Elk Hunting in New Mexico's Unit 4 during the peak of the rut is an amazing experience. You hear Bulls bugling throughout the night and you can't walk 20 minutes in any direction without bumping into Elk. You drive into base camp and you see Elk the whole way. Hop on a horse and you see Elk. Jump in an ATV and you see more Elk. Yes, these are free ranging wild Elk jumping the Colorado State Line to mate and continue on for their winter migration.
You show up for your guided hunt with an outftter for his second season hunt and he tells you that they were 8 for 8 filling tags with Bulls that were 6 x 6 or better on the previous hunt. In the back of your mind you're thinking "What's left?" The first day of the hunt 4 more Bulls go down. Bugling lasts throughout the night and the following morning produces 3 more big bulls and a late afternoon Cow Tag gets filled.
We have one hunter left at camp without his trophy. Once again, Bulls are screaming all night. The morning produces a huge breakfast for the successful hunters and one man eagerly heads out with his guide. At about 8:30 while we are dressing out and butchering 8 Elk, a gun shot goes off. Our man is done. High fives and handshakes go around to all for a great hunt. Wait, there goes another shot. A few minutes later we hear another. Whew, its over. Self made inferences were all over the place and we were all sure another Bull went down.
About an hour and half later the hunter's little guide comes running into camp. "Whats wrong? Whats wrong?" He forgot his bullets, he only had three and the Bull is moving good. The guide rolls through, in and out of camp like a hurricane. About 45 minutes later, we hear a shot. Then another. Finally it was over. Another beautiful 6 x 6 was down. About 20 minutes go by and another one goes off. Laughter had to be heard carrying from Chama to Sante Fe. That last shot was the one that did it.
We keep the names out of it and the faces out of the pictures, but I did get a shot of that trigger finger for everyone to enjoy.