We have a large area of private land and it's really an enjoyable trip.
My problem is I can't seem to get a shot at the cows. Last year I had great shots at two different 315-25 bulls with only one chance at a cow.
This year was worse. 4 opportunities at bulls from 310-45. Ranges were from 9-38 yards. I like to sneak in to the bedding areas and twice spent more than 5 minutes looking at the back 3/4 of what was obviously a very big bull. In both cases the cows were on the other side.
It's great fun and I'm going down the 28th for another try. This isn't unusual for my brother and I and we've come to believe the cows are the real challenge where we hunt.
The gathering stage of the pre-rut was just getting underway, and the larger bulls seemed to be winning the contests and gathering the most ladies.
Finally chased bugles and tried to position myself near their apparent route, and it worked on the second try! The main harem had passed just north of my spot but a side straggler cow came along within 30 yards and even stopped walking long enough for me to get off a well-aimed shot while I was backed into a large juniper. She ducked back and down, but the movement placed the hit in the spine just in front of the shoulder and she dropped in her tracks .
Very glad I had looked into AZ, as the bull tags were almost impossible to get even back then for NR's, but I just wanted to bowhunt an elk, and didn't really care THAT much whether it was a bull. Ended up being my only elk hunt, as I'm getting too old now to give that another try, but no regrets as I had a great time, ate a lot of great elk meat, and the memories are still as vivid as the day I got home.