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Arizona Elk Live

September 14-23

Day 10

Morning Hunt

My alarm went off at 3:30AM and I flipped on my iPhone and started reading the discussion thread for this hunt. Lots of guys commented that I have to try and extend my hunt. After checking flight options yesterday, looking at my work calendar, and talking to my wife about my Dad, who is very ill, extending was not an option. So we headed out to the same spot as yesterday knowing that this was my last day to hunt.

We hit the usual spots in the dark. Twenty four hours ago, bulls were bugling nonstop. This morning, you could hear a pin drop. Nothing. We hit several areas that turned up elk in days prior, but we just couldn't find them. On the last stop Steven heard a bugle and knew exactly where it came from. It was a flat saddle at the top of a hill. We raced there in the truck and as soon as we arrived I knew he was spot on. Jackpot. Bulls were screaming nonstop just like yesterday. We raced up the hill.

It took us an hour to reach them, and when we did it was even crazier than yesteray. There were several herds that converged and the bulls were running around trying to keep the herd together while simultaneously fending off other bulls. It was pure chaos and a spectacular thing to witness. The area had very little cover so Steven and I cranked across the meadow to get the wind - and try to beat the elk who were now moving Northwest. One of the herds beat us, but two of them didn't. Steven had to make some gutsy calls but it was the last day and without them there'd be no way we were going to kill an elk. That worked. Almost.

When the herd bull showed himself he was a huge bull. But we had no way to get to him.

We positioned ourselves in a small clump of oaks then waited for them to cross the meadow. The elk never did, skirting it instead. We thought about moving across the meadow but it was too risky. We could now see bulls and cows. All options were terrible. Our only hope was to hang tight and maybe one of the bulls would cut a corner and pass by.

We listened to bulls screaming for 20 minutes straight. Nothing was coming by us until Steven noticed a bull walking from the opposite direction. He was screaming at the elk behind us. From a distance, he looked like a big bull. His antlers were lit up in the sun and his bugle was authorotative. He was coming right at us. We both got ready. This was it!

We kept hearing a bull screaming from the north and he finally showed himself

As he got closer I pulled up my rangefinder and got a good look at him. He was a young 5x5. I had passed up better bulls this week but screw it. The situation was perfect, the shot was going to be easy, and we had come so far and worked so hard to get to this point. It was entirely my decision. Steven was OK either way. As he got closer I went into 'kill mode' and my predator instincts took control. The bull closed to within 35 yards and stopped behind a tree. I drew my bow. I could have shot him right there, but I waited for him to clear. When he did, Steven whistled and I put my 30 yard pin right on his chest. The shot was perfect.

The bull ran 80 yards and fell over dead. We were both happy. And neither Steven or I had regrets. I like to consider myself a disciplined trophy hunter but sometimes, when it feels right, I could give a damn about scores and trophies. This was one of those moments.


While killing this bull made us happy, we were even happier when we learned the bull had fallen .16 mile from the nearest forest service road! We had walked two miles to get here but had no idea if the next road was 2/10ths, or 2 miles away!


Pat's third elk - and hardest earned bull after 10 days and 80 miles on foot.

I have been keeping track of our hikes each day thanks to my OnX Hunt app. Steven and I walked just shy of 80 miles (on foot) since the opener, ten days ago. We had dozens of close calls, experienced the best elk action I'd ever witnessed, and I killed a nice bull with a great shot, on the very last day of the hunt. It doesn't get any better than that!

My sincerest thanks to Steven for an awesome hunt and a hard-earned bull elk.

Hunting with Steven Ward - Wards Outfitters

This morning I met a hunter. He asked me why I chose unit 5B South? I turned and pointed at Steven, then said " because I wanted to hunt with Steve."

Steven and I have known each other for a decade. I had heard nothing but great things about Steven, and Wards Outfitters, so when I drew a tag he was my first call. I doubt you can find a harder working, more knowledgeable elk guide in these parts than Steven Ward. He was simply a machine. He never got tired, never gave up, and never complained - not once. He knew this unit like no-one else and he had a second sense when it came to elk. He has one flaw but that one stays between he and I and he knows what I'm talking about ( and he is laughing about it right now).

This hunt was a complete success on Day 1. We heard bugles every day, we saw elk, every day, and we saw at least a half-dozen bulls that would easily top 340 inches. We tried hard for a trophy bull but in the end, we are very happy with the way this hunt ended. A perfectly executed setup, a quick clean kill, and the ability to share the shot with all of you thanks to Steven's fantastic skills with a video camera.

If you are not familiar with Wards Outfitters you own it to yourself to check out their website. They are well known for giant elk, but they are particularly known for giant Coues bucks in Arizona and Mexico. While Mule Deer are a sleeper for them, they are fantastic for trophy muley bucks too. Give Steven a call and book a hunt today!


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