp by a few days and feel extremely pressured to make it happen in a very short amount of time.

Now on to September 6. I leave Magnolia at 5:00am. I've got to be in El Paso at 3:40 (mountain time). I put along until I make it there at 3:45 and pick my brother up. We then head out to Truth Or Consequences New Mexico. We meet our buddy there at Walmart and get a ton of supplies and head to the ranch. It's after dark when we get there so we don't get to see what the country looks like or anything. We unload and hang out and meet everyone and get to bed.

1st morning September 7, 2016:
Very overcast with a scattering of sprinkles and rain. We wake up a bit late because we want to take a few practice shots just to be absolute certain we are good and nothing got messed up. We shoot right when it gets light enough and hop in the trucks to head to the barn to get a fourwheeler and get out and hunt. Literally 200yrds out of camp we see a bull standing on the ranch road. My brother and the guy he's with hop out and make a move on him. Me and my guy back up slowly all the way back to camp and take off the opposite direction behind camp to a look out. We get there and within the first 5 minutes have 2 small Bulls 700-800yds away. I told Jon Ed that I was ready to listen to whatever he suggested. Should we wait and see, it being the first morning and all or should we make a move? He told me we could do better and lets just keep looking around. We ended up spotting at least 50 elk that morning. Tons of cows and small Bulls. No bugling at all going on. Right when it was getting late in the morning we spotted a 6x6 that we definitely wanted to make a move on. We waited until he has out of sight over a ridge and made our way down to the draw in between us and him. We set up and cow called but got no response. We called a few more times over the next 20 minutes and he never showed. We called it a morning and headed back to camp to see how everyone else had done.
Back at camp my brother had gotten within 80yds of that bull (5x5) right out of the gate before he moved off with a cow. They had also spotted a big 6x6 way off but couldn't make a move on him before he got too far out. Two other hunters showed up so Caleb would be with me and Jon Ed the remainder of the trip. We ate a bite and rested a while before heading out for the evening hunt.
That evening we decided me and Caleb (my brother) would go with Jon Ed (my guide) up the back side of the ridge we saw that 6x6 go down that morning. We drove around the back side by way of ranch road and took off up the hill. We got to be top and started glassing. We spotted a few cows and calves but no bulls. We only got maybe an hour of classing in when it came a serious gully washer. We were all soaked to the bone in 5 minutes. It showed no sign of letting up for the rest of the evening so we hoofed it back to camp. .The other hunters has gotten dumped on as well. One was 16 yr old who was trying for a bull and the other was just cow hunting. The 16yr old had gotten in range of a bull or two that morning by couldn't get a shot through the brush. The guy hunting a cow had called up a 6x6 within 10yrd just for fun but of course couldn't shoot him.




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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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Magnolia, Texas
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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Magnolia, Texas
Day two, Thursday September 8, 2016:
Up at 5:00. Still raining but we decide to head up the big mountain above where we were the first day to get a view of the whole ranch. Just when we get to the lookout it stops raining a some fog moves in. We try glassing for a bit but not much doing when the fog finally lifts. We see a few different groups of elk but they are all a ways off. At about 8:30 we see a really nice bull WAY off. We can tell he is a really really good one but he is in a big hurry herding a group of cows. About the time he gets out of sight we look off to our right and I see a bull parallel with us a few ridges over so we give him a few cow calls. He stops and looks then slowly turns and heads down into the wash headed our way by the looks of it. About 10 minutes later he crest of over a ridge closer about 350 yards away. He's just kinda feeding and milling around. Not in a big hurry at all. We call to him again and here he comes again. He goes down into another wash and disappears for about 5 minutes and crest out again at the ridge just across from us roughly 200-250 yards. He is a 5x5 and Caleb was ready to let one fly so he stepped down into the wash we were on and gets under a cedar. I stand back behind him with the video camera and Jon Ed slips over the ridge we are on behind both of us to call. Nothing happened for the longest time. I am not really in a good position to see down into the wash but my brother whispers that he can see him and that he has a cow with him now. She must have slipped up the wash we were on while we were waiting on him. I motion for Jon Ed to call again. This time a few minutes later I see my brother turn hard to the right and raise his bow. I look through the limbs I'm behind and see the bull coming up to our right. Caleb draws, bears down and releases. I hear the arrow hit but the bull doesn't react at all. I think he has missed and see the bull just walking away. I think, "oh no, he doesn't have his quiver with him and he won't get another shot". Well I see him draw back again and he's got an arrow. I step up on a little mound and can see the bull stop in an opening below us and hear the shot hit and see him take off running. I move around to where I can see if he comes up the other side and a minute later he goes walking up. I can see blood on his side and zoom in with the camera and can see two holes WAY WAY high. We watch him crest another ridge over a few minutes later and just walk away. We gave him about an hour and went looking for arrows and blood. They found the arrows and followed blood up the first ridge. We decided to back out and come back later to come in from the back side where we saw him disappear so we wouldn't have to walk for miles coming back the way we came then head where we saw him last.

