Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

373" Utah Mega-Bull
By Jed Wintle

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Luck was on my side in 2013 when I secured a fantastic, Utah limited entry elk tag with just 6 points. It was a mid-September, pre-rut rifle hunt and I was excited to hit the hill and find a big bull. We first laid eyes on a beast bull two days prior to the hunt. He was an honest 400-incher, and he had us excited to get after it.

On the evening of the second day I heard a deep bugle across the drainage I was hunting. He sounded big, so I moved into about 300 yards and called. The bull then let out the deepest, most aggressive bugle I'd heard all week. He then continued to respond every time I called, but wasn't moving towards me.

I snuck into about 100 yards, but still didn't get a glimpse. It was getting late in the day, I was in heavy cover, and the bull didn't appear to be moving in; so I very slowly began closing the gap. Without realizing the bull had silently moved towards me, I suddenly realized we were about to bump heads. I finally got my very first look at him at under 30 yards! I took about 10 more seconds to pick out antlers from branches as he continued closer. I knew he was all of 360", so I took him at 22 yards! Not only very close, but the shot was straight on and halfway through his last huge bugle ... a mental picture, through my scope, I will never forget.

After the shot, he wheeled around and I got two more quick ones in him as he left the thick cover, but soon fell in the middle of a small clearing. I was hunting solo and had an hour of light left, so I had to leave the bull overnight. When we arrived with horses the next morning a bear had gotten a belly full, dragged the carcass 40 yards, (not a small bear) chewed his face up and ruined the cape. I wasn't even mad, I still had my bull and he ended up scoring 373".

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