November 19, 2019, 01:32:20 AM

Author Topic: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds  (Read 350 times)

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Offline Archunt11

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New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« on: October 14, 2019, 12:44:24 AM »

The start of a successful new hunting season. This year I find myself hunting a new unit with new friends and a new career. Late last year I was laid off from my company after 23 years of working there. Not talking about the job but the evening I left there I told myself that I would try new things and do things differently with a different mindset not to mention I'd told myself I needed a new career. After all I'd been doing the same ol things for the 23 years. I would hunt the same unit and I would hunt with the same group of friends if I wasn't hunting alone witch I love to do. If you haven't tried it I would recommend doing it once in your lifetime. But please be safe.
      I'll begin by saying that I don't like change very much but I've been through great experiences and I do try to grow with all the new things I try and listen to people that have interesting things to teach me. After struggling to start a new career for 6 or 7 months I finally landed a job that I would have never in my life imagined I would do. In this job I would be starting a new career with new coworkers and a new mindset. One that would take me into this new hunting season in a new unit with new hunting buddies. During the start of my new career and having to adjust to new coworkers I would often find myself thinking about the upcoming hunting season. What am I going to do this season, where will I hunt, who will I hunt with? Circumstances had both my new hunting buddy and I looking for someone new to hunt with. RD we'll call him was retired from his job and working part time at my new place of work. He loves everything about hunting and speaking with him you knew he is very  knowledgeable and does a bit of taxidermy on his spare time. RD and I had spoken about hunting for the up coming season. He'd shared his experiences and I shared mine. It seemed as we'd be a great fit to accompany each other for the upcoming season. We'd talked about the hunt and what we'd prefer to do. My mind was headed with the same ol routine I've know to love and enjoy but I reminded myself that I would try different things with an open mind. He'd convinced me to apply for a draw tag. I have never done this as I was content with the unit I hunt and have plenty of opportunity to hunt multiple game. I'd done this for years and had no idea of what to expect. We put in for a party tag which meant if he drew a tag so would the rest of our party that put in for it. We drew a cow tag for a  muzzle loader hunt. I was hesitant at first and he suggested that if I wasn't comfortable with doing this hunt that we could just not get the tag and we could continue with our original plan of archery hunting. I reminded myself again that I would try new things with and open mind. So we buy our tags and next thing you know hunting season has arrived. I would have to borrow RD's muzzle loader and all that comes with hunting with a muzzle loader as I had never done this or had ever thought of hunting with a muzzle loader. I normally spend 20+ days in September Archery hunting and just camping during the hunting season every year. This year would be different but I managed to get some time off and get two weeks off to go on my muzzle loader hunt. My new boss had planed for me to be off so work was on hold until I got back. I set off to go hunting by myself for the 1st week and my new hunting friend would show up the following week. I got to my new camp on a Monday evening and set up my tent and kitchen area under a very large pine tree. This campsite would also be something new to me as I didn't like camping anywhere near where there could be a possibility of seeing lots of traffic come through. But still in the back of my mind I kept telling myself "we're doing things and trying thing".  The smell of the fresh air was just as great as always when being up in the mountains. I could here my new critter friends scampering all around my camp and up in the trees as well. Once I got my camp all set up I sat down, cracked open a cold one and just took in the new view of my new hunting area. I went to bed wondering what this new hunting area would bring me this year as it was all new to me. I wasn't aware of the weather but I would be woken up of the sound of my tent draining itself of the weight of the rain on my tent awning. I finally got out of bed to the sound of rain hitting the top of my tent. I woke up to a very dark and cloudy day. My new campsite was all wet as I stepped out of my tent to start my 1st day of my new hunt. I made me a cup of coffee and decided to take a drive and get to know the area a bit better as I really didn't think I could hike and keep my muzzle loader dry enough to even be able to fire it if needed. I opened my OnX maps and looked for a route that would give me the best chance to see the area I'd be hunting for the next 13 days. I started my drive with the rain pouring but not too hard that I couldn't see outside through the window. It would rain hard for a bit but most of the time it was a mist just hard enough that I knew I'd be drenched if I chose to hike that day. On my route around the 27 mile drive I would come to plenty of roadside lookouts. I would get out, elk call and glass the mountain sides, ridges and draws in hopes of seeing elk and the spot I would try and hunt the next morning. I drove around the 27 mile loop and made it back to camp with a truck full of fire wood and an OnX map full of waypoints. Waypoints of mountain roads I could scout, 4 wheeler trails I could ride and travel through new hunting grounds and campsites I could possibly camp at next time around or if I dared move to another spot. I spent that evening cutting firewood as the rain had finally stopped but still threatened to come down. I made myself an easy dinner of chili dogs and diet coke before heading to bed. The next morning I woke up to a crisp morning with the sky wanting to fall on me again. I was hesitant but told myself I'd try something new and I wasn't going to find elk sitting at camp. I gathered some gear as I was motivated to make the trek in and scout this near by closed road I had spotted on my way back to camp the day before. I took my tripod for glassing and a tarp from one of my hammocks I could make a cover if it were to start pouring on me. I hiked in a mile all the while hoping to spot elk and getting a good report for my buddy coming in a few days. I got off the road as I summitted the mountain and moved off to a small ridge over looking what seemed to be hundreds of acres. I saw some small aspen trees and noticed a couple rubs and tracks. Finally!! Elk sign, I was in the right