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"The Rock Hole Bull"
Written by Miguel Valdez

The Rock Hole Bull
When I learned that I had drawn a bull elk tag for the late rifle hunt in New Mexico's unit 6, my heart stopped and I had to do a double take of the computer screen. There must be a mistake I thought, but after looking again I was sure I had finally drawn unit 6. I immediately called my uncle Jared, who also guides in the unit and would be my hunting partner along with my dad and another uncle.

Opening day found us hunting some low sage country with no luck. That evening we were able to locate an area where the elk seemed to be coming down every ridge toward some agricultural fields to the west of our glassing point. There were several dozen cows and one small bull visible. My uncle Jared assured me that there were some good bulls in the area that he had seen recently. My uncle and I attempted to close the distance between us and one herd of elk, but darkness prevented a stalk. We were able to locate the big 5x6 right at dark and decided to back off and come back the next morning.

The Rock Hole Bull
The next morning, we left my dad and his brother at a vantage point with a two way radio to glass and inform us of any elk movement. My uncle Jared and I went one ridge closer to where we thought the elk might be coming from as they feed back to their beds. We had hiked in before light and found nothing! Not a single elk could be seen or heard! We decided to cross a thick bowl and glass off the other side in an attempt to locate the elk. About half way across the thick pinion covered (very rocky) bowl we busted an elk out of the thick stuff. The elk ran north, but stopped when my uncle let out a cow call. Unable to see the elk, my uncle Jared instructed me to climb to the edge of the rim on top of some rocks while he kept cow calling and kept the focus of the bull on him. Once I reached the top of the rim, I spotted the rack and then the whole bull. He was quartered away looking back at the source of the cow calls. I immediately decided to take the bull and settled my crosshairs right behind the shoulder of the elk and squeezed. The bull jumped and ran off only to stop again as my uncle bugled and cow called to him. The second shot knocked him down and he didn't get up.

My bull may not be the biggest bull ever taken, but he is one heck of a trophy in my book! Thanks to my two uncles and dad for helping to pack the meat out of the rocky hole the elk died in!