|An exceptionally well outfitted jeep (not mine) that did not survive the elk season.|
I hunted elk five days in October, by my accounting that's nearly 50 hours of hunting in total. Add another four days hunting deer and I managed to spend a lot of time in the field this past month.
There was a lot of good hunting in that time but the most eventful day for my elk season so far was Saturday October 27th. We had about 4" of fresh snow on the ground that morning so all but the steepest roads were still passable for my Tacoma and the conditions were perfect for tracking. I took the photo above of the jeep on its side on my drive into my hunting area. I stopped to see if anyone was hurt but the occupant was gone. Whoever it was, hope they are OK. This was an exceptionally well outfitted vehicle with excellent offroad tires, a winch, auxiliary lights, permanently mounted high-lift jack and Jerry cans for extra gas.
I got onto the track of two bulls around 10:30 AM and tracked them until I finally caught up with them at 2 PM. There are so many moose tracks in the area that I occasionally convinced myself I was foolishly tracking a couple of moose, then I would regain my confidence that they were indeed elk. According tot he GPS they'd gone a bit more than two miles by the time I caught up with them. Just before I did catch up they'd changed their direction of travel. I wondered why. I'd been following them in the same direction for more than an hour - essentially heading NNE following the contour of the land (at about 8500 ft) headed into the wind. Then they turned 90 degrees left heading WNW and downhill. Soon I found myself in a sea of elk tracks. The bulls I was following had scented the cows long before I realized what they were up to and had merged with that herd.
|A stand of lodgepole pines - looking for elk in the timber.|
He was about seventy yards away - certainly less than a hundred and slightly downhill from me. He was facing away from me - turned slightly to the left - more than quartering away but not straight away. A raking shot to be sure, but I had most of the flank in sight through the narrow gap in the trees. I was not rushed. I took aim and pulled the trigger and fully expected to see him drop right where he stood. No such luck - he ran off uphill. I was unconcerned until I got to the spot where he'd been and I found no blood. I had been certain that he was, or would soon be lying dead.
|Gaia GPS ap for an IPhone - a new addition to my hunting technology - excellent.|
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It turns out that there are still leftover licenses available for a nearby area that will allow me to kill a cow or calf elk until January 31st. I'm going to take this weekend off and start again next weekend.