I made a brief summary of my season from last year and this year isn't much different really – a few consolation prizes. Here's the last one for reference - A bull, a doe, a buck
This year I put more time into my early season scouting. Hikes with friends, hikes on my own, hikes with my daughter. My buddy below drew an awesome late season archery ram tag and we did a day scouting but got stuck in clouds. He put a ridiculous effort into getting ready for this hunt and ended up killing an awesome ram the first weekend he was up (out of 3 weeks he packed in for). This shot shows us stuck in the clouds and the rocks look like King Kong on the left I think.
I had a specific bull elk that I'd run into in previous seasons and this year I wanted to see if I could locate him again. There is a specific basin high up that he liked to hang in so I put in many days hiking in and taking photos. Never found that big elk in the pre-season but I ended up getting routine photos of a nice bull moose. Ultimately, this moose trumped my elk interest and I ended up putting in solid time during the archery season for him. I had lots of chances at some smaller bulls but never got another look at this bull.
We received a significant snowfall right at the start of the season – whether that changed his pattern up or just the oncoming rut I don't know, but he was gone.
I still got a little elk hunting in. I ran into a couple guys that were just getting going elk hunting so I took a few days in the season to get out with them and work together to find some elk. We got onto bulls but never got great shot opportunities on legal bulls (need to be 6pt, had some awesome chances on 5x5's). Day 1 hunting together was probably a highlight as we chased and created an encounter with a herd of elk high up. The bull came charging in once we got in tight but ended up being a 5x5. Shortly after that we hiked a little higher up and ended up finding a band of 4 bighorn rams. We spent hours watching them and closing the distance. Eventually, we found ourselves just over 100yds from the rams as they drank water from a creek in 2' of snow with a waterfall beside them – they had no clue we were there. Until the wind shifted. These moments will haunt me the rest of my life I imagine.
The last day of the archery elk mountain season I opted to close the deal on a young elk for the freezer. I wanted the meat and that would take the pressure off from the rest of the season so I could focus on sheep hunting. I went out for an evening hunt with my buddy Liam. We hiked into an area that often produces and before making a noise heard a big herd bull bugling. After a quick rock-paper-scissors session I moved up to shoot and Liam started calling. The bull was fired up but wasn't moving. However, some cows started to make their way to us. Long story short, I shot a nice young calf/cow and watched a small 6x6 satellite bull walk by at 15 yds headed straight to Liam's calls. He got an arrow off on the bull but it was deflected by the lone branch in front of him. So close to a double-header but an awesome night, nonetheless.
After weeks of coming home from hunting and not having results my daughter was “very proud” of me when I brought this elk home. Puts some of the trophy hunting element into perspective.
I spent the rest of Sept and Oct chasing sheep. Got close many times and just never got to fling an arrow. Busted stalks, rams too close to call on length, too many sheep for a clear shot. I experienced a variety of forms of frustration. The best ram I had a chance on was this curly guy. I spent 3 nights camped following him around and then he evaporated in a blizzard. 65Yds and he brought body guards. Here are a few other photos from the sheep season.
I took a few weeks after sheep season to recoup and started to get the itch to hunt again. After hunting sheep everything else just didn't seem to measure up. But I ended up putting a few days into some Whitetail action and shot a young buck for meat and just plain ole longbow fun.
Enjoyed reading other success stories and hope you enjoyed mine.
Ps For those wondering, the B&W shots are all film pics from an old Leica camera, and the digitals are from a sony RX100M3.
Congrats on a great season!
My youngest was eager to help me as I trimmed and packed the meat from my elk and deer. The freezer paper packages are all adorned with the labeling and hieroglyphics of a five year old.
makes me smile every time I pull out a package of meat.
I'm super envious of your hunting opportunity.
One of the best parts of the hunt is bringing an animal home regardless of its trophy status and cutting it up with the kids. Grats on that, good times.
What an awesome season you had. Really enjoyed the write up.