It’s the weekend! Elk are tucked away as far as we know, so we came back to camp to eat lunch and do some chores before the rain starts. Wood is chopped, solar panel charging our equipment, ropes and tarp hung over the meat pole, new latrine dug, showers felt great, lanterns filled, snacks for tomorrow in the trucks, coffee pot filled and ready for opening day. I think we are ready. Hopefully the elk don’t stir too much tonight. Isn’t our camp setup fantastic?! My honey is prepared for anything. it feels like a weekend getaway. He’s the man!!
Checked the roads one last time before settling down for the evening. Came around the corner and see this wildfire off in the distance.
Opening morning we switched up our plan just a bit but still after the solo bull because it was obvious he was moving towards the timber the day before. Once we were down there, I was able to pick up his tracks. He angled more then headed downhill. A group of people with kids in camp moved in right above. In our estimation, he wouldn’t stay up high for long. Gary decided that we should head down and loop around at the bottom. Didn’t pick up his tracks again after that. I guess that bull doesn’t mind noisy kids. We split up, Gary to check a long old logging road and me through the forest over the ridge where our other truck was parked. Again, yet another place I’ve never been.
No luck on hunt #1. In fact, no shots either. Everyone up here says that they haven’t seen any hair…but we did. We wanted our second hunt where Gary cut the tracks the day before of the three elk that broke off from the herd, but some hunters had just gone through there. We will wait to let it settle down.
Our second hunt took us down to the snow lake to see if the old guy and his band of hunters moved anything that way. They were in the area where we found the fresh scat and tracks. It was hot and leisurely. Nothing moved this way. But we did see some fun things.
We found where a bear had dug up a yellow jackets nest. I didn’t want to get too close to the nest because they were still all disturbed and upset.
Here is an ancient tree stand.
I’m amazed at the beauty and the different things that grow here. Even how it “heals” itself as it adapts to adversity. Nature never ceases to amaze me.
We even took a few breaks to have a bit of fun with each other.
And to have some fun with the old guy and his crew. One guy’s name is Bob so Gary drew an arrow that leads him through some nasty snowbrushy thicket up a steep hill. Then an arrow highlighting some sign – year-old elk poop.
Weekend Hunt Day Two
Dark, foggy, warm, and rainy. The rain is fine but the fog not so good. Harder to see through your scope with fog. Amplifies the density. No elk movement across the roads last night from what we can tell. As the clock keeps ticking, we know less and less. This isn’t good.
The first hunt of the morning was a recon mission up into the wilderness (far beyond this boundary sign). We need to know how deep the three elk that split from the herd actually went. What we determined was that they actually went side hill downwards, not up as their trajectory indicated. Since we didn’t cut them on our way up, we probably just circled them. This is in the other hunt party territory but a possibility for in the morning…until…now we have a different game plan. Many people have been chasing sign of some elk I pushed out before this weekend. They all follow the “easy walk” down. Screw that.
Gary pushed through the area where nobody wants to go. What takes them an hour maybe, took him two hours. It is some tough area to cover but he was rewarded! Recent rubs, bed not more than a day or two old and appears to be on the bull revisits, and tracks from today AFTER this morning’s shower. In fact, he probably winded Gary coming down and just was in front of him enough to be comfortable. Gary didn’t want to push him because that will be our morning hunt. Yep…my first time through no-mans-land with the best guide there is. So exciting!
This weekend had invaluable learning days for me. To the experienced hunter or outdoorsman, the things I learned are probably just second nature to them. But to a novice like me, it could be lifesaving. Either way, I’ve grown so much in my confidence and skill just these two days than in the last six years. I’ve learned map and GPS reading (which I need a LOT more work on), counting ridge lines and rolly-pollys, awareness of keeping the sun on a part of my face (or not) to continue with my bearings yet adjusting for time lapse, looking for windows of daylight, and just plain reading your surroundings.
One thing I learned that these photos show are how to find the trail to a landmark like a lake when in the snow. These hash marks were made many, many years ago to keep you on a “trail” that is covered by snow. Gary had me acknowledging each Mark for a while to help engrain them for me. Not all are the same but each is similar and if the same age. Very enlightening!!!
One thing I know for sure, my GPS is merely a “guide”. I need to use it to head in the right direction but don’t use it to find the trail. Use my eyes and my training. I could give a ” GPS 101 – What Not To Do” class to anyone interested.