provided by John Phillips
Because we don’t take very many big bull elk in Utah, I’ve learned that I need to be more patient and score a bull on the hoof instead of depending on my son or another family member to score a bull that perhaps they can’t see. Due to our being able to hunt cows and spikes (I’ve harvested about 10 cows and one spike with my bow) most of the shots are, “Hurry, and take a shot, because there are the elk.”
In hindsight, I’ve realized that I should’ve been more patient when hunting elk with my son Mike. I should’ve taken the time to score the bull in my head before I released my arrow. Although I didn’t rush my shot, if I had spent more time field-judging the bull’s rack, I might not have shot him and instead waited on a bigger bull. Since that hunt with my son Mike, I don’t rush a shot on any animal that I attempt to take with my bow.
Also, I’ve learned that a really nice bull elk is a very big animal to try to pack out of a deep canyon. However, it always seems to me that if you’re going to take a big bull, more than likely he’ll be in a bad, inconvenient place where most hunters won’t hunt. By the time we caped out the head, deboned the meat and got the entire animal out, we probably spent five hours doing that.
My sons and I have hunted and harvested bulls at that Manti LaSal National Forest unit since my hunt with Mike. After you take a bull on this unit, you have to wait for six years before you can request a tag to hunt there again. So, after my six years of waiting, I requested an archery tag on that same unit, and I was able to get a tag in only three years.