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Author Topic: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread  (Read 4437 times)

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Offline cohunter14

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2019, 07:38:35 AM »
Welcome to the site MTHunter! Sounds like you guys are at least getting into them. Good luck the rest of the season!

Offline SteveR

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2019, 08:52:16 PM »
Mixed results for me this year. Sept 2 my son and I left for Northern BC Rockies, on the Alaska highway past Fort Nelson BC. After 1800 kilometres we arrived at the Outfitters lodge, meet him and his wife, have a nice dinner, and discuss the trip. Excitement has been building for months, and we are finally here.
Although unguided, the outfitter supplies horses, camp, meals, and game transport.
Day 1- early rise, round up 4 saddle horses and 7 pack horses, pack the panniers, balance the load, load up the horse trailer and head to the trailhead.
After a 6 hour ride we arrive at camp, unpack, erect 2 wall tents, build camp, and settle in.
Day 2 - up early, and we take a walk up a small drainage just above camp that has held elk, but we find only old dry elk sign, some moose sign, and a fresh caribou track.
Day 3 - the plan is to ride to the top of the valley, get up into the alpine, and glass for elk. We saddle up, get 1/2 mile from camp, and there is a bull moose halfway up the ridge we are paralleling. We jump off the horse, get the spotter, but he is moving..he looks decent, but cant confirm he is legal..we need a closer look. My son and I take off across the creek, through some wet marsh and start climbing. We are angling 45 degrees to try and get in front of the moose and cut him off. I'm doing the best I can in the marsh and willows, but I cant keep up with my son. He races up the hill. After 30 mins, he circles back down to me...moose is nowhere to be seen. We strategize, but I think he has gotten past us before we got up there. My son says "I'm going to take a look in the next draw" and off he goes. 20 mins later, his 300wm barks, and then 5 mins later another shot rings out. 30 mins later he comes back down to me , all smiles "Moose down!!" His first moose..i am so proud of his determination.
Now the work begins..took 4 of us the full day to field dress, debone, load game bags, pack horses and get back to camp.
Day 4 - totally socked in, zero visibility, so we tend to some camp chores, and take a walk in the afternoon when it lifts a little. About 6pm we find 2 cow elk feeding above us. My son was fortunate to have won a cow elk tag in the Limited Entry lottery, but we passed. Would be dark soon, and we were only 1/2 mile from the moose kill site, where it was high probability a griz was on it....not wise to drop another animal at dark that close.
Day 5 - early start, the plan is to ride up to the alpine where we had intended to go on day 3 and glass. We get to a saddle on top and I give a location bugle.. immediate response! Tie up the horses and off we go. The bull is below us in a small spruce grove. We circle around trying to get above him..the thermals are rising and in our face...perfect. Oh shoot....the bull steps out and looks straight at us..749 yards..we have no cover..we are in 1-5 foot high willows and grass. We freeze, try to drop and regroup...somehow the bull catches movement, slips back into the spruce, never to be seen or heard again. We spent an hour circling on the backside of the ridge to try and get closer, but he is gone. We decide to move on.
We climb a ridge, where we can glass into 4 drainages. I spot 4 elk at the top of the furthest one...its a long way, and the only approach is ridgewalking to get above them.
Decision time...we can stay where we are and hope something walks by, or go after animals we can see. I'm going!
3 hours later, after dropping down to the saddle, climbing a ridge, another saddle, and another ridge, we are 800 yds away and higher than the bull and his 4 cows.
They are in a perfect sanctuary, on a sidehill in the shade above a saddle, with thermals rising to them from both sides, and we are above them but there is no cover except 2 ft high willows. I cant go directly at them. So i retreat back up to the ridge, drop 200 yds down the north side, which is very steep, making my way sidehilling thru willows , deep moss that swallows your boots, and loose shale. I'm at 600 yds, and they dont know I'm there. I drop my pack, grab the bugle and my rifle, and start belly crawling towards them in the willow. I get to 500 yds , slightly below them, and cant go further or i'm completely exposed. I decide to cow call and the bull immediately responds. He is a 300 class 6x6. We "talk" back and forth for 20 mins, he comes closer to 412 yds. This bull is mine. I find a small bush to use as a rest, chamber a shell, and look for him in the scope....oh crap...the sun in the west above me is just setting on the ridge above him...what do I see in the scope? ...nothing but white glare. Im trying to figure out a solution, i can't move to a better angle, i decide to keep him entertained with some cow and challenge calls while the sun sets. As soon as it drops, i can feel the wind change on the back of my neck...a cow barks once, twice....the bull is getting very nervous...he cant see a bull or a cow standing where he is expecting to see one based on my calls...the cows bolt, the bull slips away....it's over.
Thrill of the chase!! But i've never experienced the total glare washout in my scope before..i need an ARD or a sunshade. Back to camp, and 18 kilometres on the GPS.
Day 5 - we take an easy day and make a plan to take a spike camp back up onto the ridge saddle, to spend a couple days looking for that elk.
Day 6 - need to discuss options..we had frost for 2 nights after the moose dropped, but now it had warmed up, and the Inreach forcast was warm weather for the next 4-5 days. Do we keep chasing elk and risk losing the moose meat, or head to the highway?
Decision made, we break camp and start the 6 hour trek back.
We cut our hunt short 3 days..the elk will be there next year...i cant be selfish because i want an elk, and let almost 500lbs of my son's moose be wasted.
So while I was 100% confident I was going to get one this year, my record drops to 3 for 4.......more to this story to come in part 2.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 12:51:49 AM by SteveR »

