December/January 2014 EHJ (Issue 140) - After accumulating nine years’ worth of preference points, good friend Thomas Brunson, the owner of Timberline Outfitters told me it was time to try for a tag. Being a nonresident, the odds of getting drawn were not very good but I was going to chance it anyway. Reality set in while my wife was questioning me about the $1,250 tag charge that posted on our credit card. Being the money was charged to the state of Nevada, I had a perfectly legitimate explanation for once.
I called my long-time hunting partners, Mark Harp and Thomas, to share my excitement. I started shooting my rifle every weekend and hit the gym on a daily basis to get in shape for the upcoming hunt. My hunt started three days before Thanksgiving and we arrived a couple days early to meet up with Kent Brunson for a little scouting.
We hadn’t been out long when we starting spotting some nice bulls. Opening day had finally arrived and we headed for the Shell Creek range.
Thomas said, "Now we’ll see if all your days at the gym are going to pay off!”
After a long hike straight up, we finally got to a point where we could start glassing. Shortly after sitting down we spotted a couple of 330-class bulls and a monster bull in the nosebleed section that was close to 390. It was impossible to get to him because of the sheer cliffs and vertical canyon between us.
Late that afternoon we headed back down and met up with another one of Thomas’s guides, Juan. He showed us some footage of a bull he videoed on the west side of Shell Creek. The bull had a distinct rack with huge royals. It didn’t take us long to realize this was a great bull and we decided to try for him the next day. Day two of the hunt was Thanksgiving Day and we headed out to the west side of the drainage looking for the bull Juan had videoed. We spent most of the day looking for him but never located him. That afternoon we got word from another guide, Big Matt, and he had seen a couple nice bulls in the 350-inch range.
We hiked in and waited for the bulls to come out and feed. Eventually, Mark said he spotted two of them in the thick junipers. The words no more than got out of his mouth when out of nowhere a jackrabbit literally ran across our feet with a coyote full-throttle behind him! I was amazed at how well we all kept our composure. Under closer scrutiny we judged the bulls to be only 340 and started looking for something better.
For a full account of Clay's adventure, go to page 30 in the December/January 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.