Here is a picture of the video of the hits.
14b549c8a8723f6a475f406760096c1e.jpg


VimeUhOh

As you can see they are WAY high. Top one is the first shot. Bottom is second shot. Top shot he was facing left to right very slightly down hill. Second shot he was facing right to left on a steep downhill angle.
When we got to camp we ate and then grabbed another guy and our packs and drove around to a well back behind where we saw the bull last. We picked up the trail but we were only finding blood every couple hundred yards and it's only on overhanging branches that he is brushing up against. We track and track for about 4 miles and give it up for a bit. We head back and get to camp in time for me to run out by myself to the first morning lookout to see what all is moving. Caleb and Jon Ed take off again to keep tracking. They ended up following him for another mile before it got dark with even fewer drops of blood to follow.
I don't see anything for an hour or two and am on the radio with Caleb. I let my finger off the button and look over to see a cow 70 yards away lookin down the hill to my right. She has no idea I am there. She just sits there for a bit before heading downhill slowly. I cow call hoping that there is a bull following her but a few minutes later she comes popping back up a little closer then decides to come in and check me out. I realize she is all alone and decide to just sit back and enjoy the experience. She finally gets bored after a few minutes and leaves. I see two elk right before dark but they are too far away and moving to fast to even see what they were. It was a heck of a day.


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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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Location
Magnolia, Texas
Day 3 Friday September 9, 2016:
Up at 5:00 temp has dropped to 40 or so. Nice chilly clear morning. We decide me and Jon Ed are going to go over to a big look out and see what all we can see. We no sooner left the main ranch road to head up when I see 3 Bulls off the main valley floor feeding and pushing each other right at the foot of the hills that hit against the Gila. We give the sun a few minutes to come up before we can see what they look like. One is a really nice 6x6 that gets me excited. So we come up with a plan. We go back down the ranch road to a fence line that can help conceal us as we move over to the hills. We get there with no incidents and start heading across the valley keeping an eye on the Bulls as we move making sure they are not looking our way when we make our move. We get half way across and I spot a coyote. He just moves off and we keep on until we are across. We had taken some land marks for reference before we started toward them and knew they were 4-5 hills down from us. We make our way across the first few and finally get to where we know we are getting close. We sneak into the cut they were in originally and find their tracks going over to the next one. We slip over and into it with no encounters. We decide to go the next one. We REALLY slow it down now because we know we could be right on top of them at any second. We top over very very slowing looking and glassing and don't see anything and start to ease down into that cut. I look around to our left and look up and I see a bull looking me right in the face. He just stands there staring. He doesn't get startled are anything just sits for a minute before getting uncomfortable. There is a 5 strand barb wire fence directly behind him and he turns and walks to it and starts walking up and down it trying to find a good spot to jump. When he gets behind a cedar I range a little sapling that he would walk very close to if he came back at 63 yards. I felt extremely confident in 50-55yrd shot but definitely not beyond 60. He came back and stopped right there again. He was a little 4x5 and was standing back behind the tree I ranged and I knew he was safe. I just knew that 6x6 was right there to my left behind some cedars. He finally had enough and trotted off but no one else followed him. We waited a minute and I took a few slow steps forward and saw another bull staring at me from behind a cedar just to the left of where the first on was. He was also too far and was a 5x5 I just didn't feel comfortable taking a shot. Jon Ed hit the cow call a few times to see if he would do anything or if we could draw that 6x6 out. He just stood there forever then started to walk to our left to circle around us to get down wind. He disappeared for a few minutes and then I see his head pop up about 50yrda away up hill from me. He sits there a minute and walks off. After he was gone we slipped around in that cut and the next two over without ever seeing that 6x6. He must have just decide to head out at a some point. It was still early so we decided to head to the truck and take off for our original look out. When we got up there we glassed for an 1-1.5hr without seeing anything. My brother came up there past us heading back to where their tracking had left off to keep after his bull. After not seeing anything we decided to go down the back side of our lookout and get to another high spot looking back the other way. On the way there we spotted 2 coyotes 150 yards off. I tried lip sqeaking at them to see if I could slip an arrow into one of them but with the wind and the range I just couldn't catch their attention. We hiked up and glasses for another while without seeing anything and decided to head back for lunch.

