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My 2004 Elk Hunt


Well-known member
Sep 14, 2002
I'm gonna finally get around to typing out my elk hunt for anyone who needs something to read. I've been working a ton and battling some computer issues since I got back, but nows the time to say what all happened. I hunted Sept 17 through the 26th here in Idaho. My dad also took the same time off, just to go along as hes not an archery hunt (yet anyways). Friday, 17th, afternoon we rolled into camp where I was hoping we might be able to when I was scouting this summer. Unforunately there is a camp on the ridge above us right where the elk spent alot of the summer. Right in our camp there is a rub on an elderberry bush and a mud puddle had recently been used as a wallow, things are looking good. That night we drove to an area and hiked up a short ridge. This was new hunting country for each of us, i worked in a little of the area last year, but not much. That night we managed to get into elk three times and saw a calf, I was happy considering it was new country. The next couple days we hunted around camp and were into elk everyday. One afternoon I took off directly from camp and hunted down a couple ridges. I ended up picking up a group of 4 or 5's tracks and follwed them until I caught up to them feeding on the end of the ridge. Unfortunately I was below them and they finally got tired of listening to me and busted out. That night when dad came to pick me up he spooked a decent bull right in the main road. He didn't get a great look but thought it was a four or five point. We headed back near the area we hunted the first night and chased a bull all over in this canyon one morning. He was bugling constantly for about 2 hours, but didn't get a look at him. We also hunted this one monster mountain right across from camp a few days. They had recently improved the round around the mountain and gated it off. I think they're planning to log some of the lower pieces of it this winter or next. Anyways we started walking in on the road in the dark and a bull was bugling somewhere in front of us. The elk had been traveling the road and night and feeding on the grass growing along the sides. The road sides were ate down enough to look like cattle had been in there. Eventually the bull headed up the hill and we continued on past where they went up. We found a ridge back and started up into the trees a couple draws past where the elk had went up. We came to a small bench and I cow called twice and was instantly met by a bugle and close. I headed into the trees to get a little closer and no sooner had I started in when here he came right at me. I instantly kneeled down and grabbed an arrow. The bull saw me pull off the arrow and froze head on at about 25 yards. I screwed up by not having an arrow on the string before i went in to set up. We had a nice little stare down and then he started across in front of me. Due to blowdowns and generally thick trees I never had a good shot and he turned and headed back up the hill. He was a decent five point that would have thrilled me endlessly. The next bull sighting came where we had chased the one around the other morning. We came in the other side of the canyon and he was back at it bugling his head off. I got to where I knew the elk was above me on this hill. I started up the slope and thought he was on a bench above me. When I reached the bench I looked clear to the top of the mountain and there was the bull looking over the side at about 250 yards. I thought I might be busted, but then he responded to my calling by raking a tree and then charging down the hill. I could here him coming the whole way, bugling and breaking brush. The way the land was I was in an opening about 20 yards long then there was an alder jungle for about 20 yards and then another big opening. The bull made it to the other opening but I couldn't coax him through the alders. Last I heard him he was heading back up the hill. He looked to be a 5 or 6 point that I would guess would have went near 300, maybe a little less. I believe that encounter was on Tuesday or so. We continued to be into elk throughout the week and in bugling bulls, but no good oppurtunities. On Friday the 25th we wanted to start in on one road but arrived to find someone already parked there, so we went to a backup. We parked at the gate and started walking. Within 5 minutes of the truck a bull bugled close. We went another 25 yards and I cow called and got an instant response just below us. I headed into a small opening and set up and could here the bull below me in the creek and coming up the hillside. Then antlers coming through the trees and stopping right behind this big fir tree. His head was covered and I could barely see his side (he was facing me), but his antlers were in the clear. He was a nice 5 or 6 again. He was looking around for the other elk for quite a while, but never would step out into the clear. He figured out something wasn't right and wandered back the way he came, never giving me a good shot. That was my last best chance. So elk season ended without me even drawing on a bull. This was the best archery season I've had, my third one. My first year I only saw a cow and calf, last year was just one spike, but this year I must have seen close to 60 elk, was into bulls everyday and was able to call some in, things just didn't come together quite right. Some of the good things from the hunt were clif bars, those things are really good they were a morning staple, another great item that I sugesst to anyone who walks alot when they bowhunt is the Primos Bow Sling, it paid for itself instantly in my opinion. The worst aspect of the hunt was my pack, Crooked Horn Trailblazer combo pack. I hunted with it last year, but not for an extended period of time like this year. It absolutely killed my sholders. For one the straps aren't padded, another is the lack of adjustment on the straps. I could not get it to fit me, I'm small 5'10" about 155-160lbs and I could not get it adjusted small enough to be comfortable. It was also lacking cargo capacity, its hard to even stuff a fleece vest into. It will be gone before next season, probably to be replaced by a Badlands pack. I found one spike shed and a moose shed which were nice bonuses. All in all it was a great trip, no elk died, but I did see enough that I wasn't bummed out like I have been in recent years. I put myself to the test and in my opinion passed. I can't wait to chase elk next year. Thanks for listening, I'll try and do better on deer and have something to put up a picture of.
Way to go team mate! Your best archery season yet!!!! Awesome, close to several elk.

I'm going after some deer and hogs this weekend. I'm hoping we'll get some points, its a depredation type hunt.

Maybe I'll buy your pack, how much is it? I'm about 6' 1/2", would it fit me? I got a pack though. What is that one like? Got a picture of that?
Good story.
Is sucks to have a pack that doesnt fit right.
Still sounds like a good hunt.
Good luck on the deer.

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