2017 Self Guided Elk Hunt (Part Three)
Fully dressed in the sleeping bag, its time to get up. Stumbling, half asleep I manage to get my boots tied without falling over. Its cold again, thirty something. Pack prepped and loaded the night before, we are strapped up and walking and Iâm still rubbing the sleep from my eyes. Bens halfway up the mountain moving like the wind. It doesnât take long to wake up when your sucking down 35 degree air like you just ran suicides. Iâm not cold any more, thatâs for sure. Before long before we all shed a layer. The suns not up yet but its about to make a grand entrance over the mountain and light the river valley below. The light pierces through the clear sky and itâs a perfect start to a beautiful day. First full day of hunting. We can go further back, look for sign on the trails, glass for miles. We had endless opportunity and the pressures off. We already did it, no matter what this is a successful hunt. Lets enjoy this beautiful country and see what happens. We find ourselves overlooking the carcass from my kill, still untouched by anything of size. The cold had kept the stink down but it was swelling a good bit. Lets get up high, on top of that hill and see how far we can look. The map shows another river on the other side of the mountain, maybe we can see both bottoms from up there. We make it to the top only to find heavy timber and no visibility to the other side. At least now we were on the other ridge. Further down the ridge Hoping logs making our own way off trail we find ourselves still looking down into the same bottom. Up there, if we can make it up to that rock Iâm sure we can see both sides. We can see as far as we could walk in a day (or as far as we would want to). We trudge up the hill, loose gravel and burnt trees. This is the steepest climb we have done yet. The rock doesnât look that far away, its just slow moving up there. We made it, a nice flat topped hill with a great view down 3 of 4 sides. We Drop packs and take a break. No need to move from here we can see for a long way. So much cover even though it looks wide open. We settle in for a serious session with the binoculars. A few minutes turns into a few hours. Mid day by now, we get comfortable snack a bit and take a nap. Glassing, napping, snacking. The afternoon starts to pass by. We see a few deer playing off in the distance, all does. What a beautiful day 65 and sunny. Couldnât ask for better weather or a better view, this was the relaxation and serenity I was hoping to find. Getting tired of sitting, and with sunset nearing we decide to close the distance to the bottom, so we could be in range if we see anything. We drop down to a lower hill, Continuing to Squeeze the Hoochie mama from time to time. Just as we get settled in our new spot, Ben says thereâs a deer, I see legsâ¦Wait, wait. Those are brown legs. Thatâs an elk, thereâs twoâ¦ Two elk over there, across the river right where the deer were before. By the time I get my binoculars up the bull is easing down to the rivers edge. Ben leaves to get in front of me, and close the distance to the elk. We played with the range finder earlier to see how far things were and I knew the elk was at about 500 yards. With Ben dropping down to the next hill, moving quickly and out of site I give the hoochie mama another squeeze. The bull throws his head up, standing tall on the bank of the river. He commits, Running full speed straight towards us splashing through the river, he is across in no time. Making the rugged boggy ground we had struggled through earlier seem like a downhill trot. The crisscrossed trees passed over like a sprinters hurtle. With such ease he has closed the distance of the entire bottom and is now racing up the back side of the hill that Ben is just getting to the top of. I try to motion heâs coming heâs coming but its to late. They meet at the top of the hill. Face to face at 20 yards. The elk spins on his heels and in a flash heâs a hundred yards away. Ben trying to take aim, braced on standing dead tree, just cant take a running shot. I squeeze the hoochie mama again, desperately hoping he hears it over his frantic retreat. He slows and looks back. Squeeze again, and he turns around. Ben is 75 yards from where Iâm at and the bull knows the cow he hears isnât in the same place as the guy he just had a run in with. Shoot Ben Shoot, why arenât you shooting, I look over and he is pulled hard up on his scope. After what seemed like an eternity, still no shot. He must not have a good angle. I squeeze again and the bull comes 3 more steps. Powww, a single shot rings out, the bull stumbles back on his heels. Ben put one right in his chest. The bull spins to run and only goes about 20 yards. He gets stiff legged and falls to his butt then flips back entirely. You did it Ben, You did it. Now where is the other elk? Heâs over about 50 yards behind a pine. Body in full view but head completely hidden. I tell Steve donât take the shot, it may be a cow. It wonât move for several minutes. Finally it takes a step out, trying to focus the binoculars I canât see the rack. Focus, focus, itâs a spike, No, a cow. No, thereâs definitely antlers, velvet. Heâs a velvet spike, Not a shooter, Not a shooter. At the time I thought we had to have brow tines, but it turns out this was a legal bull, just not one Steve wanted to take down. A quick run down the hill to meet Ben and another feeling of disbelief, we go down and start at the top with another photo shoot. Much quicker this time, the learning curve was short. We worked like a well-oiled machine. The elk half packed, half left in the cold creek water, we are ready to go. The walk was a bit longer this time but we were back in camp about 1030. A celebratory cheers and we were off to bed. What a perfect day.
