PEAX Equipment

T Bone's Idaho elk hunt.

T Bone

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2001
Eastern Idaho
Day 6.

Alarm goes off at 4:30. Put on the gear, pop some ibuprofen,slurp down some hot oatmeal and get my buddies diesel truck started. Drive 5 minutes, and look up to where I need to be in 2 hours.

I start slow and then ascend faster as the legs warm up. Its stinkin cold. Gotta be in the single digits. Just a hint of light in the eastern sky. Wind in my face.

The breeze carries the musky scent of elk....Elk that have to be close. It's not shooting light yet though....I get in some brush and quietly put on a few more layers to keep warm. These elk have to be close and I don't want to bump them before light. I glass, and about 400 yards up the ridge I see a single elk. Can't tell if it has any head gear. Then I see another, and another. The entire hill is covered with elk. I wait another 20 minutes until I can make them out clearly. Gotta be 50-75 elk in front of me in a small bowl. Two shooter bulls in the group.

I chamber a round into the .300 and go into stealth mode. Slowly creeping over a small rise that puts me in plain view of the herd now about 350 yards. I just need to close 100 yards.....Then I see ears 25 yards in front of me....4 cows have me pinned. BARK!!!!!

All crap breaks loose as elk start piling off the open hill toward the timber. Its moving swarm of elk! I try to sit to steady the shot but brush prevents a clear view. I stand and find my bull, wait for a clear shot and the trigger breaks. I bolt in another round and the .300 roars again, and again, and again....The bull isn't phased.....I cram 3 more rounds into the empty magazine slam the bolt shut and panic shoot 2 more at the broadside running bull. Then as it makes the timber and all I can see is butt, I fire off my last round......

I'm cursing myself. Numnuts,idiot, tard. I'm not a fantastic shot but I can usually shoot fairly decent. Can't believe that bulls not down. I trudge up to the snowy spot where he first stood and its a tangle of tracks. I move higher and find a small speck of blood.....Crap not a wounded bull....

I take a couple steps forward then see this:

come on bud. we deserve better than this.( ok maybe we dont but we want to hear the rest of the story anyway)
Day 1 Saturday Oct 30th

My friend Don and I finally find ourselves hunting in Idaho in the general elk season in the Sawtooth Zone. It's good to be back in my native Idaho!

Don has never drawn an elk tag in Nevada, but has assisted on many hunts. He's a good hunting friend and he is excited. We have 7 days to hunt. Its been a few years since I bagged a mature bull and I've decided to hold out for a good one.....

Two hours before daylight finds us climbing up a steep ridge. We are packing full packs and intend on spike camping about a mile from the road. At daylight we spot a large herd of elk about a mile away and glass. There are several smallish bulls in the group but nothing big.

We arrive in our pre-determined camp spot and quickly shovel the foot deep snow out and set up tents and dump some gear. We continue up the mountain. Surely the big bulls will be up higher.

Then a storm comes in and it dumps alot of snow. Horizontally. We should have gone back down the hill.....But, full of enthusiasm we continue to hunt in the whiteout. Up on top the snow is thigh deep.... At dark we meet at the tent and discuss options. Don took a bad fall in some rocks and bruised his tail bone badly. He's in agony and we are both wet from head to toe from the snow.....We hose the plans and roll up camp and head back to Moosie's camp trailer that he was kind enough to let us use.

Day 2

After drying our gear out all night I head to a new spot. The stars are clear and bright as I climb up the steep hills.....Don is hurting from his fall. He's resting today.

As I summit the first ridge I spot elk. and more elk, and even more. In the valley ahead of me, there must be over 200 elk in small and large groups.....!!!!

Up at the top end about a mile away, I spot a single bull that is a whopper. He's too far to get specifics, but is clearly a big, mature bull..... The problem is that I have to wade through all the others to get to him. I scheme a way to get to the big guy and start out. I immediately run into elk at 200 yards and skirt them. Passing on several small raghorns and spikes and a decent 5x5 I continue towards the big guy.

I look back at my progress to find 5 horses coming up behind me and gaining fast...They run right into the herd with the small bulls and they all dismount. I hear a single rifle shot.. The entire valley turns into barking elk and I see line after line of elk leaving the valley. I sit and glass and find most of the elk have moved out, but there is still my lone bull at the head of the canyon in the scrub pines! I continue on and a storm moves in and it snows similar to yesterday. I get to the area where the bull should be but can't locate him with the 50 yard visibility. I still hunt until dark and then take the long hike back to the truck....I get back real late. Don did go out and ended up getting into a small herd and passed on 2 spikes. We go get some grub at the Sourdough. I see a couple horse rigs show pull in and I recognize one guy's hat from that day. I go ask if they are the folks I saw on the hill. They are. Turns out the single rifle shot I heard was from his 12 year old daughter's 243. She cracked a spike bull at 120 yards with one shot behind the shoulder. We congratulate her and wish them well.

Day 3

Don's back is doing better and we get up to the top to find the same canyon full of elk again. They moved back in during the night. We locate 2 big bulls at the back of the canyon in exactly the same spot where I saw the big one yesterday. We scheme a scheme and go with it.