Evening of day 3:
Me and Jon Ed decide to head to the backside of the hills where the elk were that morning that we had slipped up on. We went way around and came from up top hoping to keep the wind and the sun in our favor. We took our time trying to make sure we didn't alert any elk to our presence. We hit a fence that runs straight along the top of the ridge and just followed it closely. We would stop to bugle every now and then but they were just not responding. They hadn't been really at any time up til then. We were setting at a cross fence that ran down one finger to the valley when we heard a cow mew. We knew it was really close so we just sat for a minute in the shade of a cedar. Pretty soon we heard a bull growl. They were just a draw over from us. We started cow calling to see if we could coax him to come over but he never showed up and we never saw them go down or up. We never did know what happened to them as it got too dark and we had to head back.


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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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Messages
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Location
Magnolia, Texas
Day 4 September 10, 2016
MY LAST DAY:
We were kind of at a loss as to what to do since our elk sightings were getting fewer every hunt. Jon Ed and I decided that our best bet was to go to where my brother had shot his bull because it had the best view around and we could see the most country. Our plan was to mostly try to locate elk way off and watch them bed and make a plan for the evening. We went way up top and glassed until right before lunchtime without spotting a single elk. To say I was getting where I thought it was not gonna happen for me is an understatement. I knew I had ONE hunt left and I was headed back Sunday morning. Really late in the morning we spotted a big group of elk WAY WAY off back by the rancher's house. Even with spotting scopes we had no idea if they were cows or Bulls or what. We went back to camp to rest and come up with a plan. When we got back my brother filled us in on his morning. They had followed his bull another mile and found where he had bedded all night then joined up with a cow and calf that morning and just wondered off. By this time he had tracked that bull for 6 miles or more. Looking at the footage I had gotten and with the others following the tracks to help, everyone decided that he was going to live. He wasn't acting sick and to bed all night and just get up and walk off we knew he was gonna be fine. He was told he was allowed to pick up the bow again and try again for another elk.

