Gun and Game Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,775 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some time ago, during a discussion I don't now remember, I suggested to Mindy that we should post some pictures of our hunting trips this year. I know many of you will never see the country I have seen, nor will we ever see what Mindy has seen. Y'all are gracious enough to listen to me throughout the year so this is my way to say thank-you. This being a gun and game forum, after all.

None of this is me lording it over anyone or bragging or anything close to that. Just thought some of you'd be interested. So pull up a chair and I'll tell you about last month.

This is home. First order of business every year is to get camp squared away and cut wood. The bush is no fun wet and cold; I have been there. I'm all done roughing it. On the other hand, there are few things in life as comforting and pleasant as a warm wall tent; especially during one of our Rocky Mountain squalls. You don't see it in these picutures, but the rockies are only several ridges to the west. I don't get right into the rockies to hunt elk; they are not goats.





Our little friends have to eat, too. Never kill a whiskey jack, esp on a hunting trip. Very bad juju.



Home after the morning hunt, changed clothes and enjoying a cup of coffee.



Typical mountain river. It rages in the spring. Tried a bit of fishing one day but nobody home.



Big animals have places where they like to cross rivers. There was a crossing right across the river from camp. I heard an elk or moose cross one night in the dark while sitting outside visiting with my hunting partner. Heard a big animal slosh across the river, then heard it shake like a horse and then hooves on rocks. It was gone by the time we found a flashlight. This was where it crossed though, no doubt about it. (the snowflaky things are falling leaves)



My partner wondered it it was grizzly. I saw 6 of them this fall. They didn't get the memo about being endangered. Anyway, it wasn't a grizzly; they'd shake more like a dog. A different sound entirely. There's a loaded 3" 12 guage in that tent loaded with 5 rounds of 00 buckshot. It's not me that needs to be worried.

Places like this clearing are always good places to hunt.



No comment needed for these:





On around Day #6, I called a big bull down off a mountain and onto an old road where I was set up at the end of the day. It took about ½ hour for him to show up. I was fully camo'd with a veil over my face, looking intently in two directions where I could see 670 yds one way and 530 yds the other way. I had both those long shots doped out. Then, suddenly, there he was....head and neck poking out through a line of willow scrub. Looking at me. About 150 yards away. I don't have to count points to see if he is a legal 3-point bull, there are lots of points. Nobody moves for what seems like a long time. I am thinking: "Do I wait and see if he steps into the clear or try a shot now? If he sees my movement, he'll be out of my sight in the blink of an eye.....better take what I've got." Up goes my custom 300 Win Mag. There's already a 200 gr. Hornady ELD-X handloaded round up the spout so all I have to do is flick off the Butler Creek scope covers (which seem to make an awfull loud "snap" sound), slide off the safety, and then guess about where the boiler room is. My scope is set on 20x because I was expecting to make a long shot. Rookie mistake. I have no time to fiddle with it. Slide the crosshairs back from the front of the neck I can see onto a mix of blurred scrub and elk hair. About there. WHAM. He spins around and is gone. In an instant, I know I have hit him a bit too far back, likely 6" back from ideal. It's one of those instant replay things that happens after you fire a round for keeps. Crap. He won't go far because I clipped the back of the lungs but it's not the heart shot I prefer. I guess I should've shot him in the neck. Thing is, if you miss the neckbone that can be bad, too.

Anyway, it's going to be dark in about 15 minutes so I have to mark the spot where I hit him. I'll be back at first light and need to know exactly where he was. The ground is bare, dry and hard. Tracking will not be easy. I mark where his hooves dug in when he spun around. After what seems like a long time, just before darkness descends, I find a single drop of blood on a stone and I mark that carefully.

Back in camp, I try not to beat myself up for not taking the neck shot. Whatever. I am the best tracker I know and I will find him. Then.........it rains. Off and on through the night. Shit.

