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  #1  
Old 10-23-2010, 09:40 PM
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Idaho Elk & Muley Hunt, 2010


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We had quite a time this year, with a week+ to get it all done. My twin brother Layne and I left for 'elk camp' on Thursday the 14th and got up there mid-afternoon and set up a 14'x16' sleep tent, and a 14'x16' storage tent. Friends Glenn & Joe rolled into camp about midnight with 4 horses for the 15th elk opener.

On opening morning without the cook tent set up, we had a quick protein-deficient breakfast before a 6-mile ride to a high 9000+ ft basin. We spied some elk way up that we figured would come down when pushed, and they did. Brother Layne was set up below a rocky slide area when 'warning-shot-Joe' and I pushed into the basin. He plugged a nice cow at 373 yards with the 30-06 with a 180 gr failsafe. A tremendous 6x6 bull we figure would have scored 340 was among them, but as these things go, none of us with bull tags! We quartered that cow and got her out that day.

Friend Jeff showed up that evening and the next day we all hiked up basins pushing towards each other. That morning, heavy rain and a late sleep-in. We all hunted after the rain stopped early in the morning, but nothing hit the ground. That evening, friend Jill came to camp....and forgot her rifle...a Ruger M77 243 Win! I had my extra Win Mod 70 25-06 in camp so she used that.

That morning, Jill and I were sneaking up a creek bottom at about 8600 ft elev when I spied a doe and fawn bedded about 100 yards out. They busted me and got a 3x3 buck nervous that bounded into the opening. Jill got a rest on an avalanche tree stump and gave that buck a 'warning shot' over it's body! The next shot was fatal, low in the boiler-house and dead within a minute. Her third lifetime buck, but breaking her 2-point streak!! A half-mile side-hill drag to the horses and we quartered her buck up for the pack out.



The next day, brother Layne and friend Jeff went up from camp on a hillside late afternoon and spotted deer for the next morning hunt. Joe and Glenn & I went down-canyon to spot elk for a next-morning hunt. We were just spotting...that was the plan anyway! We spotted several cows feeding out only about 1 mile out. We decided to go after them, and here we have Joe in just camp slippers!! He was a trooper though and he waded through the sage in his slippers with us and we sat on a ridge watching the elk feed into timber 600+ yards out and after about 1.5 hours, we thought they might sidehill out towards us to water about dark-thirty, and they did, at 275 yards.

Glenn fired first with his 6.5-06 (120 gr TSX) on a cow. I fired 1/2 second later with my pre-'64 30-06 fwt with 165 gr Fed High-Energy Trophy-Bonded Bear Claw load and that big cow dropped hard with a high shoulder shot (it was near dark and no snow for tracking in thick aspens, so I wanted to put her down right there). She rolled down the steep hill, dead. Then Glenn hit his cow again after she showed no sign of being hit, but she was dead on her feet after the first shot through the boiler house, on post-mortem inspection. We quartered those two cows mostly in the dark and hung them up in the aspens for pick-up with horses the next morning. We were 'tagged-out' on our elk! My cow had a radio collar and ear tags on her that I need to call F&G on.

Meanwhile, brother Layne and friend Jeff spotted several muley bucks for stalking the next morning. A few more celebrations in camp that night!

The next morning, we trailered the horses to pack the two cow elk out, and brother Layne and friend Jeff went after muley bucks. The two elk got back to camp, then we heard on the radios that Jeff had gotten his buck, a nice 27" wide 4x2 in age-regression; a nice old buck. That buck rolled about 100 yards down a steep rocky gully and broke a back tine off that they weren't able to find. The meat pole was getting heavy!

Here's a few elk & packing pics:





Well, we had a day of rest then in camp. Can't remember much of that!

The next morning we all headed out to 'lost basin', where several of us got 'lost' in fog, years prior, thinking we were in one basin, but we we were in another. We parked the horses several miles below and pushed into the basin from several directions. Warning-shot-Joe and I blasted a buck out that didn't offer us a shot, and I thought the day was over. Brother Layne then pushed a ridge and blew 2 nice nice bucks down to Joe & I. Joe gave the big one three 'warning shots' before he connected well. As that buck was rolling down the steep hill, his buddy bounded down in the spruce scrub watching him roll, and I gave him a 165 gr Trophy-bonded Bear Claw in the back thru the vitals and he didn't move. The two bucks were not more than 30 yards apart.

We drug them down to the same spot and tried a new butchering technique. We didn't gut them, but detached the hind quarters and shoulder blades, then cut out the backstraps and tenderloins. That worked quite well! The 5 of us packed the two deer parts down to the horses parked 1+ miles away. We got back to camp right at dark. More celebrations!







It was a great year. Jeff got the 'widest' award at 27" on his buck. I got the 'tallest' award, a 4x3. Joe got the 'massive' award, and the pics don't do justice for that 5x4; it is a tremendous buck.

We took a hot-spring soak the last night in camp, and at about midnight, the wolves were howling up a storm on a full-moon night. A hunting year to remember.

