Passing up smaller bulls

Ryan Avery

Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
6,122
Who passes up smaller bulls? I have passed up bulls in the past looking for the magic 300 bull, only to shoot a cow in the last couple days of the season. Anyone else have this problem?
 

justin davis

Moderator
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,332
Location
Colorado
Well you can't shoot a big bull if you take a smaller before. I too have past bulls only to take a smaller bull on the last day of the season. It takes some discipline to pass up animals but if your lOoking for a big animal that's what you have to do
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,110
Location
Western MT
I have passed up bulls every season for the past several years. Sometimes I felt like the valedictorian, other times the dunce.
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
2,989
Location
N Colorado
The age old elk hunting question...

Why pass on something the first day and shoot it the last? :)
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
63
Location
Brighton Colorado
That is a good problem to have. Seriously though ,if you have the either sex option why not shoot a cow at the end of the season. For every rag horn shot is one less bull that will have a chance to make it to its full potential. Granted some bulls will never score well, but neither does a small one. Now me for example. I have yet to get anything with a bow so all that is out the window. At least for my first archery elk/deer..
 

Ross

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,522
Location
Liberty Lake, WA
This is a question that will always get you thinking. I follow part of what was said above MOST of the time. I have always said to myself if it is a solid framed 5 pt I am taking him and for the most part I have held to that, but not always. Raggies and such I will let go and some years this had led to a very nice bull I would not have harvested had I shot the smaller bulls earlier on. In OTC areas those 300 inch bulls can be elusive at times, but those are the ones we dream about and look to harvest each year. As Justin noted it takes some serious discipline to let a bull go, when it MAY be your only opportunity. I like to think I will have many opportunities each year:)
 

dotman

1
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
8,201
Yup I will and I am also happy to fill my tag on a cow the last few days. If I just wanted meat I would buy a cow tag and save $200+ on an either sex tag.
 

RosinBag

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
3,072
Location
Roseville, CA.
I'm with Bowhunter7.....no way, any decent branched bull me. I have not killed enough elk to be to picky. Maybe once I start knocking more down, but until then, rag horns beware.
 

belly-deep

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
707
I only pass up critters of I think there is a realistic chance of topping it. Holding out for a 360 in a 280 unit will never get you the payoff you're eating tags for.
 

trophyhill

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
1,318
Location
Tijeras NM
I've had issues passing anything up. Cows included. But I have had elk in my freezer 3 out of 4 years :) I'm thinking very seriously about being picky this year if I wind up hunting the Gila
 

bigmoose

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Messages
331
Location
Yerington Nv.
When I'm elk hunting, any legal bull is good enough for me. I'm not picky with elk like I would be with deer. I'm sure many of you guys hunt elk with the same passion that I hunt deer. "You can not kill a big one if you shoot a little one first" still applies. My Dad used to say "any bull is a good bull" and I still follow his advise.

Moose
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
2,989
Location
N Colorado
Here are bulls I could not pass on... would you?

A 'Quality Unit' in Colorado - Took me 10 years to draw




Colorado OTC unit



Colorado OTC Unit

 

123 4/8 P&Y

Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
255
I will pass on spikes, rag horns and cows this year. For 2 reasons:

1. Spikes, rag horns and cows are fun to get close to, but they don't get my blood pumping like a bigger bull.

2. Because packing out an elk is a butt load of work and I don't want to do it for something that doesn't meet my standards. I'd rather hunt until dark on the last day and eat my tag than end my hunt early for an animal that isn't what I set out to kill. I've done that way too many times whitetail hunting and I'm always disappointed in myself.

I've only taken 2 elk with my bow and I know I should kill more before I get cocky. But I got lucky on my first elk hunt and killed a small 6x6 that barely squeaked by the P&Y minimum. I decided to get a shoulder mount done with him since he was my first elk.

On my second hunt I decided beforehand that I would pass on cows, spikes and rag horns to hold out for another decent bull. On day 4 I passed a cow in an area where she would be fairly easy to pack out. And on day 5 I passed on a 3x4 rag horn at 15yds. broadside looking up the hill at my partner. It was pretty exciting getting that close but his rack was goofy and not very impressive. 5 minutes later I killed that bull's buddy, a small 5x6. He was living in an area that was pretty tough to pack him out of. But he met my standards so I let him have it.

If I didn't have a bunch of whitetail and turkey kills I would probably be more trigger happy on my elk hunts. I certainly do not look down on anyone who shoots any legal elk for any reason. As long as a person is happy with their hunt then I am happy for them.
 

LNGBOWFLYER

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
63
Location
Northern New York The "North Country"
That is a good problem to have. Seriously though ,if you have the either sex option why not shoot a cow at the end of the season. For every rag horn shot is one less bull that will have a chance to make it to its full potential. Granted some bulls will never score well, but neither does a small one. Now me for example. I have yet to get anything with a bow so all that is out the window. At least for my first archery elk/deer..
Well said. I completely agree. Especially if you have shot bulls before and big ones before. For me I would rather shoot a cow than a raghorn. I'm not going to mount a 3x4 on the wall so at that point I'm shooting the elk for meat. So might as well let that bull grow up to be big. Most of the fun with bulls is calling them in anyways. Last year I shot 3 does although I passed on 4 different bucks. Why? Because all four bucks were 2 1/2 years old and something I wouldn't put on the wall. So again it was all about the meat. So I had no problem filming my freezer with doe meat. (Plus I had an elk in the ice box)

However I know many people who believe shooting something with antlers no matter how small is better than a girl elk or deer. I know some who believe that shooting a female does more damage to the herd than shooting a male. I have no problem with these opinions. As long as people are getting out into the woods and are hunting legally and having fun; is really the only thing that matters. Freedom of choice and opinion is a wonderful thing.
 

Swede

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
363
Location
Warren Oregon
I am not much of a trophy hunter. I love all of cnelk's critters. I will pass on small bulls and cows for a few days, but they better not tempt me too much either. Sometimes I wonder about my decisions when I sit and watch a good bull in front of my stand, but have no tag left. Oh well, I am still having fun.
 

velvetfvr

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
683
Location
Nevada
A couple more I just could not pass on,,, would you?

Colorado OTC



Colorado OTC

All your bulls= no. I won't shoot anything smaller than 330 and I have to be confident in that score. I have got a lot of tag soup and it only makes me more motivated. Now in OTC tags I could drop my score down to 280 or a little lower.
 

MTNRCHR

Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
202
Location
CO
You can't shoot any big bulls if you keep shooting the small ones. If you want to fill the freezer shoot a cow!
 
Top