Come to find out the 16yr old (Bennet) and another guy (Steve) had been keeping it quiet that they had a mob of elk located right above the ranchers house; the same ones we saw bed that morning. They informed us that there were loads of cows, a huge HEAVY 6x6 and a giant 7x8 that they nicknamed Hercules along with a few other satellite Bulls all hanging out together. They would move down to a windmill tank right across from the ranchers house right after dark.
We all decided the best move was for two people to go up that opposite ridge from the ranchers house and spot for the guys trying to make a move on the other side. We handed out radios and ear buds and made our plan. Bennet and I would go with Jon Ed and try to make a move while Caleb and Steve would spot for us. We split up and made our way to our respective positions. I knew it was game time or I was going home empty handed. We sat at the foot of the mountain by the windmill waiting to hear word from Caleb and Steve about where the elk were. It wasn't until 6:00 that we got the call that a few cows had gotten up and we're starting to mill around.
They told us the elk were 4 drainages over and 2/3 of the way to the top. We hooked over 2 drainages and radioed back for them to give us an update. They informed us that a bunch more cows were starting to get up. We decided to head up a finger to try to catch them coming down and across if we could. As we were waiting and debating exactly what our next move would be Caleb came back on in a rushed voice and said a bull was headed straight for us just the other side of the ridge we were standing on. We weren't sure what to do about it when he said "he is right there y'all need to do something". As we were getting into position ,me up, Bennet down and Jon Ed between with a cow decoy and call, Caleb said "he is RIGHT THERE maybe 50 yards way. Call!"
Jon Ed hit it for a minute but nothing happened. Caleb radios back and tells us the bull has turned and is trotting up the wash he came down. We can't figure out what the deal is when I see him crest over maybe 100-120yd away up hill just skylined and standing there. He finally gets bored and trots off up the mountain. We ask for an update on the rest of the elk and they respond that they are still a few draws away and up hill but that bull is still just standing up above us not really doing anything. We give Bennet the choice on what he wants to do. Go up after this bull or go back down and go over the other draws to head those elk off. He opts to keep going and head over to head the others off. I'm sure he was only thinking of that 7x8 they had been watching. The bull we just had by us was a young 5x5.
Well Bennet takes off down the hill and Jon Ed and me keep slowing working our way up getting updates from Caleb. He tells us he is just standing in a little bowl type meadow up above us so we keep working up. There comes a little swell in the ground of the ridge we are following and we peak up over it to see the bull standing out in the grass. We very slowly back down and get set up. Me under a dead cedar and Jon Ed behind me. He gets to cow calling and nothing happens for a few minutes. I radio Caleb and he tells me the bull is still just standing there so we keep at it. For some reason I look up to the very top and see a cow elk skyline over to the left in the draw directly to our left working her way down. All of a sudden I see a HUGE bull walking behind her. I wish I could shoot him but I know my hunt is almost over and I'm ready to kill the first animal that walks in range.
I decide I need to range some trees around me incase it happens fast. I range some stuff on my side of the wash and a few openings on the other side. 37 yards. 43 yards. 51 yards. 25 yards. Ok I've got some references. After the bull disappears at the top we hear a deep bellowing bugle. Alright heart is pumping now. I knew it was the bigger bull but I was perfectly content on waiting for this bull right ahead of us. Another minute goes by and we hear another deep bugle; this time much closer. Another minute. Still no elk. We have been callingt his whole time thinking any minute he is going to come around that swell. We hear another bugle this time RIGHT THERE over the swell. I figured it was the littler bull just responding. All of a sudden I see a couple cows rounding that swell right in front of me. One, two, three, four. Four cows headed our way. We are half way down in the wash. The wash cut is to our left. The ridge on our right. The cows were on our side of the wash following the wash out. There is a little land bridge looking piece that crosses the wash to head over to the other ridge. They stop right on it and stare us down. I sneak up my range finder and range one of them in the middle. 33yds. They start getting bored and milling around and start heading across the bridge. I am about to draw down on one because I am going to take some meat home by gosh when I see antlers coming around the swell. When I turned to look the cows stop again and stare. The antlers stop moving right behind a dead cedar. I am thinking oh dang I'm about to kill that little bull and I'm getting excited! All of a sudden the bull turns his head and I see his back split and I start to come undone. It dang sure aint that little 5x. I have no idea what it is but it's HUGE. I wait and wait for those cows to chill out or run to see what will happen. They finally start moving off and I see the antlers moving again.
Out steps something I had only seen in my dreams. A giant bull elk with shinny ivory tips was coming my way!!!!! He kept coming closer and closer and closer out in the wide open. He was incredible to look at. Suddenly Jon Ed hits a cow call and he stops dead and looks me straight in the face and just stands there. All I could think of when he was looking at me was one, I didn't know if I was going to have to be medevaced out of there and two that he looked like Ursula's crown from the little mermaid when she turns into the giant monster. Very strange thought at that moment in time but that's the thought that popped up in my mind. He just stared and stared. I couldn't even handle it. I was about to die. He finally turned his head to follow the cows. I must have shifted to get ready to draw and he saw it and started trotting straight up the incline on the other side of the wash. I drew as he was going and as soon as he topped out on the other side he was dead in one of the openings I had ranged at 51 yards. He was broadside, right to left and had his head behind a cedar. One more foot to the left and his vitals would have been hidden. I put my 50 yard pin on him took a breath let it out and squeezed.


