Bow Hunting Elk: Last Chance Bull In New Mexico (Episode 411 Transcript)

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GRANT: (Whispering) 50 yards and coming; 50 yards and coming.

GRANT: Last week I shared that Daniel and I had traveled to New Mexico for an elk hunt.

GRANT: We only had a few days to hunt but I was more than pleased with the outfitters Hosted Hunts had introduced us to.

GRANT: We had lots of bulls responding to the guides’ calls and to the Montana Decoys.

GRANT: As I shared last week, I had never tagged an elk before and I could tell this hunt was off to be one of those hunts of a lifetime.

GRANT: We’d had several encounters throughout the hunt and it boiled down to the last afternoon. Tag soup or elk steaks.

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GRANT: Early during the hunt I had the opportunity to draw on several younger bulls, but for some reason or another, those opportunities never worked out.

GRANT: (Whispering) No. I’m not gonna take it.

GRANT: As I’d shared last week, I had never tagged an elk before this hunt. So, this summer, I really focused on form and I used the blind bale technique to perfect my form.

GRANT: In an effort to replicate the pressure of shooting at an elk, I started shooting one arrow at a time at a Morrell Target. And missing the target and losing an arrow isn't near the pressure of wounding an animal but I wanted to make sure I was putting some type of pressure to make each shot count.

GRANT: I knew I was going to be hunting with the DeadMeat broadhead. And fortunately, G5 makes a B.M.P., a ballistically matched point, to go with DeadMeat broadhead. So I could practice at 60 yards and my arrow would fly exactly the same with my practice point as it would with the actual broadhead.

GRANT: All through the summer, I knew my elk hunt would come down to that magic moment of one shot. I wanted to make sure I was ready.

GRANT: (Whispering) I think we gotta use topography and see if we can – I don’t know if there’s any chance we could hit ‘em or not.

GRANT: The afternoon before, we had seen several elk pour out of a canyon.

GRANT: (Whispering) Maybe two of them. Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Look at that.

GRANT: Our strategy for the last afternoon was to stalk up close to this canyon and cut those elk off before they entered a large field where we’d glassed them the evening before.

GRANT: When we arrived at the property, we could tell elk were already on their feet and bugling. Apparently, the cooler temperatures and rain that had passed through the area had turned on the switch. And the elk rut was in full swing.

GRANT: With this in mind, we headed to the flat above the canyon where we planned to hunt.

GRANT: (Whispering) There’s more than one. Yeah.

GRANT: We snuck up to the rim and could hear several cows and bulls calling in the canyon.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m just asking. Do you think we could get right here in the shade somewhere, work our decoy hard? Will it booger them if we call?

FRANK: (Whispering) No. I, I think if we call it’d be better than us going in there.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s get back up so they gotta come through right here. They're just gonna peek over…

GRANT: We set up about 100 yards from the rim and started calling with the goal of bringing one of the bulls out of the canyon.

GRANT: We kept hearing bugle after bugle and one of our guides, Leo, would offer challenge bugles and they would bugle back but we never saw an elk.

GRANT: It seemed the bulls had no desire to leave the canyon. But we could hear cows down in there. Obviously, those cows were more attractive than anything on the rim.

GRANT: I knew we were running out of time and I looked in front of us and saw a rabbit. And I thought, “Gosh, I’m gonna have to shoot this rabbit to take any meat home from New Mexico.”

GRANT: Frank, our lead guide, decided it was time to risk everything and enter the canyon.

GRANT: There was less than an hour of shooting light left when we started our descent across the rim. This type of stalking is extremely exciting. All my senses were on full alert as we were trying to move toward the bugling bulls without alerting elk that might be silent in the area.

GRANT: Just as we entered the canyon, we spotted movement about 50 yards ahead through the junipers.

GRANT: It was a group of mule deer. And we didn’t want to bust ‘em, so we let them move out of the way and then continued our descent into the canyon.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) …yet.

LEO: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Let’s make that way. I just saw the cows (Inaudible) this way. They're walking.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s not on the other side of the canyon. He’s right here.

GRANT: Suddenly, there was another elk right below us and Leo spotted cows on the opposite side.

GRANT: We decided to sneak lower into the canyon.

GRANT: We could hear what seemed like an entire herd of elk below us. Bulls and cows calling.

GRANT: (Whispering) Isn't that one straight across right there?

GRANT: I wanted to run right in there but I spotted a cow looking right at us.

GRANT: Fortunately, that cow turned and walked away as she was being pushed by a bull.

GRANT: We were in the middle of a full rutting herd.

