Idaho Hells Canyon archery 2022

Hilljackoutlaw

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Jan 15, 2019
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Ok first off sorry for the massive delay...my life is chaotic and ridiculous right now to say the very least.

So I left off the night before Jason and were gonna head into the wilderness for an 8.5 mile trek. We got up early and sent Josh and Ron down to a ridge and we headed up to the trail head. We didn't take josh cause he was pretty low on moral and a long hike that could turn up no elk might of been the end of him. Got to trail head right before shooting light and in thick make ya wet fog...not ideal. We hiked and called with no answers. We could only see about 50 yards if we were lucky. It got about 930am and just over 4 miles in and the fog was just getting thicker instead of burning off. That's when the thunder started so we himmed and hawwed and decided this was a fruitless venture. So we turned around and on the way out we passed 3 of the most unfriendly people ive ever encountered on a hunt with 5 mules heading in to scout for their rifle tags. As we got close the truck at a lower elevation the fog let up, but we didn't beat the rain as we got soaked. We decided to drive the long way around along the wilderness border stopping to glass in spots that looked promising. After a few miles we spotted a crap ton of grouse. I already ruined 2 arrows on grouse at this point so I didn't bother with them. Jason decided he would go after them. As he fudged around with them I glassed the opposite side of the road. I managed to turn up a lone elk bedded 1.2 miles away. After Jason missed a grouse he came over and we deciphered it was a bull bedded. We decided to go back the way we came and work down a finger above him. A little over a mile down the finger we were in position so we called and got no response upon further review we realized the bull had houdini'd us and was nowhere to be found. So we made some lunch in the jet boils and decided we would work back up the finger to a saddle we passed and found an elk shed in and make a ruckus calling and raking trees. The first bugle from the saddle received a violent answer on the opposite side. I ran down to the edge of the trees and Jason stayed back to call. After about 20 minutes of back and forth he was not getting closer so I moved down slowly until I realized he was on the other side of the drainage. I finally spotted a cow and eventually the bull. He was working left, right, up, and down chasing other bulls out and corraling his cows. He was a beautiful 7x7 who was asserting his authority like a crazed maniac. At this point I was a good 400 yards from Jason and it was roughly 5pm so I decided to just call and watch the show as I didn't want to cross the drainage without Jason knowing what was going. Plus I was unsure where I could even cross it being almost a cliff. About 30 minutes into calling and watching is when things got a little rodeo like. I was sitting on the very steep terrain in the wide open just above the drainage when I heard some rocks rolling below me. I stood and saw antlers and 25 yards below was a satellite 5x5. I was in a time crunch cause of work so I decided to take him if I could. I drew my bow and as I was trying to find my anchor point on the steep terrain I slipped and shot my arrow into orbit and it probably landed in Oregon for all I know. Son of a b.... but the elk just flinched and kept walking. I nocked an another arrow and he came up beside me broadside. I went to full draw and had a stare down forever. Long enough I had to put my bow down. I drew again and needed him to clear a branch. When I thought he was clear I shot only to not be clear apparently. I waited awhile and tracked him to be sure of what I thought a non fatal hit. Found some blood after about 100 yards but it was very little and far between. I hollered for Jason but the only thing that would answer me was the angry 7x7 everytime I yelled. I marked the blood and headed back up to Jason and we decided to pull out and come back in the morning and I would do a thorough search for what I was sure a just fine 5x5 and the other 3 guys could hunt the 7x7. Back at camp the guys tried to cheer me up with hopeful thoughts, but in my gut I knew it was non fatal.
 
