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Taking the Biggest Bull Elk 1-1/2 Miles from the Truck


Editor’s Note: Scott McGann from Emmett, Idaho, is part of the Mossy Oak Western States’ Big Game Pro Staff. “My wife, Kami, and I are both on the Mossy Oak Big Game Pro Staff and have been for 9 years,” McGann says. “At the beginning of elk season, I do the calling, and Kami does the shooting. Once Kami fills her elk tag, I get to hunt.” Together this team has taken 17 elk. Kami has been bowhunting for 8 years and has harvested four elk. Scott has been hunting 25 years and has harvested 13 bulls.

I took my biggest bull elk in 2005 at 22 yards. Pope and Young scored the bull at 361-5/8. I was hunting on the last day of elk season in Idaho that year. I’d seen this bull on three different occasions when I was hunting with a friend, Rick Addison, who also lives in Emmett, Idaho. Rick never had seen this bull. I told him, “We have to go after the bull and try to take him.” So, on the last day of the season, we tried to set-up to take this big bull. 

McGann_day2The whole hunt was a comedy of errors. We bumped (spooked) this bull 500 yards from the truck. He had about 13 cows with him. They would stop for awhile. Then, they’d go a little farther and stop. At about 12:30 that afternoon, the area had a fairly hard rain. So, we quit calling to the bull and started sneaking in quietly to the bull and his harem. With the rain coming down, we were able to get right in the middle of where the cows were bedded down. I bugled. The herd bull couldn’t stand that bugle, so he came charging after me from about 150-yards away. Once he was 22-yards away, he stopped. I drew my bow, and he saw me move. When I was at full draw, the bull froze and started looking at me. I had a pie plate size hole in the brush through which to shoot. The bull kept staring at me, trying to determine what I was. When I squeezed the trigger on my mechanical release, I saw the arrow disappear into the spot where I was aiming on the bull. The bull took the arrow, whirled and started running up a hill. When he was 45 yards from where I’d shot him, he tipped over. 

As soon as I shot the bull and knew I had made a good hit, I grabbed my bugle tube and bugled at him to get him to slow down or stop. Rick was about 4 feet behind me. When I bugled, we heard a 5x5 bugle about 5-yards away. When the 5x5 bull was within bow range, I told Rick, “Shoot him.” Rick looked at me like, “Are you crazy?” Then he said, “I'm not shooting another elk that we’ll have to pack out after we get your elk out.” After Rick saw the bull I had shot, he knew he didn’t want to carry out any more meat on his back than the bull I already had down. 

To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone. 

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack and recipes for cooking elk and mule deer, you can download free books from

The Secrets of a Middle Ground Public Land Elk Hunter 

Three Shooter Bulls Nearby

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