Offline cohunter14

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2019, 09:10:31 PM »
Awesome story SteveR, thanks for sharing! Cant wait to hear part two  :upthumb:

Offline SteveR

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2019, 09:23:41 PM »
Part 2
We are 4 hours into the trek back to the highway.
The outfitters wife is in the lead with 2 pack horses, I have 2, my son is just managing his saddle horse, and the outfitter is leading 3.
I received very explicit instructions...more than once....under no circumstances do i place the loop of the packhorse lead on my saddle horn...always keep it in your hand, so if the packhorse hangs up, i can drop the lead, get off, regroup, and carry on.
From behind us we hear a yell "Stop! I'm hurt".
The outfitter had his pack lead on the horn, his saddle horse went left by a tree, the packhorse went right...it pulled down on his leg, pulled his saddle off his horse, and down he went onto a rock, landing on his hip.
He cant walk, nevermind ride a horse, its 8pm, and we still have 2 hours to the highway. We press SOS on the Inreach. SAR responds right away, but explain its too dark to deploy a helicopter, so it wont be coming until after daybreak.
He is in agony, we feed him some strong painkillers, make a tarp lean-to, set up his bedroll, and start a fire. His wife says if we all stay, the meat sitting in the panniers on the sides of 4 warm horses will go bad. She rationalizes she can do nothing more for him thru the night but wait for SAR. She decides that she and I will take the outfitters saddle horse and 4pack horses, and my son will stay with her husband, keep him company, keep the fire going, and tend the remaining pack horses.
Off we go...2 hours to the road in pitch black...yes it was approaching the harvest full moon, but in the tree canopy you cant see squat. And no headlamps could be used as it screws up the horses vision. I swear to god those horses have night vision...they knew the trail. And we got out ok.
Load the horse trailer, back to the lodge, unload the first horse, and as we are taking off the panniers and top-pack, the truck, with trailer, and no e-brake starts rolling away with 6 horses on board. Im on the wrong side but start running for the truck. Its going to hit a major tree right in the center of the bumper. 6 feet from the tree, the whole works slams to a halt on the gravel. She somehow caught the truck, jumped in the passenger side, climbed over the console, and hit the brakes. Did that just happen? Holy shoot.
We get the rest unloaded, the meat into a cooler, unsaddle horses, get them in the corral, feed them, and we are ready to collapse.
My son and the outfitter had an Inreach and I had mine, so we kept in touch. Waiting for morning. 6:30 am the SAR chopper flies right over us enroute. They have to land in the riverbed, 650 metres of bushwack from where the outfitter is laying. 3 SAR plus my son carry him in a basket to the chopper. No room in the chopper for my son, and he knows he has to stay and look after the remaining horses.
The wife contacts her b-in-law and his son, who have just worked nightshifts, they drive 1.5 hours to us, load 2 saddle horses in the trailer, back to the trailhead, and they ride in 2 hours. All is good, they load up the packhorses, and ride out, back to the lodge by 5:30 pm.
I am so proud of my son for doing what he did..not only his first moose and the determination required to get it, but staying the night in the bush, land of grizzlies and wolves, looking after a severely injured man, and then staying even longer until he was rescued.
I heard today that the outfitter was flown by air ambulance to Prince George.
Compound hip fracture. Surgery went well and they had him on his feet today.
Tough sob!!
We expected an adventure, not quite with this ending, but we got one!
Will be eating well until next September...that 6x6 and I have unfinished business.