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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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Messages
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Location
Magnolia, Texas
I saw that red lighted knock blurring across the wash. It slowly disappeared right behind his shoulder and I heard that unmistakable sound of an arrow entering an animal's chest cavity. He leapt out and took off over the ridge. The cows busted out and down the other wash and I saw them top out and run up the other ridge. I heard a crash of rocks and never saw him come out. Then we heard that deep guttural gurgling sound of him dying.

I completely lost it. I couldn't breath. I couldn't stop shaking. I couldn't talk straight. I had to lay back. That didn't work and I thought I might start hyperventilating and rolled over on my stomach and covered my head with my hands. Jon Ed came over and was just speechless. He just kept saying "oh my" "oh my goodness".

I'm man enough to admit that I started sobbing. Now there were no tears but I just couldn't handle it and started to sob. I still can't handle it all this time later. It's overwhelming. I knew right then that I had just killed one of the largest animals of my hunting career and that it would be almost impossible to beat it one day. We celebrated as quietly as we could and I radioed everyone and told them what had happened. By the time I had calmed down enough it was too dark to take a picture of where I shot from. We elected to go down to the ranch house and gather up and go back to camp and get packs without going to look for him right way. We were not going to take even a millionth of a chance that somehow he could get up and go anywhere. We made our way down and met up and headed back to camp. When we got back the few guys in camp said they heard everything on the radio and really wished they could have recorded it. We gathered up packs and took off back to the scene. We cleared camp out. Everyone was so excited. 7 of us went out to get him. We made our way up. A few of the guys had pistols for bears incase we ran across them. We went to where I shot and headed up the other side of the wash to where i hit him. We all got up top and didn't see any blood or my arrow anywhere. Everyone spread out while I looked for blood and my arrow. A few minutes later I hear my brother calling my name. They could see an eye glowing on the opposite hill side. I made my way to them and we headed up. I could se him laying there on his back with his antlers up under him. He had done a back flip down and landed like that. I finally got to him and put my hands on him. One antler was still under him. I had originally thought he might be that 7x8 because I swore when he was staring at me that he had 7 on one side. The side I could see had 6 but was INCREDIBLY massive. A few guys grabbed some legs and with some maneuvering we got him rolled over. HOLY MOLY. What a GIANT. 6 on the first side and 7 on the other!!

I am still beside myself at how big he is. Every time I look at pictures of him or his rack I am blown away. Talk about last minute on a once in a lifetime trophy!! We got him all cleaned up and loaded our packs and headed down. We didn't have enough packs to get his head and cape on one so I just hoisted him up and carried It out on my shoulders. We didn't get him back to camp until 1:30am. It was a heck of a day and a heck of a trip. I was so glad to get to spend some time with my brother and some great guys. The next morning I had to leave so I got up early to finish caping him out and boning out the meat. When I went to get his head and cape out I could barely move him lol! I guess the adrenaline was flowing like crazy the night before. I had to get my brother to help me carry it out for pictures and fishing caping him.

It's a hunt I will never forget. I very well may never kill one bigger or as big as him but I couldn't care one bit. He is a magnificent animal and I don't feel like I deserve him but I will always be thankful to God, the guys I was with, and my family for allowing me to take such an awesome elk. Had him rough scored at 363".

Logan Ingram
September 2016


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TexanSam

Well Known Rokslider
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Nov 28, 2016
Messages
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Great bull! Also I see you live in magnolia. I grew up in the woodlands. If you ever did FFA there's a chance we may have met...

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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 3, 2017
Messages
735
Location
Magnolia, Texas
Great bull and awesome story- congrats & thx for sharing!

Great bull! Also I see you live in magnolia. I grew up in the woodlands. If you ever did FFA there's a chance we may have met...

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Thanks guys!
I didn't get to do FFA. Was too busy playing ball unfortunately. Sure wish I had been able to though.


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snider6464

Member
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Mar 22, 2015
Messages
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Location
Western Colorado
Stud Bull! Congrats! Thanks for sharing the story.
Idk what my phone did earlier. Some how the language changed when I got back from a hike, so my post got messed up. Sorry.
 
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