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Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk.

 
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typicalmuley
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Jun-28-11, 
09:20 AM (MST)
"Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

I love being in the mountains. It doesn't matter if I am hunting, fishing, scouting, camping, or taking photographs. I enjoy scouting and taking photos as much as I do hunting.

This year the only tags I have are OTC Idaho Deer and OTC Idaho Elk. I have been out scouting a few times already. For the area I hunt it has been pretty good. There is so much water that the animals are more spread out than usual. I do have a trail camera setup that has produced a few pictures of elk. Here are a few of the photographs that I have taken so far this year.

I am pretty excited about the velvet buck with browtines. I hope to see him during archery season this year. I think it might be the same buck I got a picture of last year I nicknamed corkscrew because of his funky point on his left antler. I know to some he might just be an average buck, but for this OTC unit he pretty nice. Here is the picture I took of him last year.

What do you think? Do you think they are the same buck? I took the pictures about a mile apart from each other.

As far as elk go,t here are elk around, but since they started calving I haven't seen as many. I think alot of them are hiding out in the timber and are not grouped up yet. I hope to go out again later this week scouting. I will keep you posted on the results.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Jul-06-11   1 
  RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Jul-08-11   2 
   RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Jul-20-11   3 
    RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Jul-27-11   4 
     RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Aug-01-11   5 
      RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Aug-12-11   6 
       RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Aug-22-11   7 
        RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Sep-01-11   8 
         RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Oct-20-11   9 
          RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Nov-03-11   11 
           RE: Idaho OTC,...  typicalmuley      Nov-14-11   12 

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typicalmuley
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Jul-06-11, 
01:16 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

As promised I did go back out on Saturday scouting. However, it was the 4th of July weekend so my expectations were quite low on what was going to be out and about. It is interesting what a difference a week can make. The elk all started to show up again. I think the elk are about done calving and are grouping up again. We saw two cows hanging out in small patch of aspen and a herd of about 30 elk. I didn't get a very good picture of the herd because they were moving through the trees.

We saw a few deer no big bucks, but thats ok it's fun to be out seeing deer. The first picture is of a doe we saw. The second picture is of a yearling buck. We didn't see as many deer due to all the trafric thanks to the holiday weekend.

I did get a few more pictures on my trail camera. I think I will move it to a new location. This location is ok, but I know a few more locations that might be more productive. Here are a few of the pictures.

I am hoping to go out again later this week and see what I can see and move my trail camera. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Jul-08-11, 
01:49 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Well I made it out scouting again after work on Thursday. I had a few tasks I wanted to accomplish. First, I wanted to set my trail camera up in a new location. Second, I wanted to see If I could relocate the nice 4 point I had seen earlier in the season.

On my way to set up my trail camera I was not expecting to see anything, because it was hot and still a little early for things to be out. To my surprise, in the same location that I took the pictures of the two cow elk, there is herd of about thirty elk out feeding. In the herd I see a bunch of cows, no calves, and pretty nice bull. All of the calves must still be in the trees with a babysitter. Here is a picture of the herd. The other 15 head or so I could not get in one picture.

I continued on and arrived at the trailhead where I wanted to put my trail camera. It is a little over a mile hike to the location of where I wanted to set it up overlooking a waterhole. On my hike up I saw blue grouse, a female Williamson's sapsucker, and this beautiful butterfly.

I stopped to take a picture of the butterfly feeding on chokecherry blossoms. As I was taking pictures of the butterfly I heard a noise down the hill from me. I looked up and there was a bull elk about forty yards down the hill from me feeding in my direction. I snapped a picture and behind the chokecherry bush I could hear another elk feeding. I got looking around and noticed 9 other bulls feeding down the hill from me. I snapped a few more pictures then I felt the wind switch and one the bull's nose went in the air a seconds later they trotted off. I caught a few more glimpses of them as I was continuing down the trail, but they were not really spooked. Her are a few pictures of them.

The hike down the hill was pretty uneventful. As I was driving back I saw a cow elk cross the road in front of me. I looked but I could not see her, she disappeared. About a half a mile down the road I saw another cow elk in the trees. She was acting a little strange and wasn't wanting to move much. She was standing in a weird position and would not move. The more I think about it, she might have been about ready to give birth. Here is a picture of here and her weird stance.

I only stayed for a minute and then I continued my way home. About a mile down the road I saw a doe mule deer right off the road. I stopped and she got really nervous. I noticed she had a little fawn with her. I reached for my camera and before I could get it up she and her fawn had made it to the trees before I could get a picture. I'm glad to see a good mother like that teaching her fawn about danger.

I am glad I got off the hill when I did, because a huge thunderstorm hit. There was lighting hitting less than a half a mile from my car. It was dropping buckets of rain. I would have got soaked if I had stayed on the hill. Well after the rain let up I noticed this little yearling buck right off the road. He stood there and let me get quite a few pictures before he took off.

I continued my journey home and saw more wildlife like mountain blue birds, sage grouse, and this red-tailed hawk drying off.

I will be gone for a week in San Diego for a business trip. So, it may be a while before I get out and scout again. When I go out again I will keep you posted.


Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Jul-20-11, 
12:13 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Well monday morning I took time off work and went out to check my trail camera. The morning was a little slow. I did see five cow elk, but the pictures for them are on my memory card I put in my trail camera. I also saw a pretty nice whitetail buck, but before I could take his picture he took off into the willows. We hiked to where my trail camera was and I could tell that something had been messing with my camera. Between the elk, moose, and bear that were licking, rubbing on, and biting my camera I got some pretty good pictures. The one picture is of a bear all over my camera all you can see is black and one of his teeth. Here are some of the pictures I got on my trail camera. I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Jul-27-11, 
01:11 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

I went out again on the 26th. It was an alright evening. The first thing I came across was a doe with twin fawns. It was good to see a doe with fawns after the hard winter we had.

I am getting kind of excited, this is the 3rd time I have seen the large group of elk in the same location. I hope they stay put for another month. You never know though once the bulls hook up with the cows they might push them to a new location. I did see a few spikes with them this time, but I was unable to locate the bull that was with them earlier this summer.

I saw one buck, a young two year old that will be a three point for sure or maybe a four point once he is done growing. There is one picture of the buck at a distance and one up close. I also saw a couple of does at a waterhole. I was with my two nephews and my parents so I didn't travel to far from the road. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I will be going out again this weekend. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Aug-01-11, 
04:11 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

I Went out this weekend scouting again. It was a pretty uneventful weekend. It is crazy the difference between scouting on a weekday and a weekend. I have noticed that I see at least 3x more game on the weekdays than I do on the weekends. The only thing I saw this weekend was one doe. Also here is the pictures of the elk that I saw a got pictures of, and then put the memory card in my trailcam.

The main reason I went scouting this weekend was to check on my trailcam. I got some decent pictures on my trail camera. I think there is a ghost bear attacking my trailcam. I can never get a good picture of this bear. All I see is the close ups of the bear attacking my camera. I did get a few pics of elk and moose. The pond that I put my camera on looks like it will be dry in a couple of weeks, so I took down my trailcam. I didn't have time to put it somewhere else, so it will be a little bit before I have more trailcam pics. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Aug-12-11, 
00:06 AM (MST)
6. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

I finally got back out on the 11th. My main goal was to setup my trailcam on a wallow that was hit heavy last year. On the drive I saw a group of three antelope, all does. I apologize for the crappy picture, the antelope were a long way off and the were heat waves between me and them. I also ran into a cow and calf moose bedded in some aspens. I got a picture of the calf.

I arrived at the parking spot to hike to the wallow. I was pleasently surprised because there were no cattle in the area. Usually there are cattle in this area at this time. I figured, man, "I am going to see alot of elk sign". To my surprise I saw very little elk sign. I saw one deer on the hike up, but she took off before I could get a picture. I did see a lot of bear sign though. There were logs ripped up everywhere and some bear scat. I reached the wallow and was really surprised at the lack of sign of any kind around the wallow. I know the elk up here though, they use this wallow alot during the rut. So, I put up my trailcam and crossed my fingers that the activity will pick up. With the lack of cattle in this location the elk may be more spread out along the mountain.

After I set up my trailcam I went to go scouting other areas. I saw the cow and calf moose on the way back out virtually in the same spot I saw them on the way in. I checked a few spots, and I was having no luck seeing anything. I got this feeling I should go to one of my old hunting spots. I went to my old hunting spot and was pleased with what I saw. I ran into a cow and spike elk. I could only get a picture of the cow. I also ran into a nice buck, but he was camera shy and did not want his picture taken. Overall I had a fun evening. Hopefully, I can get out soon and get some more scouting done before the season starts the end of this month. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Aug-22-11, 
09:20 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Well I went out on the 20th with my hunting partner Cory and his son Brody. Our main goal was to check my trailcam. We checked out my trailcam and to my dismay there were no pictures on it. We looked around the area a little more and like last week saw very little elk sign. I think the lack of cattle this year in this area has changed their patterns. We did see a lot deer sign in the area though. I feel like the elk will probably move into this area later in the season after they get pushed around by other hunters. We scouted a little in another spot, but did not see anything. The good thing about scouting is no matter what happens you always learn something. I learned where not to go on opening day which starts the 30th.

Since archery season starts next week I guess I should give you all a rundown on how things are planned out for the season. I will be hunting with my brother Aaron, and friend Cory. Opening day(Aug. 30th)I will be hunting with Aaron in the morning and, Cory and Aaron in the evening. The 31st I will be hunting with Cory for the day. We all have to go back to work after that. I will hunt all of Labor Day weekend with Aaron for sure and maybe Cory. I Will not get out again until the following weekend. My brother and I both took off the 12th-16th of Sept., so we will be hunting that whole week. After that week if I still haven't filled my tag I will hunt on the weekends and maybe a few evening hunts until the season closes on the 30th of Sept.

I would like to give a little run down on our season last year. On Sept. 1st I shot my first buck. I know he is only a yearling, but he sure tastes good. On the 7th of Sept. last year my brother missed a big 340-350 bull at 20 yards shot right over his back. On the 11th of Sept. Cory killed a 2-3 year old bull.
We we skirting the top of a ridge trying to sound like a group of cows and calfs. When Cory's bull responded. He bugled once more and went silent for a minute or two. So, I let out a small bugle and he chuckled about a hundred yards up the hill from us. He was coming straight at me at a trot. He veered off to the right a little and just as I was about to draw my bow I heard Cory shoot. Cory hit the bull in back part of the lungs and liver area. The bull ran about 70 yds and stopped. We snuck closer and took another shot at 50 yds and the bull took off like a rocket. We were not sure if we had hit him or not with the second shot. We waited 45 minutes and started looking for the arrow. We looked for the arrow and could not find it. We started trailing the blood trail and he was bleeding really good out of both sides. About 100 yds into the tracking job we found the arrow covered in blood. It had hit him and went clear through and was hanging on by the fletchings apparently. We continued to follow the bloodtrail and found him in about another 70 yds. The second arrow had hit him just behind the ribcage and exited out by the front shoulder. He is a picture of his bull. The rest of the season we called in a few more bulls, but had no shot opportunities. I hope we have as much success and fun this year as we did last year. I will keep you posted.


Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Sep-01-11, 
10:38 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

What an awesome past couple of days it has been. Nothing hit the dirt, but oh the memories that were made. It started out on monday Aug. 29th. I took half a day off from work, so I could scout a little and find out where the elk were before the season opened the next day. I found a new place I wanted to check out. I also wanted to check out some of my other favorite spots. I checked out a couple of my favorite spots close to the new area and did not see much sign of elk activity. I then went and checked out the new spot. What great looking elk county, but again very little sign of elk activity. I was getting kind of depressed, because I had just hiked about 6 miles and I still did not know where to go for opening day.

I headed back to camp to eat some dinner. After dinner, I left to go scout a few other spots before dark. As I was driving to check out a spot, I was passing one of our old hunting areas and noticed that there were elk standing along the fence in the trees. I stopped and took a couple of pictures and continued on. I got to the spot I wanted to check out and noticed that they had recently put cattle in the area, so I decided not to go check it out. I turned around and started heading back to camp. On the way back, I again saw elk along the same fenceline. Right then and there I decided this is where I am going opening morning. I wanted to sit on hill overlooking a water tank until dark to see if anything would come out. So I stopped by the area and set up. I watched the water tank and nothing came out, so I left about a half hour before dark. On my drive back to camp I came across six elk crossing the road in front of me. They were heading out of the trees and into the sagebrush. When they saw the vehicle they turned around and head back for the trees. I got a quick fleeting picture of them, sorry about the quality. I continued on about a half mile down the road in a field that was recently planted with alfalfa, I notice about 60 head of elk feeding. So, thats where those six were headed. I stopped and snapped a picture of the elk. The picture only shows about half of the herd. They were really skittish, and took off out of the field heading for the aspens in the background. I was thinking, "I hiked all over the place and all the elk are less than a half a mile from the road". I started down the road again, and about a mile down the road, I caught this bull moose coming out of the trees to get a drink. This is one of the coolest bull moose I have ever seen. What do you guys think? He is not the widest, but he sure has long points that makes him unique looking. After that my journey back to camp was pretty uneventful.

Opening morning found me sitting on the fenceline I had saw the elk along the previous night. When I got up there I was impressed with all the elk tracks along the fence. I was sitting at a T-intersection of the fence. The top wire of the fence was broken, making it an ideal place for elk to cross. I had been sitting there for about two hours, just watching the red squirrels and northern flickers, when I heard a cow call. The call sounded like it came from about 400 yds away. I waited a little bit and called back. I immediately got a response. I called again and got a response from the same location. I waited for another 15 min. and heard another cow call, still in the same location. It was getting pretty late in the morning, so I figured that is where they were bedding for the day. I decided to wait and comeback that evening. The main reason I decided to wait is because my hunting partner Cory was coming up that afternoon. I backed out and headed back to camp to eat something, take a nap, and do a little fishing.

Cory arrived to camp at about 2:30 that afternoon. He wanted to shoot his bow for a little bit to make sure he was still shooting ok. He got his bow sighted in and adjusted. We headed back to the location I had sat that morning. When we got there the wind was not very good, so we stayed at the bottom of the hill for about an hour. The wind finally became favorable, so we walked up to the T-interseciton and sat down. We had been sitting there for about a half an hour, when we heard a cow call. We gathered our stuff up and headed towards the call. We decided we would split up a short distance apart, and cow call back and forth, as we advanced towards the call. We had been doing this for about 200 yds, when we heard cow and calf calls in front of us about 200 yds. As we continued to call the calls were getting closer. A few seconds later a calf elk appeared about a 100 yds away calling nonstop. Behind him we could hear a cow elk calling pretty frantically. The calf continued to come our direction until it reached about 60 yds. The cow then gave an elongated pitch changing call, and the calf turned around and ran back to its mother. The elk continued to move away from us. We concluded that we were not going to get on them, so we headed back to the vehicle. We reached the vehicle and were loading our gear. All of the sudden, we heard cow calls coming up the hill from us. We quietly snuck closer and closer to the calls. The area was covered with thick aspens and we could not see very far in front of us. It seemed like the elk were only about 40 yds from us. They were calling quite a bit. I gave out a cow call and the forest went dead silent. About 20 seconds later the calling picked up and they were getting close. I moved to get into better cover, when I hear crashing above me. I got a glimps of a bull taking off at 15 yds. He didn't scare the rest of the herd when he took off. He jumped the fence and began barking at us. It was weird the rest of the heard paid him little attention to him. We continued to cow call and the elk continued to get closer. We saw a cow and a spike coming down the trail. They stopped at about 30 yds, facing us. They stood there for about a minute and didn't like something about the situation, and walked back into the thick aspens. The elk started to move slowly away from us. I backed up about 70 yds and started cow calling again. the elk again started moving towards us. Cory stayed there and I continued to call. I heard the bull give a weak bugle, so I bugled back. Cory started to creep foward as I called. There was an elk that started barking up the hill from us again. I think it was the bull. I started to call and move forward again. I got to were the trail comes out of the thick aspens, and heard the elk take off. I continued to follow the trail through the aspens until I got to the fence. I called a little more and the elk were still calling back, but further up along the fence. I went to move and heard crashing behind me as a cow elk took off at ten yards. After that I saw cory walking back down the fence towards me. He said he had shot at an elk at 40 yds, but had missed. That's why the elk took off. We headed back to the vehicle making mental notes of the mistakes we had made. We got back to the vehicle as light was fading, and the elk were still calling up on the hill. We headed back to camp a little dejected, but grateful for the experience.

