Just talked to Ray and he said he will log on this evening with a teaser story......but his buddy has the pics and on a plane with them, so it'll take a while to get them posted up...so we'll just have to let Raybow stretch the truth until we get photographic confirmation!
Walked in the door a couple hours ago and my a$$ is still rode hard and put away wet. Went right to bed and sawed some big ass timber in my sleep. This hunting year was one for the scratch your a$$ book. What could go wrong did go wrong.
We started out opening morning leaving the house at 3:00 am and drove straight over to where we were going to hunt. It was the Colonel Bob Wilderness area and let me tell you; WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT MAN THINKING????? Anyway the weather looked like it was going to take a turn for the worst but when it's opening day, who pays attention right. There were four of us hunting together this year and we had 11000 acres to work with. Curt brought 80 pounds of pack, me 76 pounds of pack, Nigel 51, and JR 34. This area wasn't too bad, but it did climb 4300 feet in elevation. The trail we decided to take was 7.5 miles to the top. Off we went into the wild blue yonder and to my surprise (NOT) it changed from the blue yonder to foggy ass wet yonder. We were now into the hike an hour and it was what one would consider a torrential downpour. No fears as our packs were waterproof, right!! As the trip continued up the ridge it was soon apparent that we were in for a wet and long night. The guys were soon loosing enthusiasm at a pretty fast rate and I could tell there was going to be a mutiny on the ship unless something soon changed. We were 3 miles in and things had slowed to a snails pace so I decided I was just going to keep going until I found a flat spot to set up camp. The rain was just pounding and it wasn't letting up. About 4.5 miles in I reached a shelter that had been built in the 1930’s. What a score considering it was dry and had no leaks. I entered and decided the first thing on my agenda was to change my wet clothes. I sat in the shelter and waited for the crew and soon realized that they may have decided to hang out at the 3 mile where it was fairly flat. Back down the trail I went fully loaded with my pack but dry. I soon found them at the tree and a half-mile and they were not happy. The first words out of their mouth were; “there’s going to be a killing and it aint going to be an elk”. Mutiny had set in!! Needless to say I did not tell em about the shelter, but told em I would make it better and things would be looking up. They were a bit skeptical considering they were soaked and it was steep but never the less agreed to keep going. About a half mile later one of em noticed that I was a bit dryer than what the weather allowed. I told him that it was his imagination and I was soaked too. We still had a little negativity floating around the trail (Nigel) so I decided to bait him in. I said you tell me what you want and I’ll see what I can do. In fact Nigel, if I could build you a shelter I would, that’s just the type of guy I am. The next half-mile was tough and steep, the packs were heavy and everyone was tired. They were looking for any place to set a tent up. I could now see the corner of the shelter and the guys wanted to stop. They had not noticed the roof peaking out from the midst of the trees and we were standing within 40 yards of it. They kept saying, “what’s wrong with this spot”? I told em it wasn’t flat enough and we would find a better spot. They looked a little cross-eyed at me and I conned em into it. When they seen the camp they about crapped. We went inside and proceeded to build a fire. The next step was to get dry. When everyone opened their packs the water just ran out. The packs were supposed to be waterproof on the outside not the inside!! I had never seen anything quite like that and it was to the point that all you could do was laugh. We finally got everyone’s gear dry and belly’s full just in time for bed.
The next morning came early and we were off and running. Three miles left and it wasn’t raining. We made great time and finally reached the top. Looking to one side you could see the Pacific Ocean, the other side the Olympic Mountain range, the other side was the Cascade Mountain range, and the other, the most populated area in the world for big trophy world class Roosevelt, The Quinalt river drainage and lake. What a view. There was only one thing that was a bummer and that was the fact that there was a crew of men revamping the trail. They had everything run off the top and down in the canyon. I soon realized that a cat had been walking around following one of the guys for a couple days. We hunted up there for a couple of days and blew out. Everything had been pushed down from the guys working up there. We then decided to come in from Fletcher Canyon. It was 4 miles to the top that way. Two men from the crew abandoned ship when we hit the bottom of the trailhead and decided they had been wet to long and needed to dry out. It had rained hard on and off every day since we started. Kurt and I headed up the canyon and soon picked up the same cat track that had been up top. We hunted for a couple days in the canyon and the big boys could not be found. Again, we were wet!! We hunted the next couple days in the bottoms and soon realized that the bulls had not crossed the river into legal ground from the park. Seven days into the hunt and we had not seen an elk. Again, we were wet. We found a laundry mat with a shower and decided to do laundry and take showers. Kurt and I then decided to go hunt some of those drive by bulls that were a bit easier to access and stayed at a buddies cabin. Again, we were wet. We got on a decent 6x6 Roosevelt and hunted him hard for two more days. Kurt got two shots, overshot once and undershot the next time. They then headed for the thinning and pretty tough bow hunting in there so we pulled out. Again, we were wet.
