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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
First and foremost, thanks to NV-Hunter. Jeb hooked me up with some inspirational pics and info on the unit.

My dad and I made a scouting trip in late August. We saw around 50 elk, including three big bulls. Here is one of them.



We did not find this bull on the hunt. My dad talked to the local rancher while I was stalking my bull. He said there was a 390 bull around. I have to wonder if this was the bull he was referring to.

My dad, my brother, and I headed for Nevada on Saturday the 24th. The 14 hour drive left us with about an hour of daylight to glass. We spotted 5 cows down low, and a smaller branch bull way up the mountain. We got camp set in the dark, and prepped everything for the next morning.

We glassed our way up the mountain in the pickup to a spot I wanted to hike in. We saw one spike and a bunch of deer.
My brother and I hiked into the high country. We spent most of the day glassing from 10,000 feet. We saw a few bucks, and watched some guys shoot a big forked horn buck in a basin near the road. There was little elk sign, but we did spot a 270ish 6x6 on the next mountain over just before dark.

To be continued
 
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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
Day two we drove to the top in a different area and glassed the surrounding basins while battling high winds. I spotted this nice bull shortly after daylight.

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It was surprisingly easy to pass on him at the time. Now I look back at the pics, and that is a darn nice bull to pass on. I had set a minimum of 350" early on. We spotted several nice bucks up there, but no more elk were spotted. Once everything bedded down for the day we headed to camp to round up some firewood and make plans for the evening. We decided to drive over to some lower hills where NV-Hunter had recommended we check out. During the scouting trip we had seen 30 cows and calves hanging out in the area. The three of us hiked and glassed our way around a mountain and came out at dark with nothing to show for it except a couple of deer sheds. Once in the truck, we had a couple spike elk come out in the moonlight near the road.

Tuesday we decided to try a couple remote basins on the back side of the range we had spotted from the top on Sunday. A couple hours of glassing and hiking revealed only a few deer and no fresh elk sign. It was 11 AM, and my brother and I had sweated our way a couple thousand feet above the pickup. It was tough decision time. Stick it out in the high country until dark, or head back down and figure something else to try in the evening. I have always been a top of the mountain guy. However, we were not finding elk in the areas I expected. A couple people had recommended a road along the base of the mountains to glass from. It was time to try something new. We bailed off the top and met my dad at the truck.

To be continued
 
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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
This road in the low country is a place we had been on the scouting trip. However, there was a herd of domestic sheep, and an archery elk hunter in the area. We left without getting much of a look.
Our evening hunt started a little early to find some good glassing locations. One stretch of this road included some really good looking deer country. Sage with a bunch of bitter brush mixed in. After only a few minutes we had deer in the road ahead of us. I foolishly wrote them off as does. My dad and brother got to see the big four point checking out the does, but I didn't get my binos up quick enough.

Further up the road we found some open elevated country to glass from. I had assumed the glassing from this road would be up into the basins on the mountain. It became obvious almost immediately that the glassing would be down into the Pinion and Juniper flats. I was not enthused about this. It did not look like any elk country I had hunted before. Here is a photo of the terrain.

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Well my brother quickly spotted a couple elk. Then a big bull popped out. The kind of bull I have a hard time judging. Big frame with nice points. A no doubt shooter. After lots of discussion on where he was going, and how to get to him, a stalk plan was put together. Here is a photo of the bull.



We left my brother at the glassing spot, and my dad and I started driving around the other side. Daylight was fading fast, and we had to find this bull out in the PJs. About half way there my brother calls on the radio and says he spotted another herd. When he starts describing where they are I realize we are close to them. Then, he gets back on the radio and says there is a bigger bull in this herd. Easy decision, we abandon the original plan and start trying to locate this new bull. There was little visibility from down in the PJs as you would imagine. Finally standing on the truck bed my dad spots a couple elk about half a mile away. I decide to head in to find the bull.

There was a bull bugling towards the elk, but my brother said the big bull was not bugling. It did not take long to get completely confused in the PJs. No loss in sense of direction, but it was hard to tell where I was in relation to the elk we had seen. I finally decided to check out the bugling bull. Soon I could tell he was traveling pretty fast in the direction I hoped the other elk were. After only a few minutes I started seeing elk bodies. I snuck from tree to tree looking for the big bull. I got a look at the bugling bull, he was about a 300" 6x6. I spotted a couple elk off to my left. Then, tall tines above a Pinion Pine. From what I could see this had to be the big bull. He started to feed out from behind the Pinion, but he was still obstructed by several other trees. He seemed to be paying special attention to the two closest cows. They were feeding straight away, and if he followed he could be gone without me getting a shot with my muzzle loader. I had got this far by being aggressive, and I decided to push a little more. I lined up a tree between us and moved forward. I was only about 75 yards away, but I needed an angle around the trees. This was the nicest bull of the trip. Not a huge frame, but long points all around and big whale tails. I was on the verge of a shot, and as I looked down to place my foot the bull spooked. I quickly quickly cow called and they all stopped. Still no shot, and in a few seconds they all took off again. I cow called again and they all stopped except the big bull. I had the bugling bull and about 30 other small bulls and cows within 150 yards, but the big bull was gone. He did bugle twice, so I knew he was moving off. I watched the show for a couple minutes as darkness fell. I was totally dejected. So close to the bull of a lifetime and I let him slip away. Was I too aggressive in my movement, or not aggressive enough in my shooting? The things I questioned while walking out. Surely they would still be in the area in morning though.

