provided by John Phillips
When my son Mike couldn’t see me draw my bow on our bull elk hunt in the Manti LaSal National Forest, he stepped out from behind the tree where he had been calling to look at the bull, as I settled my pin sight on the bull’s vitals. Just as I touched the trigger on my mechanical release to put the arrow in flight, I heard Mike yell, “No, Dad!”
When Mike yelled, the elk jumped, just as I released the arrow, and it hit him in the flank. The bull ran about 30 yards and then stopped. I nocked a second arrow and shot him again, and the bull ran into a pine picket. Mike and I sat there for about an hour, ate a sandwich and drank a cold drink. Then we went over to where I’d shot the bull and followed the blood trail for about 30 yards to find the bull dead.
When Mike saw the bull, he said, “Oh, this bull is a lot better and bigger than I thought he was. I wouldn’t have yelled, ‘No, Dad!’ if I’d known how good he was.” I responded, “Well, it doesn’t matter because he’s dead now, so, he’s my elk.”
We green-scored the bull elk at 350-1/2 inches, next we field dressed him and then left him where he lay because we were in a deep canyon, and dark was moving in fast. I called for help and asked all of my friends and children to come assist us in getting the elk out. We also had two of my grandsons with us - Kacey, 4 years old, and Kaleb, 6 years old. We had told friends and neighbors that we were going to wait, come back and get the elk the next morning.
However, when we returned that morning, a bear had found my elk before we did. Apparently, the bear had arrived at the elk about 10 minutes before us because it only had had time to eat one flank out of the elk. We were lucky he didn’t get into any of the good meat of the elk. We got to the elk about 7 a.m. After we ran the bear off and carried all the meat and head out, the time was between 2 and 3 p.m. before we climbed out of that canyon. We didn’t have that long of a hike out of the canyon, but the terrain was really steep.