Season of the Elk

Lilhowie83

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443
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Southeast Idaho
Get ahold of me, I have a couple spots left on my reserve list for babies this spring 😜😜
Matt

Matt,
How many babies are you planning on for spring? After my couple big packouts this year I really need to look into some pack stock, and I've been fascinated with your goats the last couple of years.
 

Duck-Slayer

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
My son is 11 and had a decision this past Sunday. To go out elk hunting with the pack goats or go up for whitetail and use the 4 wheeler. He decided on whitetail, I swayed him that this would be a better hunt for him than a late season bull elk hunt in a heavily pressured unit. My mistake, possibly, but I wanted a good experience for him and not walk him into the ground as when I elk hunt I get after it a bit more than a 11 y/o could probably handle lol 😂
We made the obligatory stop at Albertsons for Donuts and munchies! This is always a good start to a hunt with a kid! Up the mountain we go, set camp by 1:30, cooked some brats for lunch than out we go on the wheeler. One thing he loves to do is drive around on the wheeler (main roads only btw). First evening was pretty eventful, he got setup on 2 different Doe whitey’s but no luck on them standing still long enough for a shot. Back to camp about dark, than a card game of war in the tent ensued, of coarse with me losing as per usual, never good at games of luck lol.
Next morning was pretty uneventful, 1 Doe spotted but she saw us first and was gone….. lunch was pulled pork sandwich’s that I had made 2 days prior for this hunt, it was definitely a hit! For that afternoon I had about a 6 mile easy walking loop that we could leave right from camp. Left about 1:30 and got back at 4:30 with no sightings but a fun 5.7 mile walk according to OnX. Went for a quick drive around that evening, but with him nodding off as we’re putting around on the wheeler I had to take over as the driver lol 😂 I guess that walk tired him out! Not to long after we switched up driving we came across 2 Doe’s on a side road one ran up the hill and D watched that one while I kept my eye the other. We hop off and get up the hill and had D all setup on his and it disappeared into the thicket, the had ran slightly down a steep bank so I boogied down, crossed the road and off the bank. I spotted the deer about 100 yards out looking at me, it was a quick reaction as I pulled up and shot off hand standing on a steep steep mountain side. Something that my son would not have been able to do(can’t hold gun up and shot off hand). First thing he says after the shot, did you get it dad! I’ll remember that for a long time. I said yeppers, don’t think that one’s getting away. It was a pretty awesome blood trail with little man booking down the hill following the blood trail. I could hardly keep up! Didn’t go far, about 120yards down the steep slope and brush. Than it was the obligatory selfie with my son. We proceeded to quarter it up. D convinced me we should take the heart and eat it, which was fine with me. I put 3 quarters on my pack, he took a front and back straps and off we went up the mountain back to the road and wheeler. Got back to camp in the dark. He got to help me hang the meat and to bed we went. He was snoring in no time lol. Next morning in the dark I couldn’t find my Swarovski’s/bino harness/rangefinder oh F bomb…. So we hopped on the wheeler and boogied the 30 minutes back to the scene of the kill, there they were on the side of the trail where we turned around! Than the lord!!! Not too good when you almost made a $2500 mistake 😳. That was pretty much it for that morning as we had to be back to town early. All in all it was a great time with my son! Hope to have many more in the future.
Matt ED4F6F8A-2A0B-4BC0-9316-9A1D5BC4BBBF.jpeg 9F3E2119-8F4D-4D95-816A-993E02C20323.jpeg AEAB2039-ADC5-4874-98CB-344E0BCEB9CF.jpeg 0C0E53E0-C12F-4DE3-93C4-E6D93C42FFCB.jpeg FB32B9D6-6D24-4B61-952B-468510AF0F8D.jpeg F68C23FE-B635-4947-A9E7-EB87F9E53622.jpeg F7F37E4D-03B3-4581-97DA-7D2C6C2D303A.jpeg 2462D12D-522E-4079-93DC-A1C9B6BE11B0.jpeg
 

Duck-Slayer

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
My daughter lost interest in her elk tag, but not surprising for a freshman in high school, ffa, and a job at 14, plus she doesn’t get to work but 2 hrs a day so her paycheck was slightly less than the previous which she did not like.
My son never really wanted to go, but found interest in that deer hunt, now he’s begging to go duck/goose hunting which is totally ok with me!
Now onto my wife’s cow tag.
We did a 3 1/2 day adventure opening weekend. We decided instead of driving up Friday night in the dark, that we would drive up early early Saturday morning.
Matt
 

Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
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great state of Idaho....
Day 1
We did not get the early start that we had planned. But we got all of our camping stuff loaded and the goats in the trailer And made the 3 Hour drive to our destination. On our way in the camp we did happen across 3 California bighorn sheep, 2 Ewe’s, 1 lamb. We got camp set up about 2:30 PM, left the trailer and go to camp and made a drive looking around glassing all the drainage is that we could see from the road. We spotted a group of elk at 4:00 PM, fairly close to dark and they were a good two hour hike from where we were at. So we decided to watch them and come back in the morning.
Matt

