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My Elk Hunt

By Taylor Wulfing
10/29/14 --[Updated with new photos] After 3 years of putting in for a New Mexico elk tag, I’d gotten a once in a lifetime tag. The trip from Nevada to New Mexico seemed to last forever. When we got there we set up camp. When that was taken care of we started scouting. Within an hour we saw our first bull. It was around 300”. We kept driving and kept walking and just before sunset, we saw an even better bull who looked to be 310”. We went back to camp, ate a quick dinner and went to bed. In the morning we decided to try and find some bulls in Houghton Canyon.

We had heard that Fish and Game had seen a massive bull with a broken leg in there. We tried 3 roads, but none of them led to Houghton Canyon. We then decided to try Wolf Creek. Instantly we found a very good 320” bull. He bugled once, and that’s the last we heard or saw of the big bull.

Taylor Wulfing, Colorado Elk
Taylor Wulfing, 11 years, with his huge bull!
As we were driving around, we met a rancher. He told us there was a huge 350” bull right there in the flats. We said thanks again and drove off. In two seconds we could see him with about 30 cows. We stopped to glass at him and was sure he was the one. As the sun slid down the mountain, we headed back to camp.

The next day was the opener, and I was hoping to kill the beast. We got up really early, and started driving to the flats. Sure enough he was there. He was about a mile away, so me and my dad had to hike. We got about 500 yards away and one of the cows busted us. They blew up, and ran over the next ridge. Even though we couldn’t see them we started off after them.

We hiked and finally got to where they went over the ridge. We were in a green plateau. We found them again, but they were about 1000 yards away. When we looked at him again we saw that there was another bull with him, he was another 350” bull. We settled down and then they began to bugle. There was probably 7 different bulls in this plateau, and they were all bugling. The two big bulls ran off to bed, and we never saw them again. A couple small bulls ran off, but there was one that was still bugling.

We decided to try and get it. We started off down the slope, hoping to find it. Once we got down we could hear hoofs running and branches breaking. My dad and I walked fast after it. When we saw him, I set up my gun, and saw him race over the mountain. It was around 8:30 and we started walking back to the Rhino. We walked a 100 yards and my dad said “stop and get down”. I looked to where he was pointing and saw a very small bull maybe 75 yards away. He busted us and we had a stare off. After about 10 minutes he ran up the hill. When we got to the Rhino, we started off to try Houghton Canyon again. We finally found a road that led to it. When the road dead-ended the whole family got out and started hiking.

Taylor Wulfing, Colorado Elk
Taylor is a great hunter and writer!

A mile or two up the canyon we stopped. We started glassing and saw a small 280” bull. After a couple more minutes of glassing, we turned around and went back. By the time we got to the Rhino it was time to go back to the plateau. We went where we did earlier that morning and didn’t see anything but some cows. After about 15 minutes we heard some bugles right where the big bulls went over, earlier in the day. We hiked to the ridge and settled down. We couldn’t see anything because of a dead pine tree. Once we got to the perfect spot, we waited and waited, it seemed like an eternity.

Finally a small 300’’ bull came out with a bull and a calf. They started walking toward us. They got about 50 yards away, looked at us, and turned around to walk back. While our focus was on the cow and calf a big 330” walked into a clearing below the trees. My dad asked me if I wanted to shoot at it. I told him that when that shadow reaches the top of the mountain I would. We looked to his left and saw the big bull. Once I saw him I said no way I’m going to shoot that one with “the beast” right there.

I got my gun ready and leaned it against the shooting sticks. He was 10 yards away from being in the clear and then the worst possible thing happened. A coyote sprang up and spooked the monster bull. It ran back up the mountain and over the ridge I then realized that the shadow had reached the top of the mountain. It was time to put the hammer down on the other big bull.

I switched the direction of the gun and my body and looked through the scope. I silently put my gun off safety and discovered he was behind a big pine tree. I kept looking through the scope hoping he would step out for a free shot. After what seemed like hours he took two steps and stopped. This was all I needed, I took a big breath let it out and started squeezing the trigger. Right after I heard the boom I could hear the whap of the bullet. I looked up and saw him plant his feet. He just stood there. All the while my dad yelling at me to shoot him again. As I loaded up another bullet, he started rolling down the hill. And like nothing was wrong he stood up. He took two steps and collapsed. My Dad and I jumped up, and he gave me the biggest and best hug in the world. And the first thing he said to me was, “I’m the proudest Dad in the whole world. All I could say was, “Thanks Dad.”

We raced to see the huge bull. Once we got to the bull I just looked at how big this behemoth was. After a couple pictures we started to gut it. It was getting dark and we had to hurry. So we left some of our clothes on it and hoped that the coyotes didn’t get it. We had about a mile hike in the dark to get to the road. When we got there we waited about two seconds before the rest of the family met up with us. I quickly told them the story. When we got to camp we ate a quick dinner and went to bed. I was hoping that the coyotes wouldn’t eat my elk. We got up and drove all the way to my elk. It took us a while, but we finally took pictures and quartered him. Right then I was positive that I was at the top of the world.

Thank you Mom and Dad for everything.

The author is 11 years old. His Dad is Wade Wulfing and his Mom is Cyndi Wulfing and the whole family hunts. They live in Smith Valley in Nevada.

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