After waiting 9 years of building priority in Alberta, I was lucky enough to draw a tag in a new prairie unit that is known to hold some great bulls. I hiked daily for the week before the season, scouting and locating several herds of elk. On the day before the season, a long hike revealed 24 different bulls and 1 big herd bull tending to 15 cows. We made a plan to make a move on him in the morning on opening day.
Early in the morning, we rose and strapped our packs on, ready for a long day of hiking the prairie hills. We spotted the herd from the night before and made a play on them. In the end I decided to pass on the bull and continue looking, as the day was young and I had plenty of time in the season.
Moving on through a low coulee the wind picked up very strong. It was probably the strongest wind I have ever hunted in southern Alberta and it was starting to take its toll on us. It was around 11:00 when we walked down another depression and I looked back to see that 2 bulls were laying on the hill in a small spot looking directly at us. They were ranged at 450 yards and one bull looked decent.
I made a quick play down the depression and towards the bull. The bulls knew something was up and spooked, so I made a quick dash to the next coulee and laid down prone when I saw the smaller bull in the bottom. My rifle rested on my pack as I ranged him at 328 yards and waited for the big bull to step out. When I saw him go by I saw good top points and good mass, I knew he was the type of bull I wanted to take! He turned broadside in the same spot I had ranged the first bull and I squeezed the trigger. The 7-08 Ackley Improved sent a 140gr TSX towards the bull and he lunged forward and sprinted toward the far side of the hill. I had felt confident about the shot but put the crosshairs on him again as he was climbing the hill. A second shot put the bull down in his tracks hard.
Walking up to my bull was a pretty special feeling. Seeing his amazing main beams that sweep up and measure 54″. With a giant top end and long points, he was truly my bull of a lifetime. I had 2 good friends with me to help do some packing and we managed to get him quartered up and caped out and back to the truck by 5:30. My Mystery Ranch Cerberus performed flawlessly with a full load and was comfortable carrying the weight. Going from a perfect sized daypack to a full-out weight hauler makes it the perfect choice for the type of hunting I do.
When we got home I rough scored my bull at 360” gross. He was the biggest bodied bull I have ever shot and the extra work of packing him out on our backs made the success taste so much sweeter.