Sitka Gear
Painted Toes and Bugling Bulls.
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
Chief 419 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
Ron Niziolek 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
Scoot 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
grossklw 08-Jan-21
Old School 08-Jan-21
Brotsky 08-Jan-21
hdaman 08-Jan-21
KY EyeBow 08-Jan-21
WV Mountaineer 08-Jan-21
stringgunner 08-Jan-21
BULELK1 09-Jan-21
Bowfreak 09-Jan-21
Jaquomo 09-Jan-21
Jeff Holchin 09-Jan-21
ahawkeye 09-Jan-21
Inshart 09-Jan-21
Beav 09-Jan-21
Wv hillbilly 10-Jan-21
Guardian hunter 10-Jan-21
Tonybear61 10-Jan-21
grossklw 10-Jan-21
elkmtngear 10-Jan-21
stringgunner 11-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
stringgunner 12-Jan-21
bohuntr 12-Jan-21
hdaman 12-Jan-21
elkmtngear 12-Jan-21
OTC_Bowhunter 12-Jan-21
deerslayer 12-Jan-21
Cheesehead Mike 12-Jan-21
HUNT MAN 12-Jan-21
Helgermite 12-Jan-21
Brotsky 12-Jan-21
grossklw 12-Jan-21
Beav 12-Jan-21
WV Mountaineer 12-Jan-21
Rgiesey 12-Jan-21
Jaquomo 12-Jan-21
Jeff Holchin 13-Jan-21
Scoot 13-Jan-21
bowhunter24 14-Jan-21
Bowbender 14-Jan-21
Cheesehead Mike 14-Jan-21
grossklw 14-Jan-21
Cheesehead Mike 16-Jan-21
grossklw 28-Jan-21
BOWNBIRDHNTR 28-Jan-21
Mt. man 28-Jan-21
grossklw 29-Jan-21
Adventurewriter 29-Jan-21
From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
It’s the off-season, and I’ve always said every year I head west I’ll write a little story, and I was able to head west in 2020. I’m hoping by me even doing these my kids will be able to read these 20 years down the line and get a good laugh. This is my dad with my son up at the cabin the weekend before we left.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's Link
I’ve been able to chase elk in a few different states across the west the last few years and have even been lucky enough to tag 3 bulls on my first 3 hunts. I included those stories below if anyone missed them the first go-round. One thing I’ve always had going for me is I’ve been a glutton for punishment, I’ll hike until I find them and that’s been the key for me so far. You can find them 300 yards from the truck, I just have not found them there yet.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's Link
2017 Elk Recap

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's Link
2019 Elk Recap

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21
2020 was a different year, for many different reasons. I looked at the draw stats and thought I’d have a decent chance to scam on some points from buddies to head back to where I’ve killed a couple elk in the past, and we applied as a group thinking we were a shoe-in. The draw results came out and sure enough I saw that little unsuccessful color light up on the draw regs. This particular state was nice enough to move their results back, so it left me scrambling a bit to find something with most of the draw’s already over.