We stealth past many elk including a few raghorns at 75 yards that I had to talk Don into passing on.....

We are close to the big guys! We ease over the last little finger ridge and they are gone! It's getting dark. Don wants to head back, I decline and go down down on the sidehill and hang out. Just before dark I spot antlers below me. Its the two big guys! I range them at 418 yards. I chamber a round, lay across my pack hold the crosshairs on his backline and touch off the shot! At the shot the bull walks into the timber. I'm confident the bull is dead. I mark the spot on my GPS and I'll be back in the morning. Dreams of antlers and cheesy grins filled the short night.

Day 4

Daylight finds me at the place of the shot from last night. I quickly find the bull's tracks. No blood. Then I spot a chunk of hair. But no blood....... I review the shot over and over. The range I knew I was deadly at with such a steady rest. However, the shot was steep downhill.... I follow the tracks in the foot deep snow for several hours. The tracks show they have been feeding. No other sign shows of a wounded elk. I continue on the trail until 3 pm and I jump them out of their beds. It's in the timber and I have no shot. But when I see them crest the ride a mile away I declare the bull 100% healthy.

I climb to a vantage point and glass a distant drainage until dark...I see 100's of elk. I'm seeing definite patterns. The cows and little bulls herded up and the big mature bulls in singles or bachelor groups up to 4 bulls. The big bull prefer to be higher up, in the deeper snow.

I locate a group of 4 big bulls bedded in a saddle.

That's where I'll be in the morning.

Day 5

Storm came in during the night. We wake up to snow and fog. We decide to rest and recupe. We drive a little and we go to the area I frequent during the archery season.

We drive by a spot where my family and I have gathered huckleberries and camped in years past when we lived in Idaho.

Now I consider myself an avid outdoorsman, but I was starting to miss my family....I clearly pictured my 3 year old son sitting in the berry patch picking berries and eating them.....His face was stained for a week. He had the squirts for a week too....LOL.

We go back to the Sourdough and get some grub and I call the wife. Everything is good at home and she's glad I'm having fun and seeing lots of elk. She let's me know I can't come home without an elk.......

We go to bed and over night I think it over. I've been hunting for big bulls for a few days. Seen many elk and passed on lots of smaller ones. I got a crack at one and made a crucial mistake of not taking into account the angle of the shot....

In the morning I'm heading to the area where I last saw the 4 big bulls bedded, but if a small bull gets in my way...he's in trouble!

Day 6

see above.
Boy this is getting good! :cool: From the looks of the blood trail it looks like a good hit and blowing blood out the nose and mouth but only time will tell. ;) :eek:
C'mon Tbone. That's a dandy of a blood trail with snow to boot! Go "Paul Harvey" and tell us the rest of the story! LOL!
I know what happens on Day 7, Moosie shows up at camp real late and Wakes up Tbone that is Sound asleep ;)

Glad to see you made the trip home OK !!!
Day 6 continued.

With a blood trail like that he can't be too far! I follow the trail praying the blood doesn't stop. I follow for about 200 yards where I saw him dissapear into the timber. Here's what I see!


Here's me with my trophy spike. Note the heavy mass all the way to the top. Ends up he had 5 holes through him. The bleeder was dead center heart. Can't believe he went that far.


I took my time taking photos and cleaning him up. Since I had my pack with me I took a hind and a front quarter down. Combined with my gear it turned into a knee shaker.

It turns out that my friend Don was just getting into position to fire at a nice bull when I cut loose and I spoiled his chance.

I got the last load out after dark. I was beat from head to toe. I went back to the camper and sacked out. Round about midnight Moosie and Wylee show up.

Day 7

I sleep in. Hopefully Don will find a bull. He's back by 9:00 AM. He's beat and ready to throw in the towel. I feel bad for talking him out of taking a bull. It was selfish and I won't be doing that again ....

All in all it was a fantastic trip. We saw hundreds of elk. I still think it's easier to kill a big bull during the archery rut season though.......

If you are gonna whack an Elk 7 miles from the road, a Spike is not a bad one to pack out....

Congrats on the fun, and seeing that many elk is always a treat. That is probably the last 200 Elk in IDAHO due to the wolves....
What kind of White stuff is that ?!?!?! Wait till ya see the pics we'll post tomorrow ;) Although nothing like you had on Night 1 :eek:

No problem on using the trailer.. Only one thing though. We got back that night After hikeing from 5AM till 8PM almost non stop. We were soaked and came back and ate at the lodge. We walked back to the trailer and it was cold. I tryed turning up he heat but the Propain seemed to be out. Both Bottles. Good thing Jim was still up and willing to fill one for us or the night would ahve been cold

So..... After all is said and done and you had a few days to think about it, you gunna do it again next year ?!?!
Great job T-Bone and excellent story to boot-
I shot the pics over to your old compadre (Brian) out on the real-time desk!

Congrats, T-bone, you are the man. Moosie ran me into the ground in three days. I don't know how you guys did five days of that.
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