Opening day ELK...


New member
Aug 14, 2001
Well, on the rifle opener my pard couldn't get away from work, so I drove solo all night to be sitting on that muley ridge as darkness faded. I was in my favourite valley that we got to know intimitely last year – where after several trips and a dozen days, right at the end of the season, my partner killed a nice 4x4 muley and I missed an opportunity at a large 6x6 bull (which had replayed in my mind hundreds of times since...)

I still-hunted into the wind, up on the ridge where we had chased the 160 class buck a week before with our bows, but I didn't see him or any of the bucks or does that were with him. I guess we eventually wised them up, chasing them around... :confused:

A little bummed, I headed up to the elk drainage and crashed in the back of my truck until about 4:00pm. After a quick meal, I hiked up the ridge to the scene of the miss that had haunted my hunting dreams for almost a year. I set up in a small patch of alpine timber on the edge of a clearcut, about 40 yards from the edge of the dark timber where they bed. Within 200 yards, several trails led out of the timber into the cut where they feed and water in the valley a mile below.

About 15 minutes after my first call, a piercing squeal jolted me to attention and I strained my ears in the howling wind. YEAAAAAAAH!!! He’s back! I traded a few calls with him, but he was holding his ground in the dark timber about 80 yards away. Then I heard another squeal behind me in the cut…was that the wind…hmmmmm. I periodically called to the timber ghost, but he wouldn’t stick his head out of his sanctuary. He finally chuckled, demanding that horney cow to get her ass into the King's bedroom (this was getting good). Then the bull from the cut squealed again, but he had moved around me into a patch of trees below. He let out a chuckle of his own… he wasn’t as small as I first thought… (maybe he’s the 5x5 from last year!) I still hadn’t seen a hair. I heard some cracks coming up the edge of the timber from below…YES!!! It had been an hour since the standoff started and my adrenaline was still pumping!!

The big guy squealed again and I thought he might be coming, finally. I scanned the edge of the timber, with my binos, but couldn’t find him. I slowly looked back down the ridge in the open cut and there, 50 yards away were some very symmetrical branches that had a strange orange hue to them... damn the sneaky bugger is right there! He turned his head slightly, I saw the sword tine and the fork above it and that’s all I needed. I was tucked into a pine with full camo and a headnet. He was scanning the patch looking from behind a bush, but looked right through me. He started to move and I shouldered my rifle, but I snapped a twig in the motion and he bolted back about 5 paces, and stopped broadside. A small bush was shielding most of his body, but a small opening was clear just behind his shoulder…kaBOOOM. We both jumped and I ran to an opening as I cycled my action…he was headed for the dark timber 40 yards away at full tilt and I couldn’t find him in my scope (I was on 5x L ). Just before he disappeared I found him and squeezed one off…he stumbled and I knew that I hit him hard. He only went 10 yards into the timber and I caught up with him. I said a prayer for the fallen stud and said goodbye with a shot to the heart. YEEEEEEEESSSS! I was stoked and couldn’t believe my quest was finally over!!! My first bull! I'm hooked for life!!! :D

[ 09-13-2004, 20:02: Message edited by: mtnboy ]
I didn't have my head lamp and it was dark when I finished gutting it. My pard drove up at 4am to help me pack it out. There was a "big aggressive grizzer" in the area, so we were puckered going in the next morning to say the least... :eek: Here are a few pics:



mtnboy! Great story and congrats on your first one...nice to pull one off solo to boot.
Thanks for sharing.

Thanks boys! It was a blast. I think that bull was the 5x5 that I saw last year at 30 yards as I tried to grow another tine looking through my scope. It's a 6 point only zone where I was hunting (across the border from Montana) and it's draw only where I live (north of Washington)... That big boy (6x7) is still in there for my partner or next year...

cmiddleton - Yeah, that's a bullet hole. As I said I misse the big guy last year and wasn't stopping 'til he was down this time... The first shot double lunged him, but he didn't react like he was hit - the second hit him in the ass, breaking his leg. I heard that the rack shot was deadly, but I guess I hit the wrong tine... :rolleyes:
Well mtnboy congrats to on your frist Elk.

I to hope to get my frist this year after missing laast year. And yes I had those same dreams of missing the big one last year.

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