We awoke on the morning of the 31st to thunder and lightning. What a beautiful display of nature's power. By the time we got to the T-intersection of the fence, the storm was almost upon us. It wasn't as bad as we thought, it rained for a brief period and the storm was gone. We sat at the intersection for about 20 minutes. We got up and decided to walk east along the fence, instead of west like the night before. As we were walking we spooked up a mule deer doe. This gave us warning that we needed to slow down. We reached a fence that ran north\south. As we looked down the fence to the south we noticed movement along the fence. We pulled out the binos and notice a calf and 6 point bull standing along the fence about 600 yds away. The bull fed for a few minutes and then jumped the fence to our side. The calf was walking along the fence trying to find a place to cross. We snuck down the fence line about 300 yds and checked the wind. If we continued to follow the fence the elk would catch our wind. We headed to west to circle around the elk. The trees were really thick, so it was slow going. We got through the thick stuff to an opening, and comtemplated our next move. Crash!!! Something took off out of the thick cover to the west of us. Our hearts sank, we thought we had just blown it. We decided to give out a bugle to see what would happen. EeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHH!!! The bull bugles south of us at about 400 yds. We start closing the distance between us and him. Out of the corner of my eye I see movement. Two deer are running to my right. That must have been what crashed out of the brush. We go about 200 yds and I bugle again. Instantly the bull responds. He sounds like he is in the same place he was before. We close the distance by 50 yds and notice a road. I bugle again and he responds. Cory and I both start throwing in a few cow calls and the bull chuckles. Eeuh! Eeuh! Eehh! We start following the road for about 20 yds and get to a bend in the road heading south. Looking down the road there is a small meadow about 60 yards wide. I bugle again and the bull responds in the timber on the other side of the meadow. We continue calling as we sneak to the edge of the meadow. The bull and I call back and forth for about 10 minutes. Neither one wanting to break cover. Finally, the bull steps out of the trees and starts heading our direction. What a beautiful bull. He is young maybe 3 or 4, but he has 6 points on each side. He veers a little to the west to enter the trees we are in. We are about 10 yds into the trees. I take the opportunity to move back about 25 yds and a little to the east, along the road. I again start calling. The bull calls back trying to get me to show myself. Next thing I know the bull is standing 12 yds from Cory on the edge of the trees. Cory draws his bow. The bull needs to take one more step to be in Cory's shooting lane. I cow call and bugle again trying to get the bull to take that last step. The bull whirls and trots back to the other side of the meadow. He picks up a cow and disappears into the timber. I walk up to Cory asking him what happened. He says, "the wind switched and bull smelled me". We decide there is no use pushing him anymore. We probably won't get back on him this morning. So close! Cory and I joked that we had all the fun, and we didn't have to do the work of packing one out. This is only Cory's second year bowhunting. He shot a bull last year and almost got another one. He is the luckiest guy I know. We headed back to the truck. We both had to get home. Cory said, "he needs to learn how to call, so I can get a chance at a bull too". I told him, "it is fun calling elk, whether it is for myself or someone else". We got back to camp, packed up and headed for home. Well this season started off with bang. Hopefully, the rest of the season is as good. Next time I will have to take more pictures of our hunt. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
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Oct-20-11, 
02:01 PM (MST)
9. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Sorry for the long break between posts. I have been quite busy. On with the story, I did not have a chance to go back out until Labor Day weekend. I was kind of excited to go out, because my 11 yr. old nephew Zack was coming with me. We didn't make it to camp until Saturday afternoon. We decided we would go to the location I called the 6 point into Cory. We arrived to area at about 5 and sat at the t-intersection for about an hour just listening. We did not hear anything, so we got up and headed towards the area I had called in the 6 point. I called while we were moving, but did not get any responses. Either, the elk were gone or they were not talking. We still had about an hour of light left, so we decided to go check another area out. We got in the truck and headed to the other area. While we were driving to the area we rounded a corner and saw a spike elk standing about 100 yds off the road (sorry about the picture it was getting dark). He had us pegged, so we sat in the truck and got a few pictures of him. While we were waiting for him to move into the trees a cow elk popped out behind him. When she came out they both got a little nervous and walked back into the trees. When they got into the trees we quietly got out of the truck and circled around them. We setup and I started cow calling. We called for about 5 minutes and heard something walking towards us. I saw the spike at about 80 yds moving to our downhill side trying to get our wind. Then the cow showed up about 70 yds away straight in front of us. She was looking in our direction so we could not move. The spike got our wind and ran back the way he came taking the cow with him. Zack was excited he thought that was really cool.

The next morning we decided to go to the same area we saw the elk the night before. I knew of waterhole close by, so we went there. We called and watched the waterhole for about an hour, but did not hear or see anything. There is a bowl that surrounds the waterhole, so we decided to skirt around the bowl and see if we could catch a deer or an elk on the move. We were skirting the top of the bowl and noticed some cattle grazing up ahead. I asked Zack if he wanted to stalk them for practice. Little did I know this would be a valuable lesson in only a few minutes. We stalked the cows and got within 10 yds before they noticed us. We quietly walked around them, because we did not want to spook them. When we got just past them, I noticed two does on the other ridge about 150 yds in front of us. I asked Zack if he wanted me to go after them, he gave me a big smile and said, "yes"! The deer were walking to our right along the ridge. We quietly closed the distance between us and the deer. We got to the spot we had last saw them. We then slowed way down and kept our eyes open. We continued for about a hundred yards over some noisy terrain, when I noticed movement. 50 yds away, a doe was feeding towards us. I knocked an arrow and waited. She continued feeding towards me until she reached 40 yds. She was facing me so I did not have a shot. She turned and started feeding the other way again not offering me shot. We watched her feed until she disappeared into the brush. We continued our stalk. Magically like many deer do she just disappeared. We could not relocate her. We didn't get a shot, but we both enjoyed the experience. I was proud of Zack. He did really good. He was quiet and listened. I know he will be a great hunter some day. The rest of weekend we did not have any more opportunities. We did get a picture of this Doe and Fawn though. To be continued......


Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
(82 posts)
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Nov-03-11, 
04:38 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Sept. 12, 2011
I was able to go back out on the Monday. I got to camp about 2 pm. I checked out the waterholes that the elk we had seen earlier in the season use,and saw no fresh elk tracks. The elk had definitely moved on. I decided to go to a different part of the unit that had been productive in the past. I arrived to the area and started walking up a draw I knew held a wallow. I had just started walking up the draw, when I saw a buck feeding up the hill from me at about 100 yards. He was a pretty nice buck. He had four on each side and was about 24” wide. I retrieved my wind tester and noticed that the wind was blowing straight up the hill towards him. About the time I finished checking the wind, his head came up and his nose went into the air. He looked in my direction and since I was in the open he picked me out. He took off stotting along the hillside, blowing an alarm call as he went. I thought, “Great, good luck seeing anything now”. I was also disappointed because I forgot my camera. I could have gotten some really good pictures of him. Oh well, it was nice seeing him anyway.

Despite the deer making all the noise, I decided to continue up the draw. I was almost to the wallow, when I heard a bugle come from the next draw over. I climbed to the top of the hill of the draw I had heard the bugle come from. I called from the top of the hill, but saw and heard nothing. I knew there was a waterhole in the bottom of the draw, so I decided to walk down the hill to inspect it. I cow called as I was walking down the hill. I stopped about 60 yards from the waterhole to make sure there was nothing currently there. I was watching the waterhole when I heard a noise up the hill and to my left. I took a quick glance, but did not see anything. “Must have been a squirrel”, I thought. I decided the waterhole was clear. I took two steps and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To the left of me at 30 yards was a nice 5 pt. bull elk. We saw each other at about the same time and he exploded down the hill. He crossed the draw and stopped part way up the other side. He was about 100 yards away, so no chance for a shot. We had a staring match for about 5 minutes, and then he continued on his way up the hill. What happened was, I had come down one side of a little rise and he had come down the other. He was probably following my cow calls. We happened to reach the bottom of the rise at the same time and surprised each other. I hate when bulls come in silent!!!

I checked out the waterhole and continued up the draw to the top of the ridge. At the top of the ridge there is a meadow about 150 yards by 150 yards. On the other side of the meadow is another ridge. Along the tree line on my side of the meadow is a fence. The year before me and my brother Aaron had called in a raghorn and a cow from this location. I was hoping to have the same luck as last year. I started calling pretty aggressively. I was calling for about 5 minutes, when I heard something coming down the fence line towards me. Oh no!!! My bow was hanging on a limb about 10 feet away from me. I started to crawl towards my bow. Just then I saw a spike elk walking down the fence. I froze, not daring to move a muscle. He continued down the fence until he got 20 yards away. He stopped and jumped the fence. He continued my direction until he got to within 10 yards. He looked my direction and wasn’t quite sure what I was. He started to circle me, trying to get downwind. As he went behind a fir tree I retrieved my bow. When he emerged he stopped and looked in my direction again. I did not have enough time to draw. He started walking again, and as I was about to draw my bow he caught my wind. He whirled and ran back in the direction he had come from. Ohhhh, so close!!! I made the ultimate rookie mistake, never setup to call without being ready. I know that if I had been prepared, I would have got a shot. Oh well, that was an awesome experience anyway. It was getting close to dark, so I called it a day.

