Wednesday, October 2, 2013
WALLA WALLA — Seventeen years of trying paid off in spades for Jim Eggart recently.
After winning the only permit allowed for a five-day hunt in the Blue Creek Unit, Eggart bagged a bull elk that is likely to land in the record books.
Eggart brought the huge elk down on Sept. 26 on the third day of the hunt, hitting the running animal at about 80 yards under foggy conditions as it crossed in front of him. But the successful shot was preceded by weeks of patient watching to learn the animal’s habits.
“For 27 straight days we went after this elk day and night,” Eggart said in a phone interview. “My son and three friends went out every morning and night.”
Those aiding him were Eggart’s son, Aaron, and his friends Mike Mahan, Darin Groom and Paul Hodgins. On the day of the kill, Eggart said Aaron was the first one who spotted the elk in the fog and then handed him his shooting sticks to set up for the shot.
“He was moving right along,” Eggart recalled. He had to lead the animal slightly and when he touched off his rifle, a Ruger chambered for .300 Magnum, the 180-grain bullet went through both lungs, dropping the animal quickly. A second shot then finished it off.
The elk’s rack scored 392 gross points, “which is really, really big,” Eggart said. Although the final score has to wait until the rack has dried, the elk will definitely go into the top tier in the Washington state record books and “is on the bubble” for making it into the Boone and Crockett Club records, Mahan said.
But while bagging the elk was one thing, getting it home was another. Although the animal fell where it could be reached with a pickup truck, there was still the task getting it into the bed.
“It took eight guys to load him into the back of the truck,” Eggart said.