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2022 Elk

thomas89

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
777
Hopefully everyone's done posting with their [email protected] hunts so I could sneak in a story about a raghorn.

Drew this type 1 tag for the second time ever, first time being 2014. Loved scouting the unit back then, but my older brother died by suicide just after archery season started that year. Really dampened the hunt, walked around mostly in a fog, just felt like I was going through the motions. Ended up shooting a small bull the last day of the season that year. He hangs on my wall and is kind of a bittersweet memory. Really wanted to change that this year, with a happier, fresh memory.

Scouted hard this summer, had my kid up there with me multiple times checking trail cams (trash or not trash?) and saw several nice bulls. Talked all sorts of crap to anyone who'd listen that I was going to shoot a toad this year.

Went out Sunday night with plans to camp through Wednesday in my quest for a giant. Monday morning I was stalking through the timber checking my trail cams (I counted 3 on this one set of wallows...quite amusing to me), when I came up over the rise and saw this little group at maybe 80 yards. Got down on my pack, got all settled...and just couldn't pull the trigger with him (the lower bull) bedded like that. A nice little 6x6, I wasn't going to shoot initially, but he just kept looking nicer and nicer over the course of the 45 minutes I sat there. Cow called once to get him on his feet. He stood perfectly broadside ... with that other bull directly behind him. No shot. Bedded back down again facing directly at me. No shot. Felt the wind touch the back of my neck and they all stood (there was a smaller spike/raghorn thing maybe 20 yards further up in the timber) with the bigger bull still facing me. This time he's giving me a frontal shot which I'm 100% confident in. 80 yards I figure slam dunk, squeezed that trigger and they take off, last I saw of him he's favoring his right front leg pretty hard, no chance for a follow up through the timber.

Long story short, I followed blood, hands and knees at some points, for 1/2 a mile and pushing 4 hours. Lost blood several times, started doing circles to find it again. Find a bit of blood and off I'd go. Literally drops. Between the intermittent rain showers, the problem with this area is there is so much elk traffic, it was really hard to sort his tracks out and "dry" track. 1/2 mile (as the crow flies) later I find his bed, all sorts of blood clots in it ... and no bull. Circled and circled, just couldn't come up with him. Felt like trash. I'm not at the point in my hunting journey where I will punch a tag if I draw blood, I'm just not there yet. Best I can figure, I didn't clear the bit of brush in front of me when I took the shot, and somehow hit just his leg, the way he was favoring it I would say it was broken more than a graze. The lack of blood tells me I didn't hit anything major in terms of vitals/arteries. I don't know, I've had plenty of time to armchair quarterback this. Looking at this picture through my scope, I still can't bring myself to take this shot bedded quartered away, there's just not enough there I like. Ugh, elk hunting.

IMG_1042.jpg

The brush I don't think I cleared, I was sitting with the pack standing upright, but I still don't think it was enough:

IMG_1054.jpg

As I'm walking back to camp, sorting all this out in my head, I'm still mentally in the hunt. Looking for places that I want to hunt later that week. I come up on a nice "staging area" (because I don't know what else to call it) above the wallows filled with fresh elk sign as well as a boned out skeleton from an archery kill from someones elk earlier in the season. Gotta be a hot spot. Just as I'm turning to leave and drop a pin, a bunch of brush starts breaking up on the ridge and this bull is running right to me. I mean RIGHT to me, he looked pretty nice, turned broadside and I could see it was a spindly raghorn type guy...and then he stopped. Now I'm not a great elk hunter, I haven't killed but a few up to this point. And all the sh*t talking I've done is right out the window when there is a bull broadside at 25 yards looking the other way....so I let him have it. First shot, no reaction, second shot, just takes off running a short ways and I hear him tip over behind a little rise.

IMG_1063.JPG

My lucky Winchester hat strikes again. Hate the tongue in this picture, but I've seen worse. I since invested in a little bluetooth tripod/camera remote thing as I really try to get nice pictures of stuff, but that 10second timer just isn't enough to get everything squared away. Got him all quartered up with the help of the guy who bumped him over the ridge to me. He came over to make sure I didn't shoot the bigger of the three. Ended up helping me pack out a bag of backstraps, tenderloins and scrap meat, in exchange for my sling (which he returned to my work this week) for the rest of his hunt. I finished packing him out and was home by 10PM. I don't think it could have worked out much better, other than finding that first bull.

