With antelope behind me, and my Dad back in town from Canada we began planning
and packing for our elk hunt which was only 3 weeks away. I had already researched the
area and talked with multiple experts that helped us to focus in on some great areas. Dad
was able to take a scouting trip in early August and located some really nice bulls which helped
us out tremendously in the end.
As mid-September rolled around we took off for Northern Arizona two days before the
opener. We drove into the area at midnight on Wednesday and crawled into the trailer to
sleep for a few hours and find camp in the morning. As the sun rose so did my Dad, my
brother Cody and myself. We found our camp spot and took off that afternoon to set a tree
stand and a few blinds. We had decided early that we wanted to call and stalk if the elk
were bugling, but also wanted to have the option of sitting water if the elk were silent;
filling the freezer is always our number one goal.
We spent the next three days calling, stalking and sitting water. On night three, my
Dad had a nice 6x6 walk into water, but with the sun blaring in his eyes like an
interrogation lamp he pulled the shot over his back and ran him out of the tank. Five
minutes after his bull came in a nice 5x5 came into the tank I was sitting. He walked by
me at 20 yards while I was seated in my blind. I drew back on him settled myself and
released. I watched the arrow fly straight to the deck, skip off of it and soar right under
his belly into the water. The bull jumped straight into the water and swam around about
90 yards from me, got out of the water and walked off. I was blown away. How could I
have missed that shot? As I thought about what had happened I looked at the window
on my blind and there it was, a perfect slice through the bottom of the window. The
broadhead had hit the zipper and deflected straight down. I was ashamed and couldn’t
even bring myself to call Dad on the radio to let him know.
Days four through seven were uneventful. My friend Jeremiah had come up on
Sunday night and had been hunting with me all week. He really pushed us to call and
stalk and we focused on that the rest of the week. Jeremiah and I got in on some really
nice bulls six or seven times and each time we were picked off by one of the bull’s cows
before either of us could get a shot off. Day eight, it was our last morning I was
disappointed we had not filled a tag yet, but decided that I would give this morning
everything I had and would try to come back up after work on Sunday morning for the
last four days of the season. That morning the bulls had woke us with their bugles. The
valley was alive with what can only be compared to ancient battle cries. We got out at
four AM and were a mile and a half in by five AM, well before shooting light. The bulls
were bugling early this morning and we started to call and locate at 0515. We got onto a
bull first thing and by the time it was light enough to shoot we had made our way to within
120 yards of him. We spotted him the first time walking across a flat mesa; he was
eclipsed in the pre-dawn light and moved gracefully with almost wraith-like strides. He was
headed into a treed section that we had identified as a bedding area. As he moved into
the trees we realized the wind had changed and was bad now; blowing straight at our
backs so we circled around to flank him from the North. He was active and bugling giving
us his every position. We stalked along swift and silent, again we got to within 100 yards
of him and the herd.
We were moving in the last 60-80 yards and the herd spooked, but only ran off 50
yards. It seemed that Jeremiah was in a better position for the stalk so I slowed down
and waited to hopefully hear from him on the radio. Fifteen minutes later the bull bugled
and he was right in front of me. I could hear him breathing and feeding, making his way
straight into me. I thought he might feed straight out in front of me at 27 yards; no luck.
He made a turn that would parallel me still at 30 yards but with no open lanes. I began
back stepping with him. As he moved I would move. Within seven to ten steps I reached
a 2’x2’ opening in a dead juniper. I was about 3 steps ahead of him and knew this would
be my only chance. I drew back and waited and as the bull entered into the lane I mimicked
my best cow call, stopped him and released. I watched the shot hit behind his left shoulder
and I knew it was good. He ran 60 yards and I heard him hit the ground. I waited the
traditional 30 minutes and then walked up to him; he was down. He was my first elk and
a great blessing that was exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have ever hoped for.
The bull measured 258.4” and is a nice 6x7 with one of his cheaters being on his left brow
tine, a very classic signature.
I would like to thank my Dad, Tim Lewallen, for giving me a true love of the outdoors
and for being the best hunting buddy I could ever ask for. I would also like to thank Marty
Henrikson for taking me under his wing and showing me some great stalking techniques
that came in very handy on both of these trips. Finally, and most importantly, I would like
to thank my beautiful wife Sharee for allowing me to pursue my bow hunting passion and
always being supportive. Thanks honey!