Arizona Success from Texas


Junior Member
Sep 8, 2020
Liberty Hill, TX
I posted this on a couple of other hunting sites but wanted to share my story here as well...

I was hunting in Unit 5A.

Opening morning we left camp at 5:30am and headed to the agreed drop off spot 30 miles away. When we arrived it was still dark so I headed down the hill towards a water hole with my head lamp guiding the way. I found the water hole and sat it for about 30 to 45 minutes and after noticing it was froze with snow all around I figured the elk wouldn't be targeting this hole.

I packed up all my gear and decided to head to the bottom of the canyon. After hitting a few dead end sheer drop offs I was able to make my way down the bottom where I was hoping to find the big boys hiding out.

Not sure how far I walked until I figured out that the rocks covered in snow were to slick for this Texas boy. So I made a plan to head back up.

After working my way up out of the canyon I found a 'trail' along the top of the canyon. Keep in mind when I say the top of the canyon that there is still a good hike uphill after that to get to the road.

After following the trail a little ways I found some boot tracks in the snow which I admit was very discouraging. I decided to take a break and eat/drink a little to decide my next move. My decision was to keep on keeping on because of course they didnt know what I do :) which to be honest is diddly when it comes to first hand experience elk hunting :)

So Im not sure how far I walked but it was around 9am when I came around a bend that opened into somewhat of a grassy meadow on the top of the canyon that I spotted the bull elk looking directly at me from 100 yds out. He was standing about 15 to 20 yds from the edge of the canyon, an easy getaway for him. I immediately dropped to the ground behind a small group of treees and shed my pack. Luckily for me there was a deadfall propped between the trees that I could use for a gun rest.

Well boys I dont know if you have ever been fortunate enough to have a Bull Elk in your crosshairs but I can tell you its definitely a sight to see.

I told myself to 'take your time' 'calm down' 'wait for a good shot' all the while hoping he didnt get wind of me and head down the canyon.

When I felt like the time was right I squeezed the trigger and looked up. He was still standing there looking at me! Could not believe, ok I do believe it, I had missed the shot! So i put my gun back on the deadfall gunrest and repeated the above process but this time I raised the crosshairs up to above front shoulder area and squeezed the trigger.

I have never in my life, except on tv, seen an animal drop like he did. Next thing I know his body is going down and the antlers are going up. I immediately ran out from behind the trees and put my crosshairs on him in case he got back up. I have heard many stories about how durable these beasts are and was not planning on letting him get away. After a few kicks of his back legs he stopped moving and I was pretty much convinced that he was not getting up. I could not and still cannot believe that I had successfully harvested a public land bull elk solo.

After that I recorded my reaction video and then started the butchering process. Like I mentioned initially it took me about 3 hours to break him down. Once I completed that I loaded up the backstraps and tenderloins in my pack and headed out to find my buddy. Once I found him we made our way back down and finished the packout.

It was alot of work but I can honestly say I did not want it to end and am already planning next year's trip.

Here is the link to my reaction video - warning a few tears were shed in making this video :)

6X6 Bull Elk Hunt Emotional reaction video - Arizona Unit 5A - YouTube

Thanks for reading and hope you guys were able to follow along.


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Mt Al

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2017
Congratulations and thanks for sharing, gives some motivation that things just might work out on a future elk hunt!


Senior Member
Apr 19, 2019
Valley of the Sun
Good job on the hunt! I'm not 100% confident because I only have one picture of him but I believe I got him on camera earlier in the season. Small fork on tip of left beam and larger fork on the tip of right beam. Either way congrats on a beautiful animal. Send me a PM and i'll tell you the location of this tank.