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Home Page Photo Categories 2015 Big Buck, Big Bull & Other Big Game Contests

"Dandy Gila Bull for Travis"
Photo provided by: Travis Edwards

Here's a great looking Gila bull that Travis Edwards (aka 5yearcoueshunter) posted in our forum. Here's the story of the hunt that he shared.............

"After years of applying I was finally able to pull a Gila bull elk tag this year. It was for the 2nd rifle hunt which I knew would be tougher because of the late season, but I was still very pumped to get the tag.
After a couple scouting trips and getting as much advice as possible I felt fairly prepared for the hunt. But after the first day of hunting with just a couple distant bugles heard and no elk spotted, I was starting to feel very unprepared.
The second day of the hunt started out much like the first. I hunted till about 9:30 in the ponderosa pines with no elk spotted. After taking a break from walking, I decided to glass some far off open country. Finally I spotted some elk about a mile and 1/2 off. I only saw about 10 - 15 elk, but they were scattered on a hillside with a canyon below them. I couldn't see any bulls, but the way they were scattered made me feel there was probably more elk I hadn't seen. I decided to take the gamble and get over there. It took me about 45 min to get there. I eased my way over the hill and at first didn't see anything. Then I spotted some ears just coming over the next hill towards me about 500 yards. I sat down in the tall grass and waited. It wasn't long and the entire hillside was covered with elk! My guess was 150 or more! There was lots of spikes and smaller bulls. I was starting to think there wasn't any big bulls in the herd till I saw tall antlers coming over the hill. One glance at this bull and I knew it was bigger than anything I had ever shot and my heart starting going crazy. I calmed down and made my plan. He was 500 yards away which is way too far for my comfort zone. But he was feeding my way and I had super tall grass to crawl through to get closer. After crawling probably 50 yards, I looked up and saw the bull had also got closer. I ranged him and he was 352. I felt I could handle that. Besides, any lower the bull got in the canyon and I would have trouble seeing him. It was now or never. I was kicking myself about now because I didn't bring my tripod. I figured I would be in the trees where I could get a rest, not in the open grassy hillsides. The only way I could shoot was off my knee because prone and even sitting was out of the question with the tall grass. I got as steady as possible and once the bull gave me a broadside shot I fired. I heard the familiar thump! However the bull had no reaction. I wrenched quickly and fired another. Again a thump, but no reaction from the bull. This time however the herd started to move with the bull in back. He paused and I fired again, and once again the familiar thump but no reaction. After the bull ran a little more, he stopped and started to sway and then crashed! I was so excited, I couldn't believe it. Turns out I hit the bull all 3 times in the lungs in about a 5 inch diameter. That's shocking for me because I usually am not a very good shot. haha I'm super happy with my bull and he is by far my biggest. I got 345 gross. Some friends think he looks bigger than that, so I might have to re-score to make sure I didn't make a mistake.

I was all by myself with no tripod so I didn't get very good field photos."

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