I started hunting elk in southern Colorado with my dad when I was 11, near the town where I grew up. My dream has been to shoot a 400-class bull. During my many years of hunting, I have harvested my share of nice bulls, but sometimes come away with nothing but my dreams and blisters on my feet.
In all my years in the field, I've only seen a few bulls that were grand enough to be in the elusive 400-class category. I've never had the opportunity to take one, until last November.
This hunting season started with me being as excited as I have ever been. As I started, I walked towards the top of a ridge and saw fresh tracks. I soon came upon four monster elk about 65 yards away.
I got that same feeling every hunter gets - the adrenaline rush, the heightened senses and the idea that this could be the one I’ve been waiting for.
I didn’t have much time to be selective, so I drew down on the group, picked one bull, made sure the others weren’t in the way, and took my shot. They all busted out, but the one I shot went a different direction. It was that instant when I knew I hit him. After tracking him a ways, I walked up on the bull that I had always dreamed of.
It takes 60 days for the antlers to dry before it can be officially scored. Those 60 days seemed to last the 31 years it took to get him! He scored 402.
Even though I harvested the greatest bull of my life this season, every season after this will be just as exciting as it was 31 years ago when it all started.