Next morning, I find my spot easily. The rock that had a drop of blood on it does not have a drop of blood on it any more. Washed off in the rain. I tell my hunting partner to stay behind me. Don't need him tromping on whatever sign there may be. He is new to big game hunting but at least he listens. I mark last night's blood sign with a square of toilet paper and start quartering the clearing he ran through but the ground is too hard to tell. I take a roll of toilet paper when I am tracking an animal. Put a square up high and it is easy to see when you look back. That helps to tell you the animal's direction of travel. No way you're going to run out of squares. And I don't feel like I have to go back and pick it up; it will disappear soon enough. There is too much surveyor's tape left in the bush by Elmer Fudds, IMO.

Anyway, back to tracking. It's not going well. I know elk will tend to run up for safety and so I assume this bull did the same and work my way up the mountainside from the contact point. A ways into the woods, and after some back-and-forthing, I see some scuffed moss on the ground. Is that him? Could be and probably is but any blood sign went in the rain. I decided to follow whatever animal was making the odd scuff in the moss. I know it was running, at least. About 200 yds up the mountainside, I see horns. He's laying on his side. Dead. Right between two trees. Picked a helluva place to die. The work starts but first, this time, I take a minute for a few pictures. I have not bothered with pictures over most of my hunting career and regret it.



Hope you enjoyed this little campfire chat and the country where I am fortunate enough to hunt.
God bless.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,138 Posts
That was fantastic, Rocky. You have a gift for writing and photography.

Thank you for taking the time to write that up. Congratulations on a successful hunt in particular and a successful trip in general.

Ya done good, sir!
 

·
God, Guns, Glory
Joined
·
35,827 Posts
Rocky,

Outstanding thread and beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing it.
I also agree 100% about wall tents.
You cant beat the warm spacious comfort they provide.

Glad you guys had a safe, fun. and successful hunt.
Griz
 

·
The outer edge of civilization
Joined
·
14,741 Posts
Beautiful writing and stunning pictures! How much meat did you get from the elk?

Wall tents are great. Does yours have a metal frame? I'm used to small lumber yards covered in canvas but metal looks a lot easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,963 Posts
Outstanding, warms my heart, Spent the day in an elk archery lottery drawing on a military base, not successful and bull tags were long gone before my name came up. Health issues probably stop the hunt this year, so seeing your post gave me a warm fuzzy, congrats and thanks. You put in the work and deserve that excellent bull.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,775 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I only had one guy with me. I don't like hunting in groups; never have. Don't like booze in camp, either. No, he never got one but he'd never really hunted elk before. He got scared by a cow elk when one came up behind him and barked. It ran off into the trees when he moved and was giving him shyte until it was out of earshot. Does that count? :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,775 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Beautiful writing and stunning pictures! How much meat did you get from the elk?
366 lbs. Freezer is full.

We quartered this one on the ground so left the neck, ribs, etc. I'd say if we'd strung him up and quartered it the way I usually do, he'd have gone around 550 into the butcher shop ...maybe closer to 600. The biggest elk quarters I've seen hanging on meat hooks weighed 625. My butcher says he took one in this fall that weighed 680 quartered. I suspect that one must have been from the flatland; maybe fed some grain and ?.

I have shot a moose that went 702 but he was Jurassic. Elk don't tend to get Jurassic.

Wall tents are great. Does yours have a metal frame? I'm used to small lumber yards covered in canvas but metal looks a lot easier.
Yes, it has an aluminum frame. The only way to go if you can afford it, IMHO. Years ago, I cheaped out and made one of thin wall conduit. It was ok but heavy to lift with the tent on it. This one is very manageable and the frame is light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,005 Posts
Awesome post, thanks. Great camp, country, and elk. One day I’d sure like to take a trip up there to hunt.

all I have to do is flick off the Butler Creek scope covers (which seem to make an awfull loud "snap" sound), slide off the safety, and then guess about where the boiler room is. My scope is set on 20x because I was expecting to make a long shot. Rookie mistake. I have no time to fiddle with it. Slide the crosshairs back from the front of the neck I can see onto a mix of blurred scrub and elk hair. About there. WHAM. He spins around and is gone. In an instant, I know I have hit him a bit too far back, likely 6" back from ideal. It's one of those instant replay things that happens after you fire a round for keeps
It’s like you took a quote from one of my hunts; I know that story intimately and am well acquainted with that “awe, crap” feeling.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top