Nebraska Elk ( The Long Wait) Part #2

Cornhusker

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Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
75
Location
Nebraska
I arrived on September 28th as Jordan was in the middle of the 13 hour drive from Boise. She sent me a couple of glassing spot pins on Onyx. As I drove to the ranch, the beauty of the Niobrara River Valley, as it always does took my breath away. I quickly stowed my gear in the hunter house right on the banks of the Niobrara River and followed the river a couple of miles to one of the glassing spots. I spent the next 4 hours scouting the river, Deer Creek, as well as the cornfields to the south. At dark, I glassed up a small 5 point bull obviously on the lookout for cows. I was somewhat concerned as I had expected to hear some bugling as the rut was still on strong. It was a long couple of miles walk back in the dark, even with a headlamp, as the steep bluffs along the river and the thick vegetation made it difficult to navigate in the dark. When I got back the Budd family was in full effort of making the already clean house a little cleaner and neater. Everyone was doing their part, her dad, mom and sister all working in unison, including bringing a warm supper along with them. Later that night, Jordan rolled in and we worked out a plan for the next morning.
I'm usually up way earlier than needed the day of a hunt and I rolled out of bed at 4:00. Jordan picked me up at 5:45 and we were off to glass and listened to see if we could locate some elk. We spent a couple of hours glassing the river and Deer Creek without any success or hearing any signs of activity. We worked along Deer Creek and called some with no response of elk seen. We made a plan for the afternoon to go to the north of the river which put us in the Sandhills on the tallest hill, but a long way from the elk if we found any. We got back to the house and ate a quick lunch and a cold rain started so we decided to take a little nap time and get after it again around 3:00.
We were both a little apprehensive with the lack of elk, but for whatever the reason I felt confident that we were going to see some elk. We discussed that if we see a bull he may be moving and we'll have to be quick to get on him. At 4:00, Jordan saw a bull come out of the corn and onto the southern border of their property. I had just enough time to turn from the direction I was looking, and judge him to be a 6 point bull and he was moving quickly. We had to get closer as the bull was by himself and he was moving east toward Deer Creek. With a strong north wind, we got to the south and began to try to catch up to the bull, who had hit the Deer Creek canyons and headed north to where it flowed into the Niobrara. We ran hard for a half a mile and couldn't find the bull in the deep canyons. Jordan gave a few mews on the call and some bugles, but the wind was blowing a 20-25 miles an hour, so it was hard to tell if he heard us or responded.
Over the next 30 minutes, we worked our way up the canyons trying not to bust the bull and to see him before he saw us. As Jordan and I stood side by side looking into one of the last canyons he could be in, we still saw nothing. I went up on my tiptoes to try to see the very bottom of the canyon and got just high enough to see he was in the canyon bottom about 400 yards out and he knew we were there. I dropped down into a prone position as he was moving, and I thought he might come up the east side of the canyon that runs south to north, and then he was on the side hill broadside. Jordan gave the the distance-500 yards. I dialed the BDC reticle to the distance. Jordan said to hold middle of the body to allow for the wind. I thought that was too much hold for the bullet but luckily I did it anyway. The first shot was just above the bulls back, the 2nd shot hit him high in the lungs, as as he was quartering away the 3rd shot hit him on the right side by the back rib and stopped in the left shoulder. The bull turned and staggered down the hill toward the creek.
We ran to the bluff above the canyon but weren't able to see the bottom of the canyons because of the heavy timber. Jordan stayed up high and I went down to the creek bottom. I began to panic as I expected to find him at the bottom of the canyon. After 15 minutes Jordan came down to the creek and we decided to go back up the hill to where he'd been when I shot at him. We found blood. We followed it to where he'd started down the hill but had circled out of sight and tried to go back up the canyon. We found lung tissue and blood, which immediately sent a wave of relief over me. He only went 40 yards, we found the bull at the same level on the hill where he'd been when I shot. He was the big bull Jordan had sent me pictures of back in June.
By the time we found the bull, we had only an hour or so before dark and we debated whether we could leave the bull to pack out until morning. I reminded Jordan that this is Nebraska and not Idaho and that the coyotes would eat a big chunk of the bull by morning. She got up on the tallest hill and let her dad Kirkland know that we had a big bull down. He asked if we needed any help and we gladly said yes. For the next 3 hours, Jordan and I capped and butchered while the 70 year old Kirkland hauled quarters across the Deer Creek and up the big bluff on the other side. We all walked out together on the last trip, Jordan withe the cape and antlers, me with a front quarter and Kirkland with 2 bags of meat. Although Nebraska has been dry, the creek was running thigh deep and on the last passage over the creek the rotten 2x12 that had been serving as a bridge gave way and Kirkland tumbled into the creek dropping the meat bags into the river. I ran down the bank and was forced to jump in to rescue the meat which was floating down to the Niobrara. It was another memory on a very memorable day. We got the elk loaded by 10:00 and went back to the house to celebrate a successful day.
I owe a big thank you to Jordan and the entire Budd family for taking a chance with an elk hunter for the first time. I think Jordan and Kirkland were as excited as me that the first elk was finally taken on the ranch that they had both grown up on. IMG_7522.jpeg IMG_7524.jpeg IMG_7538.jpeg IMG_7541.jpeg IMG_7550.jpeg
 

silasbowhunter

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
506
Hell of a bull man! Congratulations, can’t wait til I draw my NE bull tag haha
 

NE Herd Bull

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
72
Location
SW Nebraska
Woooooaaah!
Great bull ! Great story
I love how big our prairie bulls get at the 4th point "web"
Fantastic bull sir
Congratulations
....someday.........
 

OLE1021

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
23
GREAT STORY, HUNT AND BULL. YOU DID IT UP ON YOUR ONCE IN A LIFETIME NE TAG, CONGRATULATIONS. I HAVE BEEN PUTTING IN FOR 8 YEARS SO HOPEFULLY MY TIME WILL COME.

THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR HUNT WITH US
 

AaronMColeman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
880
Location
Wyoming
Could you imagine what it was like there 250 years ago when the elk and bison roamed free and big! I wish I could set up a game camera in the 1740s and just see what was there!

Amazing bull!
 
OP
C

Cornhusker

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
75
Location
Nebraska
Thanks fellow hunters. .300 WSM 180 nosler partitions. The whole top of the partition separated from the core and the core was stuck in the hide on the shoulder of the other side Jordan has a picture of the bullet stuck in the hide as I was capping it.

I was thinking the same thing as Aaron about what it would have been like 250 years ago. As you looked down the Niobrara River Valley would have had an unbelievable of animals from buffalo to elk and the bird life would have been incredible with the migration on. Throw in the fact the Lakota and Pawnee traditionally fought over the hunting of the valley and WOW!
 
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