GRANT: Like whitetails during the peak of the rut, it seemed we could get away with a lot that we normally wouldn’t be able to because the herd was all focused on rutting activity. And with that in mind, my excitement grew and we pushed ahead.

GRANT: When we reached the bottom, it sounded like the majority of the elk were on the other side in the junipers and pinyons. There was a small meadow that was open but I felt we could jog across there without being detected.

GRANT: Just as we reached cover on the other side of the canyon, I heard a clash of antlers. It sounded like trees were falling and I believe we happened to time it just right when two herds got together and two herd bulls were sorting out the dominance.

GRANT: We knew these bulls would be distracted and we could slide in there, probably without being detected.

GRANT: My ears were literally ringing because bulls were bugling in every direction and most of them seemed within 100 yards.

GRANT: When those bulls started crashing antlers again and I could hear ‘em shoving in the trees and rocks moving, I felt extremely alive. I was jumping rocks and weaving in and out of brush. Heck, I even told the guide to move away – I was going ahead. I was just extremely alive and engaged. It felt wonderful.

GRANT: (Whispering) How far?

GRANT: As I’m moving, I spotted the body of a large elk through the trees – just up the hill a bit.

LEO: (Whispering) 35.

GRANT: That bull disappeared; got shoved out of the way or something. And we stood there waiting to see what our next move would be.

GRANT: We were just a few yards above the meadow and we noticed a large bull out in the meadow.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) …out there.

GRANT: We started sneaking closer, focused on that bull.

GRANT: This bull was 70 plus yards in front of us. And as we were trying to sneak a bit closer, we heard another bull even closer but in the trees to our left.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Right here, right here. Big bull.

GRANT: When that bull entered the meadow, I knew he was a herd bull and the one I wanted.

GRANT: (Whispering) Let’s see what happens here.

GRANT: (Whispering) How far is that? How far is that?

LEO: (Whispering) 64.

GRANT: (Whispering) How far?

LEO: (Whispering) 64.

GRANT: (Whispering) I can hit it if you can put it – there.

LEO: (Whispering) 64. 63.

GRANT: (Whispering) Take the quartering away shot? (Inaudible)

GRANT: It was a beautiful site watching my glowing nock arch over and land in the bull.

GRANT: I’ll share with you my emotions went from extremely high to guttural in seconds. What my mind captured was the shot was very low.

FRANK: (Whispering) I think you got him.

GRANT: (Whispering) You think?

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: While my emotions were in my gut, Frank was feeling okay. I could tell he was more positive than I was.

GRANT: (Whispering) It wasn’t too far back, was it?

FRANK: (Whispering) No, no, no.

GRANT: (Whispering) Just a few inches (Inaudible)?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) That’s, that’s a bull.

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s a big bull.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m not even seeing fresh tracks. We’re not on it right here.

GRANT: We found blood but I was skeptical because the first drops we found were about the size of my fingernail. And I’m thinking, “Oh, this isn't good.”

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, here we go.

GRANT: Once on the trail, I knew the DeadMeat broadhead had done its job. It had cut through that long hair and thick hide of an elk, penetrated all but about six inches of my arrow, and left us a trail we could work with.

GUIDE: (Whispering) Right there, right there.

GUIDE: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Gosh, think how tall that is compared to a whitetail.

GRANT: After about 300 yards, we found what I was hoping for. A big pool of blood. Not a spot. A pool of blood that, literally, was about an inch and a half deep.

GRANT: (Whispering) We’ve been on steady blood, but this is the first big – like where he stood still. And folks, it’s that deep. It’s an inch deep. So, bigger than a basketball and an inch deep. I’m saying there’s a – maybe a pint or a quart there. I’m feeling a little better, but I’m not there yet. I’m still so nervous. I, whew, I’ve been praying the whole way. I am so nervous.

GRANT: (Whispering) That’s a lot of blood. That looks good. Really good. Heavy blood. I think it’s liver. Yeah. Yeah. Right here, right here, right here. We’re on steady blood but we – we’re almost 100% positive it’s a liver shot. Seems like it’s coming out both sides now. The arrow has finally stuck through. So, Frank believes – and I agree with Frank – that we probably ought to back out now…

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) …come back tomorrow morning.

FRANK: (Whispering) Tomorrow’s another day. Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.

FRANK: (Whispering) It’s, it’s a big bull.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s a big bull. We don’t want to push him. He could, he could run miles or he could lay down up here and die.

FRANK: (Whispering) Correct.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s gonna die. He’s all the way through the liver.

FRANK: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: We huddled as a team and discussed this option. There was plenty of blood sign to keep trailing. But I felt strongly our best option was to back out and take it again the next morning.

