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Wanderlustr
09-24-2009, 11:20 PM
I thought I would put up a small contribution of a hunt report. As I did not hang my tag on an elk, as of yet, it is more of a photo journal of a nice trip.


http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/659307993_N4xC6-L-1.jpg


I was heading out solo into a wilderness area in WA (thanks' Ed for your input). I planned on being out for 10 days or so for the last part of the early archery season.
My pack was heavy with food and lots of good stuff. The first camp was only about 4 1/2 miles in and around 1,000 vertical feet above the trailhead. Not that far..... but with the temperatures that day of near 90 and no wind.... I was a feeling it. I was happy to find a flat spot.

This was a popular base camp destination for other archers in the area but a little too social for my taste - so I headed up further the next morning. The hunting was still pre-rut and although there were bulls in the area and bugling.... it was mostly at the break of day and just a half hour before and after sunset.


http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/660228841_6Towa-L.jpg

Early on I was not having much response to my calls and it just was not happening. One evening I was cow calling to a couple bulls on a slope up past the end of the lake I was camped by and they were not having any of my attempts. I went back to camp as it was getting dark and I heard a cougar come down to where I was calling and watched it walk along the lake toward my camp. As it grew darker I sat out front listening to the big cat - Glock 20 in hand. As time passed it got quiet..... still I found comfort in having the 10mm at my side that night.



The next morning (up a 4:30) and after a quick cup of java and a granola bar I was out. I made it up just above the trees I traversed the mountain in and out of blueberries and draws following three bulls for hours. It was fantastic.... blue sky, fall day... great stalk and I could not have been more content...


http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/653770319_oMPA8-XL.jpg


I did, however, decide that I did't think I was up to the task of packing out the meat from a 700 pound Roosevelt elk from that far in.... alone. At best, I figured 3 trips at about 1500 vertical per trip and I was just over 6 miles in. Sooooo ....that is over 36 miles back and forth. Afternoons in the 80's ..... Not sure how I could keep the meat cool enough during all that - From that point on in the trip I decided to move camp more often and just learn the area better and not worry about taking a elk (unless he was a monster). In which case I would do whatever I could to make it happen. right or wrong - call me a wuss - I am just getting too old.

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/654063126_SdsSd-L.jpg

One evening the weather finally was changing - it cooled off and low clouds came in. It really felt like fall. I had elk bugling near my camp all night and this was the first I heard from the cows. During the night I was called by nature and while outside (in shorts and shoeless) watering the vegetation I thought to myself how perfect it was (elk bugling in the background) . Upon finishing and climbing back in my sleeping bag when a bear started woofing just outside the tent. I grabbed the pistol and waited - again. It went off and on for a hour or so - I should have gone back out and fired a few rounds but refrained. I yelled but that didn't seem to matter. I slept lightly the rest of that night.
The next morning I got up early to fog on the little lake I was camped on. I had a nice fire in the Super Tarp (condensation? what condensation.) made coffee and while it was a bit warm in the ST I suited up and stood out front and had my coffee while listening to bugling. Out of habit, I put my reed call in my mouth and did a nice cow call.
And just like that..... I hear a bull heading my way. I set my cup down and grabbed my bow (just in case). I went maybe 20 yards behind the ST and found a nice spot to tuck into with a elk trail in front of it. I gave one more little meww and like clock work he walked right to me - screaming in my face from a few feet away and he never did figure out I was there. I would say he was at least a 5x5 - hard to tell with my wood smoke swirling through his antlers. :) Camp be damned..... he had one track mind. And I let him walk. He turned around right in front of me and went back the other way.

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/652985021_5eqcv-L.jpg


Later that day the fall weather turned back to hot summer like weather. I moved camp again and climbed up to a ridge that I had heard about and I spent the night up there and saw notta thing - but it was a spectacular spot to hang out.


http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/659321994_brD5v-L.jpg

I moved camp again the next day I called in a couple others bulls reasonably close but I just couldn't take the passing on them and after just a week into it.... I packed out early. At some point, all of the sudden, it seemed that I already really got what I came for and then this idea of pizza and cold beer came to me..........

All in all... a great trip - learned allot, met some cool folks and reaffirmed what I already knew..... that horses, llamas, goats, strong buddies..... anything would be better than solo when it comes moving a pile of meat expeditiously.

A few random shots.....

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/653782102_gxaSt-L.jpg

I aint wastin' no arrow either.... its like this....

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/659554403_FPSaq-M-1.jpg

suckers....
http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/659308816_boVBr-L.jpg

Hope your all having a great season and getting out there!

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/653782213_GM6Fh-L.jpg

Smokepole
09-25-2009, 06:02 AM
Sounds like an excellent hunt, great photos too, thanks!!!

I am curious though about why you let the "camp bull" walk. You didn't say so but I'm guessing it was still dark outside?

Lost Arra
09-25-2009, 06:27 AM
Nice hunt and photos. I hope that bull gives you another shot.

Elk sure pick the beautiful neighborhoods.:)

Spending 7-10 days camped in the elk woods makes tag soup a little more tolerable for me.

I'm jealous of you guys who live relatively close to the elk.

Tim in Washington
09-25-2009, 07:16 AM
great story,great pictures,familiar.looking area.Thanks Tim

evanhill
09-25-2009, 07:21 AM
Great story and pictures. Thanks!

Wanderlustr
09-25-2009, 07:43 AM
I am curious though about why you let the "camp bull" walk. You didn't say so but I'm guessing it was still dark outside?

No it was light enough. I was still over 6 miles in and not that I am a trophy hunter or anything - I just didn't think he was big enough for the epic that would follow.

Which really leads me to my big question for you all. Do you think meat is ok for a 3 day period with afternoon in 80+ temps?
I brought dry bags for throwing in a creek but the lake was the only place that would have worked. The lake was warm enough for me to swim in (which I did :) ).

I was hoping to meet some willing horse packer up there and make a deal to haul a load for me. While I met some great folks on horse the only ones that were camped in the area had already turned one hunters offer of $1,500.00 down and for good measure added "not for any price". So that was out. They were archery hunting wasted no time letting me know they did not like anyone else in "their" spot. The only other fellas hauling meat did it in teams of 3+ so it was down to the truck in ice chest right away.
Suggestions?

mark s
09-25-2009, 07:46 AM
Beautiful country and pictures! Thanks!

RKP
09-25-2009, 07:48 AM
Sounds like a great hunt. Nice pictures too.

Lost Arra
09-25-2009, 08:10 AM
>>They were archery hunting wasted no time letting me know they did not like anyone else in "their" spot.<<

I hear about this attitude but thankfully have never experienced it.

I thought the last claim staking of public land was the Oklahoma Land Run in 1889! Of course, folks cheated then too (the Sooners).

elmbow
09-25-2009, 08:19 AM
Excellent report Wanderlustr. My advice, since no one else is offering, is what I've done for years when solo bow hunting elk in warm weather. You stay reasonably close to your vehicle. My limit, (terrain matters) is 1-3 miles. You have to pick your poison, do you want to Wandr off into the hinterlands and get away from the madding crowd, (nothing wrong with that, as your report shows), or do you want a couple hundred pounds of sweet, lean, healthy, elk venison in your freezer? It's a no brainer for me, I can go "rambling" any time I feel the urge. (Wish S E X was as simple) but opportunities to fill the larder are determined by F&G, fleeting, and expensive, so I make those moments count, not that they aren't great experiences in their own right, but putting food on the table makes them practical matters too. You need to decide at the outset if bringing meat home is a priority. If it is, and you want to hunt 10 miles in, then thinking positive is paramount, i.e., make arrangements in advance for that string of pack horses, mules, Boy Scouts, Kifaru drinking buddies, coolers and ice at the truck, processing arrangements made............There is no finer meat in the world than meat you've harvested and processed in such a manner, as many here will attest to. Keep those broadheads sharp!

Wanderlustr
09-25-2009, 08:39 AM
Thanks for the kind words.
As for filling the freezer - when I was heading out my wife just kept saying "why?" We still have plenty of elk left from last years hunt. But you know its a guy thing I guess - fall comes..... and I get the itch.
I had big coolers ready to go in the truck and friend with extra freezer space offers but no strong backs at the ready.
I figured if it was a record book monster the other archers I had befriended along the way would understand and possibly help out for a day but nothing firmly agreed on. So I held off.

Smokepole
09-25-2009, 08:45 AM
Well, since you asked for suggestions, I don't have any, except to try and find some willing horse packers before the hunt. If you're solo, even then, being 6 miles in with the time needed for the walk out and drive out to let them know they're needed and they fact that they might not be able to just drop everything and ride in to help you you're taking a risk. I think you showed remarkable restraint. Many in the same position (a bull in camp first thing in the morning) would have shot first, and worried about the consequences later. The other suggestion is to reserve the long-distance forays for those times when you're lucky enough to have a partner to help with the hauling.

As far as how long you've got, I think a lot depends on how much it cools off at night and whether you have a north-facing shady area to hang meat during the day. If it gets down near freezing at night to cool the meat and you have a shady spot for hanging during the day, IMO the meat will be OK for one or two warm days but beyond that is pushing it. So you could theoretically anyway haul out a load on day 1, walk back to camp with an empty pack, and haul out load #2 on day two. I always have a marine cooler in the truck with block ice, so that means at least the first two loads out would be OK but I think the third load would be pushing it.