Sept. 13, 2011
The next morning, I decided to go to an area that I had gotten trail camera pictures of elk earlier in the year. A well had been placed in the area last fall, so I was hoping this would attract some elk and deer. At first light I checked the well to see if there were any tracks around it. I saw a few deer tracks and one set of elk tracks. A short distance from the well is a fence line the elk like to walk down. I walked to the fence line and immediately started to smell elk. There were fresh elk tracks along the fence. I walked down the fence as quiet and as slow as possible. When I reached the cover of the aspens I began calling. I started calling and immediately started hearing bugling way off in the distance. I had a feeling the calls were coming from some elk coming off of an alfalfa field about a mile away. There was no telling where those elk would end up. I knew there were elk closer than that, but they were not making a sound. I continued calling while working my way along the fence staying in the aspens. I again could smell elk, but could not see any. I got to a corner in the fence and stopped. I made a few cow calls and heard cow calls coming from about 200 yards away. I decided I needed to cross the fence. I stepped out of the aspens to cross the fence. 15 yards in front of me stood a 5 pt. bull. He saw me the same time I saw him and he took off. Did I mention I hate when bulls come in silent. I heard him crashing through the brush, and he stopped about 200 yards away and started barking. I was mad at myself, “awesome way to mess that up”. I cow called and he stopped barking. I could hear him continue to walk away from me in the thick brush. About thirty seconds later the cows started calling again, this time closer. I slipped back into the aspens not daring to cross the fence. They continued to call pretty fervently. The next thing I know a calf walks out just on the other side of the fence from me. I didn’t want to shoot a calf, so I let him walk. I thought for sure more elk were going to follow him, but they didn’t. I could hear the herd slowly moving in the opposite direction. I tried to get around them to cut them off, but I was too late. They stopped calling and I lost track of them. I had a pretty eventful morning, so I headed back to camp. I had to get back home that afternoon anyway.

Sept. 15, 2011
My brother Aaron and I made it to camp around 10 pm Wednesday night. I told my brother I had a pretty good idea the travel route of the elk feeding on the alfalfa field. We decided we would try to catch them coming back from the alfalfa field in the morning. We got up at 5 am and ate breakfast and headed out. We reached the spot we wanted to park about 6 am. As soon as we turned off the pickup we heard elk bugling. We quietly got out of the pickup and got our gear ready. We hiked down the road about 100 yards and stopped. It was still pretty dark and we did not want to spook any of the elk, so we waited. The elk were bugling like crazy and it sounded like they were getting closer. It started to get light so we devised a plan of attack. We would slowly work our way towards them, not making any calls. As we started to implement our plan we heard a calf elk calling behind us. We debated what to do and decided to leave it and continue towards the majority of the elk calls. We got to where a good trail broke off from the road and decided to take it. It sounded like the elk we no longer moving towards us, but to our left, which was the direction the trail was going. We were slowly going down the trail when Aaron spotted a cow standing in the middle of the trail. Aaron tried to get into cover, but she saw him and trotted back down the trail. We walked to where she had been standing and talked about what to do next. We decided we would continue down the trail doing some cow calling back and forth. We had gone about a 100 yards down the trail, when we heard a bugle in front of us about 250 yards away. We crept closer to where we had heard the bugle, still cow calling back and forth to each other. We went about 80 yards and came to a dried up swamp. The swamp had tall grass and with a few willow trees for cover. The bull bugled from just on the other side of the swamp about 150 yards away. We kept cow calling, but he wasn’t coming any closer. By the sound of his bugle he sounded like a young bull to me. I decided to bugle back at him with the wimpiest bugle I could. I also put my hand over the end of my grunt tube to make it sound like I was further away. When I let out the bugle, he bugled right back more aggressively. I instantly responded doing the exact same bugle as before. He was really ticked off now. We could hear him about 100 yards away demolishing a poor helpless aspen. We watched as it swayed back and forth. We could still not see the bull though, because he was in thick cover. We were standing by a clump of willows, but there was a 35 yard gap between us and the next cover, so we did not feel comfortable closing the distance. We continued to call and my brother said, “He is right there”. The bull was walking just inside the tree line parallel to our position. He was a 4x5 raghorn. He stopped at about 40 yards, but his vitals were blocked. He let out a chuckle and stood there for a few more minutes. He walked back into the trees where we could not see him. My brother took the opportunity to sneak to the next willow patch. He got to the next patch, and I continued to call. My brother said he saw the bull again at this point. He said the bull was 20 yards away, but did not offer him a shot. Aaron motioned for me to come join him. I got to his location. He said the bull had continued to follow the tree line to our left. He said, “I will continue on. You stay here and call.” He got to the tree line where the bull had disappeared. He saw him again at about 35 yards, but he was walking. I walked to his location, and we could hear the bull starting to move off, still bugling every once in a while. We talked about our experience for a minute and how awesome it was. The herd bull was bugling off in the distance still, but we knew we could not catch up with him. We decided to head back to truck, eat some lunch, and take a nap.

We knew of a waterhole not too far from where the elk were traveling on their way to the alfalfa field. For the evening hunt, we decided we would go sit the waterhole. We started walking to the waterhole at about 4 pm. We had got about 150 yards from the waterhole, when a 2 pt. buck came around the corner at about 20 yards. He saw us, but wasn’t sure what we were. My brother was in front of me, so he knocked an arrow. The buck saw movement, but walked a few steps closer. He was facing us, so Aaron didn’t have a shot. He turned, quartering away, and Aaron went to draw his bow. The buck saw movement and took off like a bullet. He ran into thick cover and disappeared. That was a close call. That would have been my brother’s first deer with a bow.

We continued on to the waterhole. We reached the waterhole as some cattle were leaving. We set up in some rocks, on the southeast corner of the waterhole. Here is picture of the waterhole and a picture of my brother.

