Ok, I emailed delw the pics so we'll have to wait for them. But here's the story as best as I can tell it being exhausted and delerious.
I left Friday morning at 0230 headed for area 4B in AZ. This is just after an unsuccessful Idaho hunt. Unsuccessful because I didn't come home with anything, but very successful as far as learning alot about elk and their habits.
Anyway, I'm back to the drive to 4B. IT's 29F outside and there's snow on the ground. The truck was nice and toasty and actually made the trip!(another story)
I made sure that I did things a little different this time. This time I would park my truck a good ways away from my camp and hike in with my frame pack and my bivy tent.
Ok, so I now I found my spot that I scouted a month ago. I was scouting a couple of tanks that had lots of fresh track(back then). I set up camp in the snow and no tracks and no sign. The road to my camp had major traffic too! Lots of hunters and lots of ATVs. I knew that this wasn't going to work, so I looked for another FS road and found a great road with maybe one or two less craters and divits. This road was looking great... then I saw that the Boy Scouts were having their "Camporee" right in the middle of a great spot with awesome sign! (must have been going for their "Spoil an Elk hunt" merit badge!LOL) I'm not knocking the BSA. I was a boyscout and made it to "Star". I think it was complementary. I always had the delinquent patrol. Yeah, who ever used water in there canteens anyway... ok, I'm going off thread again. Where was I, oh yeah, the boy scout thing. You should have seen it. Portapotties and everything. A far cry from my BSA days.
So now I'm still looking for a fairly desolate area free from other hunters/boyscouts. I found a couple offshoot roads that WERE marked so I took my truck through some serious ruts and whoops and found an awesome camp site.
I was camped between Slim Jim Canyon and Slim Jim Ridge off of FS road 170K. Anyway, I saw some fresh beds and some fairly recent sign so I thought that I had hit the jackpot! I decided to hunt Long Tom Canyon which was the canyon west of Slim Jim. Man was that stupid. Sure I saw sign, but I had a 1000' decent into the canyon where I saw fresh sign and my life flashing before me climbing down and that was before the piece of cake walk back up the little 1000' hill to the top, not to mention going through Slim Jim Canyon which was a cake walk to get back to my camp. This was Saturday and I called Delw from Heber since that was the only place to place a cell call with service and he assured me that he would come up Saturday and give me a hand scaring up a beaut of a cow.
Now I'm back at my peaceful private camp... right? Wrong! I run into three friendly fellows on quads and chew the fat for a while while the father picks on his son for missing 3 shots at a cow while he and the other rider have already shot thiers. They talk me into walking down Slim Jim canyon while the other guy tries from the other side. He spots a bull(no good, cow season) and tells me to go up the right side of the finger canyon. Well, I didn't see his bull and I didn't see any cows either, but I saw some awesom seriously fresh sign includeing a brand new scrape! Oh, I forgot to mention that I did see a young bull, a four point maybe but he saw me first and took off like a bat outa hell and took his ladies with him. I ran into this guys father and he said that I royally screwed up! That bull jumped onto the road and he was chasing him along with 5 cows and a calf running along side until they got to the boy scout camp! After that nice bit of information we parted our ways and wished eachother good luck.
Now it's getting close to the evening and I decided to try the Potato Patch Draw area before it got dark. I hiked into a few canyon fingers as quietly as I could and ofcourse stepped on a dead twig and about 4 or 5 cows bolted out of range, not that it would mattered since they took me by surprize.
Now it's Sunday. I tried the Potato Patch Draw area again and found some awesome sign, but no cows. It's getting close to lunch time and I figured that the cows were bedded down since we had nearly a full moon the night before, so I headed out to Heber to give my ol' buddy Delw a call. He gave me a few other areas to check out and I did, but wasn't really comfortable sitting at water tanks and waiting for the cows to come to me. I really got jealous of all of the guys hangin out at processing stations along hwy 260. I just knew that today was the day!
After a long drive looking for Little Pueblo Trick Tank and scouting the area, I decided to drive back to my area. I finally decided to hide in a cut out of trees at the south tank water hole. It looked like a good place with all of the fresh sign at the water line and besides, Delw told me that the cows would be hanging around the water tanks all day long! I got tired of sitting around watching the sun move over the horizon, so I started looking for the cows that hang around the tanks all day long! I guess Delw forgot to mention that only the invisible cows hang out around the water tanks all day long.
Ok, so I'm frustrated again. I decided to go back to my camp and check out Slim Jim Canyon one more time even though the paternal ATV'er said that there was soooo much human scent in there after scaring up the bull and the cows that there wouldn't be another elk in there for at least two days.
