Friday, September 8, 2017

We got an early start today. About a half hour into our walk, a big bull sounded off in the darkness. We hemmed and hawed for a few minutes before deciding to go after him.

When we started after him, he hung around for a bit, but the amount of time it took us to climb the hill to close the gap gave him enough time to retreat up the mountain. Although he was sounding off regularly, he didn’t have enough interest in us to hang around and give us an opportunity.

As we made our way up the mountain, we came into a few areas that looked good for bedding. Upon stopping and discussing one of them, a big bull jumped up and ran away.

A few hours later, we stopped in some thick timber to take a break. As we were relaxing, a few sticks broke on the ridge above us. Instantly, I saw some elk legs that quickly turned into full bodies. About seven elk could be seen before one of them stopped. Sensing something wasn’t quite right, they retreated in the direction they came from.

After the excitement, we climbed higher and decided to call for a few minutes. Two bulls answered our first call. Although one was above us and one was below us, they both started coming to the call.

We quickly found a place to hide and got ready for the action. After the bull above us hung up, I decided to go after it as Brian called. I closed the distance to within 45 yards and could see the bull thrashing a tree. When he got done with the tree, he simply walked away. Too much brush prevented me from getting a shot. We were both pretty disappointed to be that close to yet another 6×6 and not get a shot.

As we continued toward a saddle that we had marked on the map, we got excited when we got closer to it because of all of the sign we were seeing. I was amazed to see a guy sitting under a tree when we crested the hill. We spoke to him long enough to learn that he was a local guy and that his brother was on the other side of the ridge.

A few hours after talking to the guy, we got caught in another thunder and lightning storm. We’ve had nasty storms every day. We took cover under a few small spruce trees for about two hours.

When we finally crawled out from under the trees, we had a few hours left before darkness. We slowly still-hunted across the ridge and began going back down. As we were descending, we let out a bugle and quickly got a response. Instantly, we knew that it was another hunter, so we headed in the opposite direction.

A few minutes after the encounter, I spotted a spike bull and two cows in the meadow above us. We chose to leave them alone and continue down the mountain. About 20 minutes later, we dropped down off from a small shelf and cut around the front of it. We had basically called it a day, and we weren’t staying alert. That’s when a really nice 5×5 surprised us when we saw each other at the same time. He was no more than 20 yards from us before he took a few bounds and disappeared. It was a great way to cap off an excellent day.

We are probably done hunting the area for the year. We saw two much human interference in there today to make it worth our efforts. We also found a place where someone came in with a horse and pitched a tent in the middle of some good elk country. Tomorrow is opening day of muzzleloading season, so things could drastically change in a hurry. The hunting has been really good so far, but it has been difficult, too. We have stacked some miles on our legs, and I don’t see that ending in the next week.

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