Wyoming Bull Elk(s)- Success- Late Report 10/14-10/21

Discussion in 'Hunting Discussion' started by Captain Steve, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. Captain Steve

    Captain Steve USCG 100ton Licensed Capt

    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Name:
    Steve
    Boat:
    18ft Crestliner "Farmer's Daughter"
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    Late Report, figured we may need something new to talk about after last night so for your viewing pleasure.

    Quick Report-
    2 bulls down both 300" class after 6-7 days of really shitty hard punishing hunting.


    Really long report
    After my buddy Avo and drew a General Bull Tag for WY this year we looked and researched for an outfitter and settled on a horse back 7 day deal out of Jackson, WY. The outfitter had 2 camps, 1 near Moran and the other near Bondurant, and only took 4 hunters at a time.

    As we approached closer to the date, the outfitter called me and let me know that a huge wildfire came through and pretty much wiped out his Bondurant area and the forest service would be closing that camp till the first snow, so we would be heading to the Northern Camp in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grizzly Bear capital.

    We drove up from LA in one day straight, and headed to camp the next morning. Got set up in camp and our horses and headed out for an afternoon hunt. Our first significant time on horses ever so it was an adjustment. We rode up a trail where we could glass and came up to a Ridgeline where we could glass. Pretty quickly we spot a few large bulls, but they are miles away/ Canyons away and with light fading we decide to head after them tomorrow.

    Day 2
    We awoke to snow/ sleet drizzle and saddle up and head up the river bottom. Our guide froze ahead of us, and hand signaled a bull, it was our first fire drill in dismount, unscabbard, load, run...etc. It was not smooth, we sucked at it, never saw the bull. Big learning lesson. We rode up and down hills that reminded us of the power and ability of the horses. Following tracks we rode through heavy timber all day to no avail, and when the rain started coming down we hunkered down under a tree and built a fire. We thought to ourselves this is already one hell of an adventure.
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    Day 3
    Woke up to 6-8 of the lightest powder snow I have ever seen. The gnar-pow you dream about as snow boarder, but we have business to take care. We saddle up in the dark and get to hammering up a new trail. It did not stop snowing all day. Every tree branch you brushed by with your horse dumped a foot of snow on your saddle, your leg, your hood, your scabbard, your boot...nothing was safe. We threw down another 10 hour day for nothing, and started to feel the pressure.

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    Day 4

    You guessed it more snow....and more coming. We rode up another trail for around 2 hours. The snow never stopped, it kept punishing us, we kept fighting through it. This tested our gear beyond anything I have ever experience...almost nothing is that waterproof when it just sits and melts on you. Kuiu, Sitka...it all was being pushed to its limits. The snow was unrelenting, so we decided to turn around after a half day, get to camp regroup, maybe trail the horse to a new trail. The trail looked good, but we didn't see anything till last light when we busted a very large bull 25 yds away on the side of the trail. This time our dismount was fast and furious but he had already disappeared in the woods. We went in on foot in hot pursuit but could not connect and light faded. We never had a chance, but man that was fun.
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    Day 5
    And...more snow. Is this ever going to end? I can't take this crap anymore. We rode up the same trail as yesterday morning and busted a bull and cows at dawn. They were right on the park line and we couldn't hunt them, we watched this 320 class bull push his cows further into the park. That was gut wrenching...we rode on. There were moments where the snow stopped and we could glass and thought we could catch em feeding, but no. Just as quick more clouds would roll in from the west over the Tetons and barrage us again. At one point in total white out, and my clothes drenched...you guessed it we built a fire under cover and regrouped. Day 5 winding down we cut tracks near dusk and went in hot pursuit of a bull. We went on foot, on horse over hills, through timber, you name it. With light fading we mounted up and galloped following the tracks till we lost them in a creek. Finally felt like we were hunting again and not getting our ass kicked for no good reason.
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    Day 6

    The feeling that this may not happen is starting to sink in for the both of us. Time, money, effort ...all could be for not. This is hunting, there is no guarantees, but you at least want a chance. The snow had finally stopped, but all my boots were wet from the days before. I decided to wear my X-Tra Tuffs with 2 pairs of wool socks...the best and the worst decision. In that 20 degree morning, I still had snow accumulating from tree branches as we rode. The snow sat and chilled my feet. I held tough for 2 hours till I told Avo and our guide...."I have to go back, I may lose a toe here, you guys go on." Of course they wouldn't let me go back alone, so we all headed to camp. Our guide Randy lent me a spare boot and we ate lunch to come up with a new game plan. As we were eating lunch the other group came back into camp...they had got a bull down. Avo and I looked at each other shocked, we had been begging to go up the trail they were on that morning, and were pissed.

