Contributors to this thread:
LUNG$HOT and son 2014 elk hunt
60X Strings's Link
Cool, looking forward to reading about your hunt, best of luck!
Wishing you and your son the very best of trips.
Planned on posting this weeks ago but life got busy and my Dad and cousins talked me into tagging along for their Utah muzzy hunt. Sorry for the delay. First things first, thanks to all who encouraged me earlier in the summer to bring along my 9 yr old son. We had a great time and created some memories I'm sure he won't soon be forgetting.
Sept.5 sun set over the rockies. Couldn't help but think "I'll be there in less than 24hrs." I've developed a love/hate relationship for the day before. Relieved it's finally here but NEVER get any sleep that night! :)
Gear packed, gassed up and coffee in hand, we headed out to Colorado's wilderness in search of some elk and good Times. This would be my sons first ever hunting trip and the glow on his face said enough about how excited he truly was. (And no I didn't leave my coffee on my bumper)
The drive out there brought back so many memories of being that age going hunting with my Dad. A 4 hour drive into elk country leaves plenty of time for a MILLION questions that run through a 9yr olds brain going on their first hunt. :) I have to admit, some were really good questions which I was impressed by. My favorite was "Dad... if we get one can I carry the rack back to the truck?" Lol.
Making progress. Only 3 more hours until we reach our destination.
Sad sight to see on our way up there. Head on collision on hwy 40. Puts it into perspective just how precious life is and how fast it can be taken away.
We hit the National Forest fence line at 2pm and I was pleasantly surprised NOT to see a million trucks/camps set up on the way to our camp site. The first two trucks we passed were on their way out and both had respectable sized racks on display which definitely boosted morale and got my sons full attention!
By 5pm we had camp set up and wood cut for the fire pit. Now it was time to shoot an arrow or two just for piece of mind and hit the trail for a quick evening hike. With only a couple hours of daylight left we set out below camp to check some trails from last year and see if there were any active wallows. I brought along a blind this year not sure if my boy would be able to keep up on some of the long hikes and maybe offer some shelter from the rain on those soggy days. As we made our way down the trail we were already seeing some great rubs, tracks etc... then without warning a thunderous bugle broke the silence not more than a hundred yards away. By the look on my sons face I knew he was hooked. It was official.. elk season had started and we were into the elk within the first hour of hunting and not far off the beaten path. Hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Taking into account the wind, time, position and thickness of the timber I chose to remain silent and back out of the area. I knew where I'd be returning to in the morning...
Enjoy yourselves, have a great trip man! Hope your son loves it so much he begs to go back next year!
Can't wait to see the rest.
All the best!
And for the record this is an UNGUIDED PUBLIC LAND HUNT. Not sure if I dare call it a DIY these days due to the fact that I brought my son Isaiah along with me. ;) Still kinda unclear on what qualifies.
I'll call it a D.I.O. (do it OURselves) just to satisfy the critics. Lol
Forget the lungs LUNGSHOT. Shoot for the heart! Lol Good luck!
After a quick campfire to satisfy my sons smore craving and some grub we hit the sack early. Laying there listening to elk bugle in the canyon below made for a rather sleepless night. Playing out all of the possible scenarios, working and re-working plan A,B,C,D etc... can really drain a guy mentally. Isaiah thought it was awesome and loved being out there hearing them bugle all night (was a full moon).
After gearing up the packs and a quick bowl of cereal we hit the trail early headed down toward the drainage where we knew some elk were the prior night. No guarantee they would still be there. Seems like they move around a lot more at night during a full moon. We took it nice and easy on our way in keeping rather silent as we entered the area with the exception of a cow call or two. It was clear that they had moved on further down the drainage so we moved on to cover some ground and get to where I had some good action the prior year.
As we marched down the trail checking wind, stopping, listening and observing sign here came a light rain. As we stopped to get our rain gear on I noticed movement down below us at about 60 yrds. A cow and a calf heading in the same direction as us almost paralleling our path. Clueless to our presence we watched them mosey along the stream and out of sight. Had a shot opportunity at about 55 yrds quartering away but decided to wait for a better opportunity. It was still early and I figured we still had 3 1/2 more days to hunt. Hoped I wouldn't regret giving her a pass. My son made the comment on our drive up that he wanted me to shoot a bull, so we would give it our best shot.
Look at that face. Me thinks he likes it!!
Happy to have rain gear. He was really a trooper and didn't let the elements deter him from his mission at all.
I'm a true believer in the cabelas "space rain" gear after this years hunt. That stuff is sweet and rather affordable! Had no issues.
This has the potential to be the best thread ever. More please!
Isaiah, you are lookin' good ! Can't wait for the rest of this ! Way to go Lungshot !
Loving it so far! Let's hear and see more!!!
Hopefully more tonight guys! Been a long work day that's still NOT over. :(
Ok where were we? After watching the cow calf pair walk out of sight and putting on our rain gear we continued down the trail heading towards the "honey hole" (I know how much all of you love that term so we'll use it at least once in this write up LOL). I knew this drainage I had in mind has a great eco-system built to suit elk to a T. Steep dark north facing slope which bottoms out to about 300 yards of spotted meadows with good strands of trees, streams, willows and wallows before running into the main creek at the bottom. Instead of dropping into the area directly from the top of the ridge I decided to cut down to the creek and come up from the bottom. The time was approx 11:30 am, the rain had almost stopped and our stomachs were growling. Right as we were discussing a lunch plan the strangest noise echoed down from the dark timbered slope in front of us. Best I can describe is that it sounded like a sick coy-wolf howl (whatever that is)! My son even looked at me asking "what was that?" Just short of discounting this noise completely I gave a couple cow calls just to satisfy my piece of mind. 5 minutes later with no response we moved on to a patch of pines at the bottom of the thick timber to have a seat and eat. Just as I laid my pack on the ground there it was and no mistaking it this time it was a bugle coming from the timber above us at about 100 yrds. I grabbed my Berry Thunder Bugle (thanks big Dan for the recommendation) and let out a mean one. Almost instantly he bugled back then I could hear him running down the hillside destroying everything in his path. I thought surely I would have to give it another bugle or two to call him into range but it seemed that within seconds I could see him making his way through the trees headed towards the opening in front of me which was about 15 yrds away. With an arrow already knocked I dropped the bugle and came to full draw! He came into frame quartering hard toward me only visible from his neck up offering no safe shot as he came to a stop and froze. Still holding draw I waited patiently for him to take that FINAL step to his doom and SNAP! My heart sank as I heard a small brach break right behind me! The bull swung around and took off on a dead run back up the hill and just as quick as he had appeared he was gone! I guess my son had taken a step and as luck would have it yes, he stepped on a twig. I think every emotion humanly possible ran through my head in those few short moments. I'll never forget the look on Isaiahs face when he turned to me, eyes big as golf balls and said "that was the BIGGEST elk ever!" All I could do was laugh and shake my head. He was a good 5 maybe 6 on one side. It all happened so fast and he never gave me a real good look.
Here's the opening where he came into view! He came from the top left side and all I could see was neck and antlers! Such a bummer!
Here's the network of meadows just below where the bull came down
Is it good finding trees like this?? ;)
The rest of that day was spent hiking, exploring, teaching my son as much as I could cram into his little brain about hunting in the elk woods as I could and re-living that encounter with the bull. We talked wind, scents, thermals and ethics. It's tough explaining to a 9yr old boy why you didn't shoot the "GIANT" elk that was only 15 yrds away. He's clearly never had to track a wounded elk for miles in thick, steep timber lol! Hopefully he never has to! All I could do was tell myself to stay positive and remember we still had 3 days left.
Day 2 started off much like the first day. Little bit of rain while hiking into our spot, taking some different trails and checking out some new territory. Lots of good sign once back in a mile or so and a few distant bugles. As the afternoon approached the winds took a turn for the worst and began swirling pretty good giving the elk the upper hand. No close encounters on day 2 but saw plenty of wildlife and scenery and truly enjoyed ourselves.
Don't spill the beans if you recognize this area.
Here came the clouds and winds!
Thank God for pocket knives and magnifying glasses to help pass the time on those long, boring sits over the wallow!
With only 2 more days to go we were keeping our fingers crossed and sending up prayers in hopes of success!
To be continued!
LUNGSHOT, this is the coolest story ever! I have a 9 year old too and I considered taking him on our trip this year. It would have changed the trip a lot and I wasn't confident he'd be able to handle the terrain. It looks to me like your little guy did great! In hindsight, I'm wondering if I should have brought him now...
Great stuff! You're a good dad.
Awesome story so far. Can't wait for more.
so cool to read. I have a 6 yr old daughter, 4 yr old son and will have another son come nov 23! Stories like this are what make this site so awesome! A community of good peeps!
Scoot- I definitely had my concerns going into this deal the same as you but he more than proved himself worthy! I knew ahead of time, the hunt would have to be centered around him not me. It changed the dynamic for sure such as not being able to go certain places and returning to the camper each night for dinner and a fire instead of sleeping up on the ridge above where you know the elk are but all that is well worth it.
Hustler- congrats in advance on the arrival of your new baby boy. Its truly a blessing to have kids and the opportunity to teach and show them the things we know and have learned along the way. Super important we pass this knowledge along to the next generation!
Thanks Lung$hot! looking forward to making many lasting memories.
Sorry for the long interlude, been busy as always. So... the morning of day 3 we awoke to the sound of pouring rain against the roof of the camper. Not to mention the look on my sons face made it very clear he was tired and worn out from the last two days of hunting. I left the decision up to him, either get up with rain gear strapped on and hit the trail or take the morning off, hang out at camp and cook a nice breakfast. You guessed it... bacon, eggs, pancakes and deer sausage were in our near future. As the day progressed so did the rain. Long story short, we spent the whole day at camp shooting the pellet gun, playing card games, gathering and cutting wood for the next two evenings of camp fires and just spending some much needed father son time with no real objective or task at hand. Honestly I was kinda relieved he opted to stay at camp and rest up but keep that on the hush! :)
It's always amazing the things kids find to do for fun when they're bored. When's the last time you dug a hole for fun??
As luck would have it, later that evening the rain fell silent and the clouds moved out offering a glimmer of hope for a decent 4th and final day of hunting.
The next morning we beat the sun to the breakfast table and prepared ourselves for a day full of anything that came our way! Now...The first two days I called all the shots and controlled the tempo of the hunt BUT today would be different! Before we set out, I told Isaiah that he would be the guide for the day and asked him to tell me what direction he thought the elk were? At first he just looked at me like I was crazy with that big ole grinn on his face, shrugging his shoulders saying "I don't know". Once I reminded him of how lucky he was earlier in the summer when he caught the biggest fish out of everyone in the group on our family fishing trip he perked right up. Of course he turned and pointed to the trail heading straight up the hill to the highest point on the mountain Lol. So off we went!
Toughest spot on the mountain? The kid is learning about elk fast! Good stuff, LUNG and $on!!
About 8:30am we had covered some good ground. Again deciding not to use any calls and just stopping and listening frequently hoping to locate the elk before they could locate us. Just then on the trail ahead of us I see movement. No, not elk but a flock of grouse. With small game tag in pocket we moved in for the kill. I knocked my small game head tipped arrow and made my way towards the pine they had flown into. I had one spotted and just as I went to attach my release to the string, the silence in the valley was crushed by what seemed to be a mature bull letting out a bugle. He was close! Like 50/60 yards close! Needless to say the birds life was saved as I quickly shifted gears back to elk mode and attempted to gather myself. I couldn't see him but knew which direction he was in.
Awesome thread! This is how you dad! Nice work lungshot!
You can't leave us like that.It ain't right
"You can't leave us like that.It ain't right"
Lol! sorry my friend, got called to a job. Conclusion coming soon!
Leaving and ending hanging like that is not fair!!! Hurry up already! Love the thread!
Go get him!! Is Isaiah maybe available next year to help me out locating elk!!! Good job little man!!!!!!
Ok guys just got back in town late last night, I'll wrap this up. Sorry again for the wait.
Ok, so this bull was close and I had his whereabouts pegged but he was still out of sight. I decided to move in on him without the use of calls and hopefully take him off guard! As I inched closer to him paying attention to every last step He let out a couple more bugles and now I could hear the cows and calves talking too. As last I could see body parts through the pines at about 35/40 yrds. But no clear shot as of yet. I got a look at his rack through the trees, he was a decent 5 and certainly worthy of an arrow in my book. As I started to make a move into position for a shot my heart sank as I felt the cross wind change and steady at the back of my neck. His whole demeanor changed from rutting bull to full alert looking in my direction. Whithin seconds he and his harem of approx 5 cows were high tailing it out of there. Dammit!! Another missed opportunity! !
Needless to say, by that point frustration had set in. We did see where they headed off to and I had a plan to hopefully cut them off. We headed up the hill with a little hope still left in the tank. Once up on top of the ridge we were seeing good sign again but all had fell silent. About 11:30am Isaiah was tugging on my sleeve telling me he was hungry so we decided to sit down for a quick bite to eat. Right as I finished eating we heard a sound! Not a bugle but unmistakably the bark of a cow elk. Isaiah asked what it was and I reassured him we were still in God's graces and was sure that sound was an elk. My first impulse was to slowly sneak down the trail and look for the sound but something told me to just sit still. Not more than 5 minutes had passed before I saw a set of ears just off to the side of the trail about 40 yards ahead of me. I immediately grabbed Isaiahs shoulder and pointed her out while giving him the universal sign language for be quiet. Thankfully the wind had held perfect in my face and I could see her path. With patience she would feed down the trail just below us at 25 yards broadside. After the longest 2 minutes of my life I was at full draw with a perfect broadside shot at a great cow. With top pin in place just behind her front shoulder I hit the release.... THWACK!!!! Perfect shot. As she turned to run directly away from us I could see about 8 inches of arrow still sticking out of her side. Just short of a total pass through I had great penetration. From the sound of it I knew I had hit a rib dead center. She ran about 20 yards before I stopped her with a cow call. After turning to look for the sound I could see great blood loss and knew she was done. Finding a nearby spot to lay down she quickly expired. With a big smile on my face I turned to look at Isaiah and all he could say was "THAT WAS AWESOME!" (He also had a huge smile on his face if you can imagine) :)
Not a bull but successful none the less. I am personally glad it happened this way. It gives him something greater to look forward to next year. I'll take a cow on the last day of the hunt anytime. I enjoy having the meat in the freezer just as much as a trophy. Laughed my ass off when he looked at me and said "I bet mom will be happy it's a girl so you dont have more horns to put on the wall". He knows his mother well! Lol
Your hunt was a success when you and your son got in the truck and headed for the mts.!!A real nice story! good luck.
Last load out almost to camp! As you can see I'm wearing Isaiahs pack on my front! Lol. He wanted to pack out the backstraps and got tired about 3/4 of the way down. Such a great kid and always anxious to help!
Whew! Almost time for a beer! Lol
Final resting place And yes she tastes great!
Congratulations! What a wonderful trip and a lifetime of memories.
Perfect ending!! I bet the young man is hooked.
So happy for you guys...here's to many more great hunts with your best buddy!
Best of Luck, Jeff
That was awesome - congratulations!
I might have to get ahold of you, in a few years, when my boy is old enough!!
Thanks for the kind words guys!
Rick- to say he's hooked would be an understatement! He's already counting down the days til next year and planning where he wants to "guide" us ;^)
That was priceless! One of the best I've ever read! Way to pass it on, Joe!
Awesome story and adventure!, he will remember it for the rest of his life.
Great story and great time with your son.
Great story! I have an 18 month old son and another boy on the way in March. I hope to be able to have the same experience some day! Good stuff!
Great hunt !! You made an elk hunter out of him for life I bet....Congrats.
Awesome job ! Mine are grown now but here's a old picture of a hunt long ago ! Seems like yesterday.
Love it. Can't wait to take my son on his first hunt!!
YES! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy and many more! C
Great hunt! Thanks for sharing an awesome trip with us!
great story ....thx for posting
Another reason to love Bowsite! Thank you LUNG$HOT! Way to go on the cow, I'm planning on taking my 6 year old son squirrel hunting this weekend!
That shot of your boy with the cow by the ears is the Bowsite photo of the year! Congrats
I vote best thread of 2015.
Thanks for sharing!
You guys are awesome, thanks for reading!
Wes- I appreciate the vote! Not sure but I think it's still 2014 though! Lol
Great experience for your son. I praying that I can get it done this weekend with my son in the tree with me as well.
Hunt'n addict- good to hear you've got your boy out there with you as well. Good luck to you gents!
Very cool.... Thanks for taking the time to write it up! Congrats to both of you.
One of the best hunts of the year! Congrats on the new hunting buddy!
Wonderful! Congrats again on a job well done!!! GREAT story!
Great Story!!!! Thanks for sharing.
Very cool!! Thanks for sharing.
Bringing this back to the top so my Dad can find/read it. Here ya go Pops.
I missed this thread thread the first go-around. Glad you brought it up.
Grats to you and your son!
One of the best hunting stories I've read in awhile! The world would be a better place with more dads like you in it.
Just saw this. LUNG$HOT........PRICELESS!
I agree with several that the SUCCESS part was when your son got in the truck to go hunting. AMEN!
Good Job DAD!
Lung$hot, I was hunting or guiding when this was written in October, and missed it. Thanks for bringing it to the top. This is a GREAT story, incorporates every honorable element of the hunt, family, and an excellent job with the photo-essay.
Very, very nice!!!
Very cool, good on you and congratulations to you and the youngin.
I remember those days with my son,and it seems like it was just yesterday ..cherish them!as Im sure you do
it reminds me of a bumper stinker I once saw
DONT LET YOUR KID BE THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Thanks for sharing MikeC
Good job on being a dad. Too many kids don't have that in their lives. Its safe to say he's a lifelong hunter. One day, he'll be dragging you around the mountains.
Great story!! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.