Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Sweet Nevada Trophy Bull
By Dan Plumlee

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I hunted as a caller for a friend in this area a couple of years ago. That was my first experience with archery elk hunting and I was hooked. The area is full of nice bulls and the action was great. It was after that weekend that I decided to take my 10+ bonus points and start putting in for the archery tag. I had owned a bow and only shot 3d and targets but never hunted. I knew with 10 bonus points I would have a great shot at drawing the tag so I started to practice a lot from all positions. I set out to learn as much as I could about hunting elk with a bow. I watched hours of videos. Practiced calling. Hit the gym. As much as I thought I prepared when I finally got the tag I felt that I still didn't know enough. I started to question my equipment. Whether my arrow was heavy enough. Was my bow out of date or fast enough.

I had limited time and limited budget to get ready. I ended up liquidating some of my older hunting gear including my old bow, a good pack that I miss, some older camo, a knife and some other gear. Hated doing it but I had to get ready for this basically once in a lifetime hunt in NV. I upgraded to a Mathews HeliM with a 70# draw. I changed to a heavier arrow and a 125gn broadhead. I chose the Easton Axis Carbon Infused arrow and a G5 Montec 3 blade broadhead. Again after watching and reading many reviews. I ordered Kings Camo in a desert shadow pattern for the hot hunt. Bought Dead downwind scent blocker. Alaskan game bags. Primos bugle, hoochie mama and lip service cow call. I already had redhead boots, readhead pack, Vortex Talon HD 10x42 binos and Vortex Ranger 1000 rangefinder.

My plan was to spot and stalk bulls in the mornings and sit a wallow in the evenings. I already had my wallow picked out and I knew the bulls were all over the area. I pulled into camp around 10pm. It was already 12 days into my season and I had 11 more to go. I was prepared to stay there the rest of the season if I had to. Bulls were bugling everywhere that night.

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I stuck this bull on the second evening over water. I sprayed myself down with dead downwind scent blocker and hiked into the spring. Crawled into my blind around 3pm, ranged everything then the wait was on. About 6:30 this bull presents himself head on. He knows something isn't right but still comes straight into the water. He looks directly at the blind as I am crouched down out of sight. I have no shot at this point. My heart is racing. My mind is going 100 mph. I try to calm myself down and draw up a plan. As soon as he stops drinking and turns to exit he should present a 30 yard shot. He drinks then quickly snatches his head up and stares at the blind several times. Each time I think I'm busted, but then he just starts to drink again. He finally takes a drink only this time when he lifts his head he looks right, then left. I knew he was finished drinking so I positioned myself for a shot from my knees. He took two slow steps to the left which gave me an opening to draw and a shot slightly quartering away. I let the arrow fly and saw it hit and bury to the fletching. He ran out to about 50 yards as I loaded another arrow, he turned at 60 and I hit him again then he bolted up the hill. I knew he wouldn't last long so I waited an hour to start tracking. I found half of my first arrow covered in blood. Tracked about 60 yards from last hit and I heard him stomp around a little. I backed out for another 1.5 hours then came back and found him expired right where I last heard him. Only about 100 yards from first shot.

I was solo so this is when I realized how huge these animals are. I really underestimated the amount of work I had to do at this point. It's still hot out so I opted for the gutless method of quartering him out. First I took some pictures of course then I got him caped, quartered and packed out by 8 am. I did take a break and small nap from 2am-5am. My friend showed up around 10 to help me load it into his truck and we were off to the meat locker and taxidermist.

This was my first Elk ever and my first archery harvest. Green scored by taxidermist 364-5/8 gross.

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