Jake- (buddy who has been bitten by the elk bug, but they have been his kryptonite) was planning on coming with just so he could call and be in the mountains again. When I had the results and a big N-O from my favorite state to hunt, I sent a quick text. Hey-Let’s figure out a hunt. Didn’t take long and he immediately responded with Hell yeah, let’s do something. First I needed to figure out a state- I’ve gone in green before to other areas and eventually figured it out, I thought this wouldn’t be much different. At this point I was really stuck with two options- “Bite the doh” or “Coal or Ado”. We looked at harvest stats, pressure, etc. And basically threw a dart at a map and thought we’d try the first one. I reached out to a couple buddies on Bowsite and Rokslide (you know who you are), to see if I could get an idea of the lay of the land and our plans were set.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's Link
I’m a PT by trade but also own quite a bit of real estate, I bought a lake cabin on Lake Superior to turn into a short term rental in late July so most of my weekends were going to be occupied renovating which meant less shooting. I spent one last weekend up north with the family before I headed west. I spent a relaxing weekend up at the cabin with my kid and parents; it was a nice little recharge before we left. Before I left I just couldn’t get dialed in, I’d be consistent and then all of a sudden I’d drop 5 inches. It got to a point where I literally just said to hell with it and got it dialed with broadheads at 40 on a couple shots and called it good. I later found out that my rest had been slowly slipping down but the thread was already stripped out so there was little I could do about it without grinding it off which I couldn’t do in the middle of the mountains. I had a bad, bad feeling that it was going to cost me on an elk, but I just didn’t have time to get it fixed. I attached said cabin for those wondering what it looks like.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
Montana
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Montana
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grossklw's embedded Photo
Another bowsite buddy would be joining us for portions of the hunt, I’ll let him chime in if he wants or doesn’t want his name known (just PM me if you really want to know). AB was in the country a few days before us and checking out some other drainages and he would be staying after we left as well. September 9th came and Jake pulled in to my place that night and we’d be leaving in the morning. I took the day off to party with my 2-year old as I’d be missing another birthday for him (great planning idiot). I dropped him off at daycare the next morning, got a little bit sad on the drive to daycare but knew I needed to headed west for my mental health.

September 10th- Off we went, headed to a new state and country I’d never seen. Jake got some work done on the way out and we had about a 20 hour drive west. I love driving through Montana and the Dakota’s, seeing the different country is always exciting. We pulled into a camp-spot around midnight, quickly got camp set-up and down we went. My plan for the first couple days was to effectively truck hunt until we found elk and then pack in if we needed to.

I love how terrible the photos work when trying to upload them from an iphone, really awesome stuff.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
All smiles, first day in elk country.
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All smiles, first day in elk country.
I leave straight from camp after we get packed up and Jake is going to head further west into a drainage and hike up and see what’s going on. I get about 200 yards from the truck and hear a bugle (but a little too Doug Flutie sounding). I start hiking towards it and 4 Kuiu/Sitka guys come walking out. We chat a bit back and forth and they were headed into the same drainage I was planning on hunting. I hit Jake with an Inreach message and say lets head to option C (truck was parked at my first option and we were already on B). At our second spot we split up and decide to hunt until noon or so basically just hiking checking for fresh sign.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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Beautiful looking country.
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Beautiful looking country.
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First elk hunting selfie of the trip ;)
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First elk hunting selfie of the trip ;)
It was dry country, absolutely beautiful, but water was at a premium. We each hiked around 7 miles in the AM with a couple thousand feet of elevation change and there was very little fresh sign. A few old rubs, but no fresh bedding and I didn’t get a hint of elk. You can’t kill them where they’re not, so we hopped in the truck and headed to a different zone closer to buddy 3 to explore some new country. We didn’t have much of an afternoon hunt but that night elk were screaming their brains out as they made their way out into the sage well past dark. I at least knew they existed anyway.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's embedded Photo
Cheap cot under jake.
grossklw's embedded Photo
Cheap cot under jake.
Day 1 in camp we have some good laughs. Jake bought a cheap cot that collapses in the middle of the night if he’s not perfectly level. 2 AM wake-up call of “god da*&it” is hilarious and it happens several nights. I’ve also got 4 nieces under the age of 10, previous weekend they ask if they can paint my toes and I say sure, I’ll take a little extra luck out elk hunting. They try and give me crap but I completely own it and it may become a yearly tradition now. Badger on one, and Packer on the other.

From: Chief 419
08-Jan-21
I admire a man who'll admit to having his toes painted. That takes guts right there :) Tuned in!

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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grossklw's embedded Photo
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Steeeep
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Steeeep
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Finally a little elk sign.
grossklw's embedded Photo
Finally a little elk sign.
Day 2 I dropped Jake off at one drainage, I would drive up to the next drainage and we’d hunt all day. I had planned about a 12 mile loop into some new country and see if I could find some fresh sign. There were a couple trucks parked at the head of the drainage, but there were trucks everywhere so it was something to note but it wasn’t going to stop my hunt.