Bear Grylls style straight down the mountain. We close the distance, a quick poke with the business end of the rifle and a sigh of relief. Holy crap, this things as big as a cow. The size doesnât hit you until your right beside it, and again as you try to roll him over for a good picture. Grinning from ear to ear we do the mandatory photo shoot and try to let it all sink in. All the hours of research, Sunday mornings watching Randy Newberg, and those guys from âHushinâ, finally paid off. They always say, after the kill, now its time for the real work, or something like that ( a lesson soon to be lived) . Sorting through our packs, Kill kit Check. Plastic Bags ( as pack liners) Check. TAG Bags, Check. Iâve always processed my whitetails back in North Carolina, to me its part of the whole experience. The process was familiar, now just make everything 3 times the size and you start to realize how much work you have in front of you. Get the hyde off, Donât mess up that cape cause you canât get a replacement at the Walmartâ¦ Hold that leg back. Crap, canât see what Iâm doing. Looking around, Man its getting dark. Grab my headlamp and get back to it. We all keep stopping to look up and scan the edges of the tall grass for eyes. Some Locals we had met earlier told us how bad the wolves were in this area. Even the Forestry service has signs up about bears, both kinds. Donât forget about the cougarsâ¦ Needless to say we were all on high alert as we broke the animal down piece by piece. We have to let the meat cool or it will spoil. Trying the gutless method as seen on TV by those âHushinâ fellas we continue to make progress. Quarters off, backstrap out, cape up the neck then a quick cut and TWIST. By now its 10PM, a nice cool night, sweating like crazy and already worn out. We split out 5 TAG Bags full of meat and a 60 pound head/neck. We hang 3 bags in a tree to come back for tomorrow.
Time to hit the trail, Crap this is heavy. My pack straps are squeaking and grunting under the load, so am I. Fully loaded and sinking mid boot in the bog we ran across earlier we head back to where we slid down the hill. Not having been down that trail before and not taking the time to find a gradual way down in the daylight we went straight back up. Pulling on trees and and hands on the hill for balance we worked our way back up the cliff to the trail. Completely winded and worn out we stop for our first break about 100 yards into the hike. From there we had a good trail and made it back to camp a bit after midnight. We drop our packs and sit down to rest. A quick cheers and a sense of accomplishment and were off to bed. We all slept pretty good that night.
The next morning the coffee was great the air was a crisp 35 and the camp neighbors seemed a tad bit jealous. In Honnor of the Local Nez Perce Hunting tradition, with more of a Randy Newberg camp style preparation we take out the giant elk heart (about the size of a football with one of the pointy ends knocked off). Starting at the little end I made several quarter inch slices (Stopping just short of where the bullet went in). I put them directly on the grill, Tssssttt they sizzled Smelled great, a quick flip and medium rare we dug in. Not Bad, Elk heart with a dash of victory.
With empty packs the hike from the night before seemed like nothing. I bet the lions tigers and bears had a feast on the carcass last night. Surely we will see a wolf or ten. Nope, nothing. We grab the last load of meat and head back to camp. The sun is bright and its getting to warm to keep this meat hanging. We made a quick run to town to refuel, (diesel and Burgers) and got 20 bags of ice. Did I say quick, well it was only a 2 hour drive each way. Another day gone to meat care and we settle into camp ready for an early morning.
