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Recovering a Gut-Shot Animal

No bowhunter worth his salt wants it to happen. But when it does, you best do the right thing!

Recovering a Gut-Shot Animal

The rack of the bull called Needle is a lasting memento of a difficult hunt followed by a difficult recovery. This elk is the largest I’ve shot in my home state of Wyoming.

Hunt #1

I was halfway down the long ridge when a bugle erupted to my right. Far below, a 300-inch 6x6 was chasing cows in a timber-dotted draw. I craned my neck to locate the new bull in the dim predawn light. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine.

A wide, massive rack floated above a ridge 400 yards to the south — a rack I thought I would never see again. Days earlier, I had dogged that very bull from dawn till dusk as he pushed three-dozen cows and calves across deep canyons and near-vertical slopes. When the sun finally sank, the large Wyoming six-point was still beyond bow range, surrounded by his harem and posing on a rugged point of rock. He bugled, grunted...

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