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"The Big Bull"
Written by Brian Latturner, as told by John Caruso

The Big Bull
When John Caruso drew Utah's AR301 tag in 2002, he was in for quite a surprise. The AR301 is a limited entry elk tag that allows a lucky hunter who draws, the opportunity to hunt several limited entry units across the state, in addition many other areas.
Here in Utah, our elk herd has grow significantly over the past 10 years and big bulls are common in 75% of the state, so the AR301 has become a tag that many serious bowhunters are really after.

John expected to see lots of bulls while on his hunt, but as he said, "Boy was I wrong!" He learned very quickly that when those big bulls aren't bugling, they are very hard to find. And, once they are found, it's incredibly difficult to get within bow range, as the hunt takes place just before the rut comes into full swing.

Here's John's story:


I began my hunt on Saturday and saw only one spike bull all day! On day two, we spotted a six point bull with a couple cows. We tried setting up to get a shot at the bull, but he slipped away. Over the next two days, we tried everything from bugling, to glassing, to sitting at wallows, but no action! I was a bit discouraged, but not about to give up.
We then decided to try a new area, so we began our hike to a high vantage point where we planned to setup and glass a deep canyon. Suddenly, my guide, Mclain Mecham, spotted a bull walking alone about 150 yards below us. We moved quickly to a little knoll on the top of the mountain and tried some cow calling, hoping he would give us some attention. To my surprise, that's all it took!
After only one cow call, that bull went nuts and began bugling like mad, as were quite a few other bulls all around us. None of the others were as close as this one though, so we decided to wait and see if he would come in close.

He took his time as he approached-he just couldn't resist it though! After 45 minutes of heart pounding anticipation, he finally let out a grunt and popped his head out from behind the trees only 25 yards away. I drew my bow slowly, waited for him to step out completely, and then let her fly. The arrow hit home and the bull took off.
He only ran about 50 yards, then stopped and fell over. The arrow went through both lungs and clipped the heart.

What a great experience, having a bull elk coming to you when you call. I will never forget the excitement I felt. Thanks to Mclain Mecham, he was one heck of a guide!