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Hunting Illustrated Fall 2001: Hunting the Native American Reservations

Home > Magazine > Fall 2001 Issue > Hunting the Native American Reservations
White Mountain Apache Reservation
by Joshua Parker &
Richard DiValentino

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The hunt of a lifetime awaits you at the White Mountain Apache Reservation in central Arizona.   This could be where you tag that 400 pt. bull

A 6x6 trophy bull elk that scored 342 Pope and Young was the reward for a father and son after a two-day emotion packed archery hunt on the White Mountain Apache Reservation last fall.

Guy Wolcott Jr. bagged the elk from 35 yards near a spring after stalking the animal, another bull and seven cows. Wolcott’s guide was Joshua Parker. Doyle Moss, a cameraman who filmed the kill, accompanied them.

The hunt started the morning of Sept. 15, 2000 at Maverick Elk Camp. Parker had scouted the area a week earlier and led the group to where he had spotted a 390 7x7, but the area produced nothing that day.

"Nothing, no elk, no bugling, so we moved to a second area behind a ranch house where elk congregate in the night," Parker said, "Normally the elk meet and move out into two directions in the morning: south into my designated area or north and across the road into another guide’s area. We heard elk bugling and crossed a couple of fences in the direction of the commotion. We spotted a nice 6x7 elk and managed to get as close as 80 yards, but an entire group of cows spotted us before we could get a shot off." Parker scored the bull at 385 BC. The group followed the herd for about three miles, but never got close enough again for a shot.

Later that morning more bugling and the sound of elk fighting brought the group to within 60 yards of big bulls, but the animals sensed the hunters’ presence and trotted off. As the day wore on, more bulls were sighted but "nothing worth going after" the guide related. A dead elk which looked like it might have been gored by another elk was also found. The evening hunt was similar.

The next morning the group started at the ranch house again hoping to catch the 6x7 they saw the morning before. "The elk were bugling and we were off and walking, "Parker said. The elk were located, but they were on the wrong side of the road. "We stood there and waited for what seemed an eternity," Parker said. "The elk continued to bugle like mad, but in another hunter’s and guide’s area. We were discouraged, but decided to try the area where I had spotted the 7x7 a week earlier. That area was combed with no luck and no 7x7.

"Another site produced the bugle of a lone bull elk. We pursued the elk down to a creek where I figured it would drink and return to its home area. We approached the river cautiously. There were eight eyes looking like mad dogs trying to spot the elk, but no elk to be seen. Then as we slowly hiked over a little mound, like magic the elk appeared about 60 yards away. It was drinking. As we moved in, the bull started to walk back in the direction we came from earlier. The hunter used a cow call to try to stop the bull, but the call had the opposite effect. The bull started to run. We lost him. At 40 yards a clean kill shot was not available.

About 11 a.m. we headed back in the direction of camp only to be greeted by more elk bugling. As they appeared to be moving away from us, I told the hunters to get into our vehicle. I was pretty sure I knew where they were headed-about seven miles north to a spring. We drove there following the sound of bugling elk, and found seven cows and two bulls. One of the bulls was walking around, the other, a big one, was lying down under a tree. That was the one we wanted. We waited for about 45 minutes before the bull got up and began following a cow elk. The cow led him within 40 yards of where we were poised. He stopped 35 yards away and presented a perfect kill shot. Guy Sr., the father, encouraged his son to stick him; at full draw, Guy Jr. let the arrow fly.

The elk ran, leaning to one side as it bolted through the trees. We found him on the ground facing away from us about 100 yards away. Great elk and a great hunt!

Hunting the White Mountain Apache Reservation

The White Mountain Apache Tribe is well known for its trophy class elk. The trophy elk hunting program of the White Mountain Apache Tribe has been in operation on the 1.6 million acre Reservation since 1976 and has developed into the premier trophy elk hunting program in the world. Annually, hunters travel from all over the world for an opportunity at one of the huge Reservation bulls.

During the 2000 trophy hunt, Lee Bass bagged a bull that grossed over 430. This magnificent bull had 9 points on its right antler and 7 on its left. The score is pretty impressive when you consider that it has over six inches broken off its left royal. Also taken during 2000 was Alan Hamberlin's typical 7 x 7. It was scored in camp at 386 gross and 379 net, easily making the record books. This is quite an accomplishment because in 1998 Alan had taken what will soon be recognized as the #2 Non-Typical World Record at 474 gross and 456 net points.

All the Reservation trophy elk hunts are fully guided (one-on-one) and include lodging, all necessary hunting permits, the caping and quartering of your trophy, and meals which are prepared by one of our excellent cooks. The trophy elk hunts generally begin the 2nd week in September and continues to early October. Individual hunts run 7 days and the choice of Archery or Rifle is open to the hunter.

There is also the moderately priced "Management Bull" hunt following the trophy hunts during the first week of October. During 2000 Management Hunter, Bart Dupont harvested on camera a 5x5 that grossed 335 B&C points. Management hunters enjoy the same accommodations and one-on-one guide services.

Prices for 2001 are as follows:
    Fully Guided Trophy Bull Elk    $14,500.00
    Fully Guided Management Bull Elk    $7,500.00
    Self-Guided Archery Raghorn bull Elk $1,000.00
    Self-Guided Anterless Elk         $350.00

From the 200 Trophy Hunt, the White Mountain Apache Tribe is proud to announce its first hunting video highlighting elk hunting on the reservation. Hunting Monster Elk on White Mountain is approximately 70 minutes long and features 8 on camera kill scenes, including two archery scenes.

For more information about hunting opportunities on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, please visit our website or write Big Game Hunts P.O. Box 220 White River AZ 85941 or by telephone at (520) 338-4385.

1. You do not need State of Arizona permits for Outdoor Recreation Activities on the
Reservation. Arizona Hunting and Fishing regulations do not apply to Reservation
2. Reservation permits are required for all Outdoor Activities including Fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, river rafting, sightseeing, picnicking, biking and cross country skiing.
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