https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/the-two-for-one-bull/

By Tom Kuglin – Bugle magazine hunting & outdoor lifestyle editor

Robb Baker continued to scan the snow for blood hoping to find evidence of a solid hit on his first bull elk. As his heart began to sink at the lack of sign, Robb’s Colorado guide Ryan Kennedy decided to get on the tracks.

“Ryan wasn’t gone for probably 20 seconds and he yelled out ‘Hey, your bull’s over here!’” Robb tells Bugle. “Then as I came around the junipers he said ‘Hold up, something doesn’t look right with that bull. There’s more points on it than I remembered.’”

 

Robb, 50, started hunting for turkeys, hogs and whitetails in his home state of South Carolina in high school. It was during a 2017 business trip to Colorado that he and his wife went to view elk rutting near Estes Park and struck up a conversation with one of the locals. “I was like, hey, listen, if I want to get into hunting out here, where do I start? He told me to call Kyle Lopez with KB Outdoors.”

Robb did contact Lopez but did not immediately book a hunt. Then during a party in 2022 at their home in Charleston, he and some friends talked more seriously about heading out to Colorado for a hunt. Sure enough, Lopez had some openings for the 2023 second rifle season, so last October, Robb and his friend Scott Huffstetler loaded up their gear and spent three days driving west.

“It’s our first hunt so sure, we hoped we might both get bulls, but we told ourselves it’s about the experience, not just getting an animal,” Robb says.

Robb and Scott met up with their guide Ryan and the hunt got underway. They had access on several ranches, and it didn’t take long for them to get into elk. This first morning they encountered a herd before legal shooting light but once the sun came up, they couldn’t get closer than 600 yards—farther than Robb was comfortable shooting—so he held off. One evening Robb and Scott posted up from vantage points and Ryan scouted a new area. Ryan returned with good news: five bulls located and a plan for the morning.

Fresh snow greeted them the next morning as the trio hiked about a mile in hopes of finding the bulls again. Sure enough, two bulls fed in the open. Robb dialed his Leupold scope and readied for the shot at a nice 6×6. His first shot hit the bull hard, but he missed with his follow up, and the two bulls ran off.

“We waited about 30 minutes and walked over there and when we got there, I was in disbelief, I didn’t see any blood,” Robb says. “My heart sunk as I’m looking and looking, and Scott’s looking and then Ryan says he’s going to follow the tracks real quick. That’s when he called out that he’d found my bull.”

As they approached, Ryan’s observation that the bull had apparently sprouted some extra tines after the shot quickly revealed an extraordinary sight. Robb’s 6×6 bull had expired on top of an impressive 5×5 deadhead bull, their dark brown and bleached white antlers intertwined. It took a few minutes for the million-to-one odds to sink in.

“When we got over there and realized what had happened with the bull laying on top of deadhead, we were jumping up and down high fiving and hugging and all the good stuff that hunters do after a successful hunt,” Robb says. “Ryan’s like, ‘Man, this is unheard of to find your bull on top of a deadhead and also find such a nice deadhead.’ He started calling it the ‘two-for-one bull.’”

His first bull on the ground, a bonus deadhead and an unbelievable story to boot, Robb got to help Scott on the rest of his hunt. While in the field they found another deadhead, several shed antlers, and then on the last hour of the last day, Scott killed a beautiful six-point to cap off an exceptional hunt. Robb says he’s now hooked on Western hunting and can’t wait to go back.

“I’ve been putting in for my points—I’d love to get a mule deer, pronghorn and I’m definitely going back for elk,” he says.

(Photo credit: Robb Baker)

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