Hunting Story- Cliff Hopson

A Dream Comes True for my Daughter and I by Cliff Hopson

When Brian called to inform me Isabel had gotten drawn for the New Mexico youth elk hunt, I was more excited than she was. I have hunted with Brian many times before and was very excited for Isabel to have an experience of hunting elk in the West. Excited about our trip, we did not get any sleep the night before we flew out. After arriving at camp, the excitement got more intense as we looked around that afternoon and Isabel saw her first bull elk. We could not wait for the opening morning of the youth hunt. Brian picked us up at 5:30am and we headed out on our journey.

The sun came up and we began to see elk on the mountain. I looked over at Isabel and there was a grin on her face from ear to ear; the first words out of her mouth were “Daddy do you see him?” It was a moment I will never forget. We saw elk every time we went out. On one of the afternoons, we heard a bull bugle but we could not see him, as we ran out of daylight that day. Brian said the next morning we would be there before daylight to get on this elk. We saw him at daylight; Brian said it looked to be a big 6 X 6, then he said lets go. So we started down the mountain to try and get closer to him on the other side of the mountain. Brian put us in the best position we could get to take a shot because the bull was hearing us come down the mountain. He told us this was as close as we could get. I looked at Isabel and said “this is it;” we got set up on shooting sticks with our 7mm08. Brian got the camera on him, I got the binoculars, and I looked at Isabel and said “shoot him.” Her first shot was just under his belly, the second shot she hit him in the leg. Before she could get another shot off, he limped up the hill just out of range. After having no luck in finding the bull Isabel looked at me with a sad face, but I smiled and told her that it was ok – we would get the next one. It is all part of elk hunting. This was a lifetime experience for Isabel and me. If you want to go elk hunting, there is only one place to go and that would be with Top Notch Outfitters in New Mexico with Brian Newell.

Thanks for a great hunt, Brian.

Cliff & Isabel Hopson

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