I shot my 9th Bull (2006 5X5) last season. As I was thinking of my past hunts, it brought me back to 1984.
The story I am about to tell, really happened!
It was my 2nd trip to Colorado to hunt elk with a friend (Jerry) who's brother Jack lives near Red Feather Lakes. A week before we left for Colorado, Jerry's friend, Jim who is a butcher by trade, told Jerry about a big bull he hit with an arrow during bow season. He only found the back half of the arrow and followed blood until it stopped bleeding. He was really bummed out about the whole thing as he said it was a trophy bull. We would be hunting about 3 or 4 miles from the spot that Jim shot at the bull. Jerry added a little salt to the wound by saying we would finish the job.
Back to the story, Jack shot a small bull on opening day. I saw 7or 8 elk that day but no bulls. The next morning it was Jerry's turn to sit on that stand but told me to go there again. As he was going to help Jack pack his bull off the ridge above us. They packed all the meat back to Jerry's stand and Jack headed back to camp (4 miles) with a hind quarter. As Jack came pass he said Jerry was going back up the ridge as they heard some bulging, which I heard also. About 15 minutes later I heard a shot ring out and knew it was Jerry. A cow and a calf came running across the opening a few seconds later. I watched them cross the park and cut in behind my stand. As I turn and looked back across the park there he stood. After the first shot he bolted and I shot 2 more times (338 Mag.) and he fell. The first shot took out the heart and lungs but you couldn't tell he was hit. The year before was my first year elk hunting and I shot a small spike but here before me was a trophy 6 X 6 bull (325 B&C). You can't fathom how really big a elk is until he's on the ground. The old saying: "after the shot the real work starts" it's true as we had a 4 mile pack back to camp. We had to take turns with the head and cape as it weighed a ton!
When we got back home, we dropped off the elk quarters at Jim's place to get cut up. Remember poor ole Jim the butcher, who hit the trophy bull with arrow and lost him? A few days later Jim was cutting up the bull and what did he find in the right hind quarter? The front half of a arrow, he ask his wife to go get the back half of his arrow which he kept! Guess What? It was his arrow, a perfect match. When I picked up the meat, I brought along the pictures of the Bull. The pain in his face was quite overwhelming. He said he never did see the whole rack and it was bigger then he thought.
So Jerry was right when he said that: "We will bring home the trophy bull!"