Editor’s Note: Ralph Ramos of Las Cruces, New Mexico, guides elk hunters in New Mexico, as well as teaches seminars on how to call elk. He’s been guiding elk hunters for more than 20 years, mainly in the Gila National Forest and the Lincoln National Forest. He’s been wearing Mossy Oak camouflage for 25 years, and his favorite pattern is Infinity. “This pattern has a lot of brown in it and blends in really well with the foliage and terrain where I hunt,” Ramos says. “I’ve been shooting PSE bows for 15 years. I’d been on several elk hunts with Pete Shepley the creator of PSE, and Pete introduced me to the people at Mossy Oak. Then I met Tim Anderson of Mossy Oak at one of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) national conventions in Reno, Nevada, when he attended my elk seminar. Since then, I’ve been an official Mossy Oak Pro. But I was wearing Mossy Oak long before I met Tim.
Another question that’s almost always asked in my seminars is, “Ralph, what’s the biggest bull you’ve ever called in to a hunter?” My answer is a 397 bull that we took at high noon. This hunt took place early in the season. Since the elk weren’t talking much, we decided to return to our truck in the middle of the day. After September 12 each year, I like to hunt all day long. But from September1 – September 12, the bulls usually don’t talk very much, except at first light. This morning we were working our way back through some country we already had hunted. I knew elk were in this area, because we’d already talked to them that morning. I thought perhaps we’d bump into them on the way back to the truck. While we were walking back to the truck, I kept calling, trying to locate an elk, giving some cow calls. Suddenly I heard this big bull growl and bugle. His voice was so deep and raspy; he sounded like a freight train on a still, pitch-black night about 400-yards away. Immediately, I called again. The bull bugled again. He was closer this time.
I had two brothers with me, Billy and Michael Salopack. I set my two hunters up, backed away from them and continued to call. We didn’t realize another hunter was 50 yards in front of us - about 25-yards from the road. This hunter had heard the bull bugle, kneeled down where he was and nocked an arrow. I continued my calling sequence. We saw the huge bull coming to us. At the time, we didn’t know it, but the other gentleman had shot the bull with his bow. I kept calling, because the bull kept coming. We didn’t know there was anyone else in the woods, and the bull didn’t know he was hit. When the bull got within 25 yards of my hunters, he fell over dead. My hunters looked at me and asked, “What’s going on?” The other hunter came over to claim his bull. Even though my hunters didn’t take the bull, I did call in the bull.
We were good sports about what had happened. The other hunter - Craig Cooper - didn’t have a knife and didn’t know how to get an elk out of the woods. I knew he had just taken a world-class bull. On hunts we’ve been on, we taken several 380 class bulls, but this was the biggest bull I ever had called. Check us out on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ramos-Hunts-Video-Productions/387405144655063. One of my favorite hunts was the hunt I went on with my daughter. During a Youth Hunt, I called in a 370 bull within 40 yards, and she took it with her rifle.