These days one of the most difficult trophies to get in fair-chase hunting is a big Rocky Mountain elk scoring 400 points or higher. Not only is this because it is a challenging quarry, but also because it's just about impossible (often less that a one percent chance) to draw a permit in the better hunting units.
Like many of you, I have accumulated a disheartening list of bonus and preference points in Arizona, Utah, Nevada and other western states. Trouble is, by the time you draw the permit, regulations and hunting pressure may have changed a unit's trophy potential. Take, for example, Utah, where, in my opinion, they are destroying the age structure of the elk herds in their better units by allocating too many permits. Utah hunters, when they finally draw, are often disappointed with their results.
Public land hunts are also frequently plagued by what seems like unrestricted ATV use and unethical outfitters. Still, I apply in almost every elk state with trophy potential to have a chance of hunting each year. Of course, many of these states allow over-the-counter licenses, but honestly, the chance of tagging a monster bull during the general seasons is slim to none. Sure, quality bulls are taken each year, but considering the tens of thousands of hunters in the field, you have a better chance of winning the lottery.
Given all these difficulties, you can easily imagine how excited I was to discover an outfitter offering a private ranch hunt in Arizona, during the rut. On this hunt there not only is a chance of killing a world-class bull, but there is also a chance of drawing a permit every four years, or........(continued)