Mathews Inc.
My 2018 WY Elk Hunt
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
Treeline 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
yooper89 11-Dec-18
sdkhunter 11-Dec-18
The rookie 11-Dec-18
APauls 11-Dec-18
fishnride 11-Dec-18
Marty 11-Dec-18
dirtclod Az. 11-Dec-18
SBH 12-Dec-18
adogg437 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
Treeline 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
Treeline 12-Dec-18
sdkhunter 12-Dec-18
Drnaln 12-Dec-18
smarba 12-Dec-18
Scoot 12-Dec-18
ElkNut1 12-Dec-18
IdyllwildArcher 12-Dec-18
HUNT MAN 12-Dec-18
Old School 12-Dec-18
Beav 12-Dec-18
Southern draw 12-Dec-18
Wv hillbilly 12-Dec-18
SBH 12-Dec-18
otcWill 12-Dec-18
The rookie 12-Dec-18
Amoebus 12-Dec-18
Schmitty78 12-Dec-18
MNpurple 12-Dec-18
BigOk 12-Dec-18
BigOk 12-Dec-18
standswittaknife 13-Dec-18
deerslayer 13-Dec-18
Chasin Bugles 13-Dec-18
goelk 15-Dec-18
Grunter 15-Dec-18
5575 15-Dec-18
OFFHNTN 17-Dec-18
Brotsky 17-Dec-18
From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18
With many of our minds switching to 'application mode', Figure it's a good time of the year to recap my hunt....

Like many of us, up to the 2018 draw, I had just been building points in WY and while I had occasionally put in for actual tags in extremely low odds units, I hadn't went after anything I had any reasonable chance of drawing. It was about a year ago that I posted a thread looking for thoughts/feedback. Got some good feedback and a fair number of PM's - always fun to hear from other hunters! After talking both with phone calls, emails, PM and visiting with a bunch of biologists and warden's I narrowed down my choices - from 4 to 3, then 3 to 2 - then, there was only one....

Draw time. Yep, I'm in - drew the tag. You would think that drawing would be a feeling of ecstasy but really, as I'm sure many of you can attest/relate, once you burn all your points, it's an exciting time but it can also be a lot of pressure and stress. I remember looking at the draw results and at least initially - not doing anything - just staring at the screen with a knot in my stomach, wondering what did I just do :-) Will the research, training, preparation be enough? Will this hunt measure up to what in a peron's own mind, it could be?

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
scouting trip camp fire
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
scouting trip camp fire
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Looks like I'm going to need to bring my fishing pole :-)
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Looks like I'm going to need to bring my fishing pole :-)
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
I jokingly told my dad to be ready in case a bear attacked, we could jump off the rock and slide down the tree... He just looks at the tree, looks at me and jumps. Awesome memory!
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
I jokingly told my dad to be ready in case a bear attacked, we could jump off the rock and slide down the tree... He just looks at the tree, looks at me and jumps. Awesome memory!
It was fun to talk to various hunters and forum members about their experiences and thoughts not just about my unit but just elk hunting in general. Visiting with Elk Nut/Paul one evening was one of the highlights. Just talking with him about past hunts, setups, mis-steps, etc was an eye opener and everything he said seemed to make a lot of sense... After our conversation, I realized I wanted to do a better job at reading bulls and attacking each setup differently instead of behaving relatively the same for each bull and then randomly getting lucky 1/10th of the time.

Working 2 jobs and being a dad, time is at a premium so I decided that one quick scouting trip in August was going to be all I could do... Weather was great, it was fun to have a weekend with just dad and I out scouting, learning terrain, roads, etc.

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Highlight of the scouting trip was a basin with 20+ branch antlered bulls... I'm not an expert but this may not be a bad area to check back on during season....

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Day 1 of my 2017 hunt
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Day 1 of my 2017 hunt
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
How it started...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
How it started...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2017 CAMP
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2017 CAMP
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Ending to a memorable 2017 hunt!
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Ending to a memorable 2017 hunt!
I desperately wanted a less eventful hunt than my 2017 elk trip. On the road, I ended up in the emergency room in Nebraska in significant pain. Turns out I had a fully blocked gallbladder with a bunch of gallstones. Dr said I would need surgery to remove - I said fine - soon as I'm done with my elk hunt :-) 2017 was the most physically and psychologically tough hunt I've ever been on - I grinded it out and shot my best bull to date on the 11th day... At a minimum I hope not to end up in a WY hospital having scans, CT scans, etc. I had surgery removing my gallbladder exactly 1 week after returning home from my 2017 hunt...

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
This was the sight I saw as I opened the tent door the 1st morning.... One of the reasons I like to hunt in the mountains so much - beautiful!
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
This was the sight I saw as I opened the tent door the 1st morning.... One of the reasons I like to hunt in the mountains so much - beautiful!
Back to WY 2018. Was hoping for a less eventful trip - at least not needing medical services would be a start. Pulled in late the first night and found a random spot to throw a tent...

From: Treeline
11-Dec-18
I’m in:-)

Great start to what looks like an awesome story, Jason!

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2018 WY Camp
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2018 WY Camp
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Complete with covered parking :-)
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Complete with covered parking :-)
My initial goal was to just go hunting at first light but I knew if we didn't setup camp now - I'd be doing it in the dark :-) I'd be sleeping in the enclosed trailer and my dad who had came along as a camp mate for the 1st week would be sleeping in the tent - he had some serious congestion going on and he didn't want to pass it on if possible...

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2017 1st day view
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2017 1st day view
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2018 1st day view
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
2018 1st day view
Gotta love when you actually get things ready and START hunting.... Little different views from 2017 vs. 2018 Good sign the 1st evening hunt and could even smell elk had been in the area but didn't see anything...

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
pizza on the charcoal grill
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
pizza on the charcoal grill
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Pizza a second night - I don't count calories while hunting...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Pizza a second night - I don't count calories while hunting...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Marinated pork chop with some sort of potato side... I'm not sure what it was but it tasted great...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Marinated pork chop with some sort of potato side... I'm not sure what it was but it tasted great...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
One of my favorites - a double smore...
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
One of my favorites - a double smore...
I've hunted various different ways - back packing into wilderness, setting up cushy camps off the forest service roads/trails - hands down, I like the nice camps... Mainly because of the food it allows you to enjoy :-) Makes for a fun hunt!

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18
2nd day I decided start the day behind camp. Really thick and was hard to hunt deep in the cover. I attempted best I could to hunt the edges - did see a couple of elk come out across the canyon right at dark - just too far to make a move.

That evening I decided to check out the area next the the 'bear escape pine'. I made it about a mile down an old closed access road and just before last light I could hear my first bugle. Made the decision I wanted to be back in here at day break...

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18
Next morning I was walking in well before shooting light. I could hear a couple of bugles but they were a ways off. Wind was good so I dove down into the cover... At some point I realized I was actually in-between two bulls, unfortunately they were moving in opposite directions. I decided to make a move on the one closest. I just couldn't catch up. It felt like I was close but he shut up - felt like I knew where they were - I didn't want to get stupid and start busting them out of a thick stand of young jack-pines. I decided to come in a different way and hunt a bit west that evening. I saw several cows that evening - I even had a herd sneak across an opening about 40 yards in front of me... I was ready and could have shot numerous cows - but no bull crossed...

From: yooper89
11-Dec-18
Just in time. Needed something to pull me away from my work!

From: sdkhunter
11-Dec-18
The best part about hunting an area over and over (long as you aren't blowing stuff out) is that you learn what's happening in a given area. So I learned the elk like a certain ridge to the south of the closed road - that's where I'm going to be in the morning...

So the next morning, sure enough, bugles... I got into some much rougher side hills than the day before so it slowed me down a bit, man I was right behind them though... Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about... You could smell them, you could see their wet spots on the ground... They started to speed up it felt like so I gave them a little friendly bugle from time to time... I could tell I was close so I started to slow up. Then all of a sudden I could see a couple of cows through the trees at about 80 yards. I got in-between some tree's and them and slowly closed the distance to around 40. The bull was SCREAMING and it felt like an opportunity was going to happen at any second... At that point it felt like there were elk all around. I heard a bunch of crashing. At first I thought they winded me but the cows just chewed on grass contently. Then I herd what sounded like an elk running right at me... Within seconds, the sound was un-mistakalbe. There was an elk RUNNING directly at me... I came to full draw and turned towards the sound. 15 yards away a bull comes running full bore around a tree directly at me - he almost ran me over... He swerved around my position and ran to about 40 facing away... I had no shot. Not sure exactly what happened - I believe the big herd bull was running off a satellite... At that point, the entire herd moved on and I continued with the cat and mouse game for about a mile before it was over - never got closer than about 70 after that. Good news was that I found some of the best sign I've ever seen elk hunting - I know where I'm coming back tomorrow! Regardless of what happens - almost getting run over by a big bull at point blank range is worth the price of admission - no matter how this thing turns out!

