Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unit 10 Elk Hunt in 2004

I got up into unit 10 Thursday. My Dad had flown the area earlier this year so we had a general idea of where to go. We got up around 5 after camping out and drove the couple miles to where we were looking to hunt. As soon as we got out of the truck we could hear them bugling, but had to walk a couple miles to get to our desired spot (no roads went there). We spotted them around 800 yards away and were able to easily get about 400 yards from them. When we got closer we watched them fight a whole bunch, pushing each other around, keeping the cows in their herums, and bugling like crazy! I hadn't done a lot of shooting this year so I didn't want to make that kind of a shot, so we spent the next two and a half hours trying for a closer shot. We'd move (my Dad and I), then they'd move. Back and for. Then we'd lose sight of them behind a hill only to somehow end up behind them again. We finally got up to where we figured they might come and were just kind of dinking along and all of the sudden there they were! Right in front of us around 150 yards were a bunch of them. We didn't have a clear shot at the herd bull so we stood absolutely motionless for half an hour! That was the longest half an hour of my life! The biggest movements made was shifting weight from one foot to another.

Anyway, after waiting and watching and lots and lots of painful waiting, the herd bull finally came up on top of this little hill that we were standing on, but either had a cow in front of him, another bull behind him or a tree in front of him. I blew a few elk calls (with a young bull type bugle) which got a quick "I'm the boss, stay away" response and look from him. I figured he would probably do some moving after the call, so I slowly placed my rifle on my Dad's shoulder as the grass was too tall for any sitting shots and nothing around us except 50 yards of grass in each direction. No chance we could make it that far to get a good rest. The herd bull then proceeded to chase a couple cows around and finally started to follow one across an opening. Problem was, there was still another bull behind him about 50 yards. He didn't follow the cow across the opening. The elk behind him walked out of the way. He then followed another cow across the opening. Just as he was in the middle of the opening, BANG! I got a great shot right up through the ribs, caught both lungs and lodged in his left shoulder. (He was facing to our right). He ran about 20 yards and dropped dead. Man, what a sight it was seeing those monster antlers flop onto the ground! I was so excited! This is only my second elk, and a heck of a lot bigger than the first!

Then came the real work, getting him cleaned out and back to the truck. We had walked a lot further than I had thought, and the afternoon sun was really wearing on us. It was about 6 miles back to the truck. On the way my Dad almost stepped on a rattle snake! That'll get your attention when you're half awake walking.

After talking to some professional guides (the ones my Dad was flying when he found this area), they called this elk Scrappy and Topsy Turvy. Scrappy because he was always up fighting off other bulls, and Topsy Turvy because he has such a huge top end (5 and 6), but small in comparison bottom end. He has 7 points on the left side and 6 on the right. The guides figured him around 350" through a spotting scope. I measured him at 330" with my amateurish methods using the Boon and Crocket online measurement calculator. One of the guides watching him the day prior to my killing him (got him opening morning, Friday at 9:30 AM) said that he had the number 4 on the left side which was broken off when I shot him. Guesstimating the number 4 antler on the left side based on the right side gives him a score of around 347". Anyway, with that antler being there the day before, it could have broken off as I watched them fight! 

It was an absolutely amazing hunt, can't beat a two and a half hour stalk! Definitely something I will never forget. It still gets my blood going thinking about the excitement of it all! 

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