First Person: Hunting Girzzly Island

First Person Report: Grizzly Island elk hunt lands a spike bull

BY STEVE TALMADGE/Captain-owner Flash FishingPublished: Sep 21, 2018

My longtime good friend, Bob Stedman of Vacaville, drew a spike bull elk tag this year at Grizzly Island. He gave me a call and asked me to help him on his hunt and I was more than happy to join him.

We made plans and met at Grizzly Island at 6:30 a.m. the morning of the hunt, and we had enough food and supplies to hunt 4 days. We left elk camp at 7:00 a.m. and started the hunt. My job was to be a spotter, and it did not take long to find some elk.

BOB STEDMAN, LEFT, and Capt. Steve Talmadge with the big spike bull tule elk he shot after drawing a tag at Grizzly Island Wildlife Refuge in Suisun.

At one point we hiked in about a mile and a half to get on some elk. We were within 315 yards of a big herd bull and his harem of 6 cows. We also spotted a bachelor group of 8 bulls. There was one large mature bull and 7 raghorns, but no spikes. We continued to spot elk here and there.

Around 1 p.m. we spotted 4 about a half-mile out with maybe 2 spikes. We planned a long stalk to get downwind and during the sneaking, we confirmed 8 bulls with 2 spikes in the group. Once we got to the point where we could make the turn and close the distance downwind, I checked a lone large bull to the south.

Bob looked to the east and a bull had stood up. Out in the middle of a wide-open area, a young bull was standing. I looked through the binoculars and said, “spike!” I told Bob to get ready. I ranged the spike at 159 yards and told Bob to wait. I wanted to make sure there were no small points on him. Bob asked me if any forks and I said no, send it. No sooner than I said that, BOOM! Perfect shot.

No need for a second round. He walked maybe 30 feet and fell dead. We spent the rest of the day dressing, skinning and quartering the bull.

On a side note, we had a good friend Todd, who passed away. Todd had handmade a hunting knife for Bob. We used it to work on Bob’s elk. I am sure Todd would be pleased.

We packed up and made it to the butcher by 6:30 p.m. Bob will pick up his free-range organic red meat in about a week. I was home and in the shower before 9 p.m. We heard bulls bugling, watched some rip the ground up, saw bulls pushing other bulls around and some dandy bulls up to 7 points. What a great day and a lot of fun.

Steve Tamadge is owner and captain of Flash Sportfishing and also an avid hunter in his own right. Bob Stedman is from Vacaville. 

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