Sitka Gear

Arizona Elk Live

September 14-23

Day 9

Morning Hunt

All week I have been hearing stories about the elk rut here and all of the insanity and chaos that goes along with it. This morning I experienced it, first hand. Holy crap. I've never seen anything like it. Sure, I've experienced bulls screaming at each other and even an elk fight here and there, but I've never seen anything like this. It was off the hook.

We started out before dawn listening for bugles. We hit the jackpot, There were at least a half dozen bulls screaming nonstop. We took off after them in the dark and that was the start of a 6 hour hunt I will never forget. It took us an hour to catch up to the herd and when the herd bull stepped out he was a fantastic bull, we estimated him at 350+ gross. He pushed his cows off and there were six other bull bugling up the hill. So we left the 350 and went after the others.

Bull 1. We could only get within 80 yards of this herd bull. He was a slammer!
Bull 2 - not interested in shooting him
Bull 3 - not interested in him either.
Bull 4 - getting better.
Bull 5 - bad photo but he was another slammer.


We were on bugling elk until 11 AM. Not one time did we sit down to take a break since 5:00 AM. It was insane.

I am not exaggerating this, in fact, I just asked Steven his opinion on how many bugles we heard this morning. We are both in agreement that we heard between 250-400 bugles this morning. Most of those were within 500 yards.

We got close on four different occasions. One time it was a 320ish satellite bull that was heading right at us before he got our wind. Another time was on a 340" bull at 30 yards that we just couldn't get a shot at. Then we had a solid 325" bull at 63 that I would not shoot because he was just too far for my comfort zone. Finally, we got within 80 yards of a 360 herd bull that was screaming nonstop for 30 minutes.

Here is this morning's hunt track from my OnX Hunt App. We followed elk for 7.5 miles for over 6 hours.


At 11:00 AM it was over. I pulled out my cell phone and looked at my OnX Hunt App. We had chased elk for 6 hours, and 7.5 miles. We were both exhausted. We then got a call that one of Steven's friends had killed a 5x5 bull for meat. We couldn't leave him alone so we hiked down to him and helped him pack out his elk. He was extremely appreciative and despite both of us being wiped out, we were glad we did it.

One of Steven's buddies, Dave Barragon shot this nice 5x5 this morning and we helped him pack it out.


This morning was one of those incredible hunting memories that sticks with you long after the hunt is over. I am very grateful to have experienced it with Steven.

Afternoon Hunt

Steven and I sat a waterhole for the first time. Well, we didn't set up a blind or anything, we just sat up in the rocks that surrounded the water and from there we could move on a shooter bull. We heard some bugles but they were too far to go after. We were spent from this morning's hunt so I didn't mind taking it easy tonight.

Tomorrow we will be going flat out - all day.


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