Very nice first bull! Congrats to your son and proud dad. Was it a long pack out?My son got his first elk this year. I was one proud papa! He drew a great limited quota tag and so did I. I bowhunted hard and was on several bulls so we hit the same area opening morning of rifle and he made short work after Todd called in this bull into the same basin we were in. What a great day!!!View attachment 28630
Well done, Trevor! That will be some very good eating.View attachment 28440View attachment 28441
While I was glassing for doe antelope out in the middle of nowhere near elk country I came across 4 spikes and 2 cows. General tag is good for this area, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to chase elk on the prairie! I had to hike over a 2 mile loop on them to get in a small 4' draw to get as close as I could. When I came over the rise they were all feeding at 355 yards in a complete crosswind of 35 mph winds. Elk stood facing left, wind left to right, gun zeroed at 300. Put the crosshairs just over halfway up his chest, then moved about 24" left so I was out in front of his neck by probably 9". Pull the trigger, thump, because of the wind nobody but him knew what happened. The first picture is where they were, just out in the middle of a huge sage flat. I've antelope hunted this area off and on for 15 years and never seen an elk, but always take my general tag with just in case! Probably the easiest elk pack out I'll ever have in my life!
Now I get to focus on my limited quota deer tag!
Nice work Kodiak! I am getting jealous of all of you who are out elk hunting, my season is pretty short due to another little one arriving soon. Keep the pics coming!
Congrats Ric, that is one cool brow tine!(Cont.)
Sept. 13th - Ride-in day. I drove back to the same trailhead that I had hiked out of, and met with my guide Eric, and the packer Forest. We loaded up after I climbed upon a big horse named Marshall and rode for 3 hours into the camp. We had turned off of the trail that I had hiked on, and ended up on the other side of the tallest peak in area. The camp was a comfortable outfitters tent with all that we would need for the next week. Forest left us alone and said he would be back when we needed to pack out an elk. I liked his confidence in us. Everyone that I had spoken to about Eric had told me that he was a 5 star plus guide, and I found that my name can be added to the list of his supporters. After settling our gear, we took a hike a goodly ways to an overlook to do some scouting for the muzzle-loader opener tomorrow. From the overlook, we were surprised to see two bow hunters. They were almost invisible in their full camo, but they had opened a map, and it was like a white flag until it was put away. Eric told me that in his six years guiding out of this camp it is the first hunters he had ever seen in the area. Unfortunately, they had a routine of calling constantly. We watched a 5x5, and a 330" class 6x6 work towards them, but turned off before the bowhunters ever could see them. Eric had concerns about where their camp was, as the main hunting area was close to where they had been sitting.
Sept. 14th - Opening day. We were up way early, and we hiked a couple hours in the dark before waiting for first light to check out the elk feeding areas. Wouldn't you know it, but the first opening we came to had the bow-hunters camp set up, and the guys were just rousting out of camp. It was all public land, and they had every right to be there, but it was unfortunate that they didn't realize that they had set their camp in the main route between the feeding and bedding areas. 20 minutes later, we walked up on the 5x5 that we had seen the day before. It was only 30 yards away and unaware of us, but wasn't a bull that I wanted to shoot in the first hour of shooting light on the first day. (By day 4 I was starting to second guess that decision). The rest of the day was cold, windy, and elk free. I also had a deer tag that I had drawn with 0 points. Eric told me that there are few deer in the area, but there are occasionally some really good bucks. As it turned out, we never spotted a single deer in the 7 days we were on the mountain.
Sept. 15th - Day 2, Since plan 1 was taken, we moved to plan 2 and hunted in the big woods below the camp. Eric knew where the bedding area were and we put ourselves in position to do some calling. No response, and no action all morning. At mid-day we moved back to the main trail, and Eric told me to go into the woods about 20 yards and set up. He would wait a bit and do some calling. I did just that, but I decided that I should move off his line a bit and went to the side a bit and was just about to take my pack off when, Oh Crap, Big Bull!!! The big boy had the same expression on his fact that I did, and that 30 yard encounter lasted only about a half second. We couldn't entice him back, so he'll be even bigger next year for someone else. Now it was all uphill back to camp, and of course in the dark.
Sept. 16th - Day 3 By now I am feeling pretty good. I can't keep up with Eric, but I never expected to, and he is good about waiting for me to catch up, catch my breath, and cool down. We ventured into a different area in the big woods, and had no encounters at all. The weather was somewhat warmer that normal, and the full moon was on the 14th. Factors perhaps, but no excuses. Last year the bulls were very vocal by this time, and Eric had called in a record book bull on the 12th that his hunter was able to kill.
Sept. 17th - It's getting to be crunch time. I've shot four bulls and one cow so far on my western trips, and 3 of those have been on the 4th day, so I told Eric that today was the day. By now Eric thought that the bow hunters may have moved on, so we worked our way up the mountain. Sure enough, the camp was gone, and we were slowly working our way to different viewing spots. On the edge of an open drainage, Eric stopped and put a finger to his nose....I could smell it too, the strong musky odor of elk. He peeked around a gnarled tree, and told me that there was a 4x4 and a 5x5. I slowly took off my pack and crawled around and under the tree and spotted the feeding bulls 128 yards away. I lined up the peep sight on the TC Omega 50 cal. The bigger bull was below the other one but they were close together, so I had to wait a while for it to clear. Finally, BOOM! Smoke, elk running and wondering what happened. I reloaded as Eric watched the bulls, but before I could recap they were behind the trees. He said it was a good shot, and could see blood on the side, maybe a bit low and too far back. But, because of the angle, that was where I was aiming.
We waited about 20 minutes, fully expecting to see a dead elk once we got up the hill. Nope. We found a few drops of blood on some rocks, but there was nothing else. It was hard and rocky with no distinct tracks, and little red ground cover to confuse things even more.
We both played Daniel Boone for about 45 minutes until we met up back at the last sign of blood. Eric stated that the bulls had run uphill away from us, but that a wounded animal will often go downhill when he can. So, off he went through the thick cover where he found my bull in only a few minutes. It was a cool looking funky 5x5. One brow tine had crossed over the other, and the tine then grew down and up and was broomed off when it got too long at about 20". I've shot four 6x6's, but I was more than happy with this fella. Besides, my freezer was empty and I was getting hungry.
Eric called on the radio for the packer, and 6 hours later Paul showed up with two pack horses. By that time the pictures had been taken, the elk butchered and bagged, and even time for a nap. Better yet, Paul brought us some beer. After Paul left, we decided to go over the top to look for deer since we were already most of the way up the mountain already. No deer, but we did find a monster bull with a harem of 30 to 40 cows. It was still a long way away, and my tag was punched, but it was cool to see anyway.
Sept. 18th - Back to the lookout point we had been to before the opener, and glassed all morning for deer. No luck. In the afternoon, we worked our was into an area that Eric hadn't been to in several years. No deer or elk, but I was still a grand adventure to see and experience.View attachment 28650View attachment 28651