Rinella / Phelps New Mexico
My fall hunts started with an archery elk hunt on the 7th of September. I arrived a few days early to do some scouting and to make sure we had a solid game plan going into the hunt. Steve Rinella arrived on the 7th and we quickly got gear and our spike camp kits together and took off with enough food to spike out for 3 days. It didn’t take long for the action to heat up, as we called in 3 bulls on the very first night with Steve passing on a few and a few getting away. The next morning had us right back in the thick of things and later in the morning I was able to pull a mature 5 point away from his herd and Steve made a great 18 yard shot on the bull. After breaking him down and packing him out we reloaded gear and headed back in for 3 more days.
We got back into the area, and it was a ghost town. We decided to pull camp and hike to a new area where I was able to find some elk during my scouting. The move paid off, as we setup camp the elk were bugling all around us. The next morning had us chasing bugles that finally led to a bull that was perched up on a ridge above us. Steve and I drew up a plan and decided to come in above him as the wind would soon be switching. After a 20-minute hike and getting into position a few bugles from Steve and myself had this bull at 20 yards, my shot hit a touch high with him walking down on us I was concerned but he fell within eyesight.
Lampers / Phelps New Mexico
After driving 3 hours through New Mexico, I met up with Dirk Durham and Ryan Lampers for their 2nd season New Mexico hunt. Dirk would be hunting solo, and I would get dragged through the mountains trying to keep up with Ryan Lampers.
The hunt in a nutshell…”bugles for the first 15 minutes then nothing the rest of the day”. It was a very frustrating hunt as we had to chase bugles and hope we followed them to the bedroom then sit and wait all day for a chance to hunt them for the last 15 minutes. The action started to heat up as the hunt went on. We finally located some good bulls, but it seemed nearly impossible to get them to leave their cows. Frustration was mounting but we stuck to the plan, find bugles, get close and call them in. The only problem was the plan was failing time after time. Finally on the last day Ryan told me 5 points were in play and we went to work. We located a good 5 and we changed strategies. I would bugle, he would answer, and Ryan would sneak in. It worked perfectly as Ryan was able to slip in with about 10 minutes of shooting light left and arrowed his bull.
In March my outfitting buddy Brian Sanders contacted me and let me know he had drawn a Mt Emily elk tag and was curious if I was interested. After some consideration, I decided I would take it and go on a rifle hunt.
We had located a great bull and had watched him for a couple days but as luck would have it the day before the opener he fed over the ridge and into a new area that was a lot more difficult to glass into. We stuck to the plan and the area and glassed and glassed and glassed. We spent all day moving and getting to new vantages trying to get different angles into the area to pick him up. We couldn’t turn him up on the opener. We were back in the area on second day and the better weather had a lot more elk out. We looked through six different herds and 16 different bulls, but nothing was quite what we were looking for. We dropped 1,500ft down the mountain to look at a heavy horned 6x7. We were unsure of him as he was bedded but he made the decision for us as he gave us the slip and made it into the timber. On the way out we were taking a break when Brian spotted our bull trying to get out of the canyon. He gave me a range of 400 as the bull approached the only opening on the hill. Luck would have it the bull ran through the opening. Being a little deflated on the gun I could hear Dirk say he is coming up and will be in the open about 20 yards up the hill, I readjusted the gun and the bull appeared into the scope. I settled and squeezed the trigger. The shot was perfect, and the bull piled up seconds later in a horrible spot. After a long hike up and around we were able to lay our hands on the bull. This is one of the few animals that have grown as I have approached it. I couldn’t be happier with a great 6-point bull.
Calls Used: NONE
- Tags: Dirk Durham, Jason Phelps Elk Season 2021, New Mexico Elk Hunting, Oregon Elk Hunting, Phelps Metal Bugle Tube, Ryan Lampers Elk Hunting