We had been sitting the waterhole for about an hour with no action. Then to the south of us, we heard a bugle. We hoped he was coming in our direction. A few minutes later we heard another bugle. This was a different bull though. It was the herd bull. We could tell by his deep growly bugle. The first bugled again, but closer. We started to get excited. It sounded like they were headed our way. Both bulls continued to bugle back and forth getting closer and closer. We were hoping they would come to the waterhole, before they headed to the alfalfa field. Then they started moving to the west and were no longer heading our direction. We knew where they were headed, so we decided to cut them off. We packed up our stuff and headed to where we hoped they would come out of the trees on their way to the field. There was a two track road that went in that direction, so we followed it. We were walking down the road in the open, and I saw a bull along the tree line to the north and east of us. He had not noticed us yet. We knelt down behind some sagebrush and watched him. (Here is a picture of him as he headed back to the trees.)

It was a 4x5 raghorn, the same one we had called in earlier that morning. He was about 120 yards away. The wind was iffy and was headed in his general direction. He got a little nervous and then walked back into the trees. The other bulls were still bugling and headed to the spot we thought they would come out. We decide to pass on the raghorn and try to get one of the other bulls. I think mostly we just wanted to get a look at the herd bull. We continued down the road to our destination. We came to spot where we had a dilemma there were two little draws they could come out of. We just had to choose the correct one. We decided to take the one farthest to the west. We went to where the trees ended and waited for the ambush. We could hear the herd bull bugling. He was calling like crazy. The calls were getting closer and closer. I then saw movement about 150 yards away. A cow and calf had emerged from the trees. Oh no!!! They were coming out a down a different trail. We could get to where they were or the wind would give us away. That’s when the elk started pouring out of the trees. A group of 7, 10, 12, 5, 6, 15, and then the flood ended for a minute. All the elk that came out were cows, calves, and spikes. They passed us headed to the alfalfa field. We did not see any branch antlered bulls emerge. The Herd bull was still about 300 yards away in the trees. It was starting to get dark we only had about 15 minutes of shooting light left. We started to hear cow calls coming from the edge of the trees and the herd bull was still bugling. A few minutes later more elk started coming out of the trees. We watched as 15 more cows and calves came out of the trees. Then right behind them was the herd bull. It was getting dark so we couldn’t tell quite how big he was. We knew he was at least decent. We thought we would sit, and wait for them to pass by before we went back to the truck. They got about 200 yards out of the trees, then turned around and ran back to the edge of the trees. Some of the cows went into the trees and disappeared. They remaining elk stayed on the edge of the trees acting confused. The herd bull was still in the open about 50 yards from the trees screaming his head off. I think some of our elk got our wind and that is why they ran back to the trees. The bull really wanted to head to the alfalfa field, but the cows continued to disappear into the trees. He reluctantly followed them. We packed up our stuff and headed back to the truck. That was a cool experience, and we knew where we were going in the morning. On the drive back to camp my truck started acting up. It would die every time I would slow down or stop. I was frustrated because we could not get to these elk without a truck. We made it back to camp alright, but we decided we did not want to risk getting stranded. We decided we would have to hunt somewhere we could get to with a car in the morning.

Sept. 16, 2011
The next morning we woke up to rain. We decided to go to the other side of the unit where I had my close encounter with the spike. On our way there the rain stopped. We arrived and started walking up the draw. The hike up the hill was uneventful and it had started to rain again. We reached the top of the ridge near the spot I had called in the spike. We setup in a thick little patch of pines and began calling. We team called for about five minutes when we heard a bugle come from the ridge on the other side of the meadow. We got to the edge of the meadow and continued to call. He bugled back again. He sounded a little closer. He was only responding to our calls he wasn’t coming any closer. He started to move away, headed into a draw. At that moment I looked down the hill and saw movement on the edge of the meadow. At first I thought it was other bow hunters. Then I realized it was a bull, cow, and calf moose. The bull was young and on the small side. I took out my camera and took a few pictures. The bull was raking his antlers on a small aspen. I watched them for a minute and returned my focus on to the bull elk. He sounded a ways off, so we decided not to pursue him. The rain was coming down pretty hard. We were in my brother’s car and the drive back was on a dirt road. I decided to have a little fun before we left and call at the moose. I started off with a cow moose call. As soon as I made the call the bull picked up his head and looked in my direction. He came about 50 yards closer and started to grunt. I grunted back at him and he began to thrash some willows. We called back and forth for about ten minutes and then the cow and calf started to walk away. He saw them leaving, so he followed them out of the meadow. We got off the hill and started driving back. On the way back we saw this cow moose standing in the middle of the creek. What a cool picture she offered me. We got back to camp and headed home. My brother had to work the next day. To be continued………

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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typicalmuley
(82 posts)
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Nov-14-11, 
07:50 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Idaho OTC, DIY, archery deer and elk."