Sounds like a great hunt though, not only the rambling and scenery but passing up an animal like that IMO is the same as killing one in terms of the achievement, i.e., getting close enough for a quality shot. You did good!!!!

Wanderlustr
09-25-2009, 08:57 AM
The other point of interest was most of the other guys were using Rino 530 GPS's and whether together or not all (if they wanted) knew of each others locations and if someone needed help they were communicating via text or voice with each other. This was something I had not thought of and I have since added it to my quiver of tools to take. My old etrex served me well but I can see this as a very useful tool especially out alone like I am usually.

snakey2
09-25-2009, 10:14 AM
Sounds like a fantastic time and great hunt. Anytime you get to chose to shoot or not is a good time. When I was young we used to routinely keep meat for a few days in day temps over 100F. As long as it cools well at night and stiffens. If you take it down in the morning and wrap it in a sleeping bag or otherwise insulate it and shade it you can keep it cool for a long time without problems. Re-hang it at night when it gets cool.

Montanapete1
09-25-2009, 10:28 AM
Great post! I've managed to keep the hunting bug at bay, But all the posting of late has started, to get me biting at the bit to go.

Big W
09-25-2009, 10:56 AM
Great report. Getting an elk with two or three people in the back country is hard enough, passing one up shows your concern for meat care and good ethics. What wilderness area was this in?ALW? Maybe some board members need to get connected as i didn't pack in this year for elk cause it would of been a solo trip. Deer is no problem for one guy(sometimes) but elk takes some real hard work, endurance and determination. Temperature is a big part of it too.

one-eyed Bob
09-25-2009, 05:56 PM
I have had meat spoil under those conditions. Even if it is chilled at night and covered during the day, I would doubt that you could save it. You were smart and ethical.

Bulldog
09-25-2009, 09:51 PM
If I ever get the high hunt outa my system early high archery would be a hoot!!

Hell looks like you had a great time! Gettin my knee operated on the 30th. So I'm gonna have to wait for late muzzy season.

Great pics!

It sucks to be back in civilization dosen't it.. :(

Wanderlustr
09-26-2009, 08:05 PM
It sucks to be back in civilization dosen't it.. :(

Always looking for the right balance - I just got back from taking relatives to Pike Place Market and all the Seattle sights. Now....THAT is just over the top - especially after being out solo for a while.
Good luck with the knee!

brian88
10-04-2009, 12:53 PM
man that picture of the lake looks like a postcard thanks for posting and a good story to.

Ed C
10-06-2009, 10:22 PM
Really nice scenery......and elk too you say...imagine that! :)

Wanderlustr
10-06-2009, 10:52 PM
Really nice scenery......and elk too you say...imagine that! :)

Yepper - who would a thunk? :D

Next time my fly rod is coming along (way easier to pack a creel of cuts then all that elk meat). :)

http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/660228897_niMmw-L.jpg



http://bitt.smugmug.com/photos/653761851_sC6vX-L.jpg

Scoutin' Wyo
10-07-2009, 08:39 AM
Well, since you asked for suggestions, I don't have any, except to try and find some willing horse packers before the hunt. If you're solo, even then, being 6 miles in with the time needed for the walk out and drive out to let them know they're needed and they fact that they might not be able to just drop everything and ride in to help you you're taking a risk. I think you showed remarkable restraint. Many in the same position (a bull in camp first thing in the morning) would have shot first, and worried about the consequences later. The other suggestion is to reserve the long-distance forays for those times when you're lucky enough to have a partner to help with the hauling.

As far as how long you've got, I think a lot depends on how much it cools off at night and whether you have a north-facing shady area to hang meat during the day. If it gets down near freezing at night to cool the meat and you have a shady spot for hanging during the day, IMO the meat will be OK for one or two warm days but beyond that is pushing it. So you could theoretically anyway haul out a load on day 1, walk back to camp with an empty pack, and haul out load #2 on day two. I always have a marine cooler in the truck with block ice, so that means at least the first two loads out would be OK but I think the third load would be pushing it.

Sounds like a great hunt though, not only the rambling and scenery but passing up an animal like that IMO is the same as killing one in terms of the achievement, i.e., getting close enough for a quality shot. You did good!!!!


Smoke already covered what I would have to offer. Boned out meat in dry bags deep in a creek sounds good on paper, but I've never tried it.


Thank you for the great story and pictures!

Ken
10-11-2009, 02:20 PM
Nice TR WLSTR...great pic's too!

Looks like a dandy of a spot.

Wanderlustr
08-23-2010, 09:53 AM
Not to revive my old TR but.....
Well here I am....
that old familiar itch is coming on strong. I had other arrangements for the early archery season, but alas, I am drawn to going back here to make this right.
Any board members interested in joining up.... Sept 11-19..... early archery? Hopefully for a meat hauling extravaganza. :)
Just send me a PM if your interested.