Well, I just got back from 2 1/2 days in Winston unit going after archery elk and deer. We stayed at a friends cabin on mayfield lake so it was easiest for us to go into the unit off of Winston creek road. We entered from the 2nd FS road you come to on the right off of Winston creek road. we didn't see any signs in there to tell us what FS road we were on. We do know that we were in the end of the unit closest to mayfield lake and the cowlitz river though.
On Friday we drove around for a bit til first light, found some good looking timber and dove in. We hunted a few spots we thought looked good throughout the day. Finally we found the hill side that was an elk highway! elk tracks, sh!t and beds everywhere. the main game trail going up the middle of the hill had clear elk tracks all the way up and elk sh!t every 10-20 feet. we got midway up the hillside and set up 20 yards off the trail in some ferns. no animals came.
Saturday morning we got to that hillside a little before first light and still hunted our way all the way to the top. we were on elk sign everywhere we went on that hill with deer sign mixed in here and there. half way up the hill there was a massive bench with trails galore and deer and elk sign everywhere. there's definitely a dominant buck up there too because we stumbled upon some really good rub lines on smaller saplings. After spending half the day on the hill without seeing an animal we walked back down to the rig. there was a fresh doe track in my boot print from the morning. b!tch gave us the slip!
We got back out onto Winston creek road and took a left into the mossyrock unit. We never got out of the truck in there because it was like a damn freeway in there with muzzleloader and archery hunters combined. so we bailed out mossyrock and went back into another part of Winston via Salmon Creek road. We got pretty far in there and hunted on a bunch of good deer sign but never saw a deer or an elk and didn't find any elk sign in that area.
This morning we went back in to our hill spot and hike pretty far in behind a closed gate. Nobody was back there but us. We ended up at a massive, flat clear cut that backs up to the other side of barrier dam. I've always wondered how to get over there to fish that side of the pool. Haha. Didn't see any elk or elk sign back there but there were trails and deer sign everywhere. saw a bunch of buck rubs back there too. I set up in a little pocket of ferns on the edge of some thick timber for a couple hours but nothing came through. My buddy went exploring in the clear cut and spotted a doe at 105 yards but he couldn't get to her. On his way back out there was a fresh pile of buck Sh!t right in one of his boot tracks near a fresh rub line. that buck gave him the slip big time.
So, long story short we hunted hard on foot away from traffic, behind closed gates, on good elk and deer travel routes and I personally never saw an animal. We didn't see a single gut pile or a single deer or elk in anybody's truck either. we also never spotted any animals from the truck while driving in and out of the unit. I know we barely scratched the surface of what the unit has to offer but I feel like we should have seen more than we did for the effort put in. guess that's what they call it hunting...
So, I have a couple more days ill be able to spend down there before the season ends. can somebody please send me a pm and tell me where abouts i can get on some cows? I know it's all about knowing where the animals go when they get pressured and that's what I need to know.
thanks for any help and thanks for listening to my sob story.