It took Josh Kelsey more than two decades of hunting and a half-decade spent chasing the same bull to grasp the most important lesson of all: If you want to kill the biggest elk in the woods, you have to be the biggest elk in the woods.
The 35-year-old Oregon bowhunter tells Outdoor Life that he also learned most of what he knows now about elk hunting from the mistakes he’s made. And in the years since he and a buddy first laid eyes on Oregon’s new No. 1 Cascade Roosevelt bull, he’s made plenty of those.
“Five years ago he was a heavy 7×7. But we never even came close to shooting this animal. He was just smart and shy,” Kelsey says. “He got big for a reason. It just took us a while to figure it out.”