The Next Time Around

By Kyle Paxman
Utah, 2010, DIY, Public Land

Kyle Paxman - The Next Time AroundOctober/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - The year was 1992. I was a 15-year-old and had beaten ridiculous odds in drawing a Monroe elk permit in my home state of Utah. After several missed chances at what were considered very big bulls in those days, we discovered a loose scope mount. Once we had that rectified, I took a nice 300-class 6x6.

Ever since that hunt, I have wanted a chance at "redemption”. The years slowly passed and each year came with the same results - the dreaded "Unsuccessful” letter. During these years, I was able to hunt elk in several states and assist many friends and family members with their highly coveted tags.

Finally, 18 years later, I was going to have my chance! I didn’t know the unit I had drawn as well as I would have liked, so my wife, my one-yearold daughter, my brother and I spent every chance possible learning roads, hiking drainages, and talking to anyone and everyone that would part with information. Scouting proved to be very difficult! The weather was unusually cold and wet, even dipping into the single digits at night in the middle of July.

With the hunt fast approaching and only one borderline shooter bull seen, I was starting to wonder if the opportunity was going to present itself for a bull worthy of the wait. The week before the hunt I spent every day on the mountain but one scouting and calling for a friend with an archery tag. It was tough! The bulls were mostly non-responsive to calling and only active for brief periods at dawn and dusk. So much for finding a bull to babysit until the hunt arrived.

Opening morning came clear and cold. With no target bull located, my wife and I headed into an area that seemed to hold a high concentration of bulls. First light had us working three bulls but we could only convince a small five-point to come in to investigate. The next hour or more was quiet as we worked our way farther down the ridge.

We stopped to eat a snack and I let out a bugle. A couple of bulls bugled back on the ridge above us, so we moved in, trying to keep the wind in our favor. It was as if the switch had finally been turned to on, as we called in bull after bull for the next four hours! Some came in as close as five feet! It was a great day, even though the best bull we saw was probably 350.

We had a great camp full of family and friends, and after an awesome Dutch oven dinner, we headed out for the evening hunt, calling in two more bulls that would push the 360 mark. I elected to pass on both since it was opening day. I got a lot of ridiculing back at camp as we showed off the video from that evening’s hunt.

On day two, we headed into a different area with my wife and nephew, Cory. After a long hike in the dark, dawn greeted us with a good number of bulls screaming out obscenities at one another. What a day this turned out to be! We called in so many bulls it was hard to keep track of which one was which. We heard three different fights and saw two broken bulls that would have been very tempting had they been fully intact.

Kyle Paxman - The Next Time Around

For a full account of Kyle's adventure, go to page 42 in the October/November 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.