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  #1  
Old 10-20-2008, 05:50 PM
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S Idaho Deer/Elk Hunt Report 2008


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Hi all! Hope your hunting season is going well. Our deer season opened on Oct 10, and elk opened on Oct 15. Our standard hunting crew started setting up deer/elk camp on the evening of Oct 10, with yours truly setting up a 14x16 sleep tent - in a snow storm by myself - and having to shovel 2"-3" of snow from the ground to set the tents up. I was soaked when I was finished. Got the wood stove going to melt the remainder snow before laying down tarps and pieces of carpet (you really should be comfortable in camp!). My twin brother showed up later and we set up another 14x16 to stuff gear in that we didn't want to get snowed/rained upon. One of my older brothers was out cold-camping after muley bucks and we anticipated that he might spend another night out if he hadn't gotten a deer on the opener. Several hours later, 3 more of the crew arrived and we set up a 16x20 tent that serves as the cook/BS tent. They brought 5 good horses with them. Not long after, my older brother arrived in camp....limping badly. He had gone down hard on the trail and thought he sprained his ankle badly. He left his 45-lb pack in the middle of the trail and hiked back to his vehicle 2 miles with this two dogs.

The following day, we got camp more organized and then two more of our hunting friends showed up with two more horses and another 12x14 sleep tent. On Sunday the 10th, we all set out after muley bucks. It was a sparse snowy day, and windy. "Warning-shot-Joe" and I set out on steep slopes at about 9400 ft elevation after riding the horses a long way up a good trail, with his brother trailing the horses back to camp. After several promising draws holding nothing, I rounded a scree ridge and spied a mutant 4x1 buck (14" spike on one side). I didn't want him, but Joe did. We were about 240 yards away and the deer sensed something wrong and got up to vacate through timber. Another std 4x4, about 23'-24"wide got up with him and Joe decided to take that one. One shot with the 7mm RM through the shoulders, moving, at around 300 yards, and down through it's neck sent him rolling on the steep slope. Here's a few pics of that. An incredibly steep draw. After rolling/dragging (with guts still in) about 1500 ft elevation, we were near the bottom. There, 300 yards above the trail, was this bucks twin! I passed on this one too, hoping for a bigger one.






Two or three draws over, and prior by about an hour, one of our other crew got a little larger 4x4 muley. Joe's brother Archie back at camp saddled the horses and we got those back to camp that day. We had yet to even see an elk. We crossed wolf tracks though...

Mostly a day of rest at camp the following day. On the elk opener, we went to a successful area from the past, and another grueling hike. We jumped a total of 3 elk in timber but couldn't get a shot on them - cows and calves. The following day, we rode far from camp to a high basin that was productive elk habitat in the past. Not a single animal spied...but there were more wolf tracks. Here's a view of some of that country, and, the weather was just wonderful, with little - but shifting wind, and nice temps. Saw only some muley does and fawns, and a nanny goat and kid. Another one of our crew got a nice wide 3x3 muley buck.


The following day, another long ride to a high productive basin from the past, parking the horses and hiking over a high ridge to a south facing draw. Two orphaned calves (two men in the bottom packing out the cows) gave us the slip. Wolf tracks again.... That was the extent of our elk sightings - 5 elk for an entire week.

Despite the wolves totally ruining our elk hunting in this area, we still had a lot of fun. Here's a pic of one of the 'camp dogs' having a good sleep at the expense of leg movement by 'warning-shot-Joe'!


Another friend joined us Thursday evening the 16th for some muley hunting on the 17th and 18th. We saw good muley buck numbers previously - and I passed on 5 bucks throughout the hunt - but no luck for other bucks on those two days.

My older brother and his leg? He finally made the trip down to the hospital for some x-rays. He broke his tibia and some bone down in his heel! He came back to camp with crutches!

Bob Faucett's elk hunting was ruined by wolves many years ago. That ruin finally made it here. I'll still make it out after deer and elk, but I'm not holding out much hope.
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Last edited by Shawn Crea; 10-20-2008 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:22 PM
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Here's a couple more photos of the country. The setting is beautiful, and with good horses to absorb some miles that your legs don't have to, it makes for more opportunities of hunting the high stuff that would otherwise make for a very long day with the result of being foot-and-leg sore for a few days. We're a bit more concerned about leaving the horses tied most of the day with the wolf situation.