Sept. 22, 2011

My next available time to hunt was on Thursday the 22nd. Cory and I arrived at camp around 4 pm. We got stuff situated, and headed out for the evening hunt. We decided to go sit on the waterhole near the elk travel route from the alfalfa field. We parked the vehicle and headed to the waterhole. Chipmunks were the only thing at the waterhole. Forty-five minutes into our sit, we heard our first bugle. Just like the week before it came directly south of us. A few minutes later we heard another bugle. This time it was the unmistakable bugle of the herd bull. He was southwest of us. We decided to go after him, instead of waiting for him to come to us. We headed towards the bugles and came to huge open area. The elk were bugling from the other side of the opening. We carefully crossed the opening using the available terrain to conceal our approach. The patch of trees consisted of thick aspens with a few scattered pines. We entered the trees on a heavily used trail. There we cow calls and bugles coming from just up the trail. The trees were so thick we could not see the elk though. We heard a cow call coming from the other side of the rock pile. We snuck to the top of the rock pile and could not see the cow. She was making elongated cow calls, and the bulls were bugling like crazy. We sat and listened for a few minutes as she moved away. We snuck over to where she had been and setup. Where we were setup the tree line formed u-shape. We began calling and the herd bull was responding to every call. We could hear him tearing apart a young aspen on the other side of the opening. I used a big branch to rub an aspen next to me. This seemed to infuriate the bull and he started to call more aggressively. I using a combination of cow calls and bugles. The light was starting to fade. I saw a cow come out of the trees on the other side of the opening. She fed for a few minutes and went back into the trees. Then finally the bull emerged out of the timber heading our way. He stopped about halfway across the opening. He was a nice six point bull, not huge, but nice. He continued to scream, frustrated at the situation. He did not see the other bull or any cows. Right as light was fading he turned and proceeded back to his harem. We lost our opportunity. As we walked back to the vehicle we discussed what we could have done better. We also discussed what our game plan was going to be for the next day. We got back to the truck and head back to camp.

Sept. 23, 2011

The next morning we thought we would catch them coming back from the alfalfa field. Before daylight we parked the truck, and started to head towards our ambush site. We were crossing a fence just as it was getting light enough to see. The fence crossing was out in the open. As we went to cross the fence we saw elk about 150 yards away. The wind was blowing right in there direction. The elk hit our wind and took off like a bolt of lightning. We were upset and confused as to what had just happened. We discussed what our plan was going to be and decided there might be more elk coming. We went to cross the fence again and behind us a cow and calf elk were running. At that point the light bulb clicked on, and we decided to find some cover. As we were walking down the fence line towards cover we looked to our left and saw two bucks about 100 yards away. One was a forkhorn and the other was a 22” three point. They watched us for a few seconds and then took off. The bulls were still bugling south of us so we decide to go see if we could get on them. We called as we walked down the road towards the elk. As we were calling a group of coyotes started to call close by. I did my best rendition of a coyote call using my diaphragm call. The coyotes kept getting closer and responding to my call. We were in the open and coyotes were in a patch of trees. The coyote got within about 30 yards. I could see glimpses of him through the trees. He was circling trying to get our wind. He hit our wind and we did not see or hear him from that point on. The bugles to the south of us dried up, so we headed back to the truck. On the way, I wanted to show Cory a few spots that were successful for me in the past. We got to one of the spots and we could smell elk. We started to cow call and we got a bugle about 200 yards away. We moved towards the bugle keeping the wind in our favor. We setup and continued to cow call, but did not get a response. The bull was not answering the calls anymore. We called for about 10 minutes and finally he bugled off to our left across an opening. We tried all we could, but we could not get on him. The rest of the morning hunt was pretty uneventful. We learned a lot from the morning hunt, mostly what not to do.

That evening we decided to work our way towards where we had encountered the herd bull the evening before. As we were working our way to the spot the elk started to bugle to south of us. We picked up the pace, so we could get to where we wanted before the elk did. We arrived at the spot and started to call. The elk were still about 400 yards away. We made a game plan. Cory would sneak out in front of me about 100 yards and ambush the elk as they came to my calls. We continued to call and the herd bull was really fired up. Then out of nowhere another bull chimes in, slightly ahead of the herd. I keep calling and see movement on the other side of the opening. The herd bull and the other bull are getting closer. Then the herd bull moves back about 100 yards. I keep calling and the other bull is getting close now, but I still don’t have a visual. The next thing I know I hear a crash and the bull is moving away. I hear another crash a few seconds later. “I think Cory just shot”, I tell myself. A few minutes later I hear Cory telling me to come to him. He says,” I shot a bull and he is dead right there”. He was super excited and had a grin from ear to ear. I asked him how big the bull was and he told me,” I shot a satellite bull it’s a small 5x5”. He proceeded to tell me the story. He said, “You were calling and he was completely focused on you. It was perfect. He came out of the trees and he was walking. I didn’t know if he was going to stop. He stopped perfect though. He stopped at 20 yards and I drew back. He looked at me and I released the arrow. I saw the arrow hit and he took off. He ran about 40 yards and started to stager and then fell right there.” We walked towards his bull making sure he was down for count. “That was an easy tracking job”, I laughed. We reached his bull and got a few pictures. It was getting close to dark, so we wanted to get as much work done as possible before the sun went down. The herd bull was still bugling as we were quartering Cory’s bull. We quartered the bull taking the quarters, the back straps, neck meat, rib meat, and the head. We packed the elk to the road and walked the 1.5 miles back to the truck. We picked up the elk and drove back to camp. We were both pumped by the whole experience. Cory is the luckiest guy I know and is welcome to hunt with me anytime. He has shot two bull elk his first two years of bow hunting. Here is a picture of Cory and his bull.

Enjoy the moment and relive the memories.

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