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Hilljackoutlaw

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The next morning we got up early and headed to where I shot and where the 7x7 was at when we left. We arrived at the saddle just at daylight and I ripped a bugle. The 7x7 answered immediately and was in the same spot as when we left him. We knew it was him because he was the most hoarse sounding bull I've ever heard. So the 4 of us headed down into the drainage. We found a flat spot in the bottom and we made a plan. I didn't want to take them from a great bull so I told them to get a plan together and kill that big bull and I'll look for my elk, they reluctantly agreed. They headed straight up a perfect example of hells canyons beautifully steep terrain and I went back for my last blood spot. I only found a couple more spots of blood and my arrow. So I set out to gridding the drainage with no luck. After 3 hours I climbed up to where I was when I shot to eat and glass the other side where the guys were working the 7x7. He was bedded and answering all of my buddies calls but not budging. After about an hour of watching and listening to that I had enough as I was frustrated and telling myself what I would be doing if I was them. So I made the decision to walk out to the truck by way of the drainage to make sure I didn't leave any stone unturned even tho I knew it was gonna be a brutal hike. I finally made it to the truck at 4pm and I headed to camp and then to town to get a few supplies. I arrived back a little after dark and got out of the truck hoping to see game bags hanging. There was none. They worked the bull all day and Josh was full draw 2 different times an hour apart at 28 yards but never could get a shot. The bull charged in many times and would destroy a bush or tree and then charge back to his cows all morning and just never offered a clear shot. Josh was over the moon even tho he couldn't shoot. The snot and steam coming off and from the bulls face as he would repeatedly charge in to show his dominance was worth the price of admission for his first ever elk hunt in his eyes. I was in a time crunch and had to leave the next day.
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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When I was coming back to camp the night before I saw some elk in a saddle we had been keeping an eye on. So that morning the guys decided to give the 7x7 a day off and try that area. They walked into a mess of elk and had bulls everywhere. At one point Josh and Jason had 3 bulls two big 6x6s and a 5x5 within 30 yards. Josh went full draw on the 5x5 without realizing there was a 6x6 headed right at him from his southwest. The 6x6 ended stopping 8 yards broadside to Josh while he was frozen at full draw. The 5x5 finally moved and Josh shot and hit a limb he did not see about 10 yards before the bull and no dice. The elk scattered but didn't bolt minus the 6x6 that was 8 yards. So they kept working them never getting another shot. That afternoon they got into more elk and almost got run over by some cow elk. The only elk unfortunate enough to give a shot to someone that afternoon was a spike that stopped 20 yards in front of Ron our retired buddy who is a meat hunter through and through and he let it rip and the shot was true and went down quickly. He perished in a perfect spot which made for the only easy packout in hells canyon history I think. The 3 of them got him out in one trip and they had some backstraps for dinner.

20220917_160307.jpg
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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Jan 15, 2019
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Ron stayed 3 more days to hunt with Jason and Josh. They were in elk every single day including the 7x7 2 more times. Josh was drawn multiple more times over the course of the 8 days but never could get everything to fall into place. They busted their asses and I give them credit. They hunted dark to dark for 16 days working up and down the wildernesses brutal terrain. Josh rolled his ankle bad on day 12 when his boot blew out side Hilling, he wrapped it and kept chugging along. Josh got a good introduction to elk hunting in some of the toughest terrain and had his eyes opened as it was way tougher than he expected in a good way. For them 3 it was a very successful hunt. For me with work and other life things that had bad timing it was bittersweet as I only got 3.5 days to hunt and couldn't hunt more with Josh on his first elk hunt. I'm still not over it and probably won't be for awhile.
 

JPelkhound

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Dec 27, 2021
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Nightmare I had to climb out of after looking for that bull for hours. View attachment 245975
I LOVE this photo..It will bring you to “Religion” in short order.

Nothing is as mentally debilitating as looking at your GPS and realizing camp is on the other side of that after busting your butt all day.

Hells Canyon is no joke. You all spending more than 3 days chasing animals is “Balls Up” in my opinion.
 

Kev_Kopf85

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Feb 26, 2021
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2
Still Smoky today, but no rain yet. Heard a few this morning saw 3 all across the drainage. Headed to New ground now. We saw 14 different hunters out of only 40 tags in and out of the drainage we were based out of. This is not my idea of a wilderness hunt to many roads in that area.

Elk trail I followed this morning went about 3 ft from that cliff for a long ways.

View attachment 239517 View attachment 239518 View attachment 239519
What kind of bird is that? Saw them in Arizona during our late season archery elk hunt. Cool looking birds!
 

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