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franklin county times

A New Mexico bull for local hunter

By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
November 12, 2004
Countless area hunters trek to the mountains each fall in search of elk, that large member of the deer family that thrills us with wild screams during the mating season and is one of the world's most beautiful wild creatures.
Friends Michael Knost, David Speed and Kevin Larson made elk hunt plans for over a year, culminating with a contract with an outfitter to pack them into the Gila National Forest Wilderness Area in southwest New Mexico. These men are bowhunters who know New Mexico's reputation for producing high scoring bull elk.
They hunted without guides, calling, still hunting and stand hunting over water holes and wallows. The weather was unusually warm and the bulls were bugling only early in the mornings.
About 6:30 p.m. Knost heard a hoof strike some rocks below the dam in an area that he could not see. He shifted his knees to where he could see through a spot he had cleared for a shot down along the dam.
It's a bull
It was dark when the party arrived at the pond and the tracking began. When Speed and Larson saw the bull "I almost got a beating," said Knost.
The others got no elk, but as bowhunters understand, they thoroughly enjoyed their hunt.
More excitement
Kevin Larson experienced an exciting end to his venture. When the group packed out to the base camp after the bulls quit bugling, the outfitter took Kevin to another pond in the morning where they heard five or six bulls bugling at once. They got one within bow range but couldn't get a clear shot.
That evening, with Knost accompanying them, Larson and the outfitter again hunted the pond. Three cows and a 5 X 5 bull came to the water hole.
Soon another bull with cows appeared. The lead cow spotted the hunters, who squatted and stayed still. The bull walked to within 35 yards, "bugling his head off," but the cow had the group pinned down.
Then a giant bull came in from behind. His low, short bugle was recognized by the outfitter as that of a huge 380 to 400 class bull they had seen in the area. The bull they could still see was obviously intimidated by the big boy, never taking his eyes off the boss bull. Still pinned down by the alerted cow, they could not see the monster bull. Soon all the elk spooked and left.
That last evening spent with a pond full of bulls provided incentive for these three friends. Their planning has already begun for a return to New Mexico in 2006.

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