Did you draw ?
As per usual, I am at work and my phone starts blowing up.
When I see the first message “ Did you draw?”
I guess that means the results came out .
Not able to check my results myself yet to see if I drew anything, I was living thru the mass texts messages I was receiving.
It wasn't even 30 minutes and my buddy Stacey informed me he drew a great bull tag and was wondering if I would like to tag along.. I already knew I wanted to go just had to get the time off from work and clear it with the wife. After finding out it was a go , it was just a waiting game til the season arrived.
With a quality bull tag in Washington the season starts 5 days before the general season. And since I didn't draw anything adding another 6 days to my already planned trip was going to take me away from home and my kids for 17 days. You gotta love a wife who understands your passion.
I arrived to Stacey’s camp the day before the opener to find out camp was torn apart that night by 60+ mph winds and they were just putting everything back together the best they could. The wind destroyed the back half of one wall tent by bending poles and ripping the corners out of the tent. Also one pole went thru the other tent ripping a 7 ft opening into it. And the tarp covering the whole thing was a loss.
They were down in the dumps a little bit but it didn't take long and we were off looking for a bull to go after opening morning.
While we were out I found out not only did Stacey have a tag but his son Justin did as well. This just got a whole lot more fun. However I only had 5 days to hunt with them before my season opened and was unsure if we could get 2 bulls in 5 days.
We found some bulls that night and made our plan for the next day.
We split in groups of 2. Stacey and I went one place and Justin and Chad went another. We were only 15 minutes of light when I went to go look in a different drainage and some elk started rolling rocks down the hill. Stacey watched them go over the ridge and decided to pass on the bulls in this group, but he knew they were headed in Justin's direction. 5 minutes later we hear a shot and a yell. Later a text message confirming Justin shot his first bull.
It was a nice 7x and after a few hours and a little hike we had it out by noon.
After getting the bull to camp and having lunch we headed out to find a bull for Stacey. We saw some but none that tickled his fancy yet.
The next day we all went different directions to locate a good bull. Right away I spotted a good bull that I thought was 350+. I called Stacey to come look at it. After looking at it and meeting up with Chad we made a plan of action to go for it. Well, after a long hike and getting where we wanted to be I saw an elk running down canyon and after looking around found 2 hunters that spooked him out of the country. Since we were already miles in and in a hole. We decided to look around and see what else we could find. We glassed up a lot of bulls that day and made a plan for the next morning.
We all wake up early to get to where we want to be by first light. We drove to a view point to make sure the bull was still in the location we spotted him the night before and as it was getting light we spotted a different bull and in a more favorable location.
I was more than ready to put on the 6 miles to get where we planned but was happy we found this closer bull. Stacey at first glance was unsure if this bull but after looking at it more we went for it.
Chad and Justin stayed high to keep an eye on it while Stacey and I moved in. We got to a ridge that I thought was the best place to shoot from but Stacey wanted to get to the next finger closer. Unsure we could cross the open valley without being spotted I took a range reading. 430 I told Stacey.” that's it?” “let’s do it”.
He looked around for a comfortable spot to shoot from which is not easy in this country.
He sat down and asked me for yardage. “425”
After a few seconds the shot rings out and a few seconds after that the bull rolls down the hill.
We cut across to find the bull and Chad and Justin went back to camp to get all the gear needed to pack this elk out.
It took most the day and was one heck of a steep pack out , but once we hit the truck I realized we just harvested 2 bulls in 3 days. Wow
Having drinks and conversation that night I was headed to my main camp to help another friend who had a bull tag. I hadn’t had any correspondence with my main group so I didn't know if they had a bull down or not..
Arriving to the camp that I share elk Camp with every year for the past 20+ years, I found out That Gary( the big bull tag holder this year) had just seen his first elk that morning. I told myself that I was not going to hunt for myself til I found Gary a bull.
The next morning I was gone before the sun came up and right at light I spotted a good bull.
I contacted Gary to get over to my location. He and Tom were over 2 miles away and so I just sat watching the bull and waiting for Gary. It turns out that we were 30 minutes to short, because right when Gary got to me the bull decided it was bed time and disappeared.
I looked for that bull the next day and a half but never saw him again. I had seen a number of bulls in not so desirable locations but was wanting one a little easier for Gary to get to . I would save those bulls in case we were getting close to the end of the season.
I say easier for Gary because even though he is in great shape he is 69. And no matter how great shape your in age does matter.
After 2 days Gary followed me everywhere and one evening we finally found a bull that fit the bill.
Gary shot and the bull disappeared behind a tree. It stood there what seemed like forever. It finally moved and bedded down. Unable to get another shot we watched the bull til it got dark.
That night proved to be a anxious one. Unsure of what happened and all the scenarios that go with it. Needless to say we found the elk the next day and Gary had a fine bull.
The rest of the season did not go as well, only able to hunt spikes which is about 2% of an elk population and hundreds of people looking for the same thing. It makes it hard.
Hundreds of miles of walking and glassing proved futile this year as we were pushed off the mountain by snow and weather a few days early.
I may not have notched my own tag yet this season but to say my season was unsuccessful would be a huge understatement .
I love being in the woods , especially the elk woods but it was nice to get home and see my beautiful wife and children.