IMG_1097.jpg
Pulled this Barnes out of his off side, originally 140 grains, the other one went all the way through. Test came back negative for CWD, so it looks like I've got some cutting to do here! Got his head dropped off to get cleaned by some beetles, not so much because I can't do it, just curious to see the final product in comparison to what I'm capable of.

Who's taking that bedded shot? Who's punching their tag on drawn blood? Hopefully with time I'll be able to put some of these thoughts to rest.
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
3,812
Location
WY
Congrats on the bull. I'm not taking the bedded shot either, the frontal sure. You seem like a thoughtful guy; it's always tough when things seem like they're lining up and then don't.
 

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
9,542
Location
Wenatchee
Maybe bedded but probably not, def not frontal for all the successes there are an equal number of loses.

Probably.

The former would be an in the moment game time decision.
The latter would be for self-punishment for not shooting/tracking/decision making better.
 

232401a

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2022
Messages
38
Congrats - great story.

Alot more guys are taking that bedded shot than will admit so here. A younger and more experienced me would definitely have taken the bedded shot.

Very few guys punch tag on drawn blood only. Although again, they will often tell you differently.
 

FoodIsMemories

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,711
Location
SW MT
I’d of definitely aimed at the neck there.. plenty of opening to get that shot. But I missed my elk twice this year, and drew blood on one but like you, hit the leg and had nearly any blood. I’m still hunting.
Congrats
 

NEWHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
1,119
Location
Brookfield, WI
Congrats. Nice elk. Thanks for sharing.

80 yards or less with no elk under my belt - I’ll take that shot. I’m pretty much on the same page with @JLS
for where I’m aiming.

Not sure on the punched tag. I’ve gone both ways. Depends on how I’m feeling.
 

thomas89

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
777
This would be my POA. Tough call, I’d have to really feel super steady. I passed on a shot last year that was about 90 yards, back of the head. Was able to work into a different position and had a 110 yard bedded, quartering to shot instead.

View attachment 244448
This is haunting my thoughts. Haha.

I guess I’m not familiar enough with elk neck anatomy to know where vital bits would be at that angle. My fault for being unprepared.
 

Big Fin

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,959
Location
Bozeman, MT
That's a tough one. Each situation is so unique. It's up to the hunter to decide what is comfortable for him/her. You made the right choice, if you had hesitation. I've passed some situations I suspect others would have taken and I've taken some that I suspect others would have passed. The beauty of hunting is that we each get to decide what works for us.

Glad your work paid off. Congratulations. Hope your season continues to be successful.
 

Smokeydabear

New member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
8
Hopefully everyone's done posting with their [email protected] hunts so I could sneak in a story about a raghorn.

Drew this type 1 tag for the second time ever, first time being 2014. Loved scouting the unit back then, but my older brother died by suicide just after archery season started that year. Really dampened the hunt, walked around mostly in a fog, just felt like I was going through the motions. Ended up shooting a small bull the last day of the season that year. He hangs on my wall and is kind of a bittersweet memory. Really wanted to change that this year, with a happier, fresh memory.

Scouted hard this summer, had my kid up there with me multiple times checking trail cams (trash or not trash?) and saw several nice bulls. Talked all sorts of crap to anyone who'd listen that I was going to shoot a toad this year.

Went out Sunday night with plans to camp through Wednesday in my quest for a giant. Monday morning I was stalking through the timber checking my trail cams (I counted 3 on this one set of wallows...quite amusing to me), when I came up over the rise and saw this little group at maybe 80 yards. Got down on my pack, got all settled...and just couldn't pull the trigger with him (the lower bull) bedded like that. A nice little 6x6, I wasn't going to shoot initially, but he just kept looking nicer and nicer over the course of the 45 minutes I sat there. Cow called once to get him on his feet. He stood perfectly broadside ... with that other bull directly behind him. No shot. Bedded back down again facing directly at me. No shot. Felt the wind touch the back of my neck and they all stood (there was a smaller spike/raghorn thing maybe 20 yards further up in the timber) with the bigger bull still facing me. This time he's giving me a frontal shot which I'm 100% confident in. 80 yards I figure slam dunk, squeezed that trigger and they take off, last I saw of him he's favoring his right front leg pretty hard, no chance for a follow up through the timber.

