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An After School Bull Elk

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Editor’s Note: Brian Mosley from Bloomfield/Farmington, New Mexico, in the northwestern corner of New Mexico, says, “What I like about where I live is I’m 55 miles from Colorado, 1-1/2 to 2 hours from Utah and a 1 hour, 15 minute drive from Arizona. I can drive to any one of these states, hunt elk and drive home after the hunt. Plus, if I take an elk, I can get it back home quickly. Another advantage about where I live in New Mexico is in Colorado that has some of the most elk in the western states, I can buy an over-the-counter elk tag.” Mosley has been hunting elk for 17 years and has taken 15 elk – 98% of those with his bow. Mosley’s an avid elk hunter but also enjoys being a football and track coach, as well as a strength-and-conditioning coach for students at the junior high and Bloomfield Senior High schools. For Mosley, the challenge of the mountains and hunting elk in high terrain is just another day’s workout, and he enjoys wearing Mossy Oak’s Country and Brush patterns

I was hunting in the unit closest to my house after football practice. A friend of mine who is a guide had told me that he had seen a big bull in a certain area of this unit. So, when I got to the spot where the guide had told me he’d seen this bull, I sat next to a big tree and started cow calling. I knew I only had 2 hours to hunt before dark. I spotted this big bull and six cows on top of a ridge, then watched that bull walk in front of the cows in his herd and turn them away from me. They went down the back side of the ridge, and I never saw that bull again. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement. I looked to my left, and I saw a spike bull and a 4×5 bull. I wanted to try to get the bulls in closer, because this was the last day of elk season in New Mexico. I gave a little cow call. The 4×5 bull turned and walked away from me, but the spike bull continued to stand where he was. I ranged that bull at 45 yards, and I took aim and released the arrow.

As soon as the elk took the arrow, rain started coming down in buckets full. I knew the rain would wash away the blood trail. So, I started trying to follow the blood trail on that muddy road. If I didn’t get out of there quickly, I realized I might not get back home. Although I hated to leave the bull overnight, I knew that was my only option.  I got to the truck, drove back home and got up the next morning. However, when I arrived at the road that I wanted to use to try and recover my elk, the road was closed. So, I parked about 1-1/2 miles away from where I’d  shot the spike and hiked in to the region. Believe it or not, I was able to pick up the blood trail.

Although I had hit the elk in mid-body, I knew my arrow was a little far back, possibly behind the lungs. As I started on the blood trail, I could see that more and more of the blood had been washed away. So, I started following tracks for another 1-1/2 hours, until I finally found my bull. To my surprise, I located my elk only 25 yards from a road that was open. This was the first time I hadn’t had to spend 4-8 hours getting my elk and his head back to the truck.

To learn more about hunting elk by getting John E. Phillips’ Kindle, print and Audible books, go to To get John and Denise Phillips’ free cookbook, “Miz Denise’s Outdoor Cooking: More than 35 Recipes for Elk and Mule Deer,” go to

Tomorrow: The Game Day Buck Mule Deer

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