Utah, Payton Boney- Well, to my surprise everything happened perfectly and just how we expected it to on opening day of Utah’s archery season. The night before we had set up camp and decided to run out to a glassing point before it got too dark and we thought we saw an elk just below us but it was just dark enough to where we weren’t 100% sure.
After waking up the next morning after struggling to sleep, we headed to the same glassing point and glassed where we had thought we seen the elk. It turns out it was indeed an elk because it wasn’t there and with my bare eyes I looked below about 200 yards and a bull was about to graze into the thick trees.
We immediately came up with a game plan.
I decided to drop off the other side of the face and use the trees and steep hill as cover. I knew I was close because the bull was just on the other side of the rocky opening I had just made it to. I had my rangefinder ready and I peaked over the rocks slightly to see if I could see him but he wasn’t there.
Then, as I backed up to go around a tree, I looked up there he was staring a hole right through me. I thought I was busted!
I remembered I had the wind in my favor and sometimes you can get away with their eyesight. I tried ranging him but my rangefinder wouldn’t range. It took me 8 tries until I finally ranged the tree he was standing behind.
There was only a about a 2ft by 2ft clearing where I could shoot through but luckily, his vitals were exposed.
“The tree was 58 yards, shoot him for 60 since he’s behind it”, is what I told myself.
I put my release on my D Loop and drew back. But when I drew back my arrowhead come off the rest and onto my arm. I thought I was screwed but I kept my composure, let down slowly, and then drew again. This time putting my 50 yard pin almost on his back because I don’t have a 60 yard pin.
I let the arrow fly and heard what sounded like it making contact with a tree. I was sure I whiffed the shot. I called my buddies and told them what had happened and that I was going to look for my arrow.
When I got there, I saw where he had peed in its tracks where he was standing but couldn't find my arrow. Finally, I saw a red rock with tiny, tiny drops of blood. I looked in the direction he ran after the shot and noticed a small tree with a serious amount of blood on it.
My heart started pounding and I immediately called my buddies to tell them!
One of my buddies came and helped look while the other stayed up on the glassing point. We followed the blood trail for about 50 to 60 yards but then struggle to find any more blood. My friend went across the draw and tried glassing to see if he could see him through the sparse Aspen trees.
My other buddy came down to help look while he did that and ended up finding some blood but it was just a tiny drop once again. I decided to glass down the hill and finally, I saw him with his legs up laying on his back.
The feeling of relief and satisfaction and all the emotions hitting me at once was something you can only experience if you do it for yourself.
After 7 years of chasing these amazing animals, I finally got my first opportunity at one and capitalized! I couldn’t be more grateful for getting experience this with my buddies that were there with me and everyone supporting me on the journey along the way!
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