My first elk hunt ended with myriad memories, sore muscles and no meat on the hook.
I had a Remington 7 mm in my mitts for almost a week and I didn’t get to let her bark. Hunting trips, as we all know, don’t always end with a harvest but they do usually end up with a story or 10. And when you put brother John (older than me by three years and living in Idaho) in the mix, the stories are actually endless and almost get to the point of wanting to slip an Ambien in his Fresca.
Tuesday, Oct. 15, was the first day of our elk hunt in Idaho and it was grueling. We had spotted a herd of elk a mountain side away the night before and we went after them at first light. We made our move into position and set up on a rock outcropping overlooking a small meadow. Bro John did some cow calling and mixed in a bugle here and there and the wait was on. I had ranged a few different spots with my rangefinder and felt fairly confident that I could crack down a bull if he dared to step out of the timber.
After a couple hours or so with no sightings or response, we decided to pack up and head further on down the line. We set up numerous times and it reminded me a lot of turkey hunting. The only difference was the elk weren’t very vocal, period. Yes, the mating season (rut) was pretty much history for the season so it wasn’t too surprising to any of us that these awesome animals were pretty silent.
The first day ended with a slight peep of a cow and maybe a faint bugle or two and a hike back out that almost killed me (John, Pete and Kyle, too). Pete Palony and Kyle Peterson were the cameramen on this trip and boy did they get worked over the mountains and through the timber!
The next few days were quite similar to day one with a lot of hiking a lot of glassing and no close encounters with the right kind. You can say our timing wasn’t right and whatever else you would like but the bottom line was that it was a beautiful trip with some pretty cool memories that will last a long time.
I think my next trip to the mountains in search of elk will be sooner than later and will be with bow and arrow. For now, it’s time to get back in the boat for some crappies and walleyes and also a sit or three in the tree with my bow and arrows in search of a whitey tail. And it’s also time to locate another stand site for the kids and whoever else joins us at gun deer camp.
Go Warrior football!