Eight Days

By Reese Hand

Eight DaysReese Hand
Nevada, 2007, Guided

It was 4:30 p.m. on the second to last day of my hunt. With just over an hour of shooting light left on our eighth day of hunting, we spotted two nice bulls a good two miles away. That’s a lot of ground to close.

My guide and I closed the distance in half, located the ridge they were on, and then evaluated the scene with spotting scopes. Grassy hillsides with limited trees, two bulls were close to a ridge and feeding down a small tree line. About 20 mule deer were scattered below and to one side of the elk. We were still two ridges away from the bulls and light was fading fast...

 

A bull tag in Nevada is a coveted tag. Talking to long-time Nevada residents, people can put in for decades waiting to draw. Being a new resident to Nevada, it was only my fifth year applying for a tag. My dad bought me a muzzleloader five years ago and I had never opened the box. Actually, I had never even shot a muzzleloader but put in for the tag hoping to improve my odds. So, when I saw the words successful on my computer, it was hard to believe. I realized that the muzzleloader needed to come out of the box in a hurry.

Getting the tag so comparably quick, a fellow has to be careful who he celebrates his news with. As I soon found out, many people weren’t happy for me. When they put in for a decade and I drew in five years, I suppose it’s understandable.

I had also drawn an archery elk hunt in Montana, and that was going to take some time. Knowing I would have limited time to scout and prepare for my Nevada hunt and that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, I chose to seek help. I acquired the help of Chuck Marques of Bull Ridge Guide Service, who was no stranger in helping hunters find trophy game.

Chuck asked me prior to the hunt what my goal was. Having never shot a bull elk, or fired a muzzleloader, I was realistic, but I also wanted to maximize the trophy potential for the area. Chuck told me to prepare as much as possible with my muzzleloader so it would meet the demands of the hunt. So, sore shoulder and all, I showed up ready with a goal of a 350-class bull or better.

Eight Days

For a full account of Reese's adventure, go to page 36 in the October/November 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.