Tight Spot Quivers
A decade of “Big 3” Elk hunt memories!
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
Scoot 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
The rookie 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
bowhunt 21-Feb-20
Royboy 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
bowhunt 22-Feb-20
BigSkyHntr 22-Feb-20
LINK 22-Feb-20
JB 22-Feb-20
HUNT MAN 22-Feb-20
otcWill 23-Feb-20
Beav 23-Feb-20
Rgiesey 23-Feb-20
wooddamon1 23-Feb-20
Ron Niziolek 23-Feb-20
Paul@thefort 23-Feb-20
Scoot 24-Feb-20
hdaman 24-Feb-20
From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
It is the time of year where the couple hunting websites I look at don't have a lot of hunting stories. I have enjoyed reading the great hunting stories, and informative threads on this sight for probably 15 years or more. Figure it was about time I share some stories that hopefully others will enjoy

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
Over the past decade I have been fortunate to have a tag, or help a friend with an elk tag 4 different years in a top Oregon unit. I’ll share a recap of each adventure and some pictures .

My first trip to the unit was the year before any of us 4 had the tag. Me, my friend Tim , and his teenage son stopped on our way to go elk hunting in SE Idaho so Tim could call for a friend of his that drew the tag. Jonathon and I hunted for spikes elk and deer while Tim hunted with his friend. We heard quite a few bugles and saw some elk and deer. On the 3rd morning Tim called in a nice 320ish bull, and his friend filled his tag.

The next year all 3 of us put in for that tag, and Tims son Jonathon drew in the random pool!

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

My first trip to the unit was the year before any of us 4 had the tag. Me, my friend Tim , and his teenage son stopped on our way to go elk hunting in SE Idaho so Tim could call for a friend of his that drew the tag. Jonathon and I hunted for spikes elk and deer while Tim hunted with his friend. We heard quite a few bugles and saw some elk and deer. On the 3rd morning Tim called in a nice 320ish bull, and his friend filled his tag.

The next year all 3 of us put in for that tag, and Tims son Jonathon drew in the random pool!

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

bowhunt's embedded Photo
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After finding out Johnathan drew a tag we were pretty excited. He is calm as can be when a shot opportunity presents itself. If he pulls his bow back, you may as well get your knife out.

We hunted off and on the first three weeks with lots of encounters. He passed on 6-7 bulls, holding out for a 340 type bull. I was pretty shocked he was able to pass those bulls, I think he was 14 at the time with one spike under his belt. After our last 10 day trip I had to head home to work for a few days. The day before I was going head back over he shot a whopper. His persistence paid off big time.

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
2 years later Jonathan’s dad, Tim had max points to draw the tag. After spending most of a season over there, we had a pretty good game plan. Tim had some other friends to go with him the first week of season. I told him I would go with him the rest of the season, minus a few days to go back to work.

The first week of the season was an absolute monsoon every day. They didn’t really get into any elk, and Tim was a little frustrated when I showed up. The next morning we were hiking out to the ridge where Johnathan killed his bull at first light. We only made it about 3/4 of a mile from the road when a bull answered a cow call. After 20-30 minutes of calling the bull was finally coming in. It was a really nice 340 class bull, but things just didn’t work out.

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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We spent the next 4 or 5 days alternating between some of the flatter ground and hunting the steep stuff. Tim passed on several bulls, and we had some more close calls on great bulls. We headed back to town to work, and then headed back for the last 2 weeks of the season. By this time any of the easier to hunt spots we had found had been hunted by other people. The bulls would answer, but wouldn't come in. It was time to head back to the steep country where we hadn't run into a single person in all the times we had been out there.

Here are a couple pics of the steep stuff we ended up having the best luck finding big bulls that hadn't been messed with yet. Attached Thumbnails

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
We finally hit one of those magic days you dream of with about a week left in the season. We had bulls answering all morning. Around noon we had 5 or six different bulls bugling around us. We were trying to glass up some of the bulls to see witch one to go after, when we heard some brush being raked by a bull about 100 yards below us. I got on the other side of the knife ridge and went down the hill about 60 yards. The thermals were going up, so i figured the bull would go up the side of the ridge Tim was on to try to get above my calling and get my scent. I just did cow calls and kicked rocks around for about 20 minutes. I didn't want to be aggressive with this bull because he was acting pretty timid and just raking brush no bugling.

From: Scoot
21-Feb-20
Keep it coming!

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

bowhunt's embedded Photo
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Next I heard a cow call, and then Tims bow shoot. It sounded like the bull only ran 70-80 yards down the extremely steep hill.

We went to the top of the ridge and listened to all the other bulls screaming at each other. We saw several 280-290 bulls. There was one bull about 700 yards below us that sounded like a big one. We wanted to wait 20-30 minutes before going after the bull Tim shot, so we were glassing down where the big sounding bull was trying to catch a glimpse of it. It finally showed itself, and was the biggest bull I have ever seen. It was. 7x7 with giant main beams, long times, good mas, and super wide. I figured it was easily a 380 bull. It was really neat seeing a bull of that caliber.

