Although we weren’t successful in harvesting an elk for my 12-year old son, Hunter, it was a great time and a great learning/bonding experience. All totaled, we spent twelve nights in the back of the suburban over deer and elk season. Now, each weekend, he asks if we can just drive to the mountains and spend the night!
We encountered only a few bucks during the first two weekends of deer season but had plenty of opportunities to shoot a doe. After reminding him about how far it was back to the truck, however, he elected to wait for a buck if it was going to be a long pack. During the third week we made a quick evening trip up to the hills. We had gone only 500 yards up the hill when a doe hopped up across the ravine and stood there looking at us. I asked him if he wanted to take her or walk up a little farther to where there would likely be more deer and possibly a buck. He said no way, we’re real close to the truck! Plus I think he was just itching to finally get to shoot something. He got set up and made a perfect shot at a little over 100 yards with the 30-06. The doe ran about 30 yards and piled up.
Rifle elk season finally arrived and we headed up the evening of opening day to hunt an area where we had encountered a bugling bull at the end of archery season. We arrived a little after 11 pm and hopped out of the truck, hoping Hunter could hear his first live elk bugle. We walked a little ways down a skid road and stopped there in the pitch black. He was standing really close to me being, a tad bit spooked, as I let out a soft cow call. Immediate a bull let out a screaming bugle only 20 yards away from us! I think he could have kept up with an Olympic runner on his mad dash back to the security of the truck! Heck even I was a little surprised at that.
The next morning we were back in the same area and as I cow called, the big bull bugled right back from 100 yards up the hill. He had a bunch of cows, and we never got to lay eyes on him in the thick timber. We followed him over the mountain until he no longer responded. We ended up seeing a few cows over the next couple of days but not any bulls. The next weekend we headed back out and set up in an open area that the elk had been using to get to and from a river. As we sat there, a lone cow came walking right at us and passed by at 50 yards. Hunter was just itching to shoot her but he had a bull only tag and could only sit and watch.
The end of season came and we didn’t encountered any bulls. We had a great time though, and he learned a lot about elk hunting and is eagerly looking forward to next season.