Three guys walk into a bar...They talk about things that would love to do in their lifetime. One guy says lets go elk hunting. That's something they all thought would be a great adventure, Just too expensive, one day when we have some money saved up... Well what if we don't hire a guide, do it on our own, drive out and split gas, no hotels and eat sandwiches the whole way. We might not have a great chance of success but we will get to see some beautiful country, and we will still be happy even if we come home empty handed. I'm sure we will have some stories to tell. Hours of research, where to go, what season, rules and regs, TAGS... We got it all planned out and off we went 37 Hours of driving switching turns behind the wheel. Two days later we pull into the ranger station in Idaho only to find out our first pick spot has a washed out road and a forest fire that has spread and closed down the whole north side of the hunt unit. a quick regroup on to spot number two. Seven more hours of driving we are in the middle of the wilderness with just enough daylight to set up camp in what seemed like a nice spot. Tents up and a trek up to the highest point around to listen to the bulls bugle in the night. That got our spirits up. They're out there, now we just have to find them. 60 degrees turns to 30 in the night and we wake up to a few inches of snow and a fog thick as whipped cream. When we left the weather report said lows in the mid 40's Highs in the mid 80's. We just were not quite ready for that kind of weather. With no visibility we decide to use our time to move base camp to a lower elevation. In the river bottom now the first half of opening day lost to the weather and moving camp, we are determined to get out there to see what the weather stirred up. Packs on and loaded a bit to heavy we hit the trail a few miles back. Stopped at a nice overlook off the trail, Cow calling along our hike. We decided to take a break and shed our packs, watch the evening set in and make a plan for tomorrow. Mid sentence my buddy says there's an elk, we all freeze. I can see for 1000 yards so im scanning frantically. Where. Behind that tree. Where, i don't see him... BE STILL. HES RIGHT THERE. Points at the first tree below the cliff we are sitting on. OH Snap. Rifle ready he takes a few more steps and POW. Right behind the shoulder with the 338 Win Mag at 80 Yards. he ran about 20 yards and stopped. POW Not letting him get away, This is the first Bull Elk I've ever seen outside of Cabelas, We haven't even seen a track yet. The second shot missed clean but it made him take another step and he fell over not a kick. We did it, Bull Elk Down. We were so excited we raced down the side of the mountain to claim our prize.
‎20 plus pound cobia caught near lighthouse rocks off oak island. Sight casted at him with a double poagie rig and he sucked down. Later his daddy got away but he sure was good. caught on 5/28/11
THE SPANISH WERE HITIN THAT DAY TOO.
A full day trip and a few fish to show for it. Had a good time and thats what counts. The sea bass are everywhere. had to fish up off the bottem just to stop catching them. Cant wait till they come back in season. we threw out a few drift lines and brought in a couple kings, that was nice. I Thought we were chartered to troll / bottem fish. this wasnt the case. it was bottem only from a 54 ft boat called the 'game on'. The capt was a nice enough guy.
USE THE LINK OR FROM THE HOME PAGE ITS THE ARTICLE ON CHAPEL HILL UA SEASON COMMENT ON HERE OR THE STORY. IT SEEMS RIDICULOUS
So i remember someone saying that we should make nametags with our user name on them. My question is Who is gonna make that happen? Is there anyone on here that is going to be at the NC Sportsman booth??? I know they were handing out old issues of the magizine last year. maybe they can hand out nametags too. just thought it would be cool to make this happen. JEFF DENNIS i know you have some pull. Help me out here.
Hope all the urban archers out there are off to a good start. It seems the deer are moving at night exclusivly. i pulled the truth cam for the first time this morning. and i have a bunch of does and a small buck coming in to the corn. Well hope they realise soon that people arent shooting at them anymore.
I am staying in OCEAN ISLE the second week of MAY. I have a group of 6 guys that want to catch big fish, and a lot of them. Looking for an all day trip that doesnt cost an arm and a leg.
WHAT FISH ARE BITING THEN AND WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO FIND THEM. (gulf or in shallow water)
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD CHARTER COMPANIES?
ANY ADVISE IS WELCOME... THANKS GUYS
So Is anyone doing the urban archery thing? If so where? I know i am looking foreward to filling out my last buck tag in a patch of woods i left alone all season. lots of fresh rubs there and some good cover. Well anyone who is hunting from jan 15- feb 18 good luck.
SO I TRIED SOMETHING NEW LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS THINK ABOUT THIS EURO MOUNT. IM IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING A PEDESTAL FOR IT.
Seeing stillhunters megadoe made me want to start this topic. When do you harvest does and which ones do you harvest. How many do you take per buck you harvest?
I WANT TO SEE THE BEST YOU GOT. From years past or other areas. include where and when. Hope to see some big uns
Ive seen this before with a deer that got hit by a car. A friend shot this buck before he could unload on the doe he was chasing. Anybody else get this or know what it is?
what do you hunt with ? just seeing whats common and what stretches the envelope.
This year i just obtained a 223. what do you all think of hunting with it?
This guy has had my eye since last year. A Main beam 10 with a kicker that snapped off from rubbing or fighting. Definatly the dominant deer in the area, huge rob line and scrapes everywhere from field edges to mid woods. I saw him last year from far away knew he was big then. Saw him twice this year as he slipped away and the third time was the charm the 338 mag on a rem700 platform is a death stick. Never lets me down. He had his mind on other things than me. not my biggest deer at only 150 pounds, he was worn down from all of his scrape tending and breeding, but at 16.5 inside he is my widest. Cant wait to get him scored at the classic. my 8 point from 2 years ago was 128 net hope to see this guy go 120. Not to bad for union county.