GRANT: Alright. Back it up and do it frame by frame. Have you copied this yet?

DANIEL: Yes.

GRANT: Okay.

DANIEL: This is off the hard drive.

GRANT: Man, that’s a bull right there, boys. Ohh. Yeah.

GRANT: Look at that hump on his shoulder. (Inaudible) …swag belly. You know he’s mature.

UNKNOWN: Ooo.

GRANT: Look at that beautiful arrow flight.

DANIEL: See? Right, right there is where it hits.

UNKNOWN: That’s where it hits.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

UNKNOWN: See? And then when it hits, you see the nock drop a little bit. See right here?

DANIEL: Yeah, you're even higher than I thought you were.

GRANT: Hmm. Hmm.

UNKNOWN: That’s liver. He’s dead.

UNKNOWN: Yeah, he’s dead.

GRANT: I’ll be honest. I didn’t sleep much that night and I was eager to get up the next morning and take up the trail.

GRANT: Well, it was a long night last night. I didn’t sleep much. But we’re back at where we stopped trailing. We’ve got blood and we’re gonna take off. Hopefully, recover this elk soon.

GRANT: Yup. Right there. Right here.

GRANT: The blood had dried a bit overnight but there was still ample sign for us to take up the trail.

GRANT: Yeah.

GRANT: Right here. Right here. (Inaudible) Right there. (Inaudible) Good spot. Yeah.

GRANT: We started hurrying up the trail and went about 100 yards when Frank said those magic words, “I see him!”

LEO: Grant. Congratulations.

GRANT: Oh.

LEO: Oh, I am, too.

GRANT: Oh, my gosh.

FRANK: Thank, God.

GRANT: Oh, thank you, Jesus.

UNKNOWN: Yeah, baby.

GRANT: Right there. Look at that. Oh, my gosh. I’ve never.

GRANT: I can't explain how happy I was to put my hands on my first elk.

GRANT: That baby’s all there. I really can't express my personal feelings. This is the experience of it – not, not just the animal. But the experience of hearing ‘em and seeing ‘em all week long – or all three days long. And seeing all the different bulls we’ve seen.

GRANT: Hey, this is a workout right here, man. I don't know what this head weighs but that baby’s a toad right there. Whew!

GRANT: What a huge blessing it was. Not only to have such a thrilling hunt, but to end it with a great bull.

GRANT: It worked out just perfect. Perfect.

GRANT: We took numerous pictures; told the story again and again; and I texted Tracy and the girls that I’d finally tagged an elk. These moments are even better when you have the support of your family. This hunt continued to get better.

GRANT: We were all so excited and looking at the elk and telling the story – that after about ten minutes, one of us looked up and noticed the pickup was only about 100 yards away.

GRANT: Alright, men.

GRANT: We got him back to the shop and I started processing the meat.

GRANT: And then this is the eye of the round or the hidden tenderloin. And this is zero connective tissue in here. This is what you cook for breakfast, except it’s a little big for breakfast on an elk. Look at that. Zero connective tissue in there. Zero. That’s the best piece of meat. The best piece of meat.

GRANT: And I go into meat just a little bit. But you don’t want to go to deep right along the bone here or you get into that eye of the round or that hidden loin.

GRANT: I was very excited to have fresh elk meat to take back to the family.

GRANT: See that eye right there? Whew! Love that. See this big tube right here? That’s the lymphatic system I’m telling you about. Only way to get that out of there, without eating it, is do this.

GRANT: I checked my phone app and we were walking about seven miles every day during the hunt. And I enjoyed every step of the way. Our guides worked very hard to keep us in elk and share some advanced techniques with us.

GRANT: My hunting partners, Terry and Terry, both harvested mature elk and Rob had some great encounters. What more can you ask for out of a western elk hunt?

GRANT: If you're interested in a similar hunting experience, go to Hosted Hunts website; enter the promo code GrowingDeer; and one of their staff will reach out to you, learn what you're looking for, and help you find the hunt of a lifetime.

GRANT: Just because we put a bunch of elk meat in the freezer doesn’t mean we’re done hunting for the season. Daniel and I returned to The Proving Grounds and within the next day or two, we were in a tree and we’ve already had some exciting hunts.

GRANT: With so much going on, we’re sharing a lot of information on our social media and hosting a lot of live events. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

GRANT: Whether you're blessed enough to go tromp around out west or you're hunting close to home, every day take time to enjoy Creation and, most importantly, slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

GRANT: Whew, New Mexico! I’ve chased elk a lot of places but this has been the best elk hunt, obviously, that I’ve ever had. Thanks guys!

GUIDES: Yes, sir. Thank you very much. (Laughter)