Since Matt had a school board meeting he wasn’t going to be able to get to my house in Drain until about 11 pm on Monday night. We decided we would drive until we got tired and make sure we beat the Portland morning traffic. All we wanted to do was make it back to Idaho so we could be hunting by Tuesday evening. Matt still had his mule deer tag and I still had an elk tag so we were pretty excited to be driving east again. We made it until about 2:30 am and decided to pull over and get a few hours of sleep before hitting the road again in the morning. With not so rested eyes, and a serious need for a black cup of coffee, we were back on the road. I drove the first trip so Matt was at the helm on this go round. I only pointed that out about a hundred times on the trip. Problem is, I’m such a control freak I can’t sleep when other people are driving. So there I sat with sagging eyes but no sleep in sight!
We finally made it back to Idaho in time to do some glassing before night was upon us. Right before dark we spotted a couple elk way down in the breaks, so far away I couldn’t put antlers on them with my spotting scope. I had another area I really wanted to hunt in the morning, but I’ve hunted elk enough to know you go after them when you have their location. Matt and I discussed what we would do in the morning. We decided to split up and he would hunt down several ridges over in hope of finding some bucks to check out. I took off a good bit before daylight in order to give myself a good chance of getting a better look at the elk we had seen the night before. Matt’s brother Luke decided he would make the trip with me in the morning bragging about how much he likes to pack elk meat… 🙂 As it got daylight, we got a quick look at some elk making their way into a thicket of brush. I put antlers on one of them from a long way off and told Luke we needed to get much closer to decide if he was what we were after. I had made my mind up before even leaving on the trip that I would go after the first 6×6 bull I saw and after our first trip over, I wasn’t fully convinced I wouldn’t shoot a 5×5 in given the opportunity.
We picked up the pace a good bit trying to close the gap. As we came over a ridge that I believed would put us within view of the elk, I saw nothing. We carefully snaked our way down the backside of the ridge peeking over every so often to make sure they weren’t there. As we carefully moved down, I spotted a bull down below feeding alone. I got my glasses on him and there was little doubt in my mind he was going to make it out of there if I could get a couple hundred yards closer. Back over the backside of the ridge we went and straight downhill. After closing that couple hundred yards I popped back over the ridge and got laid down over a good rock with my bi-pod. I checked my range again to make sure I was correct and settled in for the shot. BOOM!!! Without hesitation I began to put another shell into my chamber and before I could close my bolt, Luke said, “he’s done!” Some high fives were given and down the hill we went to get a better look at our bull.
I said to Luke, “I’m sure glad you like to pack, cause we are going to be packing until well after dark!” He just smiled and laughed. It’s great having friends that can be counted on…especially ones that are stronger than you!