Monday, June 16, 2008
Updated: October 2, 11:18 AM ET
Driven to Hunt
By R. Stacy Ratliff
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2007 was a year of firsts for NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. His first trip to victory lane at the Daytona 500; Charlotte found him in the winners circle at the Race of Champions for the first time, and this spring Team Realtree's Bill Jordan guided Kevin to his first Turkey kill. The fall of 2007 found our Driven To Hunt cameras following Kevin on his first Rocky Mountain elk hunt. Accompanied by Kerry Earnhardt and Motorsports Authentic's Chris Williams, Harvick was up for the challenge.
The first two days at OEI Properties' Sand Creek Ranch near Hanna, Utah was tough. The bulls quieted after a warming spell and were content to keep their cows close and call from a distance. With only a partial day left we made a move to a different section of the property where ranch manager Tom Giles had seen a good number of big bulls. After a failed attempt that morning and precious little time left Jordan made one last effort to locate a bedded bull by blowing a cow call. Immediately we got a response and a game plan was devised. Easing down the mountain with cameraman/producer Stacy Ratliff, Bill and Kevin ran into a young satellite bull trying to steal a wayward cow from the heard.
He presented a 20 yard shot for Kevin three times but Harvick was determined to hold out for the herd bull.
Easing closer, Bill spotted a nice 6 X 6 headed our way about 400 yards out and set up behind a Cedar to wait. The big bull we were after was still only about 60 yards behind us in thick brush but this 6 X 6 was a shooter if we could get him in close enough.
As we waited Kevin experienced another first. From our left came a grunting sound and a nice bull stepped out from behind the tree we were hiding behind. Kevin was 6 feet from the bull! After staring down Kevin for what seemed an eternity, but not presenting a shot, the bull whirled and ran.
Bill took a minute to settle Kevin's nerves and then we took off in pursuit. We walked only about 200 yards before Kevin spotted the bull again on a side hill. He set up quickly, Bill stopped the bull with a cow call, and Kevin made the shot to harvest his first Elk. Kevin later commented about his close encounter with the bull "that was the most intense thing I have every done."