Monday, December 1, 2008

From Deer Camp to Elk Camp

11/23/08 Left deer camp, skinned and butchered deer, repacked gear, grabbed additional provisions and slept like a baby. Deer camp was good, shot decent deer, but elk camp always trumps deer camp.

11/24/08 Arrived at camp around 11AM. Sent Blair out to scout while Brian and I set up camp. We caught up to Blair just before dark, as he glassed ridges we planned to hike to the next day. Saw plenty of tracks-both humans and elk.
11/25/08 Blair went north, Brian and I hiked west, putting on some serious miles. They all seemed up hill.....I made a drive up a ravine for Brian, but the only thing I moved his way was a lion. Heard a shot, just before dark, had to be Blair. As we awaited his story in camp, he arrived, late and disappointed. He took a shot at a cow, through the timber, but missed. Not an easy shot, he felt, but a makeable one.
11/26 Blair's last morning-he went west, on some large, fresh tracks. