This season I was devoting most of my time into elk hunting. I’d spent the last few months up north scouting for elk putting out feed and mineral blocks in various locations. I set out 3 cameras and received pictures from one bull elk, and two cow elk that look promising.
So after harvesting my deer I decided to go north to hunt elk. When I made camp the first day it was looking grim because there was a lot of bears sign, scat was everywhere. I was beginning to wonder if the Bears had push the Elk out because I was not getting any photos on the trail cam, and using elk calls the first day did not see any animals at all. That night a group of bears came into camp and woke me up at about three in the morning. Because there was four of them all I could do was sit and watch and listen to them eat. I feel that all my hard work over the last 4 months was for nothing. from 3 a.m. Until 5 a.m. I watch these bears consume everything I had brought up for my elk hunt. After they left my hopes for a elk were a little bit shattered. I’d never seen elk around a bunch of bears. So I decided to pack up and make a few phone calls and emails to see if I can’t find another spot to hunt that I know where elk are at. One of my friends decided to help me out by giving me the name of his nephew who has property on the south side of the mountain.
The first day out I introduce myself and brought a light backpack with my bow to do some scouting. The landscape in the area look amazing high mountain peaks reaching up to 5800 elevation. The first day out I hiked for about three and a half miles around side of the mountain and as dusk started to come down I decided to go ahead and turn around because I forgot my pistol and there are known bears there as well. I did see a lot of signs of elk and moose because the hoofs prints were fairly large. It looks very promising that they heard was there recently. The next day I decided to go out little bit later in the morning, I got there around 11:30 a.m. I had brought a 50 pound bag of feed with me so that way I could throw it out and see if I could bring the heard back. I brought one trail camera in hopes that maybe I could catch a glimpse if they did come around and I put out the feed. I decided to put the feed out 2 miles in because I was still feeling defeated from putting all the work up north and not seen any elk I didn’t want to hike 4 miles in and have the same result. After putting the feed out with the camera I looked around for about 20 minutes and just reflected on all the time and work I put in, and trying not to beat myself up. because this year I wanted an elk so badly I was feeling I let myself down, so I turned around and looked up the mountain and noticed the stream went higher than I thought it would.
I started hiking up the on the side of the stream, as I get higher and higher I notice a old logging road that hadn’t been used in forever with a lot of over brush and overgrown bushes. I get on this forest logging trail and continue down deeper, you can see a good distance in front of you, as I’m walking I notice I see some water crossing the trail and there is a lot of hoof prints from Elk. I’m looking at these footprints and using my elk cow call then something behind me jumps up on the high side of the mountain and runs. What ever it was frighten me because of how much trees,bushes and branches it was breaking as it was moving fast away from me. I thought for sure that was my only chance at seeing any animals that day. I stood still for a couple of minutes until I can no longer hear the sounds of the branches being broken from this animal running away. I decided to continue on walking down the trail and as I got to a bend in the trees there was a makeshift shelter, that was made out of old tree branches and logs and there’s a small trail going to it.
I decided to go ahead and take a look it was about 20 yards or so from the main trail. As I’m walking to it I look on the ground and there is a porcupine carcass and it looked like something had attacked it and had been left there. I was curious because I never seen a porcupine hide before so I wanted to take a picture. I pulled my phone out put my other hand. I took one picture came out kind of blurry, so I took another picture and it came out just right and during this process I was using my elk cow call.
When I look over, I heard some noises coming in the brush and thought it was a predator because of the porcupine carcass so I got my bow ready, and as it got closer it started to be a large brown elk! It had stopped roughly 40 yards or so away I took a double look and couldn’t believe it was an elk. so I grab my rangefinder out of my pocket and carefully lift it up to range the elk, it was at 38 yards away! As I put the range finder away, the Elk see me and started to run towards me and then across the mountain and then he stopped. while he did this running I took my dial on my bow site and rotated it to 35 yards! I was guessing at the yardage because the distance he traveled towards me and then straight across and presented a broadside shot for me I immediately hook my D loop with my release drew back and sent a perfect double lung shot. The elk turned a full 180 degrees and started to run up the mountain on the way up he hit a tree so my arrow broke off and he dropped less than 20 yards from where I shot him! The next few texts were to my buddy Mike to come and help me pack him out. Some would call it lucky that I was stumbled upon this elk, but I put in the hard work through over the four and a half months, shooting every day making sure my equipment was up to speed and that I would shoot epicly straight.
The elk was down at 3:30 p.m. and fully packed out and at home by 1130 at night, it took three trips. This Elk means so much to me because I am a solo hunter, The meat has already been processed into burger steaks, roasts and snack sticks, elk by far is one of the most delicious meats I have ever eaten.
I look forward to next season already.
God Bless, and shoot straight.
PNW hunter Joe