Tight Spot Quivers
My AZ Bull Hunt!!
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
BGbasbhat 30-Sep-19
BGbasbhat 30-Sep-19
TrapperKayak 30-Sep-19
Scoot 30-Sep-19
BGbasbhat 30-Sep-19
TrapperKayak 30-Sep-19
Brotsky 30-Sep-19
Heat 30-Sep-19
JohnMC 30-Sep-19
BGbasbhat 30-Sep-19
Rocky D 30-Sep-19
nmwapiti 30-Sep-19
BGbasbhat 30-Sep-19
Bowboy 30-Sep-19
Lowandslow 30-Sep-19
stick n string 30-Sep-19
WV Mountaineer 30-Sep-19
Jasper 30-Sep-19
BGbasbhat 01-Oct-19
SBH 01-Oct-19
2 Points 01-Oct-19
BGbasbhat 01-Oct-19
Fuzz 01-Oct-19
SteveB 01-Oct-19
Photohunter 01-Oct-19
Beav 01-Oct-19
Glunt@work 01-Oct-19
From: BGbasbhat
30-Sep-19

BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
Well, thought I’d report back after the last 15 days in the field chasing bulls in eastern AZ. Overall, it was a challenging, enlightening, and humbling experience. I had some great friends up to help from time to time, and could not have done it without them!! Whether helping track, guiding my stalks, getting stuck on their motorcycles, or trying to get me to have fun instead of being so business-like, their help was invaluable.

The days ran together, but I had a number of opportunities throughout the hunt by calling, spotting/stalking, etc., but in the middle of the hunt, it all came together (in a way) by sitting a water hole for the evening. My buddies had just left, and I was on my own for a few days. I opted to sit a quiet water hole for the afternoon, with some distant bugles coming through the bowl I was in. After a few hours (yes, nap), I saw a few cows feeding through the basin I was in, with a bull hopefully in tow. Only have a tree to hide behind, I got low, and waited to hear the cows and hopefully bull approach…..outside of the howling wind gusts, nothing for 20+ minutes….Impatience got the best of me and just before I peaked up to see where they were, SPLASH!!! The bull I was hoping was in tow had just belly flopped into the water hole! Thrashing around in the mud and water, he left his cows behind, to go nuts in this little hole. As he splashed around, I readied my bow, drew, and plowed him at 45 yards as he came to the bank. I was 100% confident in the hit, and confirmed a full pass through, as he wheeled and bolted off. Due to the landscape, I last saw him running east and up out of the bowl I was in, and could not see/hear anything after that. Finding the pieces of my arrow with good lung blood, I felt it best to give him the night and come back to track in the morning. At first light, I was in the basin looking to trail the blood to my first bull….except there was NONE. Outside of my pieces of arrow, there was a small patch of blood at 125 yards from the water hole, and then NOTHING!!! I didn’t know what to think, and couldn’t believe the shot wasn’t a good one. And so, in my thinking, I figured he tried to find somewhere thick and likely downhill to huddle down in…As was my last sight of him, I headed east and out of the bowl I was in to grid the adjacent canyons to hopefully find him…I searched for the remainder of the day….then it poured rain…then cased the bowl I was in the next day, regardless of now REALLY no blood to follow…and nothing. I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea what happened and continued to look off and on for the next few days.

Good friend Jim, muddy motorcycle and all, came up to help for the last part of the hunt (now almost a week later I think). I told him the story and he didn’t believe that bull wasn’t piled up somewhere. We went back to the water hole, replayed the scenario, and started hiking the area. All of a sudden, we came to a rise, and bam, we got hit with that unforgettable smell of rotting meat. I didn’t know whether to jump for joy or cuss like a sailor…so I kinda did both…We followed our noses, and there was my bull. He was only a few hundred yards from the shot…upside down…and amongst a couple downed trees. Even at 20 yards (ignoring the smell), I could barely see him.

In our minds, we figured the scenario, which hopefully will help somebody in the future. I had always been taught and experienced that a wounded/dying animal will typically go downhill and into thick stuff to bed/die. Well, not during the rut I guess…From the shot, I last saw the bull heading uphill and east, and out of the bowl we were in. Likely what really happened was he went on this path for a while, and then remembered his cows. He did a 180 and ran to the southwest to back where his cows had run off to….which was also uphill. At that point, he keeled over, and that was that. I was so concerned with finding blood, going downhill, thick stuff, etc. that I forgot about the one thing that throws every sensibility off…..his attraction to his cows.

Anyway, had a great time with a premium hunt in a beautiful part of AZ. I admittedly, probably took it a bit too serious, but cashing in 14 points, I felt it was warranted. I learned a ton and hope to be chasing bulls again somewhere next year.

From: BGbasbhat
30-Sep-19

BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
BGbasbhat's embedded Photo
My bull found...finally!!! Scored 337 gross, without a beer...so probably 350 with one... He was nice and wide, which helped with the score.

From: TrapperKayak
30-Sep-19
Seems like a bull that size could be tracked in that dirt with hoofprints alone, no blood necessary. JMO.

From: Scoot
30-Sep-19
Beauty of a bull! Bummer on losing the meat, but congrats on a beautiful bull.

From: BGbasbhat
30-Sep-19
Trapper, yeah, we were hunting the flats, but that water hole was up the canyon in the pines, so no hoof tracking was really possible.

From: TrapperKayak
30-Sep-19
Tragic, sorry to hear that. Its a nice rack though.

From: Brotsky
30-Sep-19
Congrats on the bull and a great experience! Losing the meat is always tough, but good lessons learned.

