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"Huge South Dakota Bull for Gabe"
Photo provided by: Gabe Ellerton

2007 turned out to be a great year for Gabe, as he drew a Black Hills, South Dakota elk tag and harvested this great bull.

Gabe Ellerton writes, "I waited for a long time to draw an elk tag in my home state of South Dakota. One of my life long dreams was to harvest a bull elk with my bow. When I finally drew a tag I was more than exited. I started scouting right away. I have spent a lot of time in this unit shed hunting in the past, so I already had a good idea where to start.

I hiked many miles of land and checked numerous waterholes. I bought a couple trail cameras and hung them up at some of the better waterholes I found, to aid in my scouting. I was disappointed in what I was getting out of them, so I just kept moving them until I found some waterholes that had good activity.

There were two waterholes that where about 500 yards apart that the elk were using almost every day. At one waterhole, they would come in every morning, and the other one they would hit in the evening. There were around 6 bulls that stopped by frequently. After I studied the pictures, I was feeling confident about this spot. There were some good bulls coming in, one with a non-typical side, and I kind of had my sights set on him.

So, here we go. It was opening day and the weather was warm. The wind direction was perfect for my morning waterhole hunt. I got to the spot I wanted to park and got my gear and took off down the road. On my way there, I heard the elk talking. It was September 1st and the bulls were bugling a lot for this early in the season. The closer I got to the waterhole, the louder it got! My heart was racing as I made my way into me treestand.

Soon, the sun started to come up, and the elk were all over the ridge. The first elk that came in were two small 5x5's and a cow. A few minutes after they left, here came the big one, along with another small bull. To this day, I don't know how I remained so calm, but I did. I ranged that spot earlier at 27 yards, so I eased back the string and let the arrow go. It was a perfect hit! He took off and a few minutes later I thought I herd him crash. I couldn't believe it!

I didn't look to close at the antlers, all I knew is that he was big enough to shoot. After a good wait, I climbed down and ran back to my truck (The waterhole was right next to the road. Most waterholes in the hills are close to roads). I drove up and parked and started looking, and I didn't have to look long, as this fella stuck out pretty good.
Man, what a hawg. I couldn't believe it. Of all the elk I had on camera, I never saw this guy on there. I called my dad and my wife for some help, and started field dressing.

This is my first Pope and Young entry, the gross score is 359 and the net is 346."

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