From: The rookie
11-Dec-18
I like it so far, keep it coming.

From: APauls
11-Dec-18
I'm in! Loving it!!

From: fishnride
11-Dec-18
Sounds like fun. Good start.

From: Marty
11-Dec-18
You got the hook set! Awesome so far!

From: dirtclod Az.
11-Dec-18
Having a great time following.Keep it up.

From: SBH
12-Dec-18
Keep it coming!

From: adogg437
12-Dec-18
Great Read so far! Nice work

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Always bring some tools :-)
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Always bring some tools :-)
What type of hunt would it be without some sort of mechnical malfunction... Always bring tools I guess... Caliper issue on a 4 wheeler... Was able to put a temp fix in place fairly easily....

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18
Always like the feeling when it feels like an area starts to make more sense. The next morning I was on a herd that was pushing away from me. Chasing elk - some times it works, sometimes it doesn't and there is no way a flat lander can hope to keep up. I could hear at least 2 bulls - one sounded big, the other sounded much smaller. There were a few times, I thought I could close the distance and they toyed with me just enough to make me keep going. I made it to a forest service road... I was hunting about a 16-17 mile drive from camp - which is a little further than I normally like but sometimes when you get a nice camp setup and you find good sign elsewhere - it's just easier to drive a few miles to hunt. After looking at my GPS, I realized camp was closer and a much easier walk than the vehicle so I started back towards camp. As luck would have it, a local sheriff deputy came down the road and I asked him which way he was going to be heading and asked if I could snag a ride in either direction... He was going back towards the vehicle and I could ride long as I didn't mind sitting in the prisoner cage - it was the only room he had... That was the 1st ride I've had the in the back of a law officers vehicle and hopefully the last :-) We talked about hunting he was also a bow hunter so that was cool, we drove about a mile or so and he said, just let me know when you need out. I said - it's a ways... He said it about 3-4 times, after about 8-9 miles he came to my truck - he said, "yeah, that would have been a long walk". Wish I had a picture of this one to post - unfortunately I don't :-)

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Luckily with the ride back to camp, I was able to save some time - it was about 11/1130 and I knew exactly what I was going to do... One of the favoraite ways to hunt in the afternoons is to 'sneak' into areas that I know are holding elk, and just let them make the 1st move. Either see them moving, hear them, whatever.. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but I've really been focusing more on "how can I not screw this up" while trying to be patient instead of bulling through everything (pun intended)..

So by 1:00 I was back in position in the area with really good sign that I found a couple of days ago. From all my years hunting whitetails in the midwest, probably my strongest suit is reading sign, travel routes and areas, etc. - I had a feeling that if I hunted that spot every afternoon - eventually something would travel through... 'or not' but I've found it's best not to second guess yourself :-)

I've also found it's extremely difficult to kill bulls while back at camp. Though no doubt someone somewhere has done it, just not my specialty - I'm more of a grinder - I may not be the best hunter but I'm relentless...

I picked a nice little spot, lopped a few branches off to improve my position and waited.

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18
Sometime around 3:00, I had a pair of coyotes pass by at 60-70 yards. I always take that as a good sign - animals felt comfortable passing through the area....

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18
About 5:00, i heard noise. You guys as bow-hunters know the exact sound I'm describing. This was no squirrel or rabbit - there was something coming through the woods. Deer, bear, coyote, elk - something... I grabbed my bow and patiently waited. It gets closer and closer until the point you know your about it see something. The first thing I see is dark brown legs, then a tan torso... Yep, it's an elk. I think I even muttered - I can't believe this is happening.... Then I saw the head - beautiful full branch antlered bull - by himself, I knew I was going to take a shot if I got one. Once I make a decision to shoot, I never purposely look at the rack/antlers again - my entire focus is taking the first ethical shot opportunity...

