Dad's elk hunt;
This year my dad drew that same muzzleloader elk tag that I had last fall. We had high hopes because we knew the area well and had seen a lot of good bulls there before. After a couple of scouting trips we had a pretty good idea of what we would be doing for the hunt and we had decided to hunt the same areas we had the previous year.
Four of us headed down the day before the hunt. We set up camp in the early afternoon and got out to do a little night before scouting. We found that the bulls were very vocal and spotted a couple decent six points. Feeling encouraged we headed back to camp excited for the opener.
On opening morning we actually woke up a little later that we should have. We made it to the designated spot right at the sun was rising. Most of the elk had made it back into the timber, but we proceeded with the plan anyway. We made a long hike along a CWMU border and set up to call several times. We called in one six point, but he was a little small for the opener, but it was fun to call one in later in the morning. For the evening hunt we dropped into a nasty canyon where we had gotten a few bulls to answer calls earlier in the afternoon. We never got into the elk, but had a fun hike out in the dark.
For the morning hunt we went back to the spot where I killed my bull in 2010. We heard a few elk right away and got set up to call. We spotted a bull 300 yards away and he was mad. After getting in place, we were able to call the bull all the way in to 20 yards. It was fun, but he was not a shooter. We spent the rest of the day following the herd and discovering some new ambush points for this group. We actually ended up finding the spot where my dad would kill his bull. We decided to leave this area alone for a day and hit it Saturday.
On friday we decided to go to a popular area where there were usually a lot of bulls (and people). Sure enough there were three other rigs there, so we drove up the road a bit and got out anyway. Right after getting out we heard bulls firing off all around us. We hurried and set up on the closest bull. We called him in to 50 yards but my dad could not get a clear shot. he was a big bull, but before we could get closer shots started ringing out all around us. There were probably 5 bulls and 4 hunters within a few hundred yards and it was crazy. After following the elk for a bit we decided that there were way too many hunters around and we decided to get out. That night we sat a waterhole that was pretty sweet. Weather did not cooperate and we got rained on all evening. No elk showed up and we hiked back in the mud.
Saturday morning we decided to hit the meadow we had found Thursday and hope to get there before the local herd made their way in to the area. Sure enough we got there in time and the elk were all around us in no time. I set up and started calling and soon we had a bull on a string. he was coming in fast and angry. I spotted the bull in the trees and he was a decent six point. My dad got ready and I called the bull into the meadow. He came in to 45 yards and stopped broadside. BOOM!! My dad fired and...nothing. He shot clean over the bull. He had a bad rest and pulled the shot. The bull casually walked away and we tried to get another shot but my dad couldn't get steady and find the bull. As he was trying to follow the elk, I kept calling and another bull started answering. I called my dad back and we got set up again. He spotted the bull at the bottom of the meadow and pointed him out to me. The bull looked at my dad and I called again. he took a couple steps into the meadow and my dad took the shot. This time the bull wobbled, turned, and crashed. He had done it. We got over to the bull and he was down for good. I have a lot of video of those moments. I went back to camp and got the crew, then we got to work. It hailed and rained on us the whole time we were working on the bull. It was a great day, but pretty tiring.
Sunday we went deer hunting. My sister in law and my sister had deer tags. We found a buck and Jillena made a couple great shots on her first deer. We got back to camp and headed home that afternoon.
Here are some pictures from the hunt;
And here are some video clips;
Dad missing the bull;
Jillena deer walk up;