View Full Version : WA early archery elk hunt

09-27-2009, 05:41 PM
Well let's just start off by saying that no elk were harmed in the making of this trip. That being said, this year was much more of a success than last year (first year archery hunting) as we at least had an elk encounter and got very close to loosing an arrow. Overall, it was a great trip with beautiful country, time with a good friend and the ability to use quality gear, primarily my 6-man Kifaru tipi and stove.

We had a base camp set up, then spiked out higher up in the 6-man.


We heard bulls bugling late at night and early in the morning and were quite close to them with our spike camp.

Although the weather was pretty nice during the day, the evenings were still cool enough to enjoy the warmth of a nice fire in the medium stove for the two of us.



We found lots of good sign and on the first morning moved down into a deep drainage with at least 2 bulls sounding off.


Cow calling only occasionally, we moved through the deep woods trying to find a good location to set up.

We heard one bull bugling up on a ridge above us. I bugled to him once and he began closing the distance to us quickly. Only being able to take a cow or spike, we hoped he had at least one of those in tow with him. We sat down, nocked an arrow and waited.

The bull revealed himself at the top and then a nice sized cow went past him and started coming down the hill towards us. This was the first time I had been out bow hunting and seen a legal animal coming towards me. Our hearts began pounding as the cow zig-zagged her way down the hill and stopped broadside to us at approximately 50 yards. This was a long, but doable shot for us but I had a large tree in my way. My partner had the better shot between two trees and began to ready himself for the shot. Unfortunately, a low handing branch was right in his line of fire and being a long shot as it was, he paused and waited to see what would happen. The bull then came trotting down the hill and revealed that he was a nice 6x6 with huge fronts. A beautiful sight to behold for sure.

He paused only briefly at about 60 yrds, then began to side-hill away from us, taking his cow with him. We could only watch and admire the two as they sauntered away from us, unaware of our presence.

Although we attempted to follow them from a distance to have another encounter, they were gone, never to be seen again.

This unfortunately was our only real encounter for our 5 day hunt, as each day became hotter and drier. Although we covered many miles, the only other "elk" we bumped into were wearing camo and making store bought elk calls.


We spent several nights in our spike camp, releshing the luxury of our heated shelter, but in the end we ate tag soup (at least for the early hunt).


Hopefully the late hunt will be more productive, but overall a great trip.

Tim in Washington
09-28-2009, 06:38 AM
sounds like a great trip,thanks for the story and pictures

09-28-2009, 08:08 AM
Thanks for the trip report. We leave Friday for early muzzleloader season. Our scouting has revealed no elk in an area that has always held good numbers. We drew cow tags so we will confine ourselves to that unit, but the weather has them in a new locale.

At least you were getting into some bugling bulls and seeing some critters and getting to enjoy Eastern Washington:)

10-04-2009, 12:47 PM
well it looks like you made some great use of your gear. heated tent and all. that set up most of cost a few bucks. was it worth it?

10-13-2009, 04:33 PM
Great photos and all the makings of a great hunt. Spiking it out is THE way to bowhunt elk.

Thanks for sharing.

10-31-2009, 04:42 PM
My first post here - I happened to run into JBR up at his base camp as we prepared to head up to the high country. It was one of those chance encounters that reinforces my high opinion of the character of bow hunters and hunters in general. If you haven't met him, Jim is a class act all the way and even though we were "competing" for elk in the same area, he was totally forthcoming on what he had found scouting and where he was going to be hunting. Fortunately for the solitude of the hunt, we headed in different directions and didn't see each other after the Sunday before the season. My partner and I headed up high, and out of Jim and his partner's way, they stayed about 1500 feet below us where the elk had been moving earlier in the week. Before we parted ways, he sold me on both a Delorme PN40 GPS and a Kifaru 6-man tipi and I bought both when we got back from hunting. He is a very good representative for Kifaru, and frankly the tipi's sell themselves too :)

We managed to get one after Jim left, kind of sorry to hear Jim and his buddy didn't connect but I did hear the story of the low hanging branch from a hunter who stopped by our camp. Funny story about that guy - he had been in cows all week and had a bull at 15y but hadn't had a shot. He misread his bull tag (any bull) to mean he couldn't shoot a cow. He left our camp after being "educated" pretty dejected. I never heard if "Larry" got one or not, but that guy must smell good to elk if half what he said was to be believed.