And another 'camp dog', a pup that we think is a Lab/Chow mix, and he sure was fun in camp. He blended well with my clothes bag, and slept there most of the night until the fire in the stove burned down enough to make the floor too cold, then climbed up on my cot at my feet. During the day when we were all gone, he got placed in the horse trailer where he'd get up on the hay bales and look out through the trailer openings and snooze all day. He's on his way to being a fine camp dog!

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Old 10-21-2008, 06:49 PM
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Great Pic's, Shawn - looks like you had a good time in spite of the lousy elk hunting.

Sounds as if you guys need to do some serious varmit hunting!

While you were getting the white stuff, it was in the upper 90's in this area.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:16 PM
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Shawn I just spent 10 days hunting around Pierce, Idaho. We camped at Campbells pond and my buddy brought two 4 wheelers out. We saw not one deer or elk. Wolf tracks and wolf poop everywhere. I talked to two different folks whom were rounding up their cattle in the area we hunted and they are on horseback in that country a lot. They both said that they see very little game. The Wolves have pretty much cleared the area out.

I saw a few elk coming out of the Pierce area, but no deer. There were several other folks camped around us and only one saw a couple of does in the first ten days of hunting season.

Two years ago was the last time I hunted that place and we sat in camp at dusk and listened to the wolves gather to hunt almost every night. This year we did not hear that. Got a feeling that most have moved on to better hunting grounds after cleaning out the game in that area. Sounds like they've got down your way Shawn.

Coming home this evening there were 13 deer including one nice buck on the mile drive between the Clearwater river and my house in Peck. All in folks yards eating their lawns and what's left of summers gardens.
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Old 10-22-2008, 02:51 AM
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Great pics Shawn...any of the outside of your tent?
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:29 PM
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Don't feel bad Shawn, the elk hunting here is lousy as well. Three days of bustin' my hump and I've only seen 2 legal bulls and one spike. The elk numbers are way down due to winter kill. The DOW doesn't want to admit it but they will after season is over I'm sure. Have to sell all those elk tags you know.

We did manage to get Zach a nice 3X3 mulie on Sunday.




Hope every body else's season is going better than ours.

RJ
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:02 PM
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kdub,
Yes, it was still a good time, but disappointing. I think we have to find another elk hunting area, but those areas are running out in the state. I'm glad we didn't have 90F temps!

Bob,
We heard wolves howling 3 different times, but these weren't at dusk, but in the middle of the night. We had a full moon and with snow, it was like daylight out all night, so I guess they were doing their deeds at nighttime. Maybe you should just arrow a deer in town!! That would be the same, wouldn't it?

M1,
I didn't take any outside camp pics this year....don't know why, just didn't get around to it. It was a fine camp though.

RJ,
Good job on getting Zach another good memory; a fine deer. In the units around where I hunted, the cow tags have been cut down a lot. I expect that, or no cow tags next year....wolves don't just DISPERSE elk as the pro-wolf people like to claim....they kill them, and not just a few of them.

Good luck all in your hunting pursuits.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:14 PM
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Those are some great pictures Shawn. Makes me miss the hunting trips into the Ruby Mountains just west of Alder Mt where I grew up. Same kinda coutry as you're hunting in. Most of it steaper than the back of your head.

RJ
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Crea View Post
. We're a bit more concerned about leaving the horses tied most of the day with the wolf situation.
What you need is a big old gentle mule. He could carry me up to where you leave the horses and I could nap in the sun and keep a ear cocked for them wolves. Have I ever mentioned that I can bake biscuits?
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:14 PM
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RJ,
We spent some time on the steep stuff this year. The muleys mostly like the steep rocky stuff, and tend to hang a little higher than the elk although they certainly overlap, but the few elk we did see were in steep timber where there is some decent soil for footing so they don't bloody their hooves. I think we got to maybe 9500 ft elev this year, and probably should have been lower, concentrating in the thicker timber, but we just didn't see much sign to give us hope. One of the reports from my neighbor said that the bowhunters experienced that the elk were 'lower', near where people frequent hiking trails, and where the wolves don't want to be.

KenK,
That's playing dirty, tempting me with good food! Although, I can't claim we've ever had bad food at camp. Let's see if I can remember some of the dinners we had:

Yellow-eye rockfish fillets w/brussel sprouts...

Meat loaf, mashed potatoes and corn...

Breaded king salmon and green beans...

Ham & bean soup with rolls...

Deer and elk steak with mashed potatoes and gravy...

Sheepherders stew....

Darned if I can remember what the other nights held, but there's always bacon or sausage, eggs, hash browns, and/or french toast or pancakes most mornings too. I managed to lose only 3 pounds in elk camp this year! The little lab/chow camp pup got visibly bigger for the week+ we were there!
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:16 PM
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Please delete biscuit picture. I can't make it go away and it's too big.

Last edited by KenK; 10-23-2008 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Picture too bit
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:26 PM
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Shawn, I'm sorry I messed up your thread with the giant biscuit picture. Hopefully a moderator will come along and delte it and this post. I tried and can't.
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Old 10-23-2008, 05:20 PM
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Your picture is OK, Ken - those biscuits sure look good!
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:24 PM
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I agree with kdub KenK, those look ready for butter and honey! No thread mess-up at all!
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:33 AM
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Real nice deer guys and great pictures Shawn, enjoyed it plenty.
You guys make me almost ashamed of the two does we shot from hiding before light on the edge of a ranchers field, then waiting for them to walk up to us.
Once it warms up a bit today( 27 at now but 60's this afternoon) well be cut them in the back yard.
Bought a new grinder this year, from Northern Tool, if it's as good as the reviews we read online I;ll be happy.
Those does sure would taste good with some of those biscuits, haven't had breakfast yet and looking at those biscuits made me hungry.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:02 AM
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Hey all, my luck changed a bit yesterday out hunting, getting a cow elk. Got a very early start, hiking in the dark for about 45 minutes. My neighbor and a friend went up the guts of the canyon we intended to hunt, after only cow elk. Me and another friend, Jill, headed up a separate canyon that backed up to the canyon we intended to hunt, and humped it up over a 10,100 ft elev saddle to cover the upper end, after either a muley buck, or a cow elk. Jill had previous plans that evening, so had to be back to town by 4:00 p.m.

Guess I'm getting soft after having horses pack most of the meat for the last several years (and no horses on this trip), as I was really hoping for a nice muley buck, just because there's less meat to pack! Saw two muleys on the hike up, and one was not on our route to the saddle, and the other was just a standard 4x4 muley with not much to warrant going after.

Within a minute after cresting the scree saddle, we spotted 10-15 cows and calves in a timber patch below. The wind was good for us, and they were approx 300 yards at a steep downhill angle, but definitely in shooting range. I wasn't going to shoot one though, unless I could find my two partners in the main drainage to help pack out - about 6 miles of really rough terrain. Another 5 minutes of watching the elk, and all of their heads went up, noses in the air, then they all blasted off the ridge through timber. Another 15 minutes, and I saw the orange hats of my two friends about 400 yards below sidehilling towards where the elk were, busted by fickle winds.

After getting their attention and talking on the radio, Jill and I descended several hundred yards to the next ridge and spied a cow holed up in timber, bedded, ranged at 227 yards, with a very narrow shooting lane. A quick conversation on the radio, agreeing we would bone the elk and split the load among 3 of us to hike out the main drainage, and Jill would go back over the saddle and drive my pickup back to town.

I had my Mauser 6.5-06, with 140 gr Nosler partitions, and Burris Fullfield II, 3-9x. The first shot was with the cow bedded, and she stood up at the shot, still in the narrow shooting lane. The second shot hit her in the shoulder, but still standing. I was confident I'd hit her well, so waited, and after about 30 seconds, she toppled over. Approaching her, I could see her head still up, so I put a final in her neck. She's a big cow, and even boned and splitting up the meat in 3 packs, they were heavy loads. Here's a few pics of the cow and some of the crew.




Here's a couple pics of some of the country looking out from where the cow was laying.




Seems I pulled the first shot a bit, hitting her a bit far back through the backstrap, just next to the backbone....I think I need to spend more time practicing my shooting. The pack out was grueling. We started out about 3:30 with no trails but game trails, sidehilling down to the main trail in the bottom. 4.5 hours later, 3000 ft elevation, and very dark, we made it to the pickup. I've never been on a more painful pack-out. It hurts to walk on my carpet! But, another fine memory, and some fine meat to cut up and grind!
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Last edited by Shawn Crea; 10-26-2008 at 08:04 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:20 AM
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Ahh, the tenacity of youth! Us older guys have a rule not to shoot anything that can't be driven up to reasonably close!

Glad you finally got your elk. Now, you can concentrate on the muley. Might want to consider a nice horseback hunt for that one.

Your honest rendition of the shots is admirable. Sometimes crap happens and our first shot doesn't go exactly as planned. I'm surprised the cow could gain her feet with a shot so near the spine. Usually, they just thrash around trying to get up. Good anchoring second shot though. What 140 grain bullet were you using? My 6.5-06 is a tack driver with the Sierra 120 gr ProHunter - medicore with anything heavier.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:32 AM
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That youth is fading fast kdub! I'm walking funny this morning!

I'm shooting the 140 Nosler Partition; it does well in my load and rifle. We didn't fine any of the bullets. By the way, we didn't even gut the cow until the very last when getting at the tenderloins. Just parted her out from the outside. Ah that first not-so-good shot...I've heard it said that bedded shots are difficult. In my mind, I don't think they are, and that I just pulled it. I had all the time in the world. I'm fortunate that she stayed in the narrow shooting lane for the finishing shots.

My hunting for muleys is essentially over as the season closes this coming friday, and work is pounding in my head after being gone for so long. It's OK, as I've been picky and had chances at 5 different bucks that I passed. My brother and friend will be up this weekend though after more cows, so I should be recuperated by then!
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:54 PM
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Ahhhh, the cow is now all cut, ground, wrapped, split 3 ways, and in the freezer. Now that is a nice sense of accomplishment! I have quite a few 'tough' cuts wrapped and frozen for jerky later when I have more time. Guess I won't be eating alpo THIS winter! Well, not QUITE split 3 ways, as the other two guys insisted that I keep the tenderloin and backstrap packages.

Good luck to all in your chases!
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:51 PM
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Sorry all, gotta bore you with more elk stories....

The elk hunting continues here fellas! It's a lot harder than it has been in the past (and that wasn't especially easy by any means) due to the wolves, but we had success again on Saturday. My twin brother Layne and friend Jeff came up for the weekend and we got out early Saturday morning. We went out a drainage about a 45 minute drive from home and went up the hill towards the ridge. We sidehilled up almost to the top and hadn't seen much fresh sign. At the start of the day, we had plans to drop into the drainage over the ridge if we had no success by then, but everyone was fairly tired and sore by then, so we decided to split up and sidehill down at a different elevation towards the pickup and call it a day. Getting pretty low on the mountain, it didn't appear we were going to have any luck, but then Jeff stumbled into a lone (dry) cow and plugged her in the neck at about 60 yards. 30-06 with 180 gr Accubond.

The best part of this is that we were about 600 yards above the road! So, Jeff and I rolled and drug her down the hill, then gutted her about 30 yards above the road, while Layne hiked the road back to get the pickup. When Layne got back, he backed the pickup up to the bank and we drug the whole cow into the pickup! In all my years of elk hunting, this is the first elk kill I've been on where the elk could be loaded whole! Let me tell you, it was a nice contrast to the death march pack-out of my elk the previous weekend. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket?

It's a good thing we got that cow on Saturday as the rain started that evening, went on through the night and all the next morning. I think we must have gotten 1.5-2 inches. Hunting would have been miserable and likely unproductive.



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