Long story short, I followed blood, hands and knees at some points, for 1/2 a mile and pushing 4 hours. Lost blood several times, started doing circles to find it again. Find a bit of blood and off I'd go. Literally drops. Between the intermittent rain showers, the problem with this area is there is so much elk traffic, it was really hard to sort his tracks out and "dry" track. 1/2 mile (as the crow flies) later I find his bed, all sorts of blood clots in it ... and no bull. Circled and circled, just couldn't come up with him. Felt like trash. I'm not at the point in my hunting journey where I will punch a tag if I draw blood, I'm just not there yet. Best I can figure, I didn't clear the bit of brush in front of me when I took the shot, and somehow hit just his leg, the way he was favoring it I would say it was broken more than a graze. The lack of blood tells me I didn't hit anything major in terms of vitals/arteries. I don't know, I've had plenty of time to armchair quarterback this. Looking at this picture through my scope, I still can't bring myself to take this shot bedded quartered away, there's just not enough there I like. Ugh, elk hunting.

View attachment 244427

The brush I don't think I cleared, I was sitting with the pack standing upright, but I still don't think it was enough:

View attachment 244428

As I'm walking back to camp, sorting all this out in my head, I'm still mentally in the hunt. Looking for places that I want to hunt later that week. I come up on a nice "staging area" (because I don't know what else to call it) above the wallows filled with fresh elk sign as well as a boned out skeleton from an archery kill from someones elk earlier in the season. Gotta be a hot spot. Just as I'm turning to leave and drop a pin, a bunch of brush starts breaking up on the ridge and this bull is running right to me. I mean RIGHT to me, he looked pretty nice, turned broadside and I could see it was a spindly raghorn type guy...and then he stopped. Now I'm not a great elk hunter, I haven't killed but a few up to this point. And all the sh*t talking I've done is right out the window when there is a bull broadside at 25 yards looking the other way....so I let him have it. First shot, no reaction, second shot, just takes off running a short ways and I hear him tip over behind a little rise.

View attachment 244430

My lucky Winchester hat strikes again. Hate the tongue in this picture, but I've seen worse. I since invested in a little bluetooth tripod/camera remote thing as I really try to get nice pictures of stuff, but that 10second timer just isn't enough to get everything squared away. Got him all quartered up with the help of the guy who bumped him over the ridge to me. He came over to make sure I didn't shoot the bigger of the three. Ended up helping me pack out a bag of backstraps, tenderloins and scrap meat, in exchange for my sling (which he returned to my work this week) for the rest of his hunt. I finished packing him out and was home by 10PM. I don't think it could have worked out much better, other than finding that first bull.

View attachment 244429
Pulled this Barnes out of his off side, originally 140 grains, the other one went all the way through. Test came back negative for CWD, so it looks like I've got some cutting to do here! Got his head dropped off to get cleaned by some beetles, not so much because I can't do it, just curious to see the final product in comparison to what I'm capable of.

Who's taking that bedded shot? Who's punching their tag on drawn blood? Hopefully with time I'll be able to put some of these thoughts to rest.
I love this. I need to get better at elk hunting
 

Smokeydabear

New member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
8
Hopefully everyone's done posting with their [email protected] hunts so I could sneak in a story about a raghorn.

Drew this type 1 tag for the second time ever, first time being 2014. Loved scouting the unit back then, but my older brother died by suicide just after archery season started that year. Really dampened the hunt, walked around mostly in a fog, just felt like I was going through the motions. Ended up shooting a small bull the last day of the season that year. He hangs on my wall and is kind of a bittersweet memory. Really wanted to change that this year, with a happier, fresh memory.

Scouted hard this summer, had my kid up there with me multiple times checking trail cams (trash or not trash?) and saw several nice bulls. Talked all sorts of crap to anyone who'd listen that I was going to shoot a toad this year.

