2013 Antlerless Elk Hunt


December 16, 2013, 02:31 PM
Another season has come and passed. We filled 6 of 8 tags in camp, should have probably filled all 8.

My brother and a friend killed a cow and calf the first morning. Here's my brother with his calf:

I filled my tag the first afternoon. I was hunting with my friend Ben that I met in school, this was his second year hunting and he's till learning the ropes. We had a little snow a few days before the hunt and it was patchy. It softened up during the day but after about 3pm it started to freeze again and was crunchy. We were hunting thick pinon/juniper and had hit some snow. We were crunching loudly, looking for a way out of the snow when I saw movement thru the trees I knew was either deer or elk. I got on my sticks and could see an elk facing me, eating in a small sage opening. It looked like a calf (small head), shot was about 80 yards (estimated). I aimed for center of the chest and fired. The elk and another ran away. Ben said the elk "lifted" up when I shot, and given that I was on sticks at 80 yards I was sure I'd find a dead elk shortly. We found one set of tracks and followed them ~150 yards without blood until they met up with another set. I followed those back to the clearing and they were smaller like a calf so I assumed that was the elk I shot. No blood at all, which was surprising. I was expecting to find a dead elk and a blood trail. I was thinking I must have missed and was feeling pretty crappy as there was no excuse for missing a shot like that. I could not remember the trigger break so I was thinking I jerked the shot. When Ben asked "what now?" I said we have to keep following the tracks just in case, because you have to make sure you missed. We went another 50 yards or so and my elk was piled up and dead. Didn't spill a drop of blood until it stumbled and fell, which makes sense since it was a front on shot that didn't exit. 30-06, Barnes 168gr TTSX did the trick. Didn't recover the bullet, must have come out in the gut pile. Turned out to be a HUGE bull calf. I was surprised to find what looked like a young but full sized cow down. Opened its legs to gut it and low and behold there was a twig with un-dropped berries. Small head, but BIG body for a calf. Biggest calf we've ever shot, or known was a calf anyway.

Day 2 my brother took my other friend Mike to the same spot he shot one the day before, a small hill in thick juniper/pinon country that has marginal views and elk travel thru there. If you are patient, elk are likely to pass by. Mike dropped this cow with his 7mm Mag,~100 yards.

Another guy in camp shot a big cow on Day 2 near where Mike killed his, probably out of the same heard. He shot and a few minutes later the elk came by Mike. No pics of that elk.

Day 3 I was "guiding" Ben. We saw elk several times that day, Ben ripped off a shot at some running elk and was a good learning experience of what shots not to take. We followed the tracks in the snow for a long time without blood or signs of the elk slowing down, I'm confident he missed. My dad shot an elk on day 3 but I don't have pics.

Day 4 was Ben's last day, we set up on a ridge that overlooks some good country and it is typically an area that elk move thru. Sure enough, a cow and calf came by at 200 yards. They did offer a shot but due to circumstances Ben did not take the shot. 200 yards was his maximum range with his iron sighted rifle and he was losing the bead on the elk. He did not want to make a bad shot so was really taking his time, however, elk don't tend to stand there all day and these did not and walked away. So it goes.

All in all, it was a good hunt. 6 of 8 tags filled, and we're eating good again this year. I'm smoking jalapeno lava-jack sausages today. Can't wait for next year!


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Arkansas Paul
December 16, 2013, 04:37 PM
Sweet. Sounds like y'all had a great time.
I've got to start applying for elk tags here. Our herd is just getting built up so it's a long shot to draw one but I darn sure wont if I don't apply.

December 16, 2013, 05:45 PM
Nice! Great write up and pics as usual

December 16, 2013, 06:31 PM
Great hunt, good job and nice post!

December 16, 2013, 07:08 PM
Which unit did you get this year? Unfortunately, I didn't get drawn. Am down to nothing but burger now from last years Elk.....:(

December 16, 2013, 07:25 PM
Dude…from start to finish that sounds like the best hunt anyone could ask for! Great times in the field with friends, experienced hunters teaching the novices, solid ethics and tracking, butchering them yourselves, tons of meat, and a smoker full of sausage.

I'm happy for you…that sounds like heaven.

December 16, 2013, 07:38 PM
LennyJoe: We were in unit 9, easy hunt to draw. We saw more elk this year than ever before, usually it's a pretty hard hunt. We would have filled all the tags with more time. The two tags that didn't get filled each had opportunities to kill elk but didn't connect.

gspn: it's a good time and we look forward to it every year. Camp is getting big because of all the new hunters. Good times.

December 16, 2013, 10:41 PM
Awesome, 6 of 8 tags filled!

I once lived in Cheshire back in the 80's and 90's. I learned almost everything I know about big game hunting from a friend who guided back then with his brother, Bill and Jim, they also lived in Cheshire. I sure miss living up there.


December 17, 2013, 12:09 AM
Awesome success. I'm glad for you, and a bit envious. :D

December 17, 2013, 12:10 AM
Ah yea, I hunted unit 9 in 2007 and took a cow from there. We put in for that area earlier this year on our application but got passed over.

December 17, 2013, 12:15 AM
We plugged a cow about an hour before dark by willow tank in 20 mph winds. The pair walked to within 50 yards of us. We pretty much walked into each other. We seen them first and I got mine, buddy missed the other girl.

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