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Jarbidge Elk 2020

Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
Hi All - I posted this on another site, but wanted to give an update on my hunt here as a number of you provided input. Thank you to those that answered my questions and provided suggestions on where to look.

I had helped a friend on his elk hunt in 2016 and started applying that next year. I was late to the point race, but everyone has a chance in Nevada, so I had planned to just keep applying until I could draw a tag.

The draw came and I think it was around 3 AM when I received the text notification from my credit card of a large purchase. Opened up my email and was pleasantly surprised to see I had drawn the 72-74 early rifle tag. Let the planning begin. Started with the biologist, then paper maps, OnX, GoHunt, BaseMap, scouring thru all the posts I could find, I used them all.

In 2016 we went in thru the west side and that had a pretty going amount of people, so I chose to try one of the southern end trail heads as my access point. I let my wife know that in order for me to make the most out of this tag I would need to be in Nevada every month until the season started. To make things a little more complicated I wanted to get my daughter her first D Zone buck in California, I drew fourth season tags in Colorado for deer and elk, and I had two tags as well for California, one was the same area as my daughter and the other is the open season deer tag.

Scouting trip #1 was early June. Five hour drive to Elko then another two hours to the trail head. We camped at the trail head and did a day hike up the trail and into the area I wanted to focus on. Everything was green and water was everywhere, unlike California this year. Ticks were bad, river crossings were cool, saw a few elk, but decided I needed to backpack in and not spend the 2 hours hiking in and 2 hours out for this hunt. Decided to make the 2 hour trip over to the west side for the one night, first run in with the sheep, little did I know they would end up right where I wanted to be.

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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
Back home, more discussions with the biologist, more maps, marking spots on OnX that I wanted to check out. GoHunt released a beta version of 3D maps but only for the computers, this was nice to see the elevation and different areas that we could not see from the trail. River still needed flip flops to cross, luckily the three crossings were somewhat together so we would just leave them on until the last one.

Mom was not happy with the lack of cell service on the first trip, so a Garmin In Reach Mini was added. Pairing with the phone and using the Earthmate app for texting was nice to have. We used the Steripen on this trip for the water, but with it being 95 degrees during the day we just couldn't keep up with our need. A filter will be added before the next trip. Grass/weeds were starting to dry out some, so I do not recommend tennis shoes. We spent a few hours each day picking stickers our of the shoes and socks, every time we moved.

Elk - we did see 15 bulls on this trip, which was nice to see, but being summer and my hunt in October, I knew things could change.

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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
Scouting trip #3 - early September. With muzzeloader season opening Sept 1st and the hopes of seeing & hearing rutting elk I planned our last trip. Unfortunately it was a short one. Another seven hour trip to the trailhead. This time with pants and hiking shoes to limit the stickers, which did help. But the heat and smoke from the west coast fires my son was done by Saturday afternoon. We did spot some elk, but far off with some very faint bugles on Friday night. Didn't see or hear anything Saturday and by 3 PM, the smoke was pretty bad so we called it and made a mad dash to pack camp up, hike back to the truck and made it to Elko by 10 PM. Big car show in Elko that weekend and we were lucky to get the last room we could find and get a burger before closing time.

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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
My friend that I helped get his elk in 2016 would be joining me for the opener. We talked and decided to go in three days early, to get camp set up, water filtered and packed up to camp and to use the three days to figure out where the elk have gone. I spent the last of September and up to October 17th hunting in California. My daughter was able to get her first buck on Oct 2nd and we spent the rest of the time trying to fill her second tag.

We decided to meet in Wells on the 18th, and go in to the trailhead early on the 19th. Packs were heavy and the weather forecast for the next 10 days had low temps in the single digits just after the opener. We decided to pack in as much as we needed for three days and would resupply on the 21st, the day before the opener. The hike in wasn't bad as the trail along the river is pretty simple. Water crossings were done in boots, but the water had come up since the beginning of September. We decided we needed elevation so the last half mile was up the trail to get camp set up on a saddle. This provided a great vantage point, we could see in all directions. Spotted some elk each day but not the numbers I had been seeing, again the questions about me choosing the right location came into my mind. The sheep were gone, but they hadn't been gone too long. You could see where they went, and they went everywhere in that basin.

Monday night and Tuesday had us glassing for elk early and late and we came to the decision that it was nice having this vantage point, but there was no way to actually hunt an elk from there if we saw one. Tuesday night we decided to move camp back down by the river to give us more options. Wednesday morning I glassed for a couple hours and saw a few elk, but again far off and no where near our vantage point. Camp was moved down and we did our resupply run. With the single digit weather that was supposed to come we chose to take in four days of food and would come back out to the trucks if the weather was too bad.

On our resupply run we came across a couple groups of people with horses on their way in. Not unexpected to see people, it's a big place to hunt, right? Talked with each group and told them where our camp was. That night we had a cow moose come by camp.
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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
Opening Day - Oct 22nd.

Our plan was to up on a vantage point above camp before sun up that will allow us to view a basin where we had seen three bulls on Tuesday morning. Up at 4:15, coffee and hiking by 5. Took us about 45 minutes to get to where we wanted to be, had to wait a little for the sun to get up to see how far up the hill we wanted to go. Wind was blowing pretty good and it was cold, and getting colder. Our bladders and drinking tubes were frozen by 6:30, luckily I had thrown in a liter bottle if we needed it, it was slushy but we could drink it.

