Washington- This a hunt I’ll never forget and a story that will go around for the rest of my life. I cannot thank Dave Sandana and Luke Wagner enough for making this whole thing happen. Dave and Luke spotted this herd when I was back at camp resting (I was under the weather all week) and they came back to camp to get me. Immediately we came up with a plan to go after them and headed out. Luckily, the elk hadn't really moved much from where the guys saw them last. Luke and I came at them from the bottom and came to realize that our plan was not going to work one bit, so I told Luke I would come at then from the top and work my way down instead. The look on Luke’s face was priceless when he told me “Okay, good luck”. His response was justified because I had to first back track about a half mile before going straight up an extremely steep hill and then find the elk again. So at that point, I made a mental note on where the elk were and started my hike up along a clear cut timber line.
After making it to the top, I quickly relocated the elk and made my way down to them as slow and quiet as I could, which was not easy. At one point, the wind changed and I thought it was all over as it hit the back of my neck. Fortunately, the winds quickly shifted back and were blowing back in my favor. The first of the group I spotted was a cow with 3 calves and I initially thought they had spotted me, causing them to move away. So I crouched down to do a cow call with the Phelps AMP Orange call and the cow came right back, but with the bull following her. He was so infatuated with the ladies that he had no clue I was even there. The cows moved right in to my call, some as close as 12 yards!
It seemed like it took ages before I was finally given a shot on the bull but he eventually came in to 30 yards. As I let the arrow fly, everything happened so fast that at first I thought I missed. I was still crouched down when I came to full draw and had to stand up to get a clear shot. The bull quickly ran off at full speed when I thought I had missed until I spotted a huge red area on his side. It was at this moment when he started to slow down and finally tipped over. He went no more then 60 yards. It was amazing all the prep all the hard work had paid off. The walk down to this huge amazing beast was slow. I made sure to take it all in, the smell in the air, the clouds, each step, the experience was incredible.
I texted my 2 hunting brothers Luke and David and said “Bull Down, get the packs". The next couple hours packing this bull out of the hills was pain I enjoyed and I hope to have this filling again. The next day my wife came to camp, picked up the meat to take to the butcher, and we were off again to try to fill 2 more tags. The 2019 elk season was one for the books and I can’t wait to see what next September brings!