I live in Arizona and have a Mountain Home that borders the White Mountain Apache Reservation and can hunt 4 of the premier Elk Units in the world with less than an hour drive in any direction. About another two and half hours straight east down Route 60 I have another property in New Mexico's Unit 17 bordering National Forest and BLM where 3 Governors Bulls have been shot within 5 miles of my land. The last thing I had any plans of shooting on a British Columbia Mixed Bag Hunt was a 310 +/- class Elk. I watch these walk cross our golf course like people watch Blue Jays or Cardinals on a bird feeder.
We did a family Hunt with Whiteswan Lake Outfitters with the intent of getting everyone a nice Bull Elk. Having already shot a few, my plan was to Bow Hunt for Shiras Moose. Either way, I bought all the available tags and carried my 300 Ultra Mag with various bullet weights to be prepared for anything. The weather turned out to be extremely warm and we ended up on foot at about 8500' passing Mule Deer, Black Bears, Glassing Mountain Goats and spotting some Shiras Moose. Amazingly at that elevation while 98% of the Elk hunters were down low by the clear cuts and rivers, we ran into two large groups of Elk and 4 Bulls screaming at each other for hours. We were the only hunters for miles and got to simply find a vantage point and enjoy mother natures show.
Climbing up a finger we spotted 15 cow elk trailed by a nice Bull. I was simply taking pictures and enjoying the moment when my guide Jordon informed me that Bull like that are not very common in BC and you may take one once every 3 to 5 years. Being from Arizona and hunting New Mexico frequently I could not understand what he was saying. It was palmated nice and he clearly was the dominant beast on that mountain range, but I've passed much larger Elk in my life and really had no desire to go after it. However, the more I watched it, the more my adrenaline kicked in and I had to go get it.
We watched him bed down and the cows spent the day grazing in and out of the timber and water frequently in the warm weather. It was amazing that the Bull never moved all day and other Bull would come within 300 to 400 yards of him, look his direction and leave with no bugling or confrontation. He was truly the king, this was his heirem and the rest of the herd respected it.
About 45 minutes before dark, all the cows made their move out into the open. Other Bulls were bugling around us and we were very apprehensive to do anycalling. We were basically Whitetail Hunting a corn lot waiting for a buck to make his move at dark. He finally stepped out about 20 minutes before dark and I double lunged him at 385 yards with 180 Grain Scirocco Bonded Power Level III Shell from the 300 Ultra Mag. The cows never knew what happened and hung around until they finally spotted us packing up our optics and gear.
Now we have a Full Grown Bull Elk down at over 8000', its getting dark and we are on foot more than 2 and half miles from our tent. We also have 4 piles of Grizzly Bear Scat we happened to stumble on in our hike. We make a decision to light a fire and sleep on the kill. The temperature dropped into the teens and we were freezing sleeping on the hard cold ground with one eye open for Grizzly. The morning could not come fast enough. It took a full 8 hours to pack the Bull out and get back to base camp. The Bull turned out to be around 9 1/2 years old and was one of the best they had ever taken. It was actually the first they had taken up in the area where I shot it. The best part for me was getting a sneak preview of all the Mountain Goats I am going back to Hunt this October.
You can see video of this hunt on my YouTube page. Search regionalaz, whiteswan lake, elk. Enjoy the pictures.
Whiteswan Lake Outfitters Kootenay Bull