After waiting for 30 minutes we went down to where Tim shot from. He took a 20 yard shot and knew he hit it good. There was tons of blood and the bull basically ran straight down. We found it about 80 yards away, just where we quite hearing it run. He said he almost didn’t shoot, but with the season getting close to being over he decided to shoot it.

When we walked up we were both amazed how big the body was on this bull. We were about 4 miles from the road and it was up hill all the way back to the truck. We had some serious work ahead of us!

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

bowhunt's embedded Photo
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We had 300lbs of boned out meat, cape, and skull/horns to get 4miles uphill to the car.We deciding we wanted to do this in 2 trips. At that point I figured out our mystery ranch crew cab packs were really poorly designed for carrying heavy loads even though all the reviews I had read were great. I dont think I have ever been so exited to get back to the truck that night.

Kenneth Kutch(father of Kenny Kutch owner of Kutch Archery) also had a tag, and we had been camping with him during this hunt. A couple of Tims other friends were hunting with Kenneth, but both had to go home the day before Tim killed his bull. We told him to go out with us the next morning and try to get one of the bulls we saw the day before. We were really hoping to call in the giant 7x7 if it was still out there.

If I remember correctly he was 78 years old at the time, and I was a little nervous about taking him 4 miles down a ridge and then dropping down into the steep basin the big bull was in. We got out to where we spotted the big bull and heard him answer a cow call. I was amazed how well Kenneth got around. It was nearly half a mile down to get above the bull, and he had no problems. We called in a 280-290 bull several times while cow calling to the big one, but he didn't want to shoot it. The big bull was in a real good spot for him, and not for us. We decided to get the last load of meat out from Tim's bull.

We got back to camp, and decided to run down to Abby's Pizza in Pendleton for dinner. What a treat after a couple long days of hunting and packing meat! After dinner we headed back to camp. The temperature was cool enuff to let the meat hang from Tim's bull, and we both told Kenneth we would stay and hunt with him for the last 5-6 days of the season. There were tons of different bulls in the drainage Tim's bull was in, and we figured it should only take a couple days to call in a good one for Kenneth. We got up in the morning to hunt, and he decided he wanted to get home. Kenneth had been over there for nearly the entire season. He had never been away from his wife for more than a few days, and he was ready to go home to her. We packed up camp and headed home.

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
I had a couple less elk points than Tim, and we figured it would be 2-3 years until I could draw the tag. I was really hoping to get lucky in the draw so I could go after the giant bull we had seen. Also after spending most of 2 elk seasons in that unit I thought we had it figured out pretty well. A couple years in a row I had a 50 percent chance at drawing, but luck wasn't on my side.

In 2016 it was looking like I should draw. I had given up my elk seasons to hunt with Tim and his son when they had the tag, and he was ready to return the favor. Tim is probably the best perosn I know at calling in elk. He is very good at getting a feel for what each individual bull wants to hear to put them right in front of you. Some want to be screamed at, and some just want a couple cow calls and a few sticks breaking. I ended up drawing the tagged and we were both beyond excited. We knew the unit well, and had the whole season for me to kill a giant bull! I spent a weekend scouting a couple areas we had not been to that looked pretty good on google earth. I located a small spring about 4 miles from the road for drinking water. Theres not a lot of water sources on the tops of ridges, so that was nice to find. I figured this area would be pretty good once the rut really got going. It was a 1 mile wide by 2 mile long fairly flat ridge top surrounded by extremley steep ridges and drainages. I imagined the bulls would be coming up out of the steep country to look for cows in this area. I found lots of beds, and a lot of elk rubs from lots of different years scattered all over on that flat top. To me this confirmed my suspicions that this was going to be a great area to hunt.

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20
We missed opening weekend because we had drawn mule deer tags in Utah. Not a big deal, I didn't want to fill my tag doing spot and stalk on a bull or calling one in that comes in quiet. I planned on hunting till the end of the season, and wanted to get the most out of what would be a once in a lifetime tag for me to have. We headed over the second weekend to check out some of the spots we had seen some big bulls when Tim had the tag that were a little closer to the road. We figured early on it would be better to hunt those spots before the bulls had gotten pressured from other hunters. We were getting close to where we wanted to camp about 45 minutes before dark when a huge non typical bull and a bunch of cows ran in front of us, and headed up into the drainage we planned on hunting the next morning. We got camp set up and our excitment level was pretty high knowing a bull of that caliber might stil be there the next day. After finishing dinner one of us bugled, and 4-5 different bulls answered all around camp! I had a close call sneaking in on a bull that was bugling first thing the next morning. It was probably a 320 bull, but i really wanted to spend a couple weeks over there before filling my tag.

