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The Incredible Elk; a Tale by Dad and Son

By Andrew Evans (Son)
12/31/14 -- (Update: 01/08/15 -- Official B&C score for this bull was 361 2/8). I first heard about a Junior Elk Hunt in California thanks to my father. He told me about the hunt and the odds to get the bull elk tag. They were crazy odds but I figured that I might as well put in for the drawing and might get lucky. My father didn't tell me that I had gotten the tag until a few days later so that way he could talk it over with my mother. When he told me the good news I did not think much of it, in fact, I thought it was going to be boring.

On our first scouting trip I had a lot of fun. I took my pellet gun and I did target practice all weekend while we were hiking. We found signs of wild horses but very few elk. I spotted a cow elk that weekend which was very cool.

We went back scouting during Labor Day weekend and we had two beautiful nights underneath the stars. We saw plenty of elk sign the second time. We talked to everybody that we met, mostly to the tower operators because they knew a lot of information about the area. One night while we were sleeping underneath the stars a skunk bothered us throughout the night.

I was at a disadvantage at hunting because I had to go to school and take care of school work. My father went up early and found a small herd the day before I was able to come up and go hunting. At three o' clock on Friday after school I took a long drive from Wilton all the way up to the hunting grounds. We were hiking around 5:30 in the morning and about 7 we started to hear the elk bugle. We followed the bugles and we finally found the herd of elk. I was so scared because right before I took the shot I was surrounded on three sides by elk. I saw a bull with thick antlers and I only had about six inches of room to shoot because a tree was blocking my view. When I took the shot all of the elk ran away from me. It took us all day to get the elk out of the forest and back to camp.

This monster 7x7 bull elk was taken by Andrew Evans, age 15, while hunting in Modoc County near Lassen Creek.
This monster 7x7 bull elk was taken by Andrew Evans, age 15, while hunting in Modoc County near Lassen Creek. The father and son team have unofficially scored the bull at around 370. They will be working at the Boy Scout booth during the International Sportsman’s Show in Sacramento and will try and get it scored there. Evans and his father, Mike, are residents of Wilton, California. Photo by Mike Evans

By Mike Evans (Dad)
When we were making our choices for big game in April, Andrew told me he wanted a bull not a spike or a cow.

I explained the odds last year were around 400 to 1 for a junior without max points to get a bull, but he wanted to try anyway.

We had forgotten about it, then we got a letter from the CA DFW. When I saw it, I thought we must have made a mistake on the application or It was something not important. I thought we had won the lottery when it said he had the Jr. elk tag. He was happy, but not as excited as I was. All of our hunting buddies were excited about it too and provided a lot of information to get us started.

We scouted in August and September. We saw a few elk, some sign and talked to everyone we ran into. We found many water sources had gone dry. We had trouble with a skunk scratching on our sleeping bags one night.

With Andrew’s school responsibilities we were going to be hunting only the two weekends. I went up early to scout for him and set up a camp.

Grandpa was to bring Andrew up after school. With limited time to hunt Andrew thought he may have to take the first elk he saw, maybe even a cow.

I found some elk on Friday, but I did not know if there was a good one. Since we were on a limited schedule I figured we ought to go after them.

Grandpa and Andrew showed up around 10 p.m. Friday night.

By 5 a.m. we were hiking into the wind toward our destination. By 7 we could hear elk. We continuously hiked quietly toward them.

The brush and trees were so thick we could not see much. Around 8 we could see movement in the brush. I kept telling Andrew to go toward the noise.

I eventually could see parts of elk through the brush on three sides of us. Andrew was slowly walking ahead toward all the noise.

I thought I had a bull looking at me through the brush so I froze. I could not tell how big this bull was.

I could only see the basses of his antlers through the brush. I could see Andrew now 20 yards ahead of me with the rifle up.

It looked as if he had it on a cow through all the brush. Elk were moving all around us. Andrew slowly swung the rifle to the left and fired.

The area exploded with elk running. I ran up to Andrew and could see an elk rolling. At first I thought “What do you know he did not shoot a cow it was a bull."

While congratulating him I was now noticing that the bull was a big one.

We took some pictures, took care of the elk, and hurried back to get Grandpa. We were hoping he had not left already to scout. We arrived at camp to find grandpa still there. He had heard the shot and decided to wait for us. It took all three of us several trips to get the elk out.

Sunday we stopped at the California/Oregon check station to get the elk validated. The inspector validated the elk and took a few pictures.

While we were there everyone was stopping and taking pictures and talking to Andrew about his hunt.

As we went down the highway people were noticing this elk. When we stopped in Alturas for gas we were surrounded by people. We saw people going into the market across the street and bringing out more people to see it. People were taking pictures of it as we were going down the highway, giving us a thumbs-up and congratulations. Andrew had an idea of stopping at Cabela’s on the way home in Reno. I told him we needed to get his elk to the taxidermist and the meat into refrigeration as soon as we could. With all the attention we were getting, I did not think we would be able to get out of there.

The picture taking and congratulations continued on the highway all the way home.

Many people helped Andrew on this hunt. Friends, family, DFG biologists, tower operators, a guide, other hunters, ranchers and many locals, especially when they found out that he had a Junior tag. We’d like to say thanks to them all and Happy New Year!

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