I try to find my spot where I found the fresh scrape and sign, but climbed the wrong ridge. Thinking to myself, I could've sworn that I was going to find something today at least one shot, I was starting to feel frustrated and disappointed. I climbed down that ridge and made it to the bottom of the canyon when I saw a different color of brown from the corner of my eye!
I stopped dead in my tracks! Sure enough, there she was! I saw here and she saw me!! I immediately dropped to see if she would react, but she was still there about 30, maybe 40 yards away standing between two trees looking straight at me!
I knew that this would be a difficult shot since she wouldn't move and I only saw her head and her chest.
I ducked down and crawled to the end of the fallen log where I was standing and saw that she was still there standing and looking straight at me with the same difficult shot. I stood up and took aim but then thought, ya know? she hadn't budged since she first saw me. I'd better get in a better position for this shot.
I slowly dropped to the prown(sp) position and she was still there just saying shoot me in here cow telepathy... so I oblidged!
Boom! says the muzzleloader. After the smoke cleared I saw her run away and thought to myself..."Damn! Another shot, another miss!" Now I head up the canyon for about 200 yards trying to find the cow that was so courteous in allowing my shot. I was disgusted with myself as it was getting dark and still hadn't filled my tag.
Just on a whim, I decided to look for a blood trail from where I shot at the cow. Low and behold? A drop of blood! A few feet further another drop of blood and then a huge splash! This was my first experience of tracing a blood trail. Talk about exciting and frustrating at the same time! Anyway, I had my mini mag out and I felt like Sherlock Holmes slowly tracking the clues! Finally in the dark I found her! Not more than thirty yards from where I shot her! It was a perfect shot! Dead center in the chest! Took out her heart right there! I say it was perfect, and it was, but only perfect by luck. I had a very cooperative cow and she gave me a difficult shot , but I took it anyway. I didn't want to take a shot like that, but she had a visual on me and I knew that it was then or never.
The funny thing was that Delw said that he was going to try to make it up Sunday to help me with the hunt... Well, he made it up Sunday alright. He drove up late last night and helped me pack out that big gal from 11:00 to 3:00 in the morning!
I have to say that Delw is a class act and true friend in every meaning of the word. The kind of guy that will do anything for you in a moments notice without expecting anything in return.
Delw, I trully apprectiate all that you did for me last night and all of your great advice during this hunt! That was a hell of a pack out and I couldn't have done it without you!
By the way, I butchered the animal myself but I was half dead when I got to the hind quarters. I decided to let the pros handle that part. I still haven't gotten any sleep since last night, which would probably explain my long winded rant, but I just want to thank you again for helping me with the successfull end to my first Elk hunt!
Well that's the story ladies and gents! I hope that I didn't bore anyone and I'm sure that Delw will have the pics up shortly!
HELL YA I said. April was at the desk and looked at me when I said I would be right up. I told her its to payson I will be back by 1am at the latest.
John and I agreed to meet off the side of the freeway.
Well seems ole del doesnt get out that way(payson) much any more. I told John I would leave at 7pm and be up there at 9:30. Damn I can make it to roosevelt lake towning a 22 foot bass boat in 1 hour and 45 mins surely I can make it to payson in 1.5 hours WRONG.
I left the shop then the house finally around 7:30-7:45. Forgot my PACK ooops. No problem john said it was 100 yards off the road and on the side of a little hill. in the canyon.
I grab a few jackets, spotlight and some knifes, camera and some water.
9:15 I finally make it out of city limits DAMN the east side has grown. I haul ass up to payson and get there around 10:00 then head to where we were suppose to meet. I was think 10-15 miles out of payson(wrong again). I finaly get up there about 10:30 after passing him twice.
had to slam on the brakes a few times for a big cow elk in down town payson, a herd of deer at the little town just past payson and another elk I did see and almost hit just going up the rim.
there was plenty of oncomming traffic and no one looked like it hit them ( on the way back at the exact same spot there was a dead elk in the oncoming lane).
Now I finally meet john up at his truck, you couldnt miss him his eyes were shut with the biggest smile someone could have..
Johns a pretty quiet guy but he was really talking , he was extreamly happy.
so we head down the dirt road.
get to the spot and get out and walk, I am thinking right down the side of the hill and have the flash light shining for an elk. John is getting the gps cordinates and it must have shut off cause we walked about 1/2 mile the wrong way.