    We saddled up and followed the mule retrieval team up the trail. As we reach the top of the trail a mile out of camp, we came upon a big park and our guide says "Elk." Avo and I are getting pretty good at the dismount by now and the desperation of Day 6 makes us fly. I grab my rifle scramble to the side throw my pack down and hit the snow. I line up on the one standing, I look and Avo is nearly in my line and a bit in front of me. I get his attention and he looks down to see me prone and behind him ready to let go. Our guide yells at us, "You take the one on the right, Avo the one on the left." I look over and there is another bull bedded under a pine just 15 yds apart, 230 yds away. I line up on him, Avo on the standing bull and I flick the safety off. "Are you on him?...Are you on him?...are you on him? ...Im going to go....Avo I am going to go....." No response, I see my bull get twitchy and I am taking no chances....BOOM

    All hell breaks loose. I shoot, and my bull runs, I try to put a second one on him as he flees in the timber. Meanwhile I hear Avo running through his Weatherby faster than a bolt action has ever gone. His bull disappears right behind mind and we both look at each other "Did you get em?" We didn't know...they both moved like nothing happened. I was prone on a rest, and felt good about my shot but every second began to put doubt in my mind. Avo had shot kneeling and wasn't as sure at his.

    Randy yells "Mount up, lets get after them and cut them off!" We reload and hop on and trot down the trail around the timber in the direction they had ran. Hoping to cut their tracks...5 min down the trail and we haven't cut any tracks. It starts looking bleaker in our mind... we turn around and decide to head to the seen of the crime. The whole time we are asking Randy, "Did we get em?" "Did you hear the hit?" He kept our head in the game and said don't worry boys, theres probably 2 down up here.

    We ride up to where they were, Randy instructs us to hold back about 10 yds so we don't get too many tracks in the area, as he is going to look for blood. He walks around and shuffles through the snow, with no emotion, shakes his head, kicks some snow...doesnt say a word for about 90 seconds....we are losing more hope. The he turns around and says "Im just kidding there is blood every where! Let's go get this son of a bitch!!!" We are in utter shock..Are you screwing with me? Sure enough, there is blood everywhere in the snow, and the other positive sign is there is a bed with blood just 10 yds away from the original spot. It had sat and got up, but to sit that quickly was a good sign. We track another 50 yds and find him piled up next to some pine. We are on the board. Now the work begins.

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    Day 7
    This was the best weather day we had. It is blue bird sky and there is still 12-18" of snow on the ground. We mount up and head to the same spot and continue on that trail. First thing we see 2 bulls running across a canyon that were scared from another hunters shot. We try and cut their tracks to no avail, and decide to move on. Around 1 pM I spot a cow on a hill side over a mile away. We knew there probably was more, so I stayed with the horses as Randy and Avo tried to move. Sure enough there was a whole herd and in the timber they could see antlers of a bull but no shot. Suddenly they got up and started filing out...a little puff of wind had blown their cover at 400 yds. I race up on my horse dragging the other 2 from a mile behind and we mount up and chase this herd up and over everything you can imagine. We get another glimpse and they bust again, and we chase again. Finally lose them in the multitude of tracks and we are running out of time on the last day.

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    We grab a quick bite on a ridge and glass more bulls that are out of range. The sun is starting to set and we losing time. Randy says screw this, and we dont head for home, but head for broke. Up hills, over logs, down canyons and we loop off trail in search of more bulls. We spot one at nearly 1,000 yds but can't close the gap in time. By the time we get to where he is, it is time to pack it in. We start riding down the trail towards camp and are coming on to the same area I shot my bull the day before. I am in the back and I see Avo bail off his horse and run 5 yds take a knee and shoot. As we had come up to the same park 3 bulls had run across the trail and were in the park I had shot mine. There was a wall of timber between us and them but Avo had found a small lane about 5 ft and had shot as one ran by the gap. Randy blew the cow call and the last elk stopped and froze....he was no more than 50 yds away and was standing in the gap, head on looking at Avo through the timber. Avo let one fly from the 7mm Weatherby and it dropped lights out where it stood....down to the wire.

    From the Lowest low point to the highest High...this is why we hunt. Unreal experience for us.

