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Home Page Photo Categories 2012 Big Buck, Big Bull & Other Big Game Contests

"Andrew's 330 Utah Archery Bull"
Photo provided by: Andrew Dykes

Andrew Dykes, aka andygrand, had some nice Wasatch archery success here in Utah.

Andrew writes, "This was my first elk hunt ever. I drew with 3 points, and was totally shocked when I did. I immediately decided to do whatever I could to prepare myself for success. I started shooting my bow at least 100 arrows a day, and did whatever research I could. I live out of state because I am in the military, so I had to rely on my brother and good friends for scouting. I was able to come up once before the hunt in July for a quick scouting trip. That scouting trip turned up more than 20 bulls. I knew from that scouting trip that finding the elk wouldn't be the hard part, getting close to them would be. This turned out to be true for my hunt. I arrived in Utah on August 24th and started hunting the very next morning. From the beginning, I had bulls bugling all around me. The first week would turn out to be the best for both elk activity and vocalization. I sat water, tried spot and stalk, and everything else I could think of. I was able to get within 100 yards of big bulls on 2 occasions, but could never get closer. The second week brought a big change from the first. There was a storm in the second week that completely changed the way the elk acted. The same canyons that had been blowing up a week before were now silent every morning. I sat on a hill side one morning and watched a herd of elk come out of the pines at 7:10 and be back in the trees by 7:20. Most mornings and evenings were like that the second week. I have never felt as frustrated and depressed as I did the Friday of the second week. I felt like throwing the bow in the trash and driving back to Arizona. Luckily, my brother came up that weekend and was going to hunt with me for the remainder of the hunt. Having him around was definitely a boost to morale. The third week brought more of the same, silent bulls and little elk movement. We were able to call a couple of bulls in to 100 yards again, but could never get them to come closer. On Tuesday, the 11th of September, we decided to change areas and drove 30 minutes east. We got to our hunting spot and immediately were greeted by bugling bulls. It was a welcome surprise. That morning we again got a bull to come to our calls. He worked to 60 yards, but because of thick trees I couldn't get a shot. That evening we had a couple of friends join us. One of these friends was a very good elk caller, and a much more experienced elk hunter than my brother and I. We made a plan for me to go with him, while my brother, my dad and other friends spotted for us from across the canyon. We immediately got into elk. We had multiple bulls bugling around us. We decided to chase a deep bugle up the canyon from us. After a short hike we were standing 80 yards from a legitimate 360 -370 bull. He was with several cows and wouldn't come to our calls. We could get him to scream back at us, but wouldn't budge. Each time he would bugle another bull would scream from up the hill. As the big bull began to move up the canyon, we tried to follow him but he was able to get 200-300 yards ahead of us. By this time we were even with the other bull that had been bugling back and forth with the big bull, and he didn't sound far away at all. We decided to try and call that bull into a clearing we were set up on. Two cow calls from my friend and the bull was crashing through the pines towards us. As soon as I saw him I drew my bow and the bull came out at 54 yards. He bugled in our face and turned broadside. After getting a range from my friend, I let one fly and shot right over his back. My heart sank and I grabbed another arrow as fast as I could. The elk turned towards the pines, but my friend was able to stop him at 64 yards quartering away. This time my arrow flew true and entered right behind his shoulder. I have never felt greater relief in my life. After the radio calls to my friends and family up the hill, and multiple hugs, we started tracking the bull. It had been an hour since the shot. We followed the blood trail for 45 yards before we found the bull dead and only 100 yards from a road. After some quick pics and field dressing him, we had him loaded on the 4 wheelers for the ride to camp. He is not the biggest bull we saw, but I have never worked harder for an animal in my life. To be surrounded by family and friends makes this an unforgettable experience. He scores right around 330, but that doesn't matter I wouldn't be any happier if he scored 400."

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