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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, if you like to see pictures of dead elk this is not a thread for you. Just a lot of bad luck and poor shooting left us eating humble pie. Weather conditions started out hot and smoky with wildfires raging in Idaho and Montana. Ashes fell like snow on our tent's and it was hard to glass for elk the smoke was so thick. Despite the conditions not a day did we not see elk and all bulls came in silent, lots of times catching us off guard. One advantage of camping on the mountain is we could hear bugling at night along with a pack of wolves that howled every night especially with the full moon. lots of elk sign and wolf sign in the area. The area we hunted had wide open meadows mixed with steep draws with timber so thick most was unhuntable with a bow. Finally on the 10th a cold front blew in clearing some of the smoke and had the mature bulls bugling. It was an elk hunters dream that morning, we had three big 6X6's fighting over a group of cows in the thick draw below us. At 300 yards one big dark almost black bull stepped out in the meadow on the other side of the draw. Every time he would bugle I would cut him off with a growling bugle. Other shredding a large tree here he comes running down into the draw. A few minutes later I hear him coming up the draw and the first thing I see is his 300 plus rack heading straight for me. He was trying to get down wind of me and was angling to my left at 30 yards. He stopped staring, slightly quartered to me but not a bad angled. I settled my 30 yard pin behind the shoulder and when the arrow hit I knew instantly I hit him high on the shoulder. No penetration and snapped the arrow off. I got 6 inches of penetration and no blood, just that sick feeling I absolutely blew an opportunity of a lifetime. Two days later he was chasing cows and I almost got another chance at him. I actually ended up passing on several legal bulls including a big 5X5 trying to redeem myself with him. Long story short, my buddy hit another nice bull high above the spine pass through and never hurt that bull. We ended our adventure with countless encounters with cows and young bulls some at under ten yards, but ended up never putting a tag on an elk. No regrets and my eyes have seen things that can never be unseen. Truly an adventure I'll never forget.

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Fantastic pictures, truly outstanding! I wish success for all from this site who go on a hunt like that, sometimes it just doesn't go your way. I get the feeling you will not quit though, and your day will come. Awesome pictures for sure.
 
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Well, if you like to see pictures of dead elk this is not a thread for you. Just a lot of bad luck and poor shooting left us eating humble pie. Weather conditions started out hot and smoky with wildfires raging in Idaho and Montana. Ashes fell like snow on our tent's and it was hard to glass for elk the smoke was so thick. Despite the conditions not a day did we not see elk and all bulls came in silent, lots of times catching us off guard. One advantage of camping on the mountain is we could hear bugling at night along with a pack of wolves that howled every night especially with the full moon. lots of elk sign and wolf sign in the area. The area we hunted had wide open meadows mixed with steep draws with timber so thick most was unhuntable with a bow. Finally on the 10th a cold front blew in clearing some of the smoke and had the mature bulls bugling. It was an elk hunters dream that morning, we had three big 6X6's fighting over a group of cows in the thick draw below us. At 300 yards one big dark almost black bull stepped out in the meadow on the other side of the draw. Every time he would bugle I would cut him off with a growling bugle. Other shredding a large tree here he comes running down into the draw. A few minutes later I hear him coming up the draw and the first thing I see is his 300 plus rack heading straight for me. He was trying to get down wind of me and was angling to my left at 30 yards. He stopped staring, slightly quartered to me but not a bad angled. I settled my 30 yard pin behind the shoulder and when the arrow hit I knew instantly I hit him high on the shoulder. No penetration and snapped the arrow off. I got 6 inches of penetration and no blood, just that sick feeling I absolutely blew an opportunity of a lifetime. Two days later he was chasing cows and I almost got another chance at him. I actually ended up passing on several legal bulls including a big 5X5 trying to redeem myself with him. Long story short, my buddy hit another nice bull high above the spine pass through and never hurt that bull. We ended our adventure with countless encounters with cows and young bulls some at under ten yards, but ended up never putting a tag on an elk. No regrets and my eyes have seen things that can never be unseen. Truly an adventure I'll never forget.

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Been on 2 elk hunts to western Montana 1 I killed an elk 1 I didn’t but both were great experiences.
 

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Appreciate the report and pictures as this is the first year in maybe the last 10 I haven’t made it to MT. Just didn’t draw a general tag, but a couple of years ago I didn’t draw a tag but went along with my buddy. It has a refreshing effect on me that lasts for months, regardless of the result. You are blessed for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My two son's should draw next year, so I'm hoping to make it back next year to guide and call for them. Ran into a couple great locals that only rifle hunt and they showed me some great spots to try. I learned a lot about the area and added some great pins to my maps this year. Saw a lot of mule deer and several really nice bucks on this trip. Also added another grandson to the herd while I was away, It was great to get home to hold that little guy. Despite taking almost thirty pounds of food with me I still lost about eight pounds, doing hill repeats all day burns the calories. More Dude Wipes is already on my list for next year.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Congrats on the new Grandson!! It looks like you should try and have a mule deer tag in your pocket too.
I think it will take about 20 points to draw a mule deer tag for that area and that means I'll be well into my 80's when I draw. Still doable but will probably take me a few extra trips packing him out.
 

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Great pics! Enjoyed hearing about your adventure! As we all know it doesn't always work out the way we hope sometimes it's more about the journey. Thanks for sharing, congrats on the new grandson!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Knock on wood I've never had any issues with altitude sickness and have hiked to the top of Mount Elbert the highest point in the Rockies. My buddy didn't feel great the first few days, but that may have been trying to get used to the thick smoke. We knew it would probably be smokey because that's just the way it is anymore in the early season. We took eye drops and saline nasal spray which really helps.
 
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