| Share or Bookmark:
Ryan Burbank’s first elk hunt got off to a rough start even before he took to the field. Two weeks before he and his dad Pete, a hunter education instructor, were to start their November hunt in Game Management Unit 5B-S, the 14-year-old from Litchfield Park broke his foot.
Not wanting Ryan to miss out on the hunt, Pete built a special swivel seat on a mount and situated his son in a couple of likely spots for elk. After two days of not seeing anything, Pete and his companions noticed that Ryan could get around pretty well with the aid of his crutches, so they allowed him to join them on foot. Ryan hiked up and down over ridgelines for a couple of miles until the terrain became steeper and rockier. His dad had him descend and rest in a meadow that would be the turnaround point.
Pete was still uphill when he heard Ryan call over the radio: “Dad, there’s elk coming your way.” Ryan had seen several elk pass by the other side of the meadow. As Pete prepared to get in better position for what he hoped would be the approaching elk, he heard a rifle report. Ryan had spotted another elk in the meadow, dropped to one knee, and got himself a 5×6 bull elk with a 275-yard shot.
“I’ve hunted small game and deer before, but this was my first elk hunt,” says Ryan. “I didn’t expect to get one that big. It was amazing.”