With first-light beginning to scatter the darkness of night, I can faintly see the buckskin shapes of the magnificent Wapiti moving quietly through the sage.
The wind is perfectly in my favor. The lightly falling rain has softened the land, and silenced most of it's sounds. The smell of elk is all around me.
The terrain is comprised of shallow canyons full of old growth timber, and separated by open meadows of sagebrush and juniper trees.
My license is only good for a bull elk, and he has to have a brow tine (no spikes).
While slowly moving with the herd through the timber, I keep a close watch with my binoculars,....cow, cow, calf, spike, cow..?
Then I notice an extremely light colored elk moving through the openings in the timber. I can clearly make out his antlers. A legal bull!
The shot is an honest 80 yards through the broken timber. I take a knee to steady my shot, the bull see's my movement and stops, nicely framed in an opening through the timber. I thumb back the hammer with my soaking wet hand. The rain pours off the back of the lock... oh, I hope this thing goes off! BOOM!. The shot broke perfectly and I was quite proud of my follow-through given the excitement of the moment.
Down in the timber I can hear the unmistakable sound of the big roundball hitting hair. Whuomp! The heavy blue smoke just hung in the now quiet forest.
Dropping my backpack on the ground, I retrieve my possibles bag and horn from my pack and put them on. I quickly reload my rifle and flag the tree with a piece of toilet paper to mark the spot where the shot was taken.
(Now I know that an experienced hunter will wait a period of time for the animal to expire before giving chase... but when you're hunting public land on opening day, you don't wait, or someone else will inevitably be claiming your animal as their own.)
So I moved towards the area where I'd last seen the bull. 30 yards to my right he appears out of nowhere, throws his head back and with that perfect elk gate, he just trots over the ridge.
I scramble up the ridge and can see the bull going straight away slowly through the sage and junipers about 70 yards out. A big 4-ft boulder offers a solid rest. I line up the sights for the dreaded "Texas Heart-Shot" Bang!!...nothing(?) Missed my opening and blew a 58 caliber hole through the middle of a 5-inch tree at 20 yards. Ughhh..RELOADED!
Now the bull is at 100 yards and slightly quartering, so I aim to allow the ball to exit the opposing shoulder by way of his right hip...Bang! The thick blue smoke seemed to hang forever, and as it cleared I could see the bull struggling back to his feet...RELOADED!
Loading on the run I head out into the sagebrush. As I prime my pan, and snap the frizzen shut, a glance up to see where I'm going and I run right past the bull elk. He leaps to his feet and makes a full gallop circle past me like a flushing pheasant at 30 yards.
The 58 caliber hole from my first shot is now clearly visible right behind the shoulder. I recall thinking to myself "just stay on the gun and follow through", and I trigger the lock....Bang! At the shot the bull immediately slowed to walk and then stopped and stood 40 yards from me. RELOADED!!
As I quickly begin to reload my rifle, his Royal Majesty noses over, and gives up his spirit.
"The Beast is dead, long live the Beast"
Now, watching a bull elk run past the long barrel of a Kibler Colonial is hard to describe, it just has to be lived,..And yes, it is even more exciting than it sounds!
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The smoke from my last shot is still hanging in the sagebrush in the background of this photo.
Such a grand experience and a total blessing to be out amongst God's beautiful creation.
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.570 Lead RB
Neatsfoot oil lube
100 Gr. 2ffg Olde Eynsford
1816 fps Chronographed
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