The morning hunt I worked my way through a north facing ridge and bumped a cow and a calf (awesome! Elk!). I slowly worked my way to a bench that I had e-scouted thinking it may hold elk. I waited for mid-day thermals and did a calling sequence without much going on. I slowly crept through the bench and promptly bumped another elk.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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Painted Toes for the crowd that’s comfortable with their sexuality :)
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Painted Toes for the crowd that’s comfortable with their sexuality :)
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Bull bugles over the top of that saddle after I hiked to it.
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Bull bugles over the top of that saddle after I hiked to it.
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Some more elk sign.
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Some more elk sign.
I snuck into the next drainage over and took my obligatory afternoon elk nap, complete with letting the feet air out a bit. About 5 o’clock I gave a locator bugle and a bull popped off, with no doug flutie to be found. Afternoon thermals had switched and were consistent, he was further below me in the canyon so I needed to side-hill and get around him to the bottom of the bowl before I approached.

I got to a spot where I felt safe and gave a couple soft cow calls and boom a bugle at about 200 yards. I crossed a small meadow and did some light raking and he sounded off again at less than 100 yards. I’m thinking this is a slam dunk, I could already get my inreach out to text the meat wagon’s.

The intensity of the encounter picks up, he chuckles, I chuckle. He bugles, I cut him off. I can hear him raking and then all goes silent; did he wind me? I hit the puffer and the wind is great. He bugles again, but now at 200 yards headed up the canyon. I take off and the chase is on. I get to a small meadow and scream and then sprint across it. He chuckles 60 yards away and is raking. I see tips of antlers, nice bull, at least a 6 point. Could’ve been a raghorn, I didn’t care.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

grossklw's embedded Photo
Just can’t get over the country.
grossklw's embedded Photo
Just can’t get over the country.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21
The terrain was just open enough where he could see 60, but made for tough calling to get him into my lap. We have a stand-off at 60 yards where there was a scree field and was nailed down. I take a few rocks and launch them 30 yards away to try and get his attention there to sneak in for a shot. I range a tree, 47 yards, I need about 10 steps and I can angle an arrow into his vitals once I hit 40.

From: Ron Niziolek
08-Jan-21
Following this one.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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Soooo close.
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Soooo close.
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Elk Piss
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Elk Piss
He whirls around and bugles as he sprints further into the canyon. I had no chance to catch up. 2 other bulls are bugling right with us a couple hundred yards away. I thought I’ve found him, I’ll come back with Jake tomorrow and kill him. He’s not pushed or spooked, I just ran out of time and light. I hike out of the canyon 6 miles and tell the story to Jake and buddy 3. It reeks like elk and there’s even fresh piss everywhere. Sooo close, I got to play the game so I’m happy anyway!

From: Scoot
08-Jan-21
Loving this!

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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Nice spot to relax during the day.
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Nice spot to relax during the day.
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I wonder why it wasn’t comfortable?
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I wonder why it wasn’t comfortable?
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Favorite snack.
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Favorite snack.
Day 3 Jake and I plan on hunting together and head back into the same canyon where I had the great encounter the night before. Locate bugle….silent. Locate bugle…silent. Jake, “You sure there were any elk in here?” We hike all the way around the rim of the canyon but nothing’s going on. There was some fresh sign, but nothing going on. We hike out of the canyon and go check out another spot I had on my list. Jake says his harness is uncomfortable, I look at it and start laughing and say I wonder why.

And then we meet Crossbow Cory (great nickname Jake gave him). At the trailhead a guy pulls up with a quad and a crossbow with a loaded bolt on his back…This ought to be good. He then tells us he’s disabled and can access any trail he wants and shoot off his four-wheeler. Said there’s 4 camps where we’re planning on heading into and he’s been ripping through the area everyday looking for deer and elk. He also gives me a lecture how calling does not work, it just scares the elk. The only possible way to kill an elk is ambushing them. He asks if we’ve ever shot anything and I told him I’ve only been on a couple hunts but have killed bulls on every one. It wasn’t worth my time to try and argue with a dude on a quad with a fully loaded crossbow on his back. Jake and I got in the truck and both started laughing, “What in the f*^& was that?”

