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Flooding in the Gila

Four years had passed since my last elk tag. I was not going to let a few rain clouds come between me and the screaming bulls of the southwest. September of 2013 was one of the best roller coaster rides of my life.

Drawing the tag
The waiting game was over. I finally drew an archery bull tag. It was my third choice, and in a tough unit, but an elk tag nonetheless.

Sunset bowhunting practice
Practice. I have always enjoyed shooting a bow. Now, with a tag in my pocket, it would be a daily occurrence.  

Victory VAP arrows
I made gear changes in 2013, one being my arrows. I wanted to use a heavy arrow to enhance the chances of filing my deep freezer so I went with the Victory Archery, 300 spine VAP, and a stainless steel outsert. With a 125gr broadhead, these measured right at 500 grains. 

Google Earth Scouting
I purchased several maps of my hunting area, in the end, Google Earth was always my “go to.”

Purchasing new trail cameras
Regular scouting trips were not an option being that this was a New Mexico tag and I live in Arizona. I decided that a few more eyes wouldn’t hurt.

Elk on the trail camera
The trail cameras did not produce as much as I had hoped. The area had a few decent rains and most of the water sources were full. That, and the vegetation was all green. It was hard to pattern the elk.   

On the road
The wait was over. It was finally September and time to go find some rutting bulls. My redneck toy-hauler was loaded and pointed for New Mexico.

Week weather forcast

The forecast was a wet one, but this was not going to slow us down. Or so we thought. Not 5 miles from the state line it started to pour. This would be the case for several more days.

Flooding in the news
Storm clouds rolled in every evening, causing serious flooding in some areas.  

Rainbow after the rain stopped
Luckily, it didn’t rain all day, everyday. There were times when the sun would come out.

Glassing for elk
It was time to find a bull. We were chasing bugles for the first 2 days, but now it was time to do some glassing.

Bull in close
On day 3 this bull gave me a 6 yard shot, and I blew it. I know, it’s embarrassing. 

Evening glassing
Another evening had come to a close. We left with high hopes for the rest of the hunt after that close encounter.

Elk digiscope picture
I spent the next few days playing cat and mouse with this bull. He was smart. 

Arrow is on its way
Finally, I was able to catch up with him. 

Ready for the work thumbs up

Eric Bergman with a thumbs up and ready for the work to begin.

All smiles about to start the real work

Jay Park was just as happy as I was to get this bull.

Chase with his hard earned bull
Hard earned bull during the flood. Great time, with a great group of friends.

Packing elk meat back to camp
These guys helped me throughout the entire hunt and when I needed them most. The 1-1/2 mile pack out which was all uphill was a true mental and physical test.

Made it back to the Jeep with the entire elk
We finally made it back to the jeep!

Missing the babies back at home
I was missing my babies and wife back at home. Time to leave.

Floodwaters on the way home
The flood waters were still high when we were on our return trip home.

Showing the bull to the babies back at home

Showing my bull to the twins, Elise and Wade. It was great to be back home with them.

On the way to the taxidermist
Laney and I were on our way to the taxidermist.

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