My First Bull Elk

At age 14 this was actually my first year to draw an elk tag; I was sooo excited. It was my third time going to my family's special hunting spot in area 66. My grandpa, Guy Edmonds, shot a four point bull my first year and my uncle, Tim Edmonds, shot a big six point my second year. I was really excited because I had heard stories of really big bulls in that area.

We usually get to the spot where we park our camper two days early. Once there we start getting all of our gear together and walk approximately four miles along a wilderness trail to get to the spot where we setup our base camp. We don't have any horses or anything so we carry it all by ourselves and it usually takes multiple trips over steep terrain. After partially setting up base camp, we sleep there that night and then go back down to the camper for our final trips.

On the first day of the season, we walk another four miles to get into prime elk territory. We usually sit watching all day and then start heading down to the tent ten minutes before shooting light is over. This is our typical routine every day of the season. This year, we started out with a full moon. The elk only came out of the dark timber early in the morning and about 20-30 minutes before shooting light was over.

It was the third day of the season and we were hiking to the hill where my uncle had gotten his elk on opening day. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. My grandpa and I sat and waited while my dad, Jeremiah New, and my uncle walked around a ridge in the middle of the basin. They finally returned at about 2:00 p.m. with stories of how they were surrounded by elk. My uncle had already tagged out but my dad had plenty of shooting opportunities. He decided not to shoot because they were about five miles away from camp.


My uncle sat with my grandpa and I while my dad hiked up about 150 yards above us. At about 6:00 p.m., we heard gunshots in the creek basin about 4 miles away. My grandpa was not feeling good that day so he started toward the tent to watch some openings along the way in case anything was spooked.

Fifteen minutes later we heard timber crashing in the basin where my uncle and dad had gone earlier that day. My uncle gave a cow call; my dad (still above us) gave a cow call, and then my uncle again.


Not 10 seconds later, my uncle said, "Kota, there's an elk!" I put him in my scope and said, "It's just a cow." It was about 350 yards away at this point when I realized it was a bull! He came out of the trees and instantly turned broadside. "Kota, if you have a shot, take it!" my uncle had said. I put him in my cross-hairs and squeezed the trigger on my .270. He dropped instantly. It was a 251 yard shot. My uncle and dad hooped and hollered. It was an amazing feeling.

I looked at the bull through my scope again and he was still kicking. We walked down the hill toward the elk and I finished him off. My grandpa had heard the shots and started running back toward us. He knew who had taken that first shot and had just gotten back in time to see what had happened. He ran back around the patch and saw the elk lying there. I had killed my first bull elk!!! Now the hard work was before us. It was dark, but the cleaning had to begin.