Steamboat Springs Age: 61
Years hunting: 49
Guide/outfitter name: Guide, Bill Van Ness
Club measurement: approx. 330 (Boone and Crockett gross)
Weapon used: Blazer 300 Winchester Magnum with Federal Premium 180-grain Nosler Partition bullet
Distance out: 80 Yards
Time and date: 8 a.m. Oct. 20
Area: Public land just outside Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area boundary
Dennis Noonan: We scouted above Big Red Park and found a saddle the elk had been using as a transition between feeding and bedding areas. Bill posted his father and myself on each side of the saddle and left to hike above and possibly move some animals our way later on in the morning. About an hour after light, about 8 a.m., I looked to my left and saw the body of a large elk with his head hidden behind a low-hanging pine branch. I slowly moved my rifle into position and the elk moved away and presented me with a shot. He started to run so I quickly fired again and he was out of sight the way he came. I gave the bull one hour before walking over to where he was standing and could see him laying not 50 yards away. I approached him slowly and there was absolutely no ground shrinkage, in fact there was ground growth. What an incredible bull. And just a super day in the field with friends. I would like to thank the people at Columbine Cabins for providing great accommodations for our hunt.
Bill Van Ness: We scouted the area the day before and found a saddle that elk had been using as a transition between some dog-hair-thick timber and a south-facing hillside that provided some browse. I set up my dad and Dr. Noonan on both edges of the saddle and started on a loop into the MZWA above them. At 8 a.m., Dr. Noonan turned to his left and could see the body of a large elk, which upon turning, appeared an exceptional bull moving through the saddle with about 10 cows. Seeing that, he leveled his rifle on the chest of the bull, fired and the whole herd stampeded past with the bull turning back the way he came. I approached Dr. Noonan and he was throwing his arms in the air like he just scored a winning touchdown and was doing a funny little dance, so I knew it had to be good news. Fifty yards away lay a true once-in-a-lifetime trophy that I took pleasure in assisting with since it was harvested by a longtime family friend.