Finally got it on and did a about face.
now the elk was on the otherside of the canyon and partway up that hill, Another words almost 3/4 mile from the truck. No biggy we got one pack we can still get it done and be home in a few hours.
We locate the cow and That had to be the biggest cow I have seen shot in my life. now I know we arent going to make it home tonight.
so we start skinng and quartering and yaking also.
John was beat. He could barely stand up. I was getting tired also. so the quarting is all done. now its time to see if 2 old farts and get the elk down the canyon across the canyon and ip the side of mt evrest. first trip consisted of me and johns pack with a hind quarter. John grabbed the 2 front shoulders, hey this wasnt so bad. well about 200 yards later we had to go up.
Yup it wasnt so bad but we managed. we went straight up this time and new the trucks were down the road 1/4 mile. found a nice rock and layed the first pack trip on it. Wow tht was a nice rock to we just sat there looking at each other proballt waiting for one or the other to die.
We unloaded the pack and front shoulders and went for the trucks. got them to the rock and sat and had a drink.
hey we did this one and we made it lets get the rest.
Now we walk back down across and up again to the elk. Damn we didnt even make a dent. there was still the ribs and one rear quarter and only one pack plus a lantern and rope and some knives.
we sat there trying to figure out how to get the rib cage ip to the truck and the rear quarter as well. even though we didnt say it neither one of us wanted to make another trip down to get anything.
All of a sudden I see john climbing inside the elksrib cage. well it was kinda heavy and extreanly tall, we managed to shop off some neck meat and a few ribs that were damaged from the bullet. made it much much lighter. Agian we see if there was a way to tie this to johns back so we didnt have to make another pack trip.
we'll John was determined to get it all out this time, he helped me on wth the pack and the rear quarter then crawled again inside the elks rib cage and picked it up.
now you have to picture this johns about 5'9"-5'10" and alot thinnner than I. this elks rib cage is covering from his neck to his KNees and all the way around.
A good analegy would be those old cartoons with the nekid guy using a barrel for clothes.
so were off to the truck. we finally make it to the rock and set it down. we are still alive but barely. John is dead tired and was delusional. I was just plain tired and beat. we throw everything in the truck and head back to camp about 1/4 mile away. Park the trucks and comment on OH shit its late. it was like 4am. I told him I was just going to sleep in the truck there was no way I could drive home. he said he could but I dont think so. so he rashed in his truck and I crashed in mine. We figured we would get a little nap then head home. About 7am johns at my truck wide awake still with a big smile on his face.
I finally crawl out of my sleeping bag. (which thank god that I am a slob and lazy cause it was still in the back seat from my elk trip -4 week prior) Other wise I would have froze that night.
John let me pop a round off out of the muzzy wow nice gun I havent shot one since I was in highschool. we headed to town and then home.
It was a blast and well worth the trip to see john with his first elk not to mention to help him get it out.
I kinda like that sort of work every once in a while. Its nice to be the stress from the city.
Ive known john for quite a few years now and I will tell you he was really excited about that cow.
He has the rest of the pics. I have a few in a email he sent me as well. When I get them I will post them. the one where he is a walking rib cage is a good one.
Awe shucks Del! You're way too kind. Quiet huh? I guess I'll have to yak it up a lot more LOL! I'm not one for meaningless BS, I just talk when I have something to say, like "COW DOWN!" "It's just a little hill, maybe a hundred yards" LOL!
Seriously, a big THANKS! to everyone who offered me help in where to find them and what to look for. Mntnman, Elkhunter, Elkchsr and of course Delw! I'm sure there are others I forgot to mention, but wow, what a rush! I wish I could invite all of you down for some ribs and tenderloin on the barbecue!
You guys are the tops and I'm looking forward to more successful hunts and offering advice to those like me on getting their first big game animals!
I emailed my rib pics to Del, so they should be up soon. Man! that first nights sleep at home in a soft mattress next to a warm and softer woman sure was nice! That sweet lil gal of mine was right beside me while I was cutting meat and then when I was done she was trimming and wrapping and storinng the meat in our freezer! Man, she was pretty tired too! I'm a lucky man in more ways than one. Now today it's off to the grocery stores for all of the beef fat I can find and start grinding out some elkburger!
I sent the ribcage backpack pics to ya. I guess delw forgot to post them, or I screwed up somehow in my email. Anyway, I hope I have the correct email addy. I used the one in your Elk Hunting 101 site. Man what an awesome site! I almost said that you can't know how much your site helped me, but of course you do! LOL!
I'm just starting to learn how to post pics, so please bare with me.