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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More good looking country
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More good looking country
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grossklw's embedded Photo
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Unbelievable scenery.
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Unbelievable scenery.
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grossklw's embedded Photo

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21
Day 4

Hiked 12 miles again, 5 miles into a new drainage to find zero sign and no bugles. Pretty uneventful day. We decide to pull up camp and head to a new unit and pack into an area. Spoke with another bowsite buddy who had gotten into them some. Beautiful hike in, a few trucks at the trailhead, but it’s huge country so we figured we could get away some. Meet some nice guys from MN that we ran into a couple different times. Nice dudes, really getting after the bud light at night, but they were fun to talk to. We head up above camp just to listen and do some bugling to see if anything is around. Lots of new country to explore, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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Little breakfast
grossklw's embedded Photo
Little breakfast
Day 5

We start hiking above camp and see a headlamp heading up one of the drainages. Buddy 3 and I are headed up when we hear a bull pop off in a different canyon, it’s for sure a bull. We side-hill the next canyon and when we get over the ridge a beautiful dark horned 6 point has about 8 cows with him. He’s in the middle of the sage about to crest the next mountain top. Another bull pops off lower in the canyon and he bugles at him. The treeline is just too open to do anything about it, we can’t move closer or attempt to call.

Just for giggles he pops the bugle tube to glunk and the bull gives us one of the best bugles I’d ever heard in my life. It’s long, drawn out, with an awesome lip bawl with a growl at the end. Buddy 3 and I almost buckle at the knees, just awesome stuff. Our plan was to let him and his cows go over the top and then we haul ass over them to try and play the game.

From: grossklw
08-Jan-21

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What arrows are supposed to look like.
grossklw's embedded Photo
What arrows are supposed to look like.
We circle around and are planning to sit and glass until he goes over the top. We’re standing essentially in the open with the sun at our back and Buddy says there’s a cow and a calf walking our way. I’m getting my range finder out for him and he asks if I want to kill her. I’m a meat hunter, I can’t eat elk unless I kill an elk! She’s walking directly at us and he’s rattling off ranges, 45, 40, 35, 30. I came to full draw when she’s behind a tree and she stops at 25 yards.

This seems like as good a spot as any to take a break and I have patients anyway. To be continued after the weekend!

From: Old School
08-Jan-21
You may have patients, but we here on Bowsite don’t have patience to wait till after the weekend.

Beautiful elk country you’re in for sure.

From: Brotsky
08-Jan-21
I need to find the meme of that Greta girl saying "How dare you!" :)

From: hdaman
08-Jan-21
Great read so far! Thanks!

From: KY EyeBow
08-Jan-21
My patients were waiting so I could read your post.......................................... Great so far!

08-Jan-21
Awesome stuff.

From: stringgunner
08-Jan-21
Great so far!

From: BULELK1
09-Jan-21
Fun Read!

Thanks for sharing,

Robb

From: Bowfreak
09-Jan-21
Awesome story so far!

From: Jaquomo
09-Jan-21
Good work, Luke! Waiting for more!

From: Jeff Holchin
09-Jan-21
Good so far! My first child was born on 9/15, and I love elk hunting, so I missed many of his birthdays until he was old enough to join me. My last child was born in July so I did get better at planning...

From: ahawkeye
09-Jan-21
My oldest is 12 his birthday is 9/18. I'm waiting a few more years to head back west. Love these stories though!

From: Inshart
09-Jan-21
Great read, nice pics, bloody arrow, here we go!

From: Beav
09-Jan-21
Can’t wait for the rest!

10-Jan-21
Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait for the rest!

10-Jan-21

Guardian hunter's embedded Photo
well......
Guardian hunter's embedded Photo
well......
We're waiting!!

From: Tonybear61
10-Jan-21
Crossbow Cory gives all crossbowhunters with loaded bolts on ATVs a bad name...

No wait. Uh isn't that illegal in most areas??

