I love elk, elk hunting and anything there is to do with elk. I am an elk junkie through and through. There is nothing quite like hunting these four-legged, massively racked creatures. When the taste, smell, and sounds of autumn hit the high mountains, I know it is elk season. Mud flying, nostrils flaring, bugles roaring, horns racking, cows chirping, and antlers locking mean only one thing...get your gun.
Over the term of my guiding career, my hunters and I have been very fortunate to be a part of some giant bulls hitting the dirt. Team Mossback has put close to 100 – over 400” bulls on the wall. One of those is the world record “Spider Bull” taken by Denny Austed in central Utah in 2008. The bull scored an inch shy of 500”, which still is mind-boggling to me. With my obsession of the wapiti over the years I have learned a few things that help me and my team be successful.
By Doyle Moss
Many states have adopted late-season elk hunting. These hunts have a higher percentage of draw success and make it attractive for the hunter to apply for based primarily on the numbers game. The early season rut hunts have become so sought after that the draw odds are dismal. They have become so low in fact that most hunters can only expect to draw these types of tags once in their lifetime. Late-season premium tags could possibly be drawn two to three times during a hunters life depending on thier luck. This is the main attraction to late-season hunting. It gives more opportunity for the hunter.
Elk hunting by its very nature is most often challenging and demanding. The ultimate test of a hunter’s determination and skill is to succeed on a late season elk hunt on public land.
This is easy to confirm by checking success rates for late season elk hunts vs. rut hunts. In Arizona, the late season success for the most part runs between 30 to 40 percent. What most people don’t realize is that of the successful hunters on late hunts, the vast majority of the bulls taken are four and five point bulls and spikes. To succeed during the late hunt on public land with high numbers of tags issued is difficult; to tag a mature 6x6 bull during this season is without question a huge accomplishment.