Cont'd with more pics....
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Last edited by Shawn Crea; 10-23-2010 at 10:01 PM. Reason: Pic mistake
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:55 PM
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Cont'd...



Happiness is a heavy meat pole!



Celebrations in camp:



Here's a little camp buddy that I think was after our quarters!

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Last edited by Shawn Crea; 10-24-2010 at 07:00 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2010, 05:33 AM
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Thumbs up

Good story, good hunt, Great pictures. You do this every year? How cool.Q
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2010, 07:04 AM
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Q, yeah, every year that we can. The area is draw only for elk, but seems one of our cards usually gets drawn. We don't all have elk tags, always, but the deer is an open hunt so we can always chase those.
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:44 AM
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Shawn, great pictures and story. Looks like a lot of good memories were made. Even when I get to old to climb the high peaks, I will go and keep camp and watch the younger guys have fun.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:37 AM
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Dang, Shawn!

You and crew done good!

Glad to see the hunting mishap last year hasn't slowed you down in the least. Did you have enough ground transportation to get all that meat home?
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2010, 10:40 AM
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Heck, is it nearly hunting season again!
Glad to see that nothing is slowing you down Shawn. There are only so many hunting seasons available to us.
Great pictures every year, and sure enjoy seeing them all.

Maybe I'll get a B&C buck this year, heck the Texas Rangers are going to the World Series, stranger things have happened!
Good Luck
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:37 PM
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Yeah kdub, tpv, it looks like I can still make a go of it hunting, as long as friends and siblings lend a hand in gutting, skinning, and butchering!

jodum, I feel the same as you. I'll still go to camp even if I can no longer hunt later in life.

Here's another pic of the pine martin, They're about the size of a housecat and are very curious animals. It was fun to watch.



Here's a pic of us getting back to the horse trailer loaded with two elk.

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Old 10-25-2010, 01:52 AM
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WOW!!!

incredible pics Shawn.
Congrats.

Makes North east hunting look mundane.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:24 AM
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Great pics again

Shawn,

Wow, what a great hunt you had!

Thanks for posting the pics.

Terry
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:05 PM
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Very nice! I was out for a muley doe this last weekend, but ended up only getting close to several nice bucks, I poked at the big one, but my heart wasn't in it and I missed!
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:17 PM
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I very nice hunt indeed. And you had some very nice weather. Seems like my Idaho camps always involved snow. Great Pics and Congrats on a fine hunt.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:03 AM
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Great hunt! Thanks so much for the pics and the narrative. I really enjoyed them.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:53 PM
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I got another deer hunt in. My neighbor Chris had a controlled trophy hunt desert tag and we got to the hiking point shortly before shooting light and headed up the hills. Before shooting light, I spotted a buck in the binocs that we put a sneak on but he wasn't the caliber he was looking for. At about 8:00 a.m., I spotted the buck in the pics below at around 600 yards. I couldn't really tell how good he was with the binocs so Chris got out his spotting scope and after a few seconds of looking said "I want to shoot that buck!"

We put the stalk on him and closed the distance to 300 yards. The buck dropped to the shot from a 270 WSM with 140 gr accubond, in the neck. He was aiming for the shoulder, but he had cleaned the gun from his last hunt and didn't shoot a fouler through it so we figured that threw off the shot 6" or so. It all worked out! A beautiful buck with some nice junk on the rack. And, Chris is doing a 'European mount' so I got the cape to trade a taxidermist for an antelope cape for a mount that went bad with another taxidermist...a 'win-win'! A 30-minute hike with the meat load and we were home early afternoon. A great day in beautiful desert country.



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Old 11-01-2010, 06:08 PM
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He's a beauty!
I am hooked on mule deer. I'm beginning to think that you get more rack variation than you do in Whitetail.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:12 PM
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Nice buck, Shawn - !

There's so much bone on the top of that head, you should have been able to see it with the naked eyeball at any distance!

Tell your buddy you two done good.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:58 PM
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Great story and pictures as per usual Shawn. I really miss hunting camp. Haven't been "in camp" since we moved to Colorado in '97.

Next fall I hope to remedy that though.

Thanks for sharing!!!

RJ
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:28 AM
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R.J. You live in hunt camp. Good to see ya back posting again. Hope things are going well.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief RID View Post
R.J. You live in hunt camp.
The past couple years not so much. Animal numbers are still WAY down from what they were in '07. Not from wolves like in Shawn's country but from the bad '07-'08 winter. Probably 40 % of what they were.

As for my absence? My interweb provider and I have been at odds. (but that's another story)

RJ
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:48 PM
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kbub, I think I need to get a tripod or at least a bipod for those 12x50 Leica's. They are on the upper limit of being useable for handheld for really judging game. They're great for spotting, but for really assessing, a stable platform or spotting scope on tripod is needed. And, seems my eyes aren't what they used to be!

RJ, hope your herds rebound rapidly. We had a severe winter kill in the area we used to hunt elk in in N Central ID in '96-'97 winter, then moved to a new area. That previous area has not yet recovered due to curtailed logging (less conducive elk habitat), black bear depredation, and increasing wolf numbers. Hope you get out to 'elk camp' sometime soon.
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