Lance Jones, a dedicated hunter residing in Stevensville, Montana, had quite an experience during his 2010 elk hunting season. Check out his story, in his words, below about the massive bull he got that year:
I was south of big timber on opening morning of 2010 general season, looking for mule deer solo. I was late getting into the hills so it had been full light for about 45 minutes. I had walked in about a mile when I saw this bull about 2 1/2 miles away.
Another mile (as the crow flies) past the bull would put me out on another forest service road. I was alone and pondering which route would get me in his vicinity quickest. About the time I decided on a game plan, I noticed two hunters on horses heading his way, half a mile ahead of me. I side-hilled as hard as I could, but couldn’t get ahead of them.
By the time I got to the end of the ridge, so I could at least watch them take the bull, there were no horses, no hunters, no bull. Heading back to the truck that evening, the bull reappeared in the same place as I had seen him in the morning. I had just over an hour to get to him before the light ran out, so I made my way toward him, knowing if he wasn’t there I would just walk out on the road I mentioned before.
When I got over to where I thought the bull was he had disappeared yet again. Making it to the edge of a patch of trees, I had given up. Then I thought maybe I would drop my pack and look again over the last ridge I had just climbed. He was there, across a draw to the South of me.
I was shaking with the rangefinder so bad I decided to range some trees just behind him. I suppose in the excitement I didn’t realize the trees were quite a bit further beyond the bull than I thought. The trees ranged 560 yards. I had a .300 Winchester that day, built by Randy Melvin of Bull Mountain Rifles in Billings. I had proofed the load I was shooting throughout the summer so that range was not an issue.
When I squeezed the trigger, I saw dust fly over his back. At that point, I realized the trees I ranged had been further than first suspected. The bull made a half circle and stopped, so I bolted another round and held lower on his chest this time, squeezing the trigger once more and wondering why I was handed another chance. This time the bull fell, and rolled quite a bit down the hill he had been standing on. When he stopped rolling, he was at 482 yards.
I called my wife and told her I was about to be late, then made it over to the bull to get him field dressed. After that was done, I started calling everyone I knew in Big Timber to get a ride, as going back to my outfit was mostly uphill and three miles further than walking out on the next Forest Service road. No one answered, and by now it was getting late.
I called my wife again, who was baby sitting a couple kids that evening. She never hesitated, loaded up those kids and drove from Billings to pick me up. Before Ashley arrived, Julie Todd of K Lazy Three Outfitters, returned one of my calls and told me to have Ashley pick her up on the way over.
Ashley and Julie picked me up a little past 11PM, and now I was pondering the next day of getting him out. The next morning I was able to get hold of Roger Indreland, of Indreland Ranch in Big Timber, who graciously brought over a couple horses and met me at the bull. We got all the meat out that night, and the third morning I went back in and brought the head out. To this day I haven’t had the bull scored.
(Photos courtesy of Lance Jones)