a good hunt. 3 spike bulls for 4 hunters in the MAV's camp.
named the "hardcore camp" as others noted we left camp in the dark and returned to camp in the dark. No 10am around the campfire beers for my group.
hunted my fave elk area, now 44 years. noted more hunters than usual in "our" area of operation.
Opening morning, I passed on a nice legal spike. At less than 60 yards broadside but a cow directly on the bulls opposite side. The cow entered the meadow first, followed by the spike moving up alongside it. No shot as my 300 WM would have blown thru the spike and likely killed the cow too. Man that was tough to pass. The two elk spooked seconds later offering no good shot and minutes later a hunter showed up moving thru the elks trail. Alas, it was close to being over early opening morning but not to be for me. Then the hunter spotted me and walked on over, asking me where he was! yep, he was new to the area.
so I sent him down into the deep canyon, hoping he'd dog one out for me. never saw him again
Over the next few days, spotted a few nice branch antlered bulls. Passed on a bull calf (young bull with very small velvety antler growth), saw another spike but it saw me first and the timber swallowed him up before I could even get the rifle up. Hunting friend put down the first bull Wednesday, another partner got his bull Thursday morning. Helped pack that one out and at the end of the day Thurs, I had them drop me off at my father's favorite meadow stand for the last hour hunt.
5:45pm, 11 elk appeared above me about 375-400 yards away. 6pt, several cows, another bull calf and decent dark horned spike. But then bringing up the rear was the spike I was looking for. Sweeping spikes, good sized body, blonde hide and tapered hard antler tips.
Quick range put him at 410 yards, calm & almost no wind. The evening quiet was settling upon us. Rested the ol' Browning magnum on the pack, a little hold over with the horizontal cross hair even with it's back and verticle cross behind it's sholder... and a squeeze of the trigger.
BOOooom,,, echoed the 300 WMag across the canyon. The spike bull stutter stepped, move down the hill about 20 yards and stopped with its nose toward the ground. A second shot, held at ear tip level, entered about 6" below the ear, center of the neck. With that the spike crashed down, rolled down the steep hill about 40 yards and was stopped by some small trees. My rifle, sighted in at 3.5" dead center high at 100 yards had done it's duty with proper hold at 410 and 385 yards. First shot took out a lung, entered heart cavity but not much damage to the heart. Second shot broke its neck but the spike bull was pretty much dead on its feet by the 1st shot. By the time I made it up to the beast, near darkness had settled in. A quick pic, elk gutted with aid of headlamp and returned to camp around 10pm. My, how the work starts after the trigger is squeezed! I never get tired of that kind of work.
by Saturday noon, I had completed the bone out/pack out and settled in to enjoy the sunny but cold weather. Then a couple Budweisers flowed. And realized with tired muscles and aches that age will catch me oneday, like those other elk hunters in elk hunter's heaven who taught me everything I know about elk hunting. Might have to get a pack horse or rent a mule in the future.
a few pics....
as it lays, after the shot:
late thursday but head shot at camp Saturday am.
lunch at camp in the sun with my furry friend...
all in all, a pretty decent elk season.