A friend from work recently returned from New Mexico with his 2 sons and two massive bull elk. Very impressive and exciting to say the least. And then top it off, he goes down a week later and bags one too? Come on. Check out the story and photos from the Missoulian
Torrin and Quinlin Roe both bagged big bull elk this fall. That we know for sure.
Other details are not quite pinned down. Torrin is 13. Quinlin is 12. Both boys are determined to tell the story with such competitive intensity, the conversation sounds like a Wild West shootout.
"It's was a lot like regular Montana forest but with more brush," Torrin said of the New Mexico mountains where they hunted with their father, Missoula firefighter Brad Roe. "It was either flat or really, really, really thick."
"And there's a lot more elk," Quinlin said.
"There was a lot of hiking," Torrin added. "About two miles a day."
"Sometimes one mile," Quinlin said. "But some days we went in five miles."
"And the elk were bugling and eating their way around all over," Torrin said. "Sometimes they'd be 15 or 20 feet away."
"The first elk we shot at was in the 340 class," Quinlin said. "We walked right on top of the herd."
Take out all the punctuation and most of the spaces between words, and you get the sense of excitement the Roe boys brought back from New Mexico. Mixed in all that jumble of detail is one more significant point - they both brought back big bragging rights over dad.
"Both boys have beaten my record," Brad said. "I told them these might be the biggest bulls you shoot in your whole life."
After hunting for 25 years, Brad Roe said he wanted to help his boys get a sense of hunting's bigger possibilities. He contacted his friend, Robert Hannaman, a tag consultant with Corvallis-based Magnum Hunt Club. The business helps hunters find tags and guides in 12 states around the nation.
They applied for the New Mexico hunt last April, braving roughly 1-in-700 odds of getting drawn. Both boys landed bull tags for the region's youth hunt, which takes place during the elk rutting season.
"I wanted the father-son thing, but not with 3 million other hunters," Brad said. "I don't know how many times I've been on elk and had someone else shoot them out from under me."
So the family arranged for a week out of school and drove south. They arrived two days before the youth season began, which they spent scouting the territory.
"They got to experience elk bugles all around them, cows calling," Brad said. "These things are yelling their heads off, fighting everywhere."
Rifle hunting during the rut can almost be too much of a good thing. The boys had at least one possible shot on each of the four days they hunted, and sometimes had to dodge as herds rushed to and fro.
In the end, each bagged a 6-by-6 bull. Torin's antlers tentatively measure 335 7/8s points on the Boone and Crockett trophy scale. Quinlin's could be 373 5/8s points. The racks have to cure some more before final measurements are taken. The world record for typical American elk is 442 5/8s points.
The experience exposed a few new facets of the boys' personalities, mother Adina Roe said. Torrin appears to focus on his time outdoors with his dad. Quinlin is the hunting enthusiast, getting into the details of stalking and equipment.
"And I think Brad learned both boys were willing to work hard and not complain," Adina said. "That really moved him."
She was also an advocate for Montana kids attending a hunter safety course, even if they don't want to hunt.
"I love the fact they learn how to handle weapons and be safe around them," she said. "When you live in Montana, that doesn't hurt. And it's a life skill to be able to navigate in the woods and survive in the outdoors. People pay a lot to get sent in the woods and learn those skills. It's physically active. I kind of feel they left as boys and came back semi-men."
As for dad? We'll have to wait for an update. He drew a New Mexico elk tag for this week.