I have been putting in for the Arkansas elk hunt since it first began in 1998 when I was twelve years old. This year was no different. I sent in my application and then promptly forgot about it, figuring that I would have the same results as years prior. I remember when I got the call. I screened the call because I didn’t recognize the number. I thought, “I can deal with this later,” as the voicemail note popped up on my phone. I had forgotten about it until later that night when I listened to the voicemail. I was in complete shock. I really didn’t believe it for about five weeks until I received my tags and information packet.
As I started planning and preparing, I joined goHUNT’s INSIDER for two reasons: 1) for the knowledge that was on the website, which later would prove to be the difference in making my hunt a success, and 2) for the maps and draw information for a 2018 western elk hunt that I’m planning with some friends. The overall knowledge available on INSIDER is second to none. For me, it was like looking at the plans for a building; every layer was broken down and easy to comprehend. What I wasn’t expecting was how helpful the goHUNT Gear Shop store was, which would later also play a role in my success.
I could see cows and a raghorn but not the big bull. I crawled a little further and spotted another group of elk below me; I could see antler tips. I raised up to my knees and could see his antlers and back.
I had to stand.
He was about 150 yards below me and was broadside. I shouldered my rifle and got steady on his shoulder. I was shooting a .325 WSM in a Browning X-Bolt with 200-grain accubonds. I squeezed off the shot and the bull hunched up and stood there as if in defiance of the shot. I tried to cycle another round but in my excitement, I didn't throw my bolt all the way back. I snapped on him twice before I realized what was going on. For my next shot, he was quartering away and I hit his spine. He collapsed and my excitement began. I later learned that my dad and buddy could see me on the ridge top and they said I had another bull charging me from my backside ready to fight.
It was an unbelievable experience that I will not forget. I cannot express how significant all the information I learned off of INSIDER was. From the purchase of the mouth calls, tips on how to call elk and even how to scout and hunt elk. The knowledge and information on the GOHUNT website is a library of wealth. I want to thank you for listening to my story and for producing such a great tool for hunters to use.