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Homework pays off for young elk hunter Ben Brasuell

Ben Brasuell did his homework. One result is several teachers at Benton Junior High School will enjoy some tasty elk summer sausage.

Brasuell, 14 and an eighth-grader, scouted the elk country of the Buffalo River “six or seven times” after winning a permit to hunt for an antlerless elk at the Buffalo River Elk Festival in June.

He was successful, and that gift of summer sausage was his thanks for the teachers who excused him from their classes for the December hunt.

Brasuell was one of several young hunters who took elk in December. But Brasuell won a regular elk permit, not one designated for youngsters. Twenty-four permits were issued for the December hunt, and 21 persons participated. One canceled because of his wife’s illness, and two didn’t show up.

Brasuell applied for a permit at the urging of his father, Toney Brasuell, who also applied. Ben Brasuell’s name was drawn, and father and son immediately made plans for advance scouting. Ben’s permit was for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Compartment 4, the eastern end of the public land elk hunting territory. It is in Searcy County.

They learned the rugged territory, and they made some friends. One of these was a major help when Ben got his cow elk on the third day of the hunt.

The Brasuells didn’t find elk in the Richland Creek valley, where many other hunters worked, and they moved a little to the east. Above Rye Bottoms and near the Margaret Arnold field, they heard dogs then saw 14 deer run past them. A large group of elk were behind the Brasuells. 

“We followed the elk for 200 or 300 yards,” Ben said. “I couldn’t get a shot because of all the trees. There were two (cow) elk behind the others eating acorns.” Ben had his .270 rifle on a shooting stick but was facing away from the two cow elk. His dad whispered, “Shoot, Ben, shoot.”

Ben shot, hitting the elk in a vital spot. He shot three more times to finish. “I was excited, and the first thing I did was to give Dad a big hug,” he said.

The downed elk was inaccessible by vehicle, so the Brasuells called on one of those new friends, Charles McAdams of Snowball. McAdams handled the field dressing and the quartering of the elk so Ben and Toney could carry it a quarter mile or so to their vehicle. It took four trips each to handle this task.

Ben, a football and baseball player at Benton Junior High, said, “I want to do it again. I would like to go elk hunting in Colorado, too.”