Had a great time hunting over in eastern Washington with some old friends, and new friends. We had great weather for the start, with Wednesday in the high 50's to low 60's at 4800 feet. T-shirt weather as we set up our camp.
Thanks to Bryon, camp was pretty comfortable.
We were literally in the elk from day one. Dave and I blanked out in the morning, but found them later that day in a spot close to camp. Close encounters with elk at ranges of 10-50 yards was not uncommon. I had a 1x2 at 15 yards, but I had to let it go because of the "True spike" only rule.
Sunday the weather changed and we got some snow. Lots of guys pussed out for that evening's hunt, but our group headed out and started putting the patterns together as we ran into more elk. Saw some bruisers.
Heading out on Sunday's evening hunt.
On Monday we all had close encounters as our group went down to four, just not any legal bulls. We did find a few gut piles, and one downed cow, that unfortunately got hit.
More pieces of the puzzle were put together.
Tuesday started out with Dave giving us our marching orders, "Stomp on the terra!" So we did. We made yet another game plan based on what we had learned the previous few days and I went back to an area where we saw LOTS of elk activity, and a pinch point. On the way in there was a large herd to my east, as you could literally hear them squealing and bugling.
We sent one of our party towards the far side of the group to push them towards the shooters, and then the shooting started, but not in our group. The elk heading towards me sounded like a freight train, and then I saw the first one about 50 yards below me in the tree line, so I booked it downslope. About 20 cows passed me before I saw my first bull, and then another, and so on, but no true spikes. More cows, and then out steps this "unique" bull. He had one horn up, and another one hanging down, after a bit of looking, no extra points so he got hit.
I am calling him the "Shillelagh Bull".
My twelfth elk overall, and my third bull. He went all of 5 yards. As the guys closed in on my position, they continued to chase elk. The line of elk on the far hillside stretched for a quarter mile as they got out of Dodge. It took two hours before the woods were finally quiet enough to start breaking the elk down, so I quartered him up with a lot of help from Bryon, and then Dave and Aaron showed up and we all packed him out in one trip.
Headed out again that evening and got into the elk again, and had a fun chase down the mountainside after seeing a spike at 55 yards. They won. It was a teaching moment for the youngest of our group. He'll run next time, instead of casually walking down the hill. Be aggressive.
Wednesday was cow tag day. We had one tag, so our goal was to get Bryon onto a cow. Shooting light started at 7:20am. I think Bryon had the cow by 7:35am, about a third of a mile from camp. This one we got out whole, as I got to use one of FP's (Fred's) buddy's elk rope spools. It was nice to be able to butcher it in a controlled manner. Chain hoists are also a wonderful thing.
We break up camp, and as we are saying our good-byes, shots start ringing out near out camp, and yet another herd runs through the woods below our camp.
Not the biggest elk for me, but certainly one of the funnest hunting camps I've been a part of. The number of elk we saw were measured in hundreds, literally hundreds.
Stomp on the terra!