Sorry guys I had to actually work for a second....
Trip 2 Day 2
After figuring out at 4am that I had left my binos and rangefinder in a complete strangers pickup, I had to make the call and go and meet my buddy at 430. I couldn't leave him hanging, so when we get together we head over to one of his spots. Telling him about my conundrum with the glass he gives me shit, literally all day. We climb up on the spotting nob, below us are some elk feeding and rutting. We come up with a game plan, to try and get in around the backside of the heard we make a move. How we do it I don't know. There bulls in front of us and behind us, cows everywhere and deer. Its not easy but somehow we get in and setup. There is a solid 320 class 6 pt. in front of me but...... we hear some bull behind us, with a considerably deeper bugle. So we wait, and wait, one by one the 320 bull pushes his cows towards us. Single file they go one by one, 50 yard, 45 yards, 60 yards. Here comes the bull, my buddy gives me a range....... any other time I would've sent it. I wasn't feeling the bull and my buddy behind me goes, DO NOT SHOOT THAT BULL, in a whisper. I turn around and say your F****** nuts. He responds you'll be pissed, this was a great bull but he indeed didn't completely turn my crank either. So they work into bed for the day, we leave and go check out another area. It's hot, yet again, and we decide to pull the pin and go back to the first area and wait... all the while I cant help but wonder. How in the hell am I going to go get my binoculars as I am 30 miles from where I was the night before....... The guy that has them insists we will meet up somehow and I am forever grateful he worked with me.
I stay with my buddy and we hunt the evening, finally laying eyes on the bull that was behind us in the timber. He was magnificent. A bull that you don't get to see very often, out in the middle of absolutely the flattest, most torched piece of ground I had seen yet pushing cows around and just acting like a boss. WTF was he doing out there with no water no grass no nothing. He was the bull I wanted, the one I had been dreaming of, I was just grateful to be able to even lay eyes on him. Watching him we knew there was nothing we could do so. We head back to part ways, my buddy couldn't hunt with me the next day and he was the one with access. It was a tough pill to swallow, however there would be more to come.
I get dropped off and make contact with the guy and retrieve my binoculars, his camp was about 30 miles from mine. After the day we had just had though I didn't care. I grabbed some dinner from camp and a couple road sodas and made the trek to retrieve the glass. On the way over I noticed a group of guys had made camp literally right in the middle of where the elk were the day before..... This was no bueno. I got over to the guys camp and told them about my day and they told me about theirs. We actually made a plan to hunt together the next day as i would call and be a packer if anything happened. I headed out after retrieving the glass and finally made it back to camp for the night. Long ass day as I finally rolled into camp at 1230 am.
Day 3 Didn't present much for positives as we had found out that the camp that had setup in the middle of the elk area were basically partying all night. (we ran into them on the ridge) Told us that in the night they were drinking beer bugling from camp at elk in the distance....... another defeat. Oh well
I am stuck in a rut, wondering what I am going to do the rest of October. I am seeing pictures after pictures of bulls from the district. My mind is on auto pilot basically. All I can think about is the big bull with the cows, I cant wait for rifle time. Going into the opener I had heard this comment a lot, you better find one before opener and kill him or your chances will be cut more than in half at a good bull....... Great.
On top of that my buddy I had hunted with couldn't hunt the opener due to work soooooo. I went back to the original spot I had scouted in August and seen the 3 bulls. I met another friend down there a couple days before the season, to our delight there were some elk around. Not any of the ones I had seen but, 2 bulls that were shooters. With a storm rolling in I head down 3 days before the season, to scope things out. Setup camp and we are in business....
The first day it we see some elk, but wanted to see more and they were flirting with some private land where I knew that they had a couple elk tags in camp as well. So we venture further, find more elk. Things are looking promising, yet the only thing I can think about is the giant I saw a couple weeks earlier.
Before the opener my buddy has to leave, work calls. So I am solo again, no big deal my spirits are high. I gain some access in the process of all of this from a couple ranchers as well. Looking around after the snow, I am seeing elk just not "the one." It rings in my mind, you need to find one opener or your chances are toast.
Opening Day: I put 3 bulls to bed the night before I get up early and there they are...... on the private as they had been. I knew it was a slim chance but I hadn't seen any other hunters yet either. So I head to the public to see if they do the same thing for bedding. As I am going that way here comes a rig, headed towards the elk. Oh no.... they park oh no..... the elk are coming my way, they start walking after the elk. OH NO! S**T They come around a nob and setup and yep..... its the ranchers. BOOOM BOOOM BOOOM BOOOM both bulls are dropped. Deflated is all I can say, those were the 2 best bulls I had seen in 3 days and they were done. Now what....... I press on. The rest of the day a horrible storm comes in I cant see shit and the temps drop considerably. I can't help but head back to camp that night going WTF am I going to do.
Started off the day in an area where I had seen some other elk from scouting, it was below 0, windy, not real great conditions walking all day long following some elk in the snow I finally turn 4 bulls up, all small 6pts. It's ok, I continue to press on searching for the right wapiti. Later in the day 2 more bulls, small raghorns. Headed back to the pickup a storm comes in thick, I can't see, its single digits and I am fried from the wind. Pressing on back to camp I pass a truck along the road with a great bull in the back. I could only help but wonder where the bull was hiding. That night I cut loose a little, ate a big dinner had some whiskey and burned way to much wood...... way to much. Where are the elk, I saw in August.....
I realized quickly I am out of wood almost, not good. But, I hunt anyways and just like that I go back to an area close where the bulls were that I saw in August...... THERE THEY ARE! I slam on my brakes, they are a mile out. I park and peel off after them, breathing heavy from the whisky the night before I am really riding the struggle bus at this time. I am in a dead run to try and cut them off before the private. I cut them off get setup, they file in front of me. I glass and glass where is he where is the bigger bull. Small 6, small 5, small 6 medium 6 no big one. I have a moment where I pull my phone out and text my wife. I take picture of the bulls she says wait, do not shoot, thanks honey. I continue to press on further passing the bulls. I spot 4 more these ones were a little more difficult to pass. In the end I am walking back to my truck..... wondering what am I doing passing these bulls. Kicking myself I get in the pickup and realizing I need to go get diesel I head off and gather some more firewood with a borrowed chain saw from a rancher I can't believe I've never taken one with and now I'll never go wall tent camping again without one. Another save my dumbass moment again.....I think that's the fourth one. No elk spotted that night. I told myself I wouldn't settle I was gonna go for it all and try to find my dream bull.
* A man who cuts his own wood is warm twice..... remember that. That's what the rancher told me. He wouldn't give me any pre cut wood but taught me a lesson on being prepared.
I hunt the morning and head home, I am not settling I said. I need to regroup, heading home though I begin to second guess myself. What am I actually doing? Where am I going next? Do I come back? on and on. Then the pictures messages start to come in and one was a dagger..... It was a picture of the giant 6 I had seen with the cows dead...... my heart sank. F*** Me.
The week goes by and more and more pictures of big bulls come in, it just eats me up. I am pacing around, I am antsy, I even get a call from a guy that said he had seen a big bull and wanted me to come down. I couldn't though as I had prior commitments already. They ended up taking the bull that night a beautiful 6 pt bull. All I can think is I got to go again, I ask my dad if he'd like to come. He say's yes and so we plan a couple days and head out during the week. My buddy who I had also hunted with in archery season say's lets go. He had seen a couple bulls while hunting deer and so we were going to focus on that area. Without him, this next part would've never happened......