Enjoy your elk hunt,
Good luck on the hunt
Both of our jobs alow us the flexibility to usually hunt 3 or 4 day trips , and a 7-10 trip somewhere around the middle of september. On the shorter trips if we do kill a bull, neither of us HAVE to be back home. This allows us to hunt hard all the way up to when we head home the last morning of the trip. We don't mind the long drive back and forth each trip for just a couple full days of hunting. More often than not this strategy allows one of us to fill our elk tag by the time we do our longer 7-10 day hunt.
Our goal each year is to have a lot of fun, hunt hard every day like its opening day, stay positive, and for BOTH of us to get a bull. Unless one of has a once in a lifetime, or really limited entry type of tag we are not trophy hunters, and will shoot any legal bull.
Tim arrived at my house at first light, and we hit the road. Later in the afternoon we arrived where we park to hike out to our camp and we’re kind of surprised how few people were there. The amount of people hunting this area have really increased the last 5 years. That was exciting to see less rigs parked in the area than last year.
We were hoping to get out to our favorite spike camp location, get camp set up real quick, and then hike to the top before dark to do a little glassing.
We really like this location. There is a tiny spring, a soft dirt bank above the spring we can shoot our bows out to 50 yards, and we have killed bulls in about every direction from this spot!
We got some water from the spring nearby, and headed to the top to check for sign on the way and do a little glassing.
We decided to head up to the top before first light. There was so much fresh sign we wanted to see if the elk might be there right at first light, and maybe we could call a bull in with some cow calls or intercept it heading for the timber. For whatever reason the elk in this area don’t like to be out in open during daylight much.
Also we hadn’t seen another person or camp since leaving the truck the day before. Some years a couple brothers with horses come in the day before the opener, or show up mid day Saturday. They camp just past the big open grassy top in the timber. We kind of figured this would be our only chance at catching these elk up there before human pressure drives them away.
We made our way up top before light, and glassed as the sun came up. The elk either already got down into the steep nasty timber, or just didn’t go out there the night before.
We decided to quickly hike about 30 minutes away to an area that has tons of timbered finger ridges, small open feeding areas, a couple springs.
We got over to the start of all these fingers, and dropped about half way down the hill in elevation. The thermals were still dropping, and we were hoping to be below any elk. Our plan was just to stay put and do some calling, hoping a bull would come sneaking in. After doing cow and calf calls, kicking some rocks around, and breaking some sticks nothing had came in yet. Tim let out a high pitched bugle , trying to sound like a young bull if that makes sense. About 30 seconds later a bull answered from across the canyon.
We dropped 400-500 yards down to the next spot they like to bed. Tim killed a 5 point at this spot in 2018. While calling a bull bugled on the next ridge over. Nothing came in, and we didn’t have time to go over to that bull before it would be dark. It would probably take 45 minutes at least to get to him, and we had less than 30 minutes of shooting light left.
The bull that bugled was near the end of a ridge that runs about 2 miles. There’s several spots between camp and where the bull bugled that we have gotten into elk. We would head out there in the morning for day 2.
We got up at 430 am and had some oatmeal and coffee. We stopped and called at a couple spots where we get into elk on the way to where the bull was the night before. At the second spot a bull came in silent behind us and across a small draw about 90 yards away. He didn’t see us, but you could tell he was feeling uneasy about not seeing any elk where we had been calling from. After about a minute he walked off. I moved about 70 yards over and out of sight to start doing some cow calls, Hoping to maybe get him to come by Tim. The bull never did come over.
The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful. We set up in Multiple spots where we thought the bull from the night before may be bedded, but never had anything come in.
The evening hunt we went out a different ridge, and had no action. There was plenty of sign, but no bugles and no bulls came in.
Not a super exciting trip, but we called in one bull and heard a few bugles. There was also a lot of sign in most of the areas we checked, so we’re expecting a good season. We never saw another person this first 3 days, and we didn’t spoon any elk so the elk didn’t get pressured at all.
We got up at 430am to eat, pack up, and head back to the truck. About half way back we ran into a guy and his wife heading out to hunt for a week. They saw so many people the 3 rd week , they were just to g the first week this year. The. About a mile after that we ran into 3 more guys heading out, and shortly after that another guy!
