Dad's 2010 November Rifle Bull Hunt

I said I'd write more about my dad's 2010 November rifle bull hunt, but I didn't expect it to take this long to get something up.  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is ready for 2011.

It seemed like it took forever for my dad's hunt to finally get here, but November was such a busy month it came up quick.  The first few days of the hunt I mainly followed him around, glassing side canyons nearby where he was hunting as he still hunted through some thick stands of trees in areas he'd seen bulls leading up to the hunt.  He saw several bulls, but usually it was quick glimpses of them as they darted through the trees. 

Sunday the weather changed and we got some snow.  The hunting conditions were a bit more difficult, but Sunday night my dad had a 5x5 and a raghorn in his sights, but with 4 more days left in the season, he decided to pass. I had gone to glass another ridge, but didn't see much due to white out conditions.

On Monday I took my family back down to the valley and then I came back up early Tuesday morning to glass some other areas my dad hadn't hit yet.  On the drive up, I encountered some bitter cold temperatures.  I think this is the coldest I've ever seen on my truck thermometer.

I hiked up to my glassing spot and glassed all morning without seeing an elk.  I was getting somewhat frustrated since the only elk I'd seen so far had been 2 cows while taking my family for a drive on Sunday afternoon when it was snowing.  I had yet to see a bull.
That afternoon I moved to another spot I had wanted to check out.  I found fresh tracks right after getting out of the truck, but didn't see any elk that evening.  We had 2 more days to go, and while frustrated, I knew we just needed one small break to turn things around.

Wednesday morning I went with my dad to hit the higher timber.  I shuttled his truck for him while he walked a ridge that has produced elk for him in the past.  I made a quick loop hike across a couple of ridges while he still hunted the main ridge he was on.  Five minutes from the truck my luck finally changed.  I saw a herd of 7 bulls running together, all spikes and raghorns.  A few minutes after that I had a 4x4 bull walk up to within 40 yards of me.  Too bad my dad wasn't with me though! I met my dad back at the truck later that morning and we compared notes.  He hadn't seen anything.  We headed back to his place so he could take care of a couple of things.

I headed right out figuring I could try and glass some draws that might hold bedded elk.  By 1pm I was set up again, but wasn't seeing anything.  By 3pm, I had to either stay where I was until dark or hustle over to the next prospective area and even then I'd probably only have an hour or so to glass.  I decided to stay where I was.  The country looked great, but I just needed to find some elk.

I glassed throughout the evening and had only seen one cow elk about 2 miles away, and 3 mule deer, 2 does and a buck.  I was thinking I'd be packing up and leaving soon when I looked down below me and glassed up a branch antlered bull.  Finally!  He was six on one side and 4 on the other.  It took a while to determine if he was broken above his 4th point or 3rd point.  He finally gave me a good view of his broken side and I could tell he was broken above his third point, but his third was very long.  I spotted him about 5:35pm, only a few minutes before dark.  I watched him until it was dark, and then quietly loaded up tip-toed out of there.  I had about a 30 minute hike back to the truck in the dark, but I was excited to share the news of this bull with my dad.

The next morning was the last day of the season.  I told my dad about the bull I'd seen and we decided to go and try to find him again.  I took my dad into where I'd been glassing for him the night before and we weren't glassing for 5 minutes when my dad said, "I've got him."  He was right below us.  I ranged him at 350 yards, but he was feeding away from us and wasn't really giving us a good view of his vitals.  My dad decided to shoot from where we were at instead of trying to move closer.  I set up my tripod for him to shoot off of and finally at 380 yards the bull gave us a good broadside view.  My dad shot, and at first I thought he missed since the bull just stood there.  My dad seemed dazed and I was telling him to reload.  By now the bull was stumbling and moved down the hill a bit and laid down.  He got up a couple of times and then laid down.  I knew he was hit, but kept getting nervous every time he got up.  My dad shot again, but missed.  I didn't realize until after his second shot that he'd scoped himself both shots, and knocked the lens out of his glasses on the second shot.
I took this picture right after my dad took his second shot.
The bull moved up the hill behind some junipers and stayed there.  I saw his antlers moving around behind them and after not seeing anything for a while we figured he'd expired.  My dad went down to check on him and I impatiently waited behind.  At this point I sent a few texts and there were a few more impatient people awaiting the outcome as well.  My dad finally got down to his bull and called me down to him.  His bull was down!

After taking pictures we got to work on his bull.  We lucked out as there was a road that dead ended about 150 yards away.  We quartered him up and my dad got his truck while I finished up with the bull.  A few trips to the truck with meat, and we were done.  

Good job dad!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your hunt!  The next morning I couldn't help but go out and glass some before heading home.  I was able to take in a beautiful sunrise...


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