As I find myself older looking for a elk hunt with pins in my feet, fake hips, disconnected bicep a easier way to access would be great. However, seriously allergic to horses and don't care for ATVs in areas such as you describe. I don't believe you said what kind of patients were waiting for you??

Rest of the story sooner than later please for us folks who can't or likely won't get out there.

From: grossklw
10-Jan-21
Rest of the story is on the work laptop. Sorry gents- I’ll have it loaded up by the end of the day Tuesday.

From: elkmtngear
10-Jan-21
So far, so good ...

From: stringgunner
11-Jan-21
So the weekend is past.... just sayin’?

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Little morning snack waiting to blood trail.
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Little morning snack waiting to blood trail.
I release the arrow and the hit sounded really good, pumpkin sounding. She hauls down the side of the ravine and out of sight. About a minute later we hear a huge crash; shortly after however we hear something walking and coughing as it walks back up the ravine (still out of sight).

We think there may still be another bull in our ravine that the herd bull ran off, I sprint back and start raking and cow calling. I hear 3 cow calls from buddy and over I go to him. The calf came back up and was at 7 yards, I laughed and asked if he thought about sending it. He said if it was closer to the end of his hunt she would’ve been dead. I feel pretty good about things now knowing that the calf is now alone.

We review the shot and sit down and have some breakfast. My wife puts little notes from her and the little man when she helps me pack, it’s corny but I like it and it reminds me of home. Buddy and I thought she was dead where she started walking back up the ravine. We do a quick grid search and nothing is there.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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As she lays.
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As she lays.
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Happy camper in elk camp!
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Happy camper in elk camp!
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Another year of not eating tag soup!
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Another year of not eating tag soup!
We head back to the point of impact and find the arrow which looks good. We have good blood for about 60 yards and it starts petering out. I’m colorblind so Buddy is doing all the heavy lifting. We keep thinking she was headed west but couldn’t find anything to confirm that. We lost blood after about 150 yards and I think she’s got to be somewhere. We walk just to the edge of the sage and there she is. She died at a dead sprint, shot was a hair back and a hair high but I got both lungs and it was over quickly.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Very unique trophy.
grossklw's embedded Photo
Very unique trophy.
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grossklw's embedded Photo
I told Buddy I can take care of her if he wants to chase the herd that went over the saddle, he figures it’s the middle of the day he might as well help me. I’ve only got about a mile back to camp and then another 2.5 back to the truck so the packout shouldn’t be bad at all, mostly on trails. We take a closer look and she’s got MT game and fish ear tags in, I was in contact with the biologist post-hunt and they figured she was either 5.5 or 6.5 in 2018 on winter range when they tagged her which would make her either 7.5 or 8.5 in 2020; kind of a neat trophy!

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Real trophy pic.
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Real trophy pic.
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Heart of the beast.
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Heart of the beast.
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First load back to camp
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First load back to camp
She’s bigger than the last 2 bulls I’ve killed and we make quick work of her. I send Les after the bull and I spend the rest of the afternoon packing her back to camp and hang her in the shade (not well enough). I lose about 35 pounds of burger meat to a bear as I was too lazy and tired to get it high enough. My own damn fault.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Load #2. I took my time and took lighter loads since I had all day and it was an easy hike.
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Load #2. I took my time and took lighter loads since I had all day and it was an easy hike.
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Type 2 fun kind of day, I looked like a real Sitka warrior that day.
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Type 2 fun kind of day, I looked like a real Sitka warrior that day.
When I was headed back for my last load of meat I ran into some guys from Iowa and he was coughing. Come to find out they had walked up the canyon shortly after I killed my cow and that is what I had heard walking back to the west up the canyon. We likely would have found her earlier if they hadn’t snuck through.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Beautiful night.
grossklw's embedded Photo
Beautiful night.
After I had packed my elk back to camp I just sat and enjoyed the weather for a bit and enjoyed a candy bar or two. I had a relaxing 45 minutes to myself and just looked up at the sky appreciating what I get to experience every year.