Things were not looking up so we decided to do a little deer hunting for a change in pace. No luck. Did not see any bucks worth taking. Again, we were wet. We took a day off to socialize and it was the first day we were not wet.
Plan B set in. It was time to go hunt some of those Rockies down south toward a little town called Goldendale. We had taken a couple bulls out of there over the years and it always held elk. We finally got there with two days left. Kurt and I split up to cover the real estate and locate a herd. The next thing I knew was he was calling me on the two ways at dark. He said; “dude, I got a big one and it’s a stroker. I met him at the truck and we headed back in. The bull was a little over a mile in and he wanted it caped out. We walked down an old grade for about a mile and came to his ribbon line where it headed into the brush. It was about 1/3 mile off the grade. We soon reached the elk and proceeded to bone and cape it out. We had heavy elk bags to load the meat in and finally got it all loaded up and tied on to the packs and the only thing left was the head and cape. We tied that on to Kurt’s pack and off we went. His pack was so heavy I had to help him to his feet. We finally got it to the grade where we then switched packs. That was one heavy pack!! At 3:30 in the morning we finally hit the road and again, we were wet (with sweat).
He had belly crawled for an hour and a half following the herd trying to get a slot where he could get closer to the bull. The cows were spread wide covering a lot of real estate he said, so he couldn’t get too close without doing the army low crawl. He got to within 80 or 90 yards and just sat and waited. The bull finally came over to a couple cows around 45 yards or so and he was able to flip the arrow. The hit was a little back but luckily center punched the liver. What a beautiful animal and it will end up scoring close to 335.
We got up the next morning at 8:30 and were real slow to get going after that pack. Never the less we finally got kicking around and out and about I went in search for the other bull that Kurt had seen with the herd. I dropped in low so I could use the wind and started picking my way through the trees. I soon came to an area that had been pounded by a bull the night before. I had no idea weather it was the same bull Kurt had seen or not. I started tracking and within 40 minutes heard the bugle. I spotted the bull through the binos and he was running back and forth from cow to cow. He would chase a cow from one corner of the trees to the other. Then he would switch to another cow. I knew if I could get within 50 or 60 yards of the cows I would have a good chance. I started sneaking in and one of the cows spotted me and took off. I chirped on the cow call and they froze. I managed to work past them and ran into a little spike hanging out in the corner. He really didn’t seem to pay too much attention after I chirped on the call once. He just stood looking and I got past him. I finally got to a good slot where I had a great view of what the bull was doing. I knew it was just a matter of time before he came within range so I sat patiently listening to all the noises the cows were making. It wasn’t 20 minutes after I was in position when the bull came into range. I took my range finder and shot the range. I pulled up and let drive!! All I am going to say is I ended up getting him a little while later. I’m not going to say how far or where the arrow hit, but let’s just say, it could’ve been better on all counts. It ended up being a nice 6x6 that will score 275 to 285. A nice bull !!!
The story of him belly crawling to within 80 yards of the herd reminds me of the big6x7 in the Gila a couple weeks ago. I had the identical situation...but as the bull came close, the wind shifted and the herd busted after an hour of me watching helplessly.......good to hear of the same situation working out for you guys.
Get on your buddies ass to get the film developed and let's see one of them big ass Roosevelts!
Unit 588 is a western tag, so it is one you can legally hunt in that area. If a guy does some homework it can be a very productive hunt. I like buying western tags because it allows me to hunt the big Roosevelt on the penninsula, the Cascade Roosevelt on this side and one other little spot, and the Rockies in the area we did hunt. I tel ya D.S., we learned that little trick years ago hunting Marino rams on Santa Cruz Island. They were not nearly as spooked if we crawled. My buddy should have the pics developed so it is just a matter of Getting em to me now. I took a pic of my bull with my digital but hunt 101 won't let me upload it at this moment due to some upgrades.