Caribou Gear Tarp

Our elk hunt

raybow 1

New member
Dec 19, 2000
bellingham- washington
Finally got a chance to sit down and type a little story about our hunt.
It all started out at 8:00pm Wed. night as I left after work from Seattle. Mark and the boys had left some time earlier to get up and set up camp and still have a day left to scout. (Not that a guy really needed to but it is always tough just to sit for a day and wait.) I finally arrived in Glenwood Springs Thursday at 3:00 am. I drove around until I found the DOW office where I was to buy my tags and then settled in for the rest of the short morning. I settled in at 4:00 and set the alarm for 6:00 am. Got up, ate a little breakfast, and went to get the tags. Got everything taken care of at 9:00 am and headed out to meet the legendary DS. The guy I had known for five years and had never even talked to over the phone until a month or so prior. We hooked up in Basalt just a few miles from where we were to hunt and it didn’t take long to start swappin lies. After all, that is a very important part of the hunt. HE HE!! Off we went to Home Sweet Home where we were to spend the next few days camping out. It was a desperately needed trip for all, as we know the obstacles and hurdles that took place this prior year. The boys were just as full of piss and vinegar as I thought. John was quite the card and started off with some of the best one-liners that I had ever heard. He just kept on a roll at the most surprising moments when you would least expect. I was in stitches for a good part of the days John was there. As fate would have it, John became pretty sick and we would have to get him down to fly out to see his Doc. We sorely missed him. Then there was Wesley.
I can only hope that when I get to be his age I will be able to get around as good as he did. What a go-getter. Not an ounce of quit in this man. I personally think he was on a mission. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy but he was very prepared to do whatever it took to get his bull. He knew there was one that had his name written all over it. What can I say about DS; the legendary DS. This guy was the real deal! All bullshit aside and all business when it came to hunting elk. I wanted to ease into the situation a little as I didn’t know how everyone was going to hunt but there was no ease about it. Right from the git go it was all out Balls To The Walls with this guy. Damn I said, this boy has some wheels like I haven’t seen in quite some time. The biggest deepest ridgeline in the lower 48 and he decides that’s where we are heading. Ye Ha!! I scratch my head a little and off him and I go with leaving John and Wesley on the top of the ridge. Down down down and more down. I soon start thinking that what goes up must come down, but this is a little backwards as what goes down must come up! HE HE. We finally get to where we are to glass and Mark says, well we oughta hear a bull bugle here shortly, and I looked at him a little cross eyed and thought, “does he realize this is rifle season and November to boot”. About that time I hear this faint bugle in the distance coming from a nice little stand of fir amongst the quaking aspen and the scrub oak. Now this one kinda threw me, as I had never heard a bull bugle this late in the season. The next thing DS said is, “that will be one of the last bugles because when the shooting starts they clam up”. Boy and they sure did. We heard a shot from the top of the ridge and soon another. Then another and finally another. It came from the same area as we had heard the bugle. Mark and I looked at each other and assumed they had killed the bull. We decided then that we were going on a scouting mission to see what kind of sign was in the area, as we had not got the early snow to start the migration. I headed low and Mark stayed in the medium level of the ridge to cover the real estate. Every once in a while I would glass up the ridgeline and spot him about a half-mile above me and he would be overlooking the next ridge over. I was cutting massive sign all lined out and headed down into the lower elevations on almost every ridge I was crossing. This told me all I needed to know about the area we were hunting. There were elk and lots of them. We just needed to scratch them out. We met up at camp and compared notes. John and Wes had rode the horses back to camp and Wes had already headed out for the evening hunt when we arrived. John had stayed in camp hoping to rebound from his ailment. When Wes arrived back at camp he had some high hopes for the next morning as he had found massive sign where he had been too. We headed our separate ways the next morning with Mark and I going back to the bottomless pit and Wes heading back to the area he had seen all the sign. Mark and I soon arrived at the ridge we were going to hunt and glassed for quite some time on top. Mark soon came over and said he was going to drop down and I told him I was going to stay put. Things just looked too good to move for me. The elk had been all over the ridge from the night before. An hour or so later I seen Mark picking his way down the ridge looking like he had seen something. He soon radioed me telling me he had spotted some critters and was going to put a sneak on em. I said ok and I was going to stay put hoping that one would step out of the ravine. Another hour or so passed and I finally heard him shoot. A long time passed and he soon radioed again, asking where I was and I told him I was still waiting for the big one to come sneaking out of the ravine. He then said “well it’s time to get the pack horse cause I just rolled my bull over in the clover”. I was laughing my butt off looking at the distance we had to pack, from where the shot came from. I told myself, I think that boy is a little crazier than I am. What goes down must come up, and what went down was a respectable 5x5 that weighed around 650 pounds. So up I headed to get the packhorse and headed back down to him. I met him half way down the ridge where we parked the horse. It was too rough for the horse to go any farther so we had to get the animal up to that point. It was hot and dusty so I decide to leave my sweater and hat on the ridge by the horse. I knew it was going to be a good pack so I wanted to go light. We got down to the bull a while later and soon began to process the meat off the bone. Of course Mark had decided he needed a European mount so that included another 50 or so pounds of weight on top of the already heavy half elk each. I just smiled at him and he smiled back saying let’s do er. All of a sudden the snow came out of nowhere. Down it came. No hat, no sweater, heavy pack, steep ridge, and a long ways. What more could a guy ask for. Oh ya, massive scrub oak to try and fight the rack through!! The snow kept falling and the horns kept hanging and the packs got heavy