Jake gets back to camp and he’s dejected, he missed a nice big cow at 35 yards. He’s killed plenty of whitetails and some in the 150-160 category, but he comes unglued with elk. He’s happy that we will have meat, but he’s dejected. He had an awesome hunt, he was in to elk all day. The plan the following day was for me to call for Buddy and Jake and we’d head back up to where he was into elk all day.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Another ridiculous sunrise.
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Another ridiculous sunrise.
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Elk bugling all day at the end of my finger.
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Elk bugling all day at the end of my finger.
We started hiking, we had about a 1500 foot climb to get to where he had the encounter yesterday. About 8:00 a bull pops off, and then another, and another…and another. 4 bulls are screaming in the canyon but thermals are getting iffy. We get about 200 yards from the bulls in their bed at about 10:00 but if we take a step further it just swirls.

It was one of the coolest days of elk vocalizations I’d ever heard. We didn’t go 5 minutes without a bugle from 10:00 until about 3:00 that day…and that’s when public land hunting hit us. Afternoon thermals are terrible but they settle the last hour of the day. When they’re still bad we hear some terrible sounding cow calls coming up the canyon. We then hear a bull bark at the idiots. We know that guys are coming up with bad wind in a situation where they don’t have a prayer.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
They blow the entire situation up, but one elk is still bugling, afternoon thermals have now taken over. We go above the humans and I rip a challenge bugle, they’re moving towards us while the actual elk is still a couple hundred yards away, I “called in” the people so we could get around them to get to the elk. Public land etiquette is out the door at this point. They came up a canyon with bad wind and blew elk out that we’d been sitting on all day, I needed to move them.

Buddy and Jake moved ahead and we got to play the game for close to an hour with me and the elk going back and forth. It was a nice, heavy 5 point and Buddy had him at 60 yards but he’d just keep rounding his cows up and head down the mountain. We just couldn’t keep up with him, I tried staying way back just to keep them talking but they just flat outran us. We headed back to camp, but it was a fun night.

There were quite a few people here, but a lot of elk too.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Rough country.
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Rough country.
I told Jake to head up above camp and I was going to spend the AM packing my elk out to the truck and then I’d meet up with him later. Les was going to chase the big 6 point from 2 days before. I loaded up the first load and made my way back down the valley to the truck. I notice a new message from Jake on the inreach.

“Fuzzy smoke show bring the meat wagon brother” I respond you f-ing with me or what? “Spike down my friend.” I look at my gps, 2500 feet above me and almost 5 miles. Jake likes to talk about type 2 fun, it’s the kind of fun where it sucks but you glad you did it. I respond with it’s a type 2 fun kind of day.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Shots shots shots!
grossklw's embedded Photo
Shots shots shots!
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Fuzzy
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Fuzzy
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Trophy shot
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Trophy shot
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Finished
grossklw's embedded Photo
Finished
I grab the flask, it’s worth the weight. I hike up to meet him and he’s got his spike started, I throw the flask at him, he takes a shot of wild turkey honey and I give him a very non-covid friendly hug and we sit down and celebrate for 10 minutes before I worry about the task at hand. I hear the story in its entirety. He was still hunting towards a meadow and 5-6 cows came running out in the meadow, he gave a couple soft cow calls and the spike came running behind them. He 12 ringed the bull at 27 yards and then put another one in at 20 as it was dying. Didn’t go 20!

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Back to camp (we moved it higher before dark).
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Back to camp (we moved it higher before dark).
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grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
Jake’s first time carrying out his own elk
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Jake’s first time carrying out his own elk
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I’ve only got 10 miles at this point.
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I’ve only got 10 miles at this point.
We probably could’ve gotten the bull out in one load but we still had all day and I was in no rush. We took some pictures of the aftermath and headed back down to camp with 2 different loads. We packed out the rest of my elk to the truck and hung Jake’s in camp. We enjoyed another Wild Turkey Honey and Buddy was back to camp and had an encounter with a bull, but it didn’t happen.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Pretty Wisconsin Badger toes.
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Pretty Wisconsin Badger toes.
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Obligatory camp picture.
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Obligatory camp picture.
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Haven’t showered in 10 days and just did a full day of heavy hiking, life’s good!
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Haven’t showered in 10 days and just did a full day of heavy hiking, life’s good!
I sit down and look at my phone, 7800 feet of elevation change and 18 miles on my feet, half of which I’m loaded to the gills. It’s a type 2 day! My feet and pretty little painted toes were screaming pretty good.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
One last view of some amazing country.
grossklw's embedded Photo
One last view of some amazing country.
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Last load out with meat and camp; getting a bit tired
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Last load out with meat and camp; getting a bit tired
Day 8