This proved to be a false assumption. There were only 3 spikes in the whole area in the morning. Finally in the low hills a couple miles to the west my brother spotted a herd with a bull in it. We drove out to the main road to investigate. We stopped on a rise, but could not see the elk. My brother then spotted another herd with a beautiful bull in it. A big sweeping rack I associate with the bulls of Arizona. Except he is broken off above the eye guards on one side. I pass on him and we hear a rig coming down the road. Being experienced Oregon public land hunters, we put our spotting scopes away, and start glassing the other way with our binos. If you guys are on here sorry for the misdirection. Turns out they are out of Elko and hunting coyotes. They see our plates and it turns out they are originally from Lakeview. After BSing for a few they say follow us. They had seen a herd with a big bull in it a couple miles North.

To be continued
 
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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
We head up the road about five miles with the coyote hunters. They take us into another spot we had scouted, but we had not hunted yet. They pointed out the elk, and were on their way. The big bull had apparently bedded for the day. We saw several smaller 5 and 6 points. Here is a shot of that area. The elk were above the PJ line in the far right of the photo.

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We headed back to where we had seen the bull in the morning. We could see he was bugling earlier in the morning,and could hear it a couple times even though he was several miles away. We found a road to view the back side of mountain, and it was surprisingly open. There were only two clumps of trees big enough to hide a herd of elk. We went back around the front side of the mountain, and came up with the plan of sneaking in above them and calling. I got in position with the wind right, and tried some cow calls and bugles. Nothing. I worked my way back a forth in the larger timbered draw trying to spot the elk. I am not sure if heard me, didn't like the calling, or the wind swirled. They busted out below me and up the next ridge. I got them to stop with some cow calls, and I was able to size up the bull. He turned out to be about a 320" bull, but he had a broken G5 on one side and his main beam was broken just past the G4 on the other side. It didn't matter, because they were 280 yards away. Well out of range for my muzzle loader, and not the bull I was looking for.

I headed back to the truck and we had to run to town for diesel. I was able to call home on the way. Everything was going well, but my wife reminded me how badly my 6 year old daughter wanted me home for Halloween. I was out of town on business the week before this hunt. This was Wednesday, and I needed to kill by Thursday to make it home comfortably.

We decided to head back to check the elk the coyote hunters had shown us. The rain had set in, and the visibility was limited. We had to set up closer to the mountains, which, limited the area we could glass. We spotted a couple elk including a small branch bull. The day was quickly coming to an end, and the weather was getting worse. I decided to head up the hill and make some thing happen. My dad dropped me off at the base of the hill. We bumped two five points that headed up towards the elk we had seen. A short while in I spotted three elk moving South, and I decided to check them out. This led to me crossing multiple draws and climbing several ridges. It was now 15 minutes until dark and I had nothing to go on. My spotters could not see any elk, and I could only see a cow and calf back in the bottom. I heard a young bull squeal above me. Then, an obvious big bull bugles. The type that sounds like a cross between a Black Angus and donkey. I headed up the hill as fast as I could go. When I broke out in an opening there were several elk visible. One was a goofy looking rag horn with big eye guards. On cue he let out a squeal. I could not see the big bull anywhere. Some of the elk were moving further south. I busted up the hill and across another ridge. By now it was basically dark and I did not locate the big bull. I headed out again a little dejected. After some confusion about where to pick me up, I met up with my dad and brother about an hour after dark. My brother jumped out and reaches in the back of the pickup. He asks if I am interested in hunting one bull tomorrow and pulls a distinct elk antler out. A long laid back antler broken just above the bulls eye guards. It was undoubtedly the antler from the big broken bull we had seen in the morning. He had found it in the sage only 20 yards off the road my dad had dropped me off on.

To be continued
 
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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
The weather continued to deteriorate over night. In the morning we had rain and very limited visibility. We also had muddy roads to deal with. This limited us to the main roads to access glassing spots. However, we did not have the luxury of time to sit around and wait for better weather.

We headed out to find the broken bull, one of the big bulls from Tuesday, or another big bull. We were able to spot a couple cows on a ridge above where we had seen the broken bull the day before. We heard a couple bugles from the same area so we decided to head in to investigate.

Here is the area. Not what I would think of as elk country. The two low hills in the foreground is where we hunted.

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The first draw held a nice five point with several cows and a spike. Several elk were crossing a saddle to the next draw, while several others were bedding down on our side. We decided to move down ridge to get a different angle on the next draw. A heard of antelope and a couple feral horses spooked out in front of us, and they eventually got the elk moving. We never saw them again once they crossed the ridge. We crossed the same ridge a little lower, and spotted a spike and some cows. Were were able to sneak around them once we were satisfied there wasn't a big bull with them. The next ridge we crossed put us where the bugling bull was in the morning. The rain had let up by this point, and the visibility was improving. However, the wind was not very stable, and we ended up spooking three elk. We saw them as they were making their way up the next hill. It was two cows and a 5x6. Not a bad bull, but not what I was after even at this point. We checked the last draw in the hills we were in and found a cow and calf. We headed back to the truck to regroup.

