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It is that time of year again. The annual Elk hunt. Laden with steak and potato dinners, cold nights, and the allure of taking a nice Elk. Only this time my father and I both had a Deer tag as well. It was a combo hunt…the first I'd ever been on. Nice thing was, we usually see deer on the elk hunt, and vice-versa; now we had the choice to take 'em both.

The excursion began at noon on Friday, and we started down the long and bumpy road to Elk camp.

As we approached camp things started to get dicey.


We proceeded to set up the tent and unravel all our goodies when the rain started. As it neared evening that constant drizzle turned to snow flurries. We were headed for a mountain blizzard. The night was cold and by morning the snow had stopped.


As the sun climbed the cold melted away and was replaced by a beautiful "winter" morning. We had a nice fresh dusting (about 8"), perfect for seeing and tracking critters. It was going to be a gorgeous opening day.


I was watching a small hillside, scattered with small openings, when I caught something out of the corning of my eye: A deer! A nice four point buck in fact. He had somehow, unknowingly, crossed nearly two thirds of the meadow in front of me and was busy sneaking his way into the tree's on my side. I was standing at this point, and furiously mounted my gun. But instead of a fluid movement, the bolt caught on my jacket.

The four-point still hadn't noticed my movement and plodded closer. As he stepped into my sight path and as his shoulders entered my crosshairs I pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened. Frantically, I looked down to see my bolt had come up slightly, disabling the firing mechanism. By the time I righted the situation the buck was gone. :x

At this point it's probably time I mention that I usually forego lots of critters for less hunters. The drawback (less game) if often offset by the payoff (less pressure from other hunters.) Basically I like the hills to myself…even if it means seeing less Deer/Elk. My point here it that the buck above will probably be the only one I'll see! Needless to say the rest of the day was spent pining over the lost buck.

Later that day I spotted something out in the meadow. A badger was digging for a winter snack. I approached foolishly close and took some pics. It didn't bite me I the arse this time, but someday it might (literally.)


The next morning was clear and crisp and the snow left some clues. Some Deer had crossed right through camp.


The morning was spent glassing the hillside with my new pair of bino's. Thus far I have been pleased with my Docter brand glass.


After a fruitless morning (as far as seeing critters go) we headed back to camp for some much needed grub: Hot dogs. Then back to the hillside I went (I left my father still in camp…letting his food settle. :lol: )

As I approached the hillside I figured it was time for a "stump check." My father explained long ago how a stump can materialize into a buck mighty fast. Better to check first. As I scanned the snow covered hillside I spotted an odd looking dark spot. A quick check with the bino's and I was looking at a dandy Mule Deer buck. The problem: I was well over 500 yards away!

I quickly and deftly closed the distance until I was directly across the meadow from the buck. While I stumbled for a proper rest the buck spotted me. As he stotted up the hillside, in and out of the tree's, I'm sure plenty of four letter words were rolling around in my head. But with the crosshairs on the buck, he stepped out for a moment near the top. I let the 'ole .300 Win. Mag. break the afternoon silence. KAA..BOOOOOM! I somehow picked my self off the ground (it is a stout gun after all :wink: ) just in time to see the buck stumble back into the tree's.

Excitedly I moved into the meadow and towards the hillside, when out of nowhere the four point buck came bounding across the meadow, DIRECTLY AT ME! I racked in another round of hand-loaded 168 Gr. Barnes X-Bullets and pulled the trigger. Only this time I was standing after the shot…because it never fired; a dud. Fate is not without a sense of irony.


By the time I had another round locked and loaded the buck was gone into the trees.

A thousand thoughts were running through my head, and as I approached the tracks I was yet again puzzled as I saw no blood. I decided I better start from the beginning and I headed up the hillside to see if I'd even hit the buck. After some searching I found this guy about 10 feet from impact.


Needless to say I was ecstatic. The heavy beamed buck will probably be a once in a lifetime for me, and he has four points, a cheater and two eye guards on one side; and six points, a cheater, and one eye guard on the other. Hell, if we were back east I'da just shot me a 16 point!

Tagged out!


By this time my help had arrived and we took a few pics. The funny thing is, if that other bullet hadn't misfired I would have shot two bucks. Kind of eerie.


After that the weather cleared for a few days and the forests grew damp. I stumbled across this toadstool. Kinda reminded me of Mario Brothers the Nintendo game. Time to Power Up 8).


It would snow one day….


Then clear off the next…


Notice all the brown foliage in the pic. That aint fall colors…that's dead conifers. Due to the drought our trees are stressed and susceptible to disease. In some areas over half the confers and most of the aspen are dying from this blight. :(

I've had this hat since I was 14. Taken it on all my big game hunts. An antiquity.


The days ran into a week, and then it was time to come home. What? An Elk hunt you say? We'll this was as close as we got to seeing an elk.


But I'm sure they'll be some up there next year.

CJ
 

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that sure is a nice deer there zim, take it your dad did not even shoot his gun?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sagebrush said:
that sure is a nice deer there zim, take it your dad did not even shoot his gun?
Nope! Saw two whole doe though...Perks of not seeing many people... :wink:
 

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i think last year he filled his tag if so he is good for another 5 years.
 

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Great buck Zim...and an awesome story to boot!! Nice work.
 

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Congrats little buddy!!!! You deserve it!
 

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Nice buckie. I like how you take so many photo's and tell the story. I do miss having the chair tag. North Slope caught his in his sumary. It's all about the chair tags.
 
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