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Messages - SteveR

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General Elk Hunting / Re: 2020 Elk Meat Pole
« on: September 18, 2020, 09:44:24 AM »
In 2019 I posted a story here where my son and I went on a horseback hunt into the Northern BC Rockies looking for elk.
We harvested a nice moose, but the elk were uncooperative.
We found a couple nice bulls, but in the alpine, above treeline, there is no cover. The elk were out past 500 yards, and with cows that they would not leave them.
Without cover, no amount of calling would close the gap.
I did not have the rifle, optics, or confidence to make such a long shot.

This year we went back into the same spot, a 6 hour ride, 22 kilometers,  from the highway up into our base camp. No ATVs, roads, or runways....horse access only.
We hunted there for 3 days, saw some cow elk and a spike, but no bulls.  So we packed up and rode up into the alpine above 5000 ft and set up a spike camp where we hunted for 4 days.
Day 8 of a 10 day hunt, we went up a mountain and ridge walked over a 2nd mtn back to the same place we had the long distance encounter last year.

But this time I was better prepared. In the off season I took a 1000 yard long range shooting course, built a new rifle in 300 WSM, worked up a consistent handload with 200 grain ELD-X pills,  and practiced...ringing steel at 400, 500, 600, 750, and 1000 yards. I practiced a lot, and was confident.

We came over the ridge on the 2nd mountain and looked down across a saddle to a far hillside, and there was a bull, standing in the exact same place as last year.
We hunkered down behind a small spruce and some buck brush, broke out the spotting scope, and watched. His head was turned slightly so it was a challenge counting points....needed 6 to be legal.  I see 1, 2, 3.....no, 1, 2, 3, 4,......ok now see 5 on one side.....watch some more...there was a tiny but legal 6th point....ok he is legal.

There is no point in getting into a calling duel with him like last year. He might come 50 yards closer, but the downhill angle will be steeper.
I range him at 745 yards, angle compensated, standing broadside. He keeps watching our way so its hard to get the rifle set up and in a prone position to make the shot without the bull seeing movement.
I run the ballistics solution on my phone app, set the elevation dial, 17.4 MOA, set up the bipod, and use my pack for a solid butt rest.
I dry fire 4 times, then flick off the safety, settle, and touch one off.
He flinched hard, ran downhill 25 yards, and piled up.

Sweet Revenge!!

He was on the hillside above my head in the photo below.

General Elk Hunting / Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« 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!

General Elk Hunting / Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« 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.

General Elk Hunting / Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« 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.

General Elk Hunting / Re: 2019 Elk Hunt Update Thread
« 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.

General Elk Hunting / Re: Free Gear Friday!
« on: August 02, 2019, 10:11:36 PM »
10 days...
Maybe overconfident, but based on where we are going, no motorized vehicles, no jetboats, horseback only access, a full day ride into a Northern BC Rockies drainage in midst of unpressured elk, our timing pre-rut, the planning, Satelite image terrain scouting,  the calling practice, the physical training, practice hikes w elevation gain, knowledge from UEH, range practice, unfettered determination, and the fact that we have options for 2 cow tags if bulls play hard to get, and using rifle, I'm saying 99%.  8)
3 extra days increases our odds of also tagging a moose.

General Elk Hunting / Re: Think it's time! Let the countdown begin.
« on: July 21, 2019, 08:41:00 PM »
42 days for me, then 10 days horseback into the Northern Bc Rockies for elk and moose.

General Elk Hunting / Re: In Reach mini vs Spot X
« on: July 09, 2019, 06:12:57 PM »
Dont know about the Spot x but I replaced my Spot Gen 3 with an Inreach Mini.
Very happy with it, and peace of mind for my family.

General Elk Hunting / Re: Free Gear Friday!
« on: January 11, 2019, 12:46:51 PM »
I like to know what wildlife is skulking around my house.

General Elk Hunting / Re: Preping for the 2019 Season
« on: January 07, 2019, 09:48:58 PM »
My son is joining me this year. Outfitter/transporter with horses booked for 10 day trip into Northern BC Rockies for unguided elk and moose. Location is selected. Looking at a shelter upgrade...tarp/bivi combo vs tent for spiking out from base camp. Leaning towards a 2 layer tent due to mountain weather. Also looking at a pack upgrade...i do have EXO envy after watching Destination Elk and Land of the Free series..but horses will be packing the meat, so mostly carrying gear, optics. Still lots of details left to plan, but the holiday season has been hard on my waistline so gotta get started on the physical prep.

General Elk Hunting / Re: Free Gear Friday!!!
« on: December 14, 2018, 07:41:42 PM »
Laughed hard at all the banter with Dirk and Trent. Was cool to see the Birthday Boy play Dirk's "Wapiti Whizbang" and get a bull....that was just pure determination by Hollywood.  Wes is a great addition to the team, but don't let him pee on his potatoes again. Hope Wes cuts a tag in Idaho!

General Elk Hunting / Re: Free Gear Friday!!!
« on: October 26, 2018, 11:03:56 AM »
Thanks to UEH I learned how to use wind better for the setup, and I learned how to use a diaphragm call for much improved calling.

Elk Hunting Tips & Tactics / Re: Late October post rut -Moon effect
« on: October 17, 2018, 11:38:24 AM »
There is only 1 group permitted in there at a time, but there will have been pressure on the herd since Sept 1. I was thinking that the Oct 8 slot was closer to the rut so still may be some calling action, downside being full moon, and the Oct 21 slot was after full moon, colder, and more daytime movement, but they will have been pressured longer.  The herd grows from 15-20 animals all year to over 100 by early-mid November and I'm not looking for bone, a dry cow will do if no bulls around. Herd may be larger in the Oct 21 slot or by Oct 31. Season closes Oct 31. To complicate things there are some moose around, with bow only changing to rifle on Oct 15 for them,  so also having an early chance at a moose before they get too pressured is a consideration.  Priority is elk. Which slot?

Elk Hunting Tips & Tactics / Late October post rut -Moon effect
« on: October 17, 2018, 10:16:22 AM »
Last 3 years Ive hunted pre-rut Sept 1-10 successfully. Question for those that hunt post rut. I know that if all possible, hunting in Sept rut during a full moon is tougher. I have a chance next hear to hunt post rut on some private leased land in an Agricultural zone in Northern BC. Trying to pick the time. Full moon is Oct 13. Will the full moon have the same effect as during rut? Ie...they are up all night feeding, and bed earlier for the day.
I have 2 time slots available. Would you pick Oct 8-18 or Oct 21-31? Location is North east BC, so good chance of cold weather and snow.

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