We packed Jake’s elk out mostly in one load in the AM. We then went back to camp and loaded up camp to pack out with one final quarter for each of us. Talked to Buddy and he was going to stay in the drainage for another week and try and kill one. He had a couple awesome opportunities at big bulls but it didn’t quite happen.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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First time headed back home with one of his own elk!
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First time headed back home with one of his own elk!
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Freezers full!
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Freezers full!
We leave the trailhead around noon and back to WI. We got home about 6 AM, Jake slept while I had a b-day party to attend to. We cut meat and packaged that night and the next morning he was off for Kentucky. Another great elk trip with good buddies. We ended with 113 1.5 pound packages of burger, and 49 packages of steak.

One thing I'm extremely proud of is this is the fourth archery elk hunt I've been on DIY and I've yet to eat tag soup, the Vegas odds on that would be astronomical I would think. It's really helped having friends on site's like this as well as a little dash of stupidity when it comes to hiking and exploring new country. You'll also notice I haven't passed many opportunities on legal animals. When I start drawing some better tags I may get to that point, but I'm having a lot of fun doing what I'm currently doing.

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21

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Jake even snuck out to SD to meet me for a few roosters.
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Jake even snuck out to SD to meet me for a few roosters.
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Limit of late season SD public roosters with Lambeau.
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Limit of late season SD public roosters with Lambeau.
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Niko, me, and Lambeau with a couple ditch parrots.
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Niko, me, and Lambeau with a couple ditch parrots.
I'm almost ashamed to say it, but this is also the first year I didn’t bowhunt whitetails at home during archery season (I did archery hunt during rifle, but not during archery season) in 20 years. With little man growing up I’ve had to make some choices with hobbies to make sure I didn't start missing things, and I’d rather bowhunt elk or chase pheasants with my golden than hunt whitetails. Elk have completely ruined me for whitetails, it’s a trade-off I’m willing to accept to keep the peace at home. I'm interested in peace at home, not justice. His birthday is September 14th, and I've yet to make one. 2021 I already know my dates and I'm not wavering from them, I really don't want to miss another one.

Pheasant hunting was about average, we killed 25 roosters, and Lambeau broke the 100 bird club. My wife doesn't mind the pheasant hunting so much, it tires the dog out and I can usually sneak out quick during naps and not miss anything at home. If I had to choose between pheasants and elk that'd be brutal, but luckily I'm married to a rockstar and she's fine with a couple SD trips, pheasant hunting in WI, and one big western trip every year.

Now if I can go 5/5 is another story, but I’ll get back to you on that in 2021 after I figure out where I'm headed :)

Any specific questions please PM me and don't blast it for the internet to see. I like doing these, and will continue doing them each year. If you have an idea where I went please don't post a unit or zone.

From: stringgunner
12-Jan-21
Congrats! Great write up.

From: bohuntr
12-Jan-21
Awesome thread, thanks for sharing!

From: hdaman
12-Jan-21
Nice job sharing your trip, congrats!

From: elkmtngear
12-Jan-21
Way to go, Luke...great recap!

I'm psyched for Jake ;)

12-Jan-21
"Elk have completely ruined me for whitetails" I know how that is. Nothing to do with time or family, just no adventure of sitting in a stand. Tried to run and gun them, but ran out of rut. Good write up, congrats.

From: deerslayer
12-Jan-21
Great job!

12-Jan-21
Great story Luke! Congrats to you guys! You've done well Pilgrim!