Hopefully they all used their vacation time up for this early trip. Maybe there won’t be many around when the hunting gets good!
This weekend Tim and I were supposed to be meeting up with a friend of mine Troy, to hunt for a couple days. Tim had to cancel last minute so I headed out in the long drive to meet up with Troy, he lives a lot closer to where we are hunting.
The weather forecast had changed pretty drastically in the few days leading up to this trip. Originally it was supposed to be cooling down quite a bit, and possibly rain a couple days into the trip. That would have been great early season elk hunting in this area. It changed to increasing heat, HOT, HOT, HOT!
In this area the elk hunting is pretty tuff when it’s abnormally hot. They seem to not even want to come in silent to calls, unless you happen to set up or call really close to a bull(under 100yards). These encounters happen really fast, and it can be tuff to capitalize on them.
We set up and did some calling in several locations with lots of tracks, and where we have called bulls out of bedding areas before with no luck. Right before dark we got to the end of the ridge. I snuck up to the end, and there was a bull raking a tree below. It was pretty dark, the bull was standing in dark rocks, and he looked black like he had been wallowing. Some of the branches were also blocking his vitals. I turned back to Troy to tell him a bull was below, and when I turned back to the bull he was staring up at me. He must have stoped raking right when I turned my head back, and caught the movement when I turned back to look at him. He would have only been able to see the top of my head. He looked my way for 30 seconds and then slowly walked off.
In the morning we worked our way across a steep hillside that has some open feeding areas, timber, and several large Boulder fields. The area is typically betters little later in the season, but some years there is a herd using it early.
We made our way through calling with no response. We also setup in a few spots that have been good previously and called for 20-30 minutes. The elk didn’t seem to have been using this area yet this year. The whole morning we only saw one area where it looked like a few elk had passed through recently.
For the evening hunt we decided to head over to a ridge Tim killed a bull on the last year. We made our way out, and set up to call in a couple different spots where I had bedding areas marked. After the second set up we went about 100 yards and I cow called a few times. A bull immediately responded very close by. We guessed 200 yards or so down the hill. I move up about 15 feet to where I thought I would have a shooting lane. Troy backed off about 80 yards to call. There were a few branches in my way, so I quickly needed to move so I could get a shot. Just I I moved the the bull came around a tree at 60 yards…busted
It was a really nice 6 point. He was coming in perfect, must have been closer than we thought. It was probably 10 or 15 seconds from when he bugled to when he popped out 60 yards away and caught me moving. I was pretty disappointed.
It seems like early in The season these bulls either sneak in silent, answer calls if they are a long ways away like across a large canyon, or wait to answer when you are less then 100 yards away.
For the am hunt we were going cross a draw next to camp, and then side hill out to the end of the ridge where we saw the bull rubbing the tree the first evening of the trip. We were trying to stay around the elevation Of some benches on the side of the steep hillside where we figured the elk would bed, keeping the wind hood. There was quite a bit of tracks and rubs in the drainage right next to camp. We set up and called a few different times with no luck. Next we continues across the hillside making our way to the edge of the finger. This was another uneventful hunt.
We packed up, and headed down the hill. We got to the base of the ridge I wanted to hunt and set up camp. We worked our way up the ridge line for the evening hunt. Nothing ever answered, or came in silent on this hunt. Once it got dark we made our way back down to camp. We needed to get up at 430 am to hike back to the trucks, so I could make the long drive home.
It was a pretty boring trip, but at least we had a couple close encounters with bulls. There was also pretty good sign in most of the areas I like to hunt.
With plenty of fresh sign in multiple different areas, and a really good weather forecast for the next trip I’m hoping to have some more exciting stories and 1 or 2 dead bulls after the next trip. I’ll hunt by my self the first day or two of the next trip, and then Tim will meet up with me. 9 days straight of elk hunting during prime time, I can’t wait!
Good luck next trip!!
On the road right now heading out for a nine day trip. My pack has nine days worth of food and all the gear all need for any weather. Not planning to come back to the car until we kill at least one more or run out of food.
Hopefully my next updates after this trip are a lot more exciting in the first couple trips.