Story by Darren Gresham.

New Mexico fulfills a dream. Darren Gresham and his first archery bull elk.

First off, I’ve been a rifle hunter my whole life but just started trying bow hunting a couple years ago without much success. But this year I decided to go for a long time dream and try to get an elk tag.

Well I’m not a lucky guy, but somehow I drew a NM 2nd season archery tag. I’ve been prepping all year and working on calling since 2018. Between that and listening to great podcasts like yours I was able to get it done.

My bugles were sounding good enough all week and I ended up calling in 4 bulls in 5 days. I missed a bull on day 2, skipped an arrow through the backstrap of another on day 3 and was down in the dumps. I was so depressed that just wanted to give up. But I kept remembering what you said and just kept grinding.

Finally on day 5 in the afternoon we had a good wind to work the top of a ridge and drop down close to this bull bedding area we had found. We got into position and I let out a locator bugle. Suddenly we had 3 bulls answering us at less than 200 yards. This went on back and forth for 10 minutes. But you could tell the second he got mad enough to come because he started letting out the gnarliest bugles I’ve ever heard. So I ranged my shooting lanes one last time and hooked on my release.

He came popping through the brush about 30 seconds later. I had the perfect opportunity so I went ahead and went to full draw and he only needed a step and a half to present the perfect broadside shot. Well that step and a half ended up taking almost 3 minutes leaving my arms absolutely smoked. But just before I had to let my bow down he took the last step. So I put my 40 yard shaking pin on his vitals and sent it. I could tell I hit a little high but it looked and felt good.

The next hour wait was brutal. When we finally got to the shot We only found a few drops of blood and I was sick. But with the soft ground it wasn’t hard to follow his tracks. So we followed them about 150 yards before his tracks vanished. I was about to give up hope when I looked to my right and about 50 yards away I saw that tan hide and antlers sticking up. The next few minutes were full of tears and high fives followed by more tears and emotions.

Not to make this story even longer but our night had just begun. After we had him cleaned, quartered and in game bags we realized we were at the bottom of a mountain and our camp was at the top. To make matters worse a storm was rolling in and my buddy’s headlamp had died.

Half way up the hill with our first load the sky opened up and unleashed the nastiest lighting/rain storm I’ve ever been in. It was so bad we had to abandon everything in the canyon and run to camp. It was raining so hard that we couldn’t see the atv trail with our flashlights. But we eventually made it back and kinda got some sleep.

The next morning we made an hour drive to the nearest camp site we could find and met an older gentlemen named Stan. Stan was 82 years young and was absolutely thrilled to get him 4 wheelers and help us pack out my bull. He turned what would’ve been an all day/possibly 2 day pack out into about an hour. 

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