but we kept plugging along. We finally reached the horse and not any time too soon as my head was freezing. The first thing I did was grab my sweater and pull it over my head. The neck of it felt frozen as I could feel ice as it slipped over me. I soon realized it wasn’t the sweater it was my hair. I had over an inch of ice on top of my head. No wonder my head was cold. HE HE! We got the elk all packed on the horse and off we went still steep and now slick. We had made it around half way when all the sudden the saddle and all slipped back on him. What a frickin rodeo. It was soon off his ass and around his ankles. I had been packing the head and horns and Mark leading the horse. Let me tell you shit was hittin the fan with ol Betsy. He was a kickin and buckin and jumping and spinning and almost took Marks head off. All I heard Mark say was “grab his rein grab his rein and don’t let him go don’t let him go”. Damn what a deal spinning and kicking and jumping and no shortage of action. We finally got him all settled in and loaded up again. Up the hill we went again. This time no trouble. We finally got to the top and hit the horse trail. Another hour or so and we would be back in camp. Wow what a hunt!! All I can say is, that was one hell of a fun hunt. Mark is a complete animal. Well the football game is now on and I will have to finish the rest of the hunt later boys.
Wow Raybow! That's one hell of a story! I can't wait for the finish. I hope it's a happy ending? Someday I hope to meet DS. Sounds like a great guy and a hell of a guide/friend!
That brings back fond memorys ! I know that is one deep hole. My trick to hunting that cannyon is to shoot an elk up top, withen fifty yards of the trail, but I know DS won't have non of that easy stuff ! If there's two elk, one standing next to a road, and the other miles back in rough country, Mark will go for the hard bull every time !
I can't wait to hear the rest of it !
( I already herd the DS version, you know, easy hunt, good weather, mild terrain, short packout )
Day three of our hunt:
Like I said, it was snowing quite heavily from the day before and it had finally eased through the night. The next morning when we opened the tent flap it had about one foot of White Thunder to begin the day. Just what the doctor had ordered for a great day at the office. We had taken John out to town late the evening before to catch a flight back to see his doctor. That left Wesley, DS, and I to battle nature on this perfect day for hunting the great Wapiti. We had already decided this was to be the day Wesley was going to fill his bull tag and we were going to find a good bull for him. Well, as luck would have it, we spotted a little band with a legal bull right where I had been the morning before. We quietly eased down the ridge trying to get a vantage point for Wes. We had positioned perfectly on the ridge and now it was just a matter of time before the bull fed out from the cover he was in. We were discussing the scenario for Wes when all of a sudden he started looking 50 yards or so below us. A bull had walked right into plain view and he had his crosshairs right on it. I looked at DS and he looked at me realizing that wasn’t the bull we were stalking. DS asked Wes if he had a clear shot and Wes replied “not yet but I sure am fixin to”! I decided I would take the other bull if a shot presented itself after Wes whacked his. All of a sudden I heard Wes shoot and the Bull on the ridge came shootin out like he was riding a crotch rocket. The only mistake Ol Bucky made was he stopped to look back. I took the old trusty 30-06 made in 1916 and dropped the hammer at 250 yards. I then heard Wes shoot again and caught his bull slowly walking toward the area my bull had dropped. He finally got another clear shot and the 300-win mag did what they do best, (dropping him like a sack of potatoes). Two elk down and within 60 yards of each other. Wow what a convenient deal this was. DS started up the ridge to get the horse and I commenced to bone the elk. I had just finished with Wesley’s when DS arrived with Two Biscuits and we then went to processing mine. We finished and packed mine down to where Wes’s elk was and loaded the two of em up. Keep in mind this Two Biscuits is a twelve hundred pound stud. DS stated to lead him up the ridge when all of a sudden Two Biscuits decided he just wasn’t going fast enough. Off he went on his own picking his way up the ridge jumping over logs like they were just a fun thing to do with over 400 pounds of weight on his back. What a stud!! When we finally reached the top he was waiting with the rest of the horses patiently, as if to say, “what took you guys so long”?
We arrived back in camp around 3:30 with two bulls and one happy Wesley as this had been his first bull bagged. His bull was another respectable 5x5 and mine was a nice little 4x4. We ate and slept well that night!!
Raybo... Sounds like you guys did it "DS STYLE". Kudos on the hunt.. Iknow one of you guys took some pics... Let's start seeing 'em !!!!
Raybow congrats on a great sounding hunt and for helping to keep DS's percentage up!
I gotta meet that guy one of these days...his reputation preceeds him ;)
Sure sounds like it ray....also sounds like you've got some serious running gear under you as well ;) ....ahhhh, to be young again....
Your too kind Ray ;) .....I'll probably be whining and looking for my umbrella next year in the rainforests of Washington state as we're looking for the tame Rosys :D

Really though, Marv and John SWA............I'd love to meet both of you guys someday. It's always a pleasure to meet and hunt with good folks. There are at least a dozen on here that would have nothing but good things to say about me after meeting and hunting with me.......and that means a lot to a man. I only know one way to hunt, and that is all out and leaving it on the mountain. The off season is a long one and I have too many times sat and wondered "what if I had pushed a little harder?"......... To a man, the guys I hunt with will tell you I try my best to help them in filling their tags and packing their animals before I start worrying about my own. It's all about the comradery...........and I would welcome the opportunity to meet and hunt with as many of the good folks from this board as possible............the operative word being "good" folks ;)

Great story Ray.............brought back a lot of memorys. I'll get the pics done today and mail them to someone who can host and post them.

[ 11-09-2004, 07:19: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]
Fantastic story, guys! I'm sure we'll hunt together someday. Wouldn't that be awesome to have a hunttalk group hunt some day? I know that would be a lot of people for a big game hunt but I'm sure we could work something out.

Again, Congrats!!!!
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