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Duck-Slayer

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
Day 2,
We were up early, but not early enough we had a truck come by at 5:30 and another truck come by us at 6 AM. We were not quite ready by then, we ended up driving to where we had glass that herd of 47 elk that I counted. Unfortunately there was two people already headed up the mountain after them, and another two had already shot one of the cow elk out of the herd.
After that disappointment, we made a plan to go back to camp, saddle up the goats, and head up Adrian is over from where we had seen that big herd, hopefully we run into something.
We got back to camp, ate lunch, saddled up the goats and headed down the trail. We hiked in 1.7 miles, saw quite a few deer one really nice buck, but zero sign of any elk. Made it back to the camp a little bit before dark. I then walked the goats and my wife and son down to an old cabin along the river.
that evening we went back to where we had seen the elk previous, there ended up being two small group still in the area, the problem is now there was a truck and horse trailer that had rode up to where the elk we’re coming out to feed at night. We washed so dark and the group with the horses did not spook or shoot. So we expected goes out to be there in the morning.
Matt
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Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
Day 3
Up early-ish…. Had a truck and horse trailer come by last night late, than came back way before light this morning… bummer! Went and checked on the “big” herd. Only a dozen left on the hillside after yesterday. The guys with the horses were already up on the hillside trying to get in position to shoot one of the cows. We headed back toward camp and ended up spotting a group of 27 that we could see from the road. Problem is they were a good 4 to 5 hour hike from the road LOL. Kind of crazy that elk are still up at 9500 feet in elevation on the last week of November. We decided to go back and have coffee and lunch and then pack up our camp as there was a storm rolling in. Just as we got everything packed up and pulling out it started to snow. The problem was the next week the highs were in the 50s and all that snow was going to melt. Oh well the first trip was a success in my opinion. It was a fun family adventure. We also got to go check out the Hot Springs also. Found a big horn ram on the way out also.
Matt

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Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
Day 4
This would be day 1 of the second trip. I had mentioned to a friend with the same tag to go check this spot out. He did a got a nice calf elk for his freezer. With only 1.5 days to get this done we decided to go right to the same spot. Got in late Friday evening, set the tent up in the dark and got the wheeler out…. Yes a 4 wheeler, no goats on this trip to my dismay 😩
Got up early the next morning and road to the top, we were a good 30min before shooting light, it did make for a great sunrise with the wife though! It was kinda nice just the two of us on this trip.
As it got light enough to glass close we ended up spotting 6 dark objects on a flat 334 yards away, awesome this may be a quick hunt! But no it wasn’t, the white rumps gave it away, mule deer…. We fired up the wheeler and drove to the next ridge, parked short than began walking and peaking over ever 30 yards or so with no luck. We glanced 80 yards down the ridge line and saw a giant dark object in the mahogany trees, It’s a chupacabra lmao 🤣 as my wife’s eyes got as big around as quarters LOL 😂 No not really, ended up being a young bull moose, which was standing directly downwind of us, he was not scared whatsoever. We decided we would give him lots of room and dropped off the hill to the next flat to peek over even further down the mountain. I just happen to catch some movement out of the corner Mayeye and I look over about 125 yards to our left I saw elk heads bugging through the mahogany trees. Well result ended up winding us because we had to move off our current track to avoid the moose. Well they ended up stopping out there at 650. My wife is already all set up prone on the ground, I dialed her Scope to 13.2 MOA, And she can squeeze off a round at one of the bigger cows. Did not hear the tell tale thud. I assume that she missed, first thing I asked her did she level the scope, she looks up at me and says nope…. Well we at least need to go over and check for sure. By this time the moose had disappeared somewhere into the sea of mahogany Brush. We got over there spread out looked around for a good hour and found no signs of a hit. We then followed their tracks down into a patch of timber mixed with mahogany trees. We ended up catching up to one of the cows but my wife had no shot in the thick mess.
We then decided to head back to the wheeler and head down to camp for lunch and a nap, we decided to go back and sit on the same hillside that they had came out that morning. And we did not see much except for a quite a few ravens feeding on the five different elk carcasses on the mountain.
Matt
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Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
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great state of Idaho....
Day 5,
Wife got off work early and we were on the road by noon. Made it up to where we planned on hunting right before dark, just enough time to hopefully put some elk to bed. We pulled up to our 3rd glassing location a right away spotted 5 elk, which than turned into 8 elk. Wife and I thought we should give it a go tonight. They we’re low enough on the mountain and we could drive to about 1500 yards. I think this maybe doable before the end of legal shooting light. We park and bale out, took a couple minutes at the truck since it was 20 degrees out to get all our clothes on, we both were still in our daily clothes. Up the mountain we rolled, made it to a group of trees about 950 yards from the elk. A tad bit to far! Unless you have a 6.5creed lmao 🤣 which thankfully we don’t… we were pretty much stuck with just a open hillside between us and the elk. We made plan to just get in a single file line and try to walk towards them, there was a slight dip 300 yards out in front of us that would give us some concealment from the eyes of the elk. We made it about 30 yards and just happened to glance up the mountain and to my surprise I think there are elk in that opening. Mad scramble ensued, getting the rifle setup in a prone position she was comfortable in, I than ranged them at 490 yards. Than it dawned on me, where the F is my phone…. Has my ballistic on it chart. Well crap it’s back in the truck! Some quick thinking from when we were target shooting and from last weekend. 350 is 4.2 moa and 650 was 13.2 moa I guessed 8 moa for 490 yards. My beautiful wife settled and squeezed the trigger boom….. whapppp…. That that cow took off like a rocket ship down hill and disappeared in .2 seconds. Well hun I said, I’m pretty sure you hit her! We wait a good few minutes and watched, I got glimpses of elk moving through the trees going up hill but was to thick to tell if one was the elk Kristin had shot. We than made the decision to go back to the truck and drive up closer, grab our packs and head lamps, than back up the mountain we went in the pitch black darkness. I had used OnX on my phone when we got back to the truck to mark where she had shot the elk. Took a 45 minutes until we were up to the spot, fairly tough going on steep solid frozen ground with not a whole lot for your boots to grip! Well as much as we had hoped to find her pulled up in the trees we looked for 40min and couldn’t find hide nor hair of a hit. My wife had packed the hand held spot light up the mountain so it’s not like we didn’t have enough light to see. It was pretty dang cold, we were hungry and tired. To my disappointment we made the decision to go get a bite to eat and sleep, to return the next morning and look some more.
Matt
 

Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
great state of Idaho....
We were up by 5am for coffee and breakfast, we had about a 30min drive back to the scene of the shot. We got there well before it got light out to listen for coyotes that may have possibly found the “maybe” dead elk. We did not hear a peep 👀
As it just barely started to get light out we headed back up the mountain. We grid searched the opening the elk were in, no luck on finding any blood. We than grid searched toward the direction the elk disappeared into the thick mahogany trees. No luck doing this either….. so my conclusion is a miss, the what was the bullet impacting the frozen ground…. I assume she shot low, there would have been 13” inch drop of the bullet between 7.6 moa(450yds) and 9.2 moa(500yds). Being the scope was dialed for 8 moa(475yds). Should have been 6.5” low with a perfect hold and shot. So we gave up on the search after 2 1/2 hours.
On a better note we did find our first ever moose shed! Wasn’t expecting that.
We went and checked out several other spots. Happened to find an almost legal antlerless elk (spikes less than 6” long) moving from some private back up into the mountains. But his spikes were I guessed 8” long maybe. Anyone know how big a really young spike’s ears are, spike’s we’re just about ear length. But to be on the safe side we passed, sucks cause it was only 248 yards from the pickup.
About noon we found a group of 15 or so elk in a tricky spot, they were on the public mountains, but there was a river between them and us, the closest bridge was private and gated/locked. The next bridge was a good 4 miles away with no trail. Definitely would have been doable by myself and goats. So it was back to town for lunch. Nothing materialized for the evening hunt. Last day tomorrow!
Matt

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Duck-Slayer

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Messages
4,181
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great state of Idaho....
Well better finish up this year’s adventure.
Day 7
We went back to where my wife missed the one back a couple days ago. Super windy today 30 mph gusts! Oh and we got a bit of fresh white stuff which meant for a longer drive this morning.
We Arrived a good 30 minutes before daylight, pretty much the first to be courageous enough to drive at 5:30am other than the snowplow trucks. About 10 minutes till shooting light another hunter pulls up and parks on the other side of the road wtf 🤬 I flashed my lights to tell him we were already here. This particular spot in 1 small drainage out of the wind, I watched him get out of his vehicle and start walking toward the drainage, I casually yelled out the window “not very sportsman like” he proceeded to stop, crossed the highway and we had an adult conversation. He asked why we were parked on this side instead of that side? Well you can glass the drainage from this side of the road, that side you cannot, small bluff blocking the view. He just looked at me confused 🤔…. Anyway I told him he’s more than welcome to go walking up there, by this time it was light enough to glass it and there was no elk visible. Off he went walking, off we went to another glassing location 🙄
As far as the rest of the day, a couple deer sightings but with the heavy wind and being 15 degrees out, nothing was coming out of the timber. Plus we had to head out by 11am back to town to pick up kids.
The end to the 2nd poorest season that my family has had in 21 years, only 1 other poorer year that I can think of. Here’s to next year’s draws in our favor 🍺
Matt
 
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