Over the course of the next couple weeks we encountered a lot of really windy/ rainy days. It made hunting bulls in the thick crap they like over there nearly impossible. Another big dissapointment was another hunter had found the area where Tim and Johnathon had killed their bulls, and where we had seen the giant 7x7. That was the main area I had planned on hunting, and never got to hunt it even one time. We were also running into a lot more hunters in other areas that were god on the previous two hunts as well. On a couple occasions we had big bulls called into within 100 yards, and then other guys showed up with the wind bad cow calling and bugleing spooking the bulls off before they got into range for me to shoot. There was 6 or 7 days of season left and things weren't looking good for me. There were a couple nasty storms forcasted so it looked like only a few days of decent weather in the last week. The hunt was nearly over and I hadn't pulled my bow back even once yet.

From: The rookie
21-Feb-20
Great stuff so far, keep it coming.

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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We got to camp late on Tuesday evening, the season ended sunday. I told Tim it was time to go hunt some of the nastiest @#!* holes That should hold some elk that I would be supprised if anyone had actually dropped down into and hunted. We were going to go hunt the flat ridge top that I thought would be good later in the rut. I also figured if people had hunted the flat top area, the elk would be in the hundreds of steep drainages and finger ridges around the top.

The next morning it was about an hour drive from camp over to this area. We hunter our way out to the flat ridge top, and werent really seeing any sign that looked much fresher than what I had seen in the late summer. We Made our way around the wet side of the top of the ridge and never got any bulls to answer. At this point we had hiked 5-6 miles, and never got into any elk. Tim was pretty frustrated and I told him I wanted to check out the east side of the ridge and try to locate a bull over there. The ridges and drainages were even steeper on that side. With about an hour of day light left we reached the other side. Tim looked over at me like I was stoopid When he looked down off the edge. I jokingly pointed about a 1000 yards below us and said a bull is probably right there, since it was exactly where you would hope you didnt have to go after a bull. He cow called a couple times, and a bull came completley uncorked. It sounded like a big bull, so we dropped down the nearly vertical hillside get set up close to where it answered and call it in. We got set up with the wind good and Tim started cow calling. It didnt take long and the bull popped out of the thick stuff at 40 yards broadside. I was at full draw and my first instinct was not to shoot this bull. I came to my senses remember the season was almost done. I shot the bull just as he finsihed bugleing at Tim. Not the biggest bull, but I was happy with how hard we hunted for that one oppurtunity

From: bowhunt
21-Feb-20

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I shot the bull about .65 miles down in the drainage behind me. This bull also had close to 300 lbs of boned out meat. We had a couple long days of getting the meat, cape, and horns back to the truck. Those nearly straight up hillsides were an adventure getting up once the rain storm came in the next day.

From: Royboy
22-Feb-20
Great story thanks for sharing.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
Tim also happens to be a taxidermist and does really good work. We had talked about what I wanted and the mount turned out perfect. I love looking at it every morning when I walk out of my bedroom.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
One of my other best friends is also named Tim. Going into 2017 he had a slight chance of drawing the same tag. He struck out in 2017. In 2018 he had a 66 percent chance at drawing, still no luck. It seemed like a decent amount of people were jumping in and applying for this hunt that were previously just putting in for points.

In 2019 Ron Wolds Oregon Tags website showed Tim P. Had a 100 percent chance of drawing. We were hoping a lot of people didnt apply for this unit because a lot of big bulls were killed in one of the other top units. I also heard of a fair amount of people just doing a point saver because the season ended so early in 2019. I told Tim P. Just to put in for it because I would call and hunt with him for the whole season if needed. I have just as much fun calling bulls in for my friends, as me getting to shoot.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
The 2019 hunt went very similar to my 2016 hunt. Even with the low amount of tags, we kept running into people. It was amazing how much this hunt had changed from the first two hunts I had gone on.

Opening weekend we went over for a couple days. We heard one bull bugle opening morning . No other elk were heard or seen. Sunday morning it got very windy and rainy so we headed home.

Over the next two weeks we saw a fair amount of 280 to 300 inch bulls. We also found one that was around a 330 bull across a canyon from us. We tried getting over to it, but the bottom of the ridge we were on turned into a 50 foot cliff. It also got so thick we just couldn’t get over to the bull before he moved on.

The next morning we hiked out the top of ridge the bull was on, but never found the bull. We did run into a couple guys that had been hunting the top of the ridge for a couple days, and. They were sleeping right where a lot of the elk we hanging out on the ridge. It was time to move on from that area.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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A few pictures of the rugged terrain the bulls in this unit love

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
By the 3rd week of the season bulls were getting more aggressive. We got into a drainage that had 5 different bulls bugling back and forth with each other. Over the next hour and a half I called in 3 different bulls Tim P. Guessed between 270-300 inches. He was at full draw and passed the biggest one at about 5 feet! That was a pretty exciting morning.