Anticipation changed to disappointment when it became clear that the people we had passed on our supply run, were all hunting the same exact spot. Within 30 min of sunrise we had seven people all within 1000 yards of us. Out thru the bottom of the basin we were watching came someone that didn't have a tag, just helping a buddy, then 200 yards above us someone talking loud enough for the entire area to hear, another 500 yard up we found two horses and a spike camp. It was clear there would be no elk in this area and I kicked myself for choosing the "easy" hunt that morning, I knew it wasn't going to work.

We did see four bulls higher in the basin in some nasty country. Rocks above and below them, it's obvious why they were in there.

We decided to put on a hunt and proceeded to climb close to 1500 feet out of the area we were in, found where the elk had been, found where a few groups of hunters had come down from the east side and got into a spot where you wouldn't want to shoot an elk. I unloaded my rifle, put it on my pack, and bailed off the top to try and find our way down. On the way back down I spotted a bull just coming out of the timber. To far way and not enough light to go after but it was an elk. Then a cow elk came thru the area which got the bulls attention. The cow went up thru the bottom, picked up the bull I had spotted, picked up another, then another and took all three up and out of the basin we were in, thanks for that.

Made it back to camp after dark, water was in the process of already freezing. Luckily we filled the stove pot with water for the morning, everything froze that night.
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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
Oct 23rd - Pretty miserable night, everything froze, one of those nights where you put on most of the clothes you packed in and still struggle to stay warm. The alarm went off, I wasn't sleeping, and I jumped up, just wanting to get moving

That night we decided to get away from the crowd and try and hunt some elk we had glassed to the west of us. We thought a drainage 30 min south of camp would get us in the general direction but didn't want to go up it in the dark. We started walking at 6 with the idea we would be at the mouth of the drainage by first light. Warmed up during the hike down the trail and started to remove hoods, pack gloves, unzip jackets.

We came around a small bend and could start to see the mouth of the drainage, walking a little further I look up and see an elk coming from our left to right, moving from water up the drainage we were heading too. I drop my gloves, hiking sticks, and sat down right in the trail. The elk was really tan and I had a feeling it was a bull, threw up my rifle and confirmed that it was and said "I am shooting this bull"!

First shot hit him low thru the brisket which turned him around, he came down the hill about 10 yards and stopped, second shot hit him right in front of the shoulders and dropped him. Frustration from the opening day turned into elation, texting my family on the In Reach was a great way to share the information with them. At this point I honestly didn't care how big he was, I just shot a bull in Nevada.

Took a while to gather everything I had thrown down, I looked back up and no elk, what just happened. We gave it another 15 min but it wasn't needed, the bull dropped at the second shot, then rolled down the hillside a bit and got caught up on some trees.

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Rocklin Hunter

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
18
We woke up Saturday morning with a plan to make three trips, two if we felt like we could do it. The bonus was the elk was only 2.5 miles from the truck, closer than camp.

We started just after sun up and finished around 3, did it in two trips, and I am still paying for that last load. Made it back to Wells for the night and home by 1 on Sunday.

Yes there are bigger bulls in Jarbidge, and this is the bull I chose to shoot and am completely happy with it. In total I probably hiked 90 to 100 miles between three scouting trips and opener.

Going in three days early, it was good to be in there and find where the elk were and we not. But that three days added close to 30 miles of hiking to the trip and definitely impacted us when the hunt started.

Did choosing to focus on the southern end of the wilderness have an impact on the number of elk we saw, maybe. We heard 5-6 shots on opening day and my two shots were the only ones we heard on the second day, and no shots on the third day.

For those of you that find this thread when searching for future hunting seasons. Believe what everyone says, this place is no joke and is an extreme environment. Don't take in extra just in case you need it, you have to carry it all out. The dream of killing big bulls is great, but be thoughtful of how far in you are willing to get an animal out. Be prepared for anything, 95 degree heat in the summer where water is your most important thought, to single digits during hunting season. We were extremely lucky that the weather that was in the forecast didn't happen and stayed north and east of us, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado got hit hard.

Like I said I hiked 90-100 miles for & during this hunt, but that is just a very small percentage of the overall wilderness. I would be happy to answer any questions based on my experience.

A few more, I like to take pictures, sorry for such a long post.

Terry
 

cahunter805

Well-known member
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
1,480
Amazing story and nice bull! Congrats on the hard work and it paying off.
 

Brittany Chukarman

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
1,560
Location
Richland,Or
Great effort and recap of your hunt. I had a muzzle loader buck tag there in the late 80's when Nevada's deer population was at it's peak. Jarbidge is western hunting at it's best.
 

ClearCreek

Active member
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
345
Scouting trip #3 - early September. With muzzeloader season opening Sept 1st and the hopes of seeing & hearing rutting elk I planned our last trip. Unfortunately it was a short one. Another seven hour trip to the trailhead. This time with pants and hiking shoes to limit the stickers, which did help. But the heat and smoke from the west coast fires my son was done by Saturday afternoon. We did spot some elk, but far off with some very faint bugles on Friday night. Didn't see or hear anything Saturday and by 3 PM, the smoke was pretty bad so we called it and made a mad dash to pack camp up, hike back to the truck and made it to Elko by 10 PM. Big car show in Elko that weekend and we were lucky to get the last room we could find and get a burger before closing time.

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Is that snake a Rubber boa?

ClearCeek
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
17,716
Location
Indiana
Well done and well told!! Mucho congrats!! Pard had a tag in the Jarbidge a few years back. Said it was a top shelf hunt/experience. 'Tis some awesome country.
 

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