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  2. el Toro

    el Toro I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
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    Nate
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    Holy shit! That sounds like an incredible hunt. Super jealous. Two great bulls and an awesome adventure. Congrats! I've been cold, wet and miserable on hunts a bunch of times and while it sucks giant balls at the time, those are the hunts you look back on with the most fondness. For a general tag on public land, sounds like you guys were in the right country. Bravo!
     
  3. Baller

    Baller Lives for fishing the surface iron..!!!

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    Bill
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    Wooooow, what a hunt...!!!

    Thank you for sharing your adventure..!!!
     
  4. watersdeep

    watersdeep Well-Known "Member"

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    Jed Venture
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    the twisted ducker
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    SUPER BADASS!

    great elk
    great post
     
  5. Sea 2'er

    Sea 2'er ELk Country USA

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    Name:
    Bob
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    Sold It!!!!
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    That's really cool! Great reading thanks for sharing and congrats!
     
  6. Rauterki

    Rauterki The worst fisherman on the boat

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    Name:
    Jon
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    I'm in the market. Make me an offer I can't refuse.
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    Nice work fellas!! Way to stick with it. Hunting in Wyoming is awesome.
     
  7. Ali

    Ali Master of Nothing Admin

    Location:
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    That Guy
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    You boys earned those two! Congrats. I'm super stoked for you guys.

    Did Avo pull his "broke back" tricks on you? Must have worked on us 5 times in PEI.

    :)
     
  8. Captain Steve

    Captain Steve USCG 100ton Licensed Capt

    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Name:
    Steve
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    I've been fishing and hunting with the guy for 20 years...seen all the tricks. He must have saw you guys as fresh meat. Plus I think he was super enthralled with the horses...kept talking about getting a pony at home.

    We definitely earned it, it sucked...wouldn't have it any other way. But Im down for a little easier run next time!
     
  9. FishinArmo

    FishinArmo Member

    Location:
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    Avo Oughourlian
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    Steve thanks for putting the time and putting a recap of the trip together it was great cant wait to do it again.
     
  10. FishinArmo

    FishinArmo Member

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    ali steve has seen most of my tricks so he was well prepared
     
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  11. bowlboy

    bowlboy redrum

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    Killer story and a pair of great Bulls
     
  12. bajaandy

    bajaandy Condition One

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    Andy
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    Awesome report! Way to go on those bulls! What a story, with the tough weather and tough hunting. Congrats on a successful hunt.
     
  13. lee337

    lee337 ahuntnfisherman

    Name:
    larry lee
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    WOW!!! Thanks for taking the time!!!
     
  14. baboltin

    baboltin Newbie

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    Some great bulls congrats !
     
  15. DH10

    DH10 Member

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    Dave Harper
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    Great story.
    My wife was hunting bighorn sheep for most of September and October in the Wind Rivers, and the weather was atrocious (she got a nice ram on the last day of a 61 day season). October was the wettest, snowiest on record in Western Wyoming. Now that the hunting seasons are winding down, it has been 60 degrees and sunny, all that snow is pretty much gone. Tough conditions, but it did make for some of the highest harvest rates for deer and elk since they were pouring out of the high country in the middle of the hunting season......
     
  16. Anello

    Anello Giddy Up!!!

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    Outstanding!!!!! Great read, as well. Thanks for taking the time.

    A grueling hunt like that only makes success more sweet. You guys facking earned it! Congrats!!
     
  17. pjbigdog

    pjbigdog Member

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    Great write up!!! Congrats on the bulls!!
     
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  18. Captain Steve

    Captain Steve USCG 100ton Licensed Capt

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    Steve
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    I know, I screen shotted the weather report and sent it to my buddy the week after...wtf. 65 and sunny all the way through. But then again they were saying this snow pushed Yellowstone elk out and kick started the migration helping our success. We just had to ride out the dump.
     
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  19. mattbush

    mattbush Member

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    Matthew Bush
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    Burly! I lived up there for a year. Weather is no joke. Way to be patient.
     
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  20. DH10

    DH10 Member

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    Dave Harper
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    Snow is the #1 best thing that can happen on an elk hunt (unless your bow hunting and it totally screws up their patterns). Many of the last 20 years here, October has been T-shirt weather. Pleasant, but terrible for hunting.
    I had never killed an Elk until moving out here in 1997. I killed an elk for 15 straight years, and have killed one every year I have hunted them. Several friends asked me how I got one every year, and the answer is being flexible. I always keep an eye on the weather and hunt the day after a storm, regardless of the day of week, whatever. I am not a great hunter by any stretch, and know this is not an option everyone has, but getting out there when they are moving and trackable is key.
     
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