We both had to head home and work for a few days. We headed back over Saturday September 14th to hunt the last week of the season. We went to an area I had scouted in 2016 that seemed like it could be a drainage that people overlooked.

At first light we started making our way down a finger ridge trying to locate a bull. After hiking a couple miles we finally got a response across the drainage, and it sounded like a big bull. Then 3 other bulls answered. We decided to go after the one with the deepest bugle first. We had to drop down about a mile cross a creek and get 1/3 of the way up the next ridge to get setup and try to call it in. We never did get on that bull, it just took to long to get to where he was and he moved on with his cows.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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A couple other bulls started started talking back and forth in the bottom of the drainage. We didn’t do any calling, and were trying to get really close to one of them before calling it in. We got about 150 yards away and found some giant trees one of the bulls had been rubbing on.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
It was an absolute jungle where these bulls were. Tim P. Got setup where he could shoot to his left about 20 yards and also about 25 yards up hill. I was goi g to need to put the bull right in front of him or he wouldn’t get a shot through all the trees and brush.

I got about 60 yards away and did a couple cow calls. 2 different bulls were within a 150 of me, and both were screaming there heads off. It was sounding like the closer bull was going too far to the right of Tim P. I very quickly moved about 60 yards to my left. I cow called a couple times as I was moving and was breaking sticks with my boots, trying to sound like a couple cows moving around. This got the bull on a course that I thought Tim would get a shot. I was just doing some light cow calls, and both bulls were goi g absolutely nuts.

I heard Tim cow call and his bow shoot. I could here sticks breaking as the bull went up the hill away from us. It sounded kind it wasn’t moving very fast, and I stopped hearing sticks break about a 80 yards away.

I couldn’t see Tim P. And wasn’t sure what happened so I kept cow calling. The other bull went past Tim at about 10 yards and then came to me at about 30 yards. It was a really nice 320ish bull. After it walked off I went to Tim P. To find out what happens.

He cow called when the bull got to a tiny window through the trees and said he made a great 25 yard shot. We backed up to where I was calling from and had some granola and coffee.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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After eating and having coffee we found a massive blood trail. After hunting our butts off Tim P. Had his bull. When we walked up to it we were both blown away. I have never seen a bull with a body as big as this.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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We usually use no more than 6 game bags on a good sized bull. This one filled 8 bags with boned out meat. We made a meat pole, and got all the bags hung up. We had a very long hike uphill back to the truck.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
Our plan was to drive around to the bottom of the drainage and pack the meat out that way the next morning. Another friend met us in the morning to help pack meat. It took all day to get the all the meat and cape back to our rigs. At my house we weighed each of the meat bags on a hanging scale. There was 390 pounds of boned out meat! Unbelievable

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
We got back to my house Tuesday morning to cut/wrap steaks and grind /package burger.

Wednesday we headed out to the area we normally elk hunt if no one draws a premium tag somewhere. We slept in the back of my truck. At first light we started the long hike to camp, I had 4 days to fill my tag. We had some close calls Thursday and Friday , but no luck. Saturday evening I spent about 2 hours sneaking in on a bull that was bugling every once in a while. Right before dark I got my opportunity!

It was going to be cold that night, and we weren’t finding blood so we hiked back to camp. I thought I heard the bull stop running about a 100 yards away. With the cold temperature there wasn’t any risk of meat spoiling, and I didn’t want to bump the bull if it was still alive.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20

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We left camp before the sun came up in the morning. I wanted to be where I shot the bull right at first light. The bull was dead right where I thought I heard it quit running!

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-20
I also shot a small buck. Between the 2 elk and the deer we ended up with 700 pounds of boned out meat.

2019 was good to us.

From: BigSkyHntr
22-Feb-20
Some nice bulls!! Thanks for sharing

From: LINK
22-Feb-20
Nice bulls

From: JB
22-Feb-20
Awesome! Thank you for sharing!!

From: HUNT MAN
22-Feb-20
Great post.. Come on September !! Hunt

From: otcWill
23-Feb-20
Loved it! Thanks for posting. A nice break from the trash that seems to consume the site lately

From: Beav
23-Feb-20
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! otcWill x2!

From: Rgiesey
23-Feb-20
Nice bulls! Thanks

From: wooddamon1
23-Feb-20
Awesome! Congrats!

From: Ron Niziolek
23-Feb-20
Very good. Congrats!

From: Paul@thefort
23-Feb-20
No doubt about it, elk hunting is FUN! Thanks for the story, nicely done. My best, Paul

From: Scoot
24-Feb-20
That's great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to post this! It's definitely the time of year to help us all out with something we love instead of bickering about BS.

From: hdaman
24-Feb-20
Great story telling, thanks!

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