Story by: Logan Reed
Photos by: James and Logan Reed
The following story was sent to us by long time Kryptek supporter James Reed. James’s son Logan had an amazing archery elk hunt this year with a unique twist at the end. These are Logan’s words.
“Well yesterday marked the end of a roller coaster ride that started in August. Sometimes despite our best effort things don't go as planned or as we hope. In August I was scouting for elk. I called my dad and said, "I found the bull I'm hunting this year. I don't care if there are bigger bulls, I want this bull." I knew from first sight he was special. I named him the “Fire Bull" because of his unique tines.
Then he was just gone. As much as I glassed, I could not turn him up again.
Then, my dad messaged me one day and said, “Guess what is on my trail camera?” Sure enough, nearly two miles from where I first spotted him, was the Fire Bull. In the following weeks once archery season opened, my dad and I had several close calls with him, but just not close enough.
We had the Fire Bull within bow range several times but always wrong angles, behind cows, etc. He was obviously old and the herd bull, though smaller, would always run him to the edge of the herd. The Fire Bull would circle the edges and try to sort off a few cows to sneak off with. I hoped to use this against him.
Finally on Sept 21st, he made a mistake. I had gotten in position and was literally in the middle of the herd when he came by me at 25 yards chasing a cow. He bred the cow right there then stopped and let out a bugle and chuckle! I released my arrow when he was stopped but he lurched forward chasing the cow again. My arrow hit back but instantly showed good blood on his side and appeared to be a back lung or liver hit.
I called my dad literally hyperventilating, "I shot the Fire Bull!" He instantly began lagging behind the herd and we saw him go down after only a couple hundred yards. First, he had his head up, then his head went flat on the ground. Another group of elk came by and to our surprise, he stood up. It was obvious he couldn’t walk and laid/fell back down, head flat on the ground. We watched him until dark flat out on the ground thinking he had already expired but decided to leave him overnight so not to bump him just in case.
The next morning, we went out to recover him. We crested the rise where he was laying the night before and found him... GONE! And gone without a trace. There was good blood next to his bed and quite a bit of blood in his bed but none leaving that we could find. We searched for days and for miles with friends and family, looked for birds, nothing. I put out the word and also called the Fish and Game. I was literally sick for days. Now that the leaves are falling, we were getting ready to go scour the area again because we knew he had to be there...
Nearly a month after I shot the Fire Bull, I received a call from a friend saying he thought he found my bull. He said a gentleman working on another ranch found a bull matching his description. I knew the guy and called him, described the bull and he said to come down. Sure enough, it was the Fire Bull and he even had my arrow! He had found him submerged in a river with only one antler sticking out of the water - 6.5 miles as the crow flies from where I shot him!
He said, "Logan, I know you and know you’re an honest, ethical kid, but if you hadn't had pictures of this bull and described him, your arrow and shot placement perfectly, I would never have believed you because I cannot believe this bull went that far hit like he was. If it was anyone else, I’d keep this bull and he’d be hanging on my wall." I was beyond thrilled and grateful he let me have my bull. I'm of course sad we lost the meat but am so relieved to finally have closure and have him in my hands after a month of stress and worry.
He's a 5 x 11 with a 52-inch spread and huge mass everywhere and truly magnificent. He was everything I thought he was and more. I'm so happy to have been fortunate to take such a special animal and another bull of a lifetime.”