Once at the truck we decided to do some driving and look for bedded elk in the middle of the day. We made about a four hour loop seeing one herd with a small six point. The light was pretty good at this point, and he was only about 7-800 yards away. I was able to capture some decent video, but it won't upload. Here are a couple pics of the bull.




We made it back to the area we had been hunting about the time we expected to find the elk up and moving. We glassed our way North through the area finding nothing. Finally my brother spotted a group of cows part way up the main mountain range. We moved in closer for a better look. It looked to be only cows, but my brother spotted a lone elk much further up the mountain. We spent probably 15 minutes trying to get closer for a better look. After several failures we tried a two track about 1 mile from our camp. When we pulled through the gate my brother spotted another elk only about half a mile away. In case the trend isn't obvious, my brother spots a lot of game. After the first two days of the trip where I spotted most of the elk, he beat me about 3 to 1. It was obvious this was a big animal through the binos. A look through the spotter confirmed it was a big bull. The big broken bull to be exact. Feeding near his cows in a burned out section of PJs. I quickly noted some landmarks and the wind and headed up the hill to get above them.

To be continued
 
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Extrapale

Active Member
Mar 18, 2014
467
12
Oregon
I started off running across an opening to get in a draw. Time was limited as it was not long until dark. The wind was questionable. The prevailing wind was in my favor, but the thermals could take over at any time. I decided to ignore the thermals and get above the elk. Once again I got out in the PJs and had a hard time with my landmarks. Eventually I got to where I could see the line of live trees I had for a landmark. I went into super slow mode as I approached. One step and then glass the direction I thought the elk would be, along with a couple other directions in case I was mistaken. This area was mostly burned, but the dead trees were so thick the distance I could see was maybe 75 yards. After what seemed like an eternity I spotted an elk. Then, another and another, about 5 cows and the bull. I was going to have to get close for a shot in the thick trees. I dropped my pack at about 75 yards when I ran out of terrain to sneak behind. I began to belly crawl in search of a clear shot. Somewhere around 50 yards I was as close as I was going to get. There was a cow and calf about 25 yards from me facing my direction. The bull was moving around a little, and I hoped he would move a few yards for a perfect shot. However, as I alternated between binoculars and peep site it became apparent a perfect shot was not coming. The bull had started lip curling and glunking, and he did not look like he was taking a step any time soon. The cow close to me also knew something was up. I think she heard me rustling around.

The bull was slightly quartering to me with the back of his shoulder exposed in a small opening in the limbs. He made a slight posture adjustment to nearly broadside. I had to try to thread a bullet through the limbs, or watch another bull walk away. With the range about 50 yards I decided I could make this shot. Hammer cocked, front site in the crease, squeeze real slow. The cloud of white smoke blocked my view for several seconds. I raised to my knees to see the cows running to my right. The bull was hunched up and going straight away. I began reloading as quick as I could. He stopped at about 100 yards as I seated the bullet. By the time I was priming he was about 150 or 175 and stopped again. I had seen a big red and white spot on his side. Either I had hit my mark and this was bubbling lung blood in large amounts, or I had missed by a couple inches and his guts were hanging out. Either way, I was taking any follow up shot I could get. I wrapped the sling around my arm and put the front site on the base of his neck. Slow squeeze and another cloud of white smoke. When it clears the bull is hunched up still and headed down hill. I reload again, and retrieve my pack. A check with my brother to find out the bull dropped on the first shot, but is now behind a row of trees where he can't see it. I run down where I last saw him. I find the place he crossed and there is a blood trail that looks like it came from a fire hose. Talk about relief. I run down the trail. Every place he stops the blood is in three foot pools with plenty of air bubbles. Probably 100 yards from where I last saw him he is piled up apparently dead. I look away to set down my pack, and catch movement out of the corner of my eye. He is up and I get off another shot. While far from perfect, he has another 300 grain Ballistic Tip in him. This time he goes down in sight. I approach slowly this time with my gun at the ready, but he is done. The broken bull who we originally spotted 2 miles from where I killed him, whose broken off antler we found 5 miles away was now mine. He is large of body and antler. Not quite as big as my first impression the day before, but still a trophy bull to me. Here he is with my favorite hunting partners and me.

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The next morning reunited with his lost antler

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We spent some time the next morning looking for his G2 where my brother found the antler to no avail. We aren't sure if it was there somewhere, or if it was broken off before or after the main beam. One final parting shot on the way home.

 
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Gr8bawana

Veteran member
Aug 14, 2014
2,333
184
Nevada
Congrats to you Extrapale on a fine and hard earned bull!
I have been elk hunting in Nevada 5 times and it seems our elk like to hang out in the pinion and juniper jungles. 1 bull tag and 3 cow tags and my brother had a bull tag too. Of course there are elk up high but you would be amazed at some of the low country they inhabit too.
 
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