I was hunting in the unit closest to my house after football practice. A friend of mine who is a guide told me that he had seen a big bull in a certain area of this unit. So when I got to the spot where the guide told me he’d seen this bull, I sat next to a big tree and started cow calling.
I knew I only had two hours to hunt before dark. I spotted this big bull and six cows on top of a ridge, then watched that bull walk in front of the cows in his herd and turn them away from me. They went down the back side of the ridge, and I never saw that bull again. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement.
I looked to my left, and I saw a spike bull and a 4x5 bull. I wanted to try to get the bulls in closer, because this was the last day of elk season in New Mexico. I gave a little cow call. The 4x5 bull turned and walked away from me, but the spike bull continued to stand where he was. I ranged that bull at 45 yards, and I took aim and released the arrow.
As soon as the elk took the arrow, rain started coming down in buckets. I knew the rain would wash away the blood trail, so I started trying to follow the blood trail on that muddy road. If I didn’t get out of there quickly, I realized I might not get back home.
Although I hated to leave the bull overnight, I knew that was my only option. I got to the truck, drove back home and got up the next morning. However, when I arrived at the road that I wanted to use to try and recover my elk, the road was closed. I parked about 1.5 miles away from where I’d shot the spike and hiked in to the region. Believe it or not, I was able to pick up the blood trail.
Although I had hit the elk in mid-body, I knew my arrow was a little far back, possibly behind the lungs. As I started on the blood trail, I could see that more and more of the blood had been washed away. So I started following tracks for another hour and a half until I finally found my bull. To my surprise, I located my elk only 25 yards from a road that was open. This was the first time I hadn’t had to spend 4-8 hours getting my elk and his head back to the truck.