My Elk Hunt

Nov 10, 2008 by Jared Smith

First of all, I have to give a huge thank you to the Coulam boys for making this hunt a success, to mulepacker for his infinite and generous elk wisdom, to my eternally patient and supportive wife, and to the many others who gave tips, ideas, and encouragement. This is my first bull elk.

Since learning I had drawn this late season limited entry elk tag, I spent a lot of time in the hills learning the area, seeing more elk and deer than I thought existed, getting in (better) shape, and learning the behaviors, patterns, and locations of big game. I logged around 180 miles of hiking before the hunt started.

I spent some time through the summer watching a big bull just a few miles from my home. He disappeared in late September. Then last Wednesday, 3 days before the hunt started, I spotted a big bull busting over a ridge 3 miles away right at dark. A closer look the next day showed he was a shooter bull and also the same bull we had seen earlier. I spent most waking moments for the next 2 days making the 2 mile steep climb and watching him until my eyes burned. I felt confident about where he’d be opening morning.

We’d hardly left the pickup on opening Saturday when a herd of elk came over the ridge. The cows were chirping and the 5 small bulls were even bugling, something I suppose is uncommon in November. Up the hill we went to find THE ONE. But he wasn’t there. My friend Clayton found a comfortable place and spent the next 3 hours glassing the canyons and then at 10am, he spotted him bedded down in a nasty canyon a mile away.

Two hours and a long, steep hike later, Tyson and I were in position with cameras rolling and I made a 320 yard shot to put the bull down. One shot, one kill with my trusty .270. He was dead in his bed.

It was an honor to share this experience with 2 outstanding young men. It wouldn’t have happened without their help. Their father spotted from the valley all day long and their older brother came up and played mule and packed a quarter out on his back. I’ve turned them all into elk fanatics. Thank you Coulams!!!

I’m not sure exactly what he scores (ladies, this is the manly hunter way of telling how big the antlers are), but I’ve had three different measurements of 374 inches gross and my own conservative measurement goes 370 6/8″ (357 6/8″ net), so I’m calling it a 360ish bull for now. It’s a bull and an experience of a lifetime. UPDATE: Official score came in at 372 1/8″ gross and 359 5/8″ net.

Here’s some footage of the hunt including two different cameras on the kill shot (don’t worry, it’s not bloody or gruesome) and some video of the bull in the rut.

  1. 21 Responses to “My Elk Hunt”

  2. Great Vid!

    By RJ on Nov 10, 2008

  3. OK, you’re now “officially” the cool uncle. The boys think this is amazing!

    By Trisha on Nov 10, 2008

  4. That was awesome! Way to go! I can’t believe how huge he is! Can’t wait to see that mounted on your wall!

    By katie on Nov 10, 2008

  5. Awesome bull and a great vid too! Super glad you shared this. It’s cool to see your excitement. I haven’t shot an elk yet but hopefully this next season will be my year.

    By Kendall on Nov 12, 2008

  6. Thanks you for shareing. I love the vido! I personal would do a pedistal mount. You are the MAN!!!

    By Philip on Nov 12, 2008

  7. Oh my goodness!!! that is by far the coolest thing i’ve ever seen!! josh nearly died when he saw the picture of it and i cant wait for him to watch the video. congrats big bro! we cant wait to see more pictures of the mount.

    By jill on Nov 12, 2008

  8. Hey my wife showed me this (she’s a friend of Melanie’s) and that is one sweet bull congrats! What unit did you draw in?

    By Greg on Nov 12, 2008

  9. > What unit did you draw in?

    I drew the North Cache unit in Northern Utah.

    By Jared Smith on Nov 13, 2008

  10. I have to tell you, your dad watched the video 3 times and just smiled and smiled the whole time. It was great to watch him, I think he really wished he had been there. It was awesome to watch your reaction to a shot well placed. Can’t wait to see it hanging next to the deer head at your house. Congratulations Mary.

    By Grandma Smith on Nov 13, 2008

  11. I will have to show your post and video to Chet– he will love it. Congrats!

    By andrea brooks on Nov 14, 2008

  12. HOLY HELL….You said it was big….that is not big….its huge. good shot.

    By Mike & Heather Wolfley on Nov 19, 2008

  13. Who scored your bull? My brother in law has pictures of this bull on his trail cam and was just waiting for it to come out of smith’s place. the day after he went looking for another bull this bull came up to his trail cam. He drew the north cache archery. Looks like an awesome bull!!

    By Mike Severe on Dec 12, 2008

  14. I’d be more than happy to mount it for ya too…..any anything else you kill.

    By Mike Severe on Dec 12, 2008

  15. I am pleased to share one of Jared’s photos with visitors to my website: Click on the “Taking Pictures” tab.

    Dave Rowell

    By David Rowell on Apr 24, 2009

  16. Nice bull, congrats.
    I have a late season bull tag for Utah 2010. I am looking forward to a great hunt. I took a 223 buck on the Wasatch Front in 1980 during my senior year at BYU. I am terminaly ill and if I connect on a bull like yours the buck and bull will make nice book ends to a lifetime of great hunts. I am sure this will be my last hunt. Thanks for sharing your story. Dave

    By Dave on Jun 10, 2010

  17. Great shot!! Thanks for sharing this video with us, that was some interesting shot!!

    By George Hachey on Oct 16, 2010

  18. Wow, very very very NICE !

    By Helios on Jul 14, 2014

  19. cool! and that is a large meat to consume. yummy! One of the secrets to a successful hunt is preparing right. You can’t just go on a hunting adventure without preparation and getting everything ready. In discusses the top 5 ways to prepare for a hunt to experience an adventure that you will never forget a fallow deer hunting.

    By jackie crawford on Sep 12, 2014

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