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18
Watching the elk reminds me of a rutting whitetail out crusing during the rut. He would stop every few steps, scan from side to side then keep going.... Unfortunately, he turns almost right at me and continues to close the distance. I draw - 40 yds, 35 yds, 30yds, 25yds, 20yds, 15yds, 10yds. He is now stopping to smell some of the branches I cut off and had fallen to the ground and wasn't using... The tree I'm next to is in the way which is both a blessing and a curse. I initially wanted to wait for him to walk past and then shoot but I couldn't take it anymore - I'm thinking I can twist around the other side and take that shot. Just as I getting ready - looking through the peep, trying to get the pin in the right spot - my top limb hits a branch or brush and he looks right at me. This stand off goes on for what feels like minutes. I couldn't hold anymore so when he looked away I let down. The problem with letting down being that close it still generates a certain amount of noise... He turned his focus back to me.

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18
At some point he realized I wasn't just a large squirrel and should probably do something. He started to bank back towards the initial direction he was heading and even started a slight trot. I came to full draw. When he hit as much opening as there was going to be, I cow called and he stopped at about 40 - perfectly broadside. Most of his body was covered by two large tree trunks EXCEPT about a 4" gap right up hist front leg and into the vitals... I released and heard the THWACK. I was shooting an expandable so I didn't get full penetration but I could see the fletchings sticking, very close to the hide as he whirled around and turned to run - stumbling almost out of the gate...

From: Treeline
12-Dec-18
Almost as good as a video! Excellent writing!

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
The sound of commotion and crashing in the woods was replaced by silence. Always an amazing feeling when something comes together. I grabbed my stuff and headed over to where he was standing...

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
I looked up hill in the direction I last saw him and there is was, piled up... I generally don't score my animals but he's my biggest bull to date for sure!

From: Treeline
12-Dec-18
Wow! That is a GREAT BULL! Beautiful!

Congratulations!

From: sdkhunter
12-Dec-18

sdkhunter's embedded Photo
sdkhunter's embedded Photo
Got him broke down and packed meat all night - got back to camp exhausted but happy at 4-5AM... Slept for a few hours and woke up to have a celebratory breakfast... Great memories for sure!

From: Drnaln
12-Dec-18
Very nice! Thanks for the great recap!

From: smarba
12-Dec-18
Whoa, awesome! Congrats on your GREAT bull! Your dad jumping into the tree was hilarious too.

From: Scoot
12-Dec-18
Saweet! Many congrats!

From: ElkNut1
12-Dec-18
Loved the story! Great job & way to have the patience to sit it out, congrats bud!

ElkNut/Paul

12-Dec-18
Grats, great bull! Thanks for taking the time to write up the story.

From: HUNT MAN
12-Dec-18
Wonderful story

From: Old School
12-Dec-18
Great write up. Thanks for taking us along.

--Mitch

From: Beav
12-Dec-18
Great recap and thanks for taking the time! Congrats on a great bull!

12-Dec-18
Congrats!

12-Dec-18
Dang that’s nice. Thanks for the story

From: SBH
12-Dec-18
What a bull!

From: otcWill
12-Dec-18
Great bull and well told story!

From: The rookie
12-Dec-18
Dandy bull and a good write up, thanks

From: Amoebus
12-Dec-18
Your tarp is a work of art.

From: Schmitty78
12-Dec-18
Great story and a heck of a nice bull! Congrats!

From: MNpurple
12-Dec-18
Great story. Thank you for sharing.

From: BigOk
12-Dec-18
Great story, Congrats

From: BigOk
12-Dec-18
Great story, Congrats

13-Dec-18
Great hunt! Huge bull congrats

From: deerslayer
13-Dec-18
Oh wow.... great bull.....

Very well done on all accounts. You know it’s a well told story when you’re imagining it as you read and it feels like you’re watching it play out. Stud bull man. Big congrats!!!!

13-Dec-18
Congratulations. Awesome bull and writeup, thanks for sharing!

From: goelk
15-Dec-18
Thanks for sharing a great story. Great bull

From: Grunter
15-Dec-18
Congrats on a great bull! I'm sure it was very special to have to your dad in camp to share it with also! Well done!

From: 5575
15-Dec-18
That was awesome, good for you! Great bull!

From: OFFHNTN
17-Dec-18
GREAT bull and story! Congrats!

From: Brotsky
17-Dec-18
Awesome bull and a great story! Perfect timing on telling it as well, this time of year is tough for an elk hunter! Congrats!

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