spot. My hopes and adrenaline spiked up a bit with this new found sign. I sat under a small pine tree overlooking some of the mountain sides I'd be hiking to in the next hour or so. I bugled to see if I could get any response. I cow called to see if I could get a bull to sound off and give me hopes that there were in fact elk in there. I sounded like a small lost calf to see if I could get a cow to come rescue the little lost calf I was sounding like. I hadn't eaten breakfast and had taken my time to get up this closed road to where I was currently at. I decided to sit and glass and started eating a little something to calm my stomach. Shhhhh did I just hear what I thought I heard? SHHH I thought as I was chewing my food. Is that a cow call? Is it a person? I know what that sound is. It's a calf and a cow coming up the hillside to come find me. They think I'm and elk up here. I got excited and got ready as they seemed to be coming in very rapidly. I heard it closer and closer. I hadn't positioned myself very well and decided to move closer just in case I had the chance to take a shot. I got closer to the edge where I could hear the sound coming from and just as quickly as I could get there they went silent as I felt the wind hit the backside of my head and straight towards them. They had smelled me and had bolted back down the mountain. Ahhh!!! Oh well at least I'm in the right place and now I'm feeling more confident as I know there are elk in here. I continued my hike down the road about another mile and a half  to 1 and  3/4 of a mile all the once in a while cow and calf calling followed by a bugle. I decide to stop and not continue any further as I'm getting out far enough that if I were to get something would take me the rest of the day getting out of there. I stopped to get a bite as it was coming onto noontime by then. Like I said I was walking very slow and stopping to glass quite a bit. As I'm sitting there getting ready to eat it happened again. Is that what I think it was? Yes it is. The sound of the same calf and Cow coming to find me again. I was lucky enough to get them on video but would never get the chance to make a shot. The cow got nervous and barked at me and I quickly responded with a bark back to try to ease her mind and keep her attention. She never bolted out of there but slowly retrieved back into the forest.  As I hiked back towards my truck I took a measurement with my OnX map from where she was and where I had positioned myself. 95 yards. I wish I would have been able to see her better and have had a shot. I came back to almost where I first had encountered the calf and cow and decided to set up my shelter tarp as it had now started to rain again. I sat under the tarp just off the road overlooking a very nice draw that could see for miles and covered hundreds of acres. I sat there for about 2.5 hours bugling and cow calling hoping to just get a chance at seeing a bull like I could always get to see when archery hunting in my old hunting spot. It rained most of the two hours (INTERUPTED!!!! AGAIN!!!) As I hear this crash and stomping of the ground behind me as the Cow and calf had come back once more. 3 encounters I have had at this point and not getting to shoot. I head back to my truck without any further encounters with elk but I left that day very content and lucky to have drawn the tag on this new adventure I was about to embark upon.
     I woke up the next morning with the sky still threatening to rain again but I was excited to see if I could run into these elk again and possibly have a shot at getting my first muzzle loader cow elk. I made my coffee and drove to the closed road again and remember saying to myself "this is what we came for and I'm here to try something new". I start making my way back to where I first encountered yesterdays elk. I'm walking slowly and looking and searching and trying to be quiet. Do I dare bugle and let them know where I am and try to spark up another encounter or do I just keep walking and wait until I reach the 1st spot? I'll wait to see what happens. I keep moving slowly and listening in hopes to hear a bull talking to his harem. No luck I keep moving on. I finally came up with a plan. I will cow call and bugle from the area I had set up my tarp the previous day then come back to the 1st spot I encountered elk the 1st day and hope that I catch them traveling to the spot I was calling them from and possibly get a shot. As I'm continuing up the road thinking about the plan I just made out of my left side up the hillside this nice cow and 3X3 bull come out trotting. I can tell she's not that spooked as I don't make much noise when I hike up very slowly. I throw out a mew  with my mouth and she stops dead in her tracks. I raise my muzzle loader and guestimate my shot to be about 100 yards. I pull the trigger in a matter of seconds and shoot her. I break her neck and she falls dead in her tracks...……… I'm standing there...………….. Thinking about the plan I had just made...…… And now I'm standing there...……...I just shot my first muzzle loader elk...….I'm not the type to  :thewave: :dance2: . So I just stand there and give her time to expire as I'm literally standing on the road I had hiked up. I can see her from the road and now know the rest of the day will be spent packing out elk. I shot, killed and field dressed this elk by myself. It then started to pour rain once I got all the meat down to the road. Then next few hours were tough as I packed and shuttled meat back to my truck. The rain finally stopped on my last trip back up to get my last load.  This journey that started with me losing my job. The new mindset I decided to take on. The decision to hunt a new unit and to find new hunting friends. It's all very over whelming but very I'm grateful that I made that decision.  It has all finally paid off. I don't think I'll go back to where I used to hunt. I will miss my old friends I used to hunt with but I will visit with them from time to time. There comes a time when you have to make a hard decision and make a change in life. I spent the last 5 years of my 23 year career thinking is there life outside of this job? A job I thought I could never live without. I had friends I never thought I could live without seeing everyday at work (family). I will always cherish all those memories, 23 years, but I'm now enjoying a new life with new friends, and a new hunting area. Maybe even a new style of hunting. My wife has decided to start hunting. That's a whole different story. We will head out for her Bull/Cow hunt in 3 weeks.  :upthumb: . Oh yeah did I mention that my new friend also talked me into putting in for the extra elk tag that Idaho has this year. Yup you guessed it I got that too. Sorry friend not a party tag. I go on my second elk hunt on New Years day 2020. I thank you all for reading this. Keep us in your prayers that we bag 3 elk this year. Keep Hunting and Keep the Hind Quarters Hanging  :wave:

Offline cohunter14

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2019, 07:32:58 AM »

Congrats on the success and thanks for sharing the story, awesome writeup! Let's see some pictures of that cow  :upthumb:


Best of luck the rest of the year as well. Keep us posted!

Offline Archunt11

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2019, 11:27:28 AM »
Here are the pictures of the Cow I shot.
The insert image up at the top will not let me add a picture. I will try and send it as an attachment.

Offline Archunt11

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2019, 11:33:15 AM »
Between my buddy and his sons friend we harvested 3 elk this year so far. His brother came from Montana but wasn't able to bag an elk. Can't wait for my wife's hunt at the end of the month and my 2nd elk hunt for new years. You all have fun and good luck to everyone who still hunting this year.

Offline sjl2012

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 06:55:51 AM »
Awesome story Archunt11. Sometimes we don't know there's a better path out there until we're forced to take that first step. Good luck the rest of the year.

Offline Archunt11

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2019, 09:09:56 PM »
I bought my wife a new rifle. TC Compass 7mm-08. I sighted it in for her, took her out to shoot. She was hitting the target out to 300 yards. I took her to a unit we've only been hunting now 2 years. She tagged out early as I did too. I took her out to where we'd seen elk last year and again luck would strike. We found a heard of elk which ended up coming right up to us literally. She picked out the 1st bull she could get her scope on as the lead cow was approximately 30 yards from us as they were in line coming up to us. She shot her 1st elk at about 95 yards. Congrats to her and now two elk in the freezer this year. I have one more elk hunt this year as Idaho has an extra elk tag out there this year and I was lucky enough to have got it. I'll be heading out on New Years Day. Here is the picture of my wife's 1st elk.

Offline cohunter14

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Re: New Job, New Friends, New Hunting Grounds
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2019, 01:19:03 PM »
Awesome, congratulations to her!!!

 

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