Oh, and if you dont carry some sort of satellite communicator with SOS service, maybe reconsider.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 12:56:04 AM by SteveR »

Offline cohunter14

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2019, 07:36:13 AM »
Holy moly, what a story. Glad things worked out okay! Reminds me that I need to get my On Reach activated before this weekend.

Offline bcnorth

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2019, 08:50:58 AM »
wow crazy adventure, thanks for the write up! and great timing for me...leaving in 3 days for my trip just south of fort nelson with a packer/outfitter for a drop off hunt. Also have a cow elk draw.

The outfitter were going in with already had use for his Inreach as well, got snowed in for 10 days in august while trailing in his horses and needed supplies brought in to get him through.

Hope to connect and post a story and pics up.

Offline cnelk

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2019, 09:31:58 AM »
If the outfitter wouldve followed his own advice and not looped onto the horn, all would be well

Offline SteveR

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2019, 10:16:21 AM »
Yep. I think maybe he was trying to eat something out of his saddlebag as our last meal was breakfast, so he needed a free hand.


I know lots of you are bowhunters, but for those rifle hunters, have you ever experienced the scope glare washout when looking west into the sunset? The elk was on a shaded slope facing east, and the sun setting down beyond the ridge above him. How did you solve it? We all learn from our experiences, and if this ever happens to me again, i want to have a plan.

Offline cohunter14

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2019, 10:35:21 AM »
Yep. I think maybe he was trying to eat something out of his saddlebag as our last meal was breakfast, so he needed a free hand.


I know lots of you are bowhunters, but for those rifle hunters, have you ever experienced the scope glare washout when looking west into the sunset? The elk was on a shaded slope facing east, and the sun setting down beyond the ridge above him. How did you solve it? We all learn from our experiences, and if this ever happens to me again, i want to have a plan.



I think the easiest plan would be to try to shade the scope with your other hand. It might make for an awkward setup, but I think that's the only real way to do it. You have to keep the sun from hitting directly into the lens of the scope. Either that or you would need a sun shade for your scope and unless it's setup for that, you probably would have to buy a new scope entirely.

Offline cohunter14

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2019, 10:37:45 AM »
Forgot a final update from my quick hunt last week. We went back out the final morning and the woods went quiet. The elk never returned to the same area. We went and tried to access another area we thought they might have gone, but no luck. The good news is we found a great little honey hole for the future! Heading out for a five day hunt on Saturday and we are planning on going to a different area, but we might just have to swing back through this area now if we aren't finding elk where we're going.

Offline StrongTower

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2019, 06:21:58 AM »
Question - This last weekend was a good weekend. Got into elk a few times. But just could not seal the deal. On one occasion, I was I let out a locator bugle and a bull responded 40 yards away from  me. I tried to set up as quickly as possible, but he got to me to fast. He was 20 yards away, perfect shooting lane but I didnt have time to draw my bow. We were in a staring contest for some time and he finally turned around and sauntered off. Since he did not run away but left in a calm manner, would it have been okay to try and follow him? Or was the gig up and time for me to find another bull?


Thanks,
ST

Offline Wyo67

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2019, 08:10:34 AM »
StrongTower - Depends on the wind.  If it was right, I would have badgered him (raking/groans/challenge bulges) until he came back.  If he didn't bolt down the mountain, he didn't smell you, so you should have been good to begin the chase.

Offline StrongTower

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2019, 08:35:19 AM »
Thanks Wyo67,


This is my first year archery hunting. I have done countless hours of prep getting ready, but realizing there is still a lot I need to learn that is just going to come from experience. Overall, I am happy with even getting the chances I have had this year, and I have learned a lot from encounters and mistakes. I think the more chances I get the more I will be able to read the Bulls and figure out what to do next.


If this happens again I will know what to do. Thanks for your help.


Sincerely,
ST

Offline Ol Arky

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2019, 12:39:08 PM »
SteveR, tale of two cities type hunt. Glad all turned out ok for ya'll and your son got his moose. :clap: :clap: :clap:
See ya and God Bless;
Phil "Ol' Arky" Weaver

Offline SteveR

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Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2019, 05:09:38 PM »
SteveR, tale of two cities type hunt. Glad all turned out ok for ya'll and your son got his moose. :clap: :clap: :clap:
"...best of times, worst of times..." lol!  thanks Phil!

 

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