From: HUNT MAN
12-Jan-21
Thanks for taking the time to post. Great adventure!! Hunt

From: Helgermite
12-Jan-21
Thanks for sharing Luke. Your time and effort to put the photos and story together are appreciated! I hope you get enjoyment from the thread as well...sort of reliving the hunt. You certainly take us there.

From: Brotsky
12-Jan-21
Awesome stuff brother! Love it! Next time you come to SD drop me a note. Buck and I would love to hunt some birds with you!

From: grossklw
12-Jan-21
Couple guys wanted a gear dump, I'm not going to put up an exhaustive list but I'll throw the nuts and bolts up-

I bought a couple new pieces this year to add to my list and I was impressed with both. I upgraded to a SeekOutside RedCliff tent with stove, didn't use the stove on this trip but it could be handy. I liked the tipi and didn't mind the floorless shelter and I thought I'd hate it. I also bought an Adak range finder/bino harness and I loved it, works great and is quiet and not hot.

Gear Dump- SeekOutside Redcliff with Liteoutdoors stove Stone Glacier Sky Archer 6200 (absolutely love everything about this pack, I have nothing negative to say) BlackOvis merino base layers Costco merino wool socks (cheap as hell and prefer over smartwool or darn tough) Costco gloves (lightweight, I also love wearing them pheasant hunting, and cheap) Sitka lightweight zip Sitka Jetstream vest (going to get rid of it for a puffy, it adds nothing positive) Sitka Ascent pants and hoody Sitka Ascent pants Sitka heavyweight zip (little bulky for early season but it is nice, little short in the arms) Kennetrek mountain extreme's Leupold tbr 1600 range finder Leupold BX-4 pro-guide's Jetboil Flash (stupid fast) Badlands 5 degree bag (upgraded from my crappy amazon one from last year that broke, was very happy with this, cozy) Couple bricks to charge my phone to get OnX cranking (use it all the time) Inreach Mini-great for staying in touch with the home-front as well as messaging buddies when actually hunting (such as Jake killing one for help on the extraction)

I'm sure I'm missing some things but those are the nuts and bolts.

From: Beav
12-Jan-21
Congrats and thanks for sharing!

12-Jan-21
I like your choice in the BX 4 Bino’s. Not sure why leupolds aren’t more preferred then they are. But, I just bought a pair and man has glass come a long ways.

Anyways, great hunt and recap. Congrats to you all.

From: Rgiesey
12-Jan-21
Good job! Thanks!

From: Jaquomo
12-Jan-21
Great story, Luke, and congratulations on another fine adventure!

From: Jeff Holchin
13-Jan-21
Well done, in many ways!

From: Scoot
13-Jan-21
That was great! Thanks for posting the story.

From: bowhunter24
14-Jan-21
Thanks for your write up I hear you on the elk versus the whitetail just wished I would have started much younger! Looking forward to next years write up as well!

From: Bowbender
14-Jan-21
"...I would have started much younger!"

X2

14-Jan-21
Luke is much younger ;-)

From: grossklw
14-Jan-21
Don't forget better looking Mike :) I hit it as early as I could, I went the year after I graduated from grad school so I feel like I went as early as I could've anyway. Ah...where to hunt in 21????

16-Jan-21
Haha! Yes it's always an adventure isn't it?!

From: grossklw
28-Jan-21

grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
Buddy sent me a pic I didn’t know he had taken, it’ll end up being one of my favorites from the trip!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Jan-21
Great write up man! Thanks for sharing it.

From: Mt. man
28-Jan-21
Great write up and year. As an ID native, yes please don't advertise the zone/unit....LOL. Heck I wish you would have blotted out the state on that tag...Hee Hee. I used to shoot 30-40 roosters a year here in SW Idaho as a kid. Then the farmers got new choppers and cleaner cutting farm equipment and the population tanked with no cover/feed. Haven't shot one in 7 years. I miss pheasant and noodles or pheasant and dumplings.

From: grossklw
29-Jan-21
Buddy sent me a pic I didn’t know he had taken, it’ll end up being one of my favorites from the trip!

29-Jan-21
you lost me at the painted toenails

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