Went out Sunday night with plans to camp through Wednesday in my quest for a giant. Monday morning I was stalking through the timber checking my trail cams (I counted 3 on this one set of wallows...quite amusing to me), when I came up over the rise and saw this little group at maybe 80 yards. Got down on my pack, got all settled...and just couldn't pull the trigger with him (the lower bull) bedded like that. A nice little 6x6, I wasn't going to shoot initially, but he just kept looking nicer and nicer over the course of the 45 minutes I sat there. Cow called once to get him on his feet. He stood perfectly broadside ... with that other bull directly behind him. No shot. Bedded back down again facing directly at me. No shot. Felt the wind touch the back of my neck and they all stood (there was a smaller spike/raghorn thing maybe 20 yards further up in the timber) with the bigger bull still facing me. This time he's giving me a frontal shot which I'm 100% confident in. 80 yards I figure slam dunk, squeezed that trigger and they take off, last I saw of him he's favoring his right front leg pretty hard, no chance for a follow up through the timber.

Long story short, I followed blood, hands and knees at some points, for 1/2 a mile and pushing 4 hours. Lost blood several times, started doing circles to find it again. Find a bit of blood and off I'd go. Literally drops. Between the intermittent rain showers, the problem with this area is there is so much elk traffic, it was really hard to sort his tracks out and "dry" track. 1/2 mile (as the crow flies) later I find his bed, all sorts of blood clots in it ... and no bull. Circled and circled, just couldn't come up with him. Felt like trash. I'm not at the point in my hunting journey where I will punch a tag if I draw blood, I'm just not there yet. Best I can figure, I didn't clear the bit of brush in front of me when I took the shot, and somehow hit just his leg, the way he was favoring it I would say it was broken more than a graze. The lack of blood tells me I didn't hit anything major in terms of vitals/arteries. I don't know, I've had plenty of time to armchair quarterback this. Looking at this picture through my scope, I still can't bring myself to take this shot bedded quartered away, there's just not enough there I like. Ugh, elk hunting.

View attachment 244427

The brush I don't think I cleared, I was sitting with the pack standing upright, but I still don't think it was enough:

View attachment 244428

As I'm walking back to camp, sorting all this out in my head, I'm still mentally in the hunt. Looking for places that I want to hunt later that week. I come up on a nice "staging area" (because I don't know what else to call it) above the wallows filled with fresh elk sign as well as a boned out skeleton from an archery kill from someones elk earlier in the season. Gotta be a hot spot. Just as I'm turning to leave and drop a pin, a bunch of brush starts breaking up on the ridge and this bull is running right to me. I mean RIGHT to me, he looked pretty nice, turned broadside and I could see it was a spindly raghorn type guy...and then he stopped. Now I'm not a great elk hunter, I haven't killed but a few up to this point. And all the sh*t talking I've done is right out the window when there is a bull broadside at 25 yards looking the other way....so I let him have it. First shot, no reaction, second shot, just takes off running a short ways and I hear him tip over behind a little rise.

View attachment 244430

My lucky Winchester hat strikes again. Hate the tongue in this picture, but I've seen worse. I since invested in a little bluetooth tripod/camera remote thing as I really try to get nice pictures of stuff, but that 10second timer just isn't enough to get everything squared away. Got him all quartered up with the help of the guy who bumped him over the ridge to me. He came over to make sure I didn't shoot the bigger of the three. Ended up helping me pack out a bag of backstraps, tenderloins and scrap meat, in exchange for my sling (which he returned to my work this week) for the rest of his hunt. I finished packing him out and was home by 10PM. I don't think it could have worked out much better, other than finding that first bull.

View attachment 244429
Pulled this Barnes out of his off side, originally 140 grains, the other one went all the way through. Test came back negative for CWD, so it looks like I've got some cutting to do here! Got his head dropped off to get cleaned by some beetles, not so much because I can't do it, just curious to see the final product in comparison to what I'm capable of.

Who's taking that bedded shot? Who's punching their tag on drawn blood? Hopefully with time I'll be able to put some of these thoughts to rest.
Definitely congrats man
 
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