It is always a long wait for hunting season until it gets here and then it seems like last season ended just a week ago. At any rate the season is here again. Opening day can be big and productive or nothing at all. For us this year is was nothing. We didn’t see or even smell an elk. At the end of the day we were on our way to spot when instead of elk Liza put an eye on a nice black bear. We made a climb up a long steep mountain side but with no snow to track we lost this animal in the timber. Was a good finish to the first day though and always exciting.
So come the next morning and true to my mantra if they aren’t there today they will be there tomorrow we went right back to hunt the same place we hunted opening morning. No sooner did we get to our favorite look out and we could see a bull. He had one cow with him and he was feeding right toward the spot we have killed multiple elk in the years past. The elk were way up the ridge so we needed to gain some elevation. We plunged into the timber gaining elevation with each step but losing sight of our target. We worked our way to a place we could see the scattered timber where the elk should be but we saw nothing. They had to be there as there were no other hunters around and nothing to spook them. We waited and watched. Five minutes and nothing. Ten minutes and nothing. I am running out of patience. Not one to sit too long I am antsy to go looking but then Liza spotted that color. Right where we last saw him. He was looking away from us just feeding and unaware of our presence. I could tell he was not coming to us as I first thought. Where he is on the ridge I know we are not going to sneak up on him unless we gain even more elevation and come down on him with the up slope wind in our favor. So climb some more before we head across the drainage. Well up there I think we can ease on down the ridge and get on him. Side by side we worked down the ridge with the first one to see him most likely to get a shot. There he is about 100 yards away turned looking right at me. I dropped to a sitting position, slipped off my safety on the way down, let a round out. Bull down I said to Liza. Piled him up right where he stood and dead in his tracks. What a hunt, what a bull as I always say a bull’s a bull and what a way to start the season! Another public land bull and we did it ourselves.
So ends the easy part of this hunt. The fun certainly isn’t over but now the work begins. There will be no walking back to get the pickup and drive to this bull. This is a back pack retrieval. So take a look a the photo of Liza with a good 80 pounds of meat in the orange back pack. She is only five foot two and one hundred pounds. I believe her to be one stout little girl to pack the way she does. And straight up a pretty steep mountain side.
We needed one more trip in the next day and because I am not as young as I use to be and don’t take as big a load as I once did we took advantage of Doug always being a big help. Because he is such an animal I overloaded him and made it easy for Liza and I. Thanks Doug! We will be sure to let you join in on our fun again next year!