From: Heat
30-Sep-19
Heck of a bull man! Glad you found what was left of him. Bummer on the spoiled meat.

From: JohnMC
30-Sep-19
Curious when you found him where did you hit him? Where was the exit? Nice bull to bad you did not find him sooner.

From: BGbasbhat
30-Sep-19
Thanks all. It was a hunt of ups and downs, but overall happy with the learning experience.

John, full pass through right where you are supposed to hit them. Maybe a touch below the center line and right behind the shoulder. Could've maybe hit lower to clip the heart, but lungs for sure. He was pretty broadside, so exit was behind the off shoulder as well.

Above is why it surprises me about the lack of blood. Maybe I could've found some if it hadn't rained the next day, but still, all my lung shots on deer have looked like a murder scene. I know elk are muuuuuch tougher, but still....I'm still thinking it was that his hide was all matted and muddy from the wallow. But he still should've been blowing it out his nose...I don't know...

From: Rocky D
30-Sep-19
Congratulations on a great bull!

From: nmwapiti
30-Sep-19
Had kind of a similar thing happen to me a couple years ago. Posted the story and pics on here. My shot wasn't as good as yours. I hit really low. He took off downhill, crossed a couple ravines and headed up the next one. I had to walk within a couple hundred yards of him when I was searching for the next couple days, but the direction change really threw me off. Tough critters. Great looking bull you got though.

From: BGbasbhat
30-Sep-19
Agreed nmwapiti. Buddies advised that they will typically stay the same line, when running with holes in their side, and my experience with deer has been the same.

However, like yours, mine did a southern sprint for 150 yards, eastern for who knows how long, and then went back to the southwest for his cows.

From: Bowboy
30-Sep-19
Congrats on a great bull!

From: Lowandslow
30-Sep-19
Congrats on an awesome bull. Glad you stayed persistent and kept looking. Good job man.

30-Sep-19
Congrats on the bull. Definitely ashame u couldnt salvage the meat.

What kind of broadhead were you using?

30-Sep-19
The only thing I will add is when I think I hit an animal good, I don't wait over night until given a reason too. And, in dry terrain, blood is hard to find when wet. Much less when dried out. Hindsight is always 20/20. And, arm chair quarterbacking is easy. Sorry about the loss of the animal.

From: Jasper
30-Sep-19
Great bull, lesson learned. Good job persevering! It happens!

From: BGbasbhat
01-Oct-19
Thanks all. Stick n string, I was using a quality, 100gr, fixed blade that has done wonders on everything else I've shot. I don't want to throw dirt on a good product and company, when it probably comes down to my shot placement, versus product. Let's just say the broadhead has a very good reputation for warranty, especially around this forum.

WV Mountaineer, good points. I figured since I was alone and I didn't see him go down I thought I would let him rest overnight. I do think you are correct though, though morning dew does brighten up blood trails, even in this hot AZ sun.

From: SBH
01-Oct-19
What a great bull. Glad you recored the horns. You'll have that memory forever. Congrats!

From: 2 Points
01-Oct-19
Now don't take offense to what I have to say........ You say you confirmed a full pass thru, but yer arrow shows to be broken like it was still in the animal and it broke from his shoulder movements as he ran away. Did you recover the broadhead? It would be interesting to know what shape it was in after the shot. I think I know what BH you speak of and, I had problems with them collapsing on rib bone. If it is the 2 blade version, there is an issue with the cut sealing back up if it, did indeed penetrate the lungs. They say an animal shot thru both lungs will not live long but, I have had it happen twice. Both times with a 2 blade fixed head. The last time, I sat there in disbelief as, the deer ran about 80 yards, stopped and looked back at me for 30 seconds as blood ran down both sides, then he walked off. Sorry for the long post but, I would really like all of the info you have just to know why this happened.

From: BGbasbhat
01-Oct-19
No sweat 2 Points. I've mentally gone through the same analysis these last 2 weeks.

I am 100% on it was a full pass through. I shot him broadside as he was facing left, he wheeled away (butt to me) and I saw 90% of my arrow hanging out the off side (unbroken). He then cut back left/broadside and ran off.

My thought is he stomped it when it fell out or I've heard they reach around and grab it out too. I found the fletching end and broadhead end within 100 yards of the shot. The broadhead was intact, but bent slightly, and both ends were full of lung blood. I never found (didn't look very hard admittedly) for the middle piece of the arrow, as I figured the ends are most important to the result.

The broadhead has 2 main blades (1 1/16"), and 2 smaller "bleeder" blades as well. Again, was fully intact, just the tip of the main blade above the ferrule was bent about 45 degrees.

From: Fuzz
01-Oct-19
BG... congrats on the continued search and recovery! I too was curious about the broken arrow. My guess is it hung up on the fletching as it ran off.

And like 2Points, the more info the better as we can all learn from it. Odd things happen and 2 identicle shots can have such different results... part of the mystery of bowhunting I guess.

Good luck the remainder of the season!

From: SteveB
01-Oct-19
Congratulations! So sorry you lost the meat, but even worse had you never found him. I may not have done a thing different, so no armchair QB from me. You can thankfully close that chapter and enjoy the wonderful memory of an awesome hunt!

From: Photohunter
01-Oct-19
Congrats on a great bull and experience! Thanks for sharing the details too.

From: Beav
01-Oct-19
Congrats on the beautiful bull! You do this sport long enough and its going to happen. Losing the meat of an animal really takes away from the experience for me but like it has been said on here good on you for staying with it and searching hard for him.

From: Glunt@work
01-Oct-19
Sorry you lost him but glad you were able to get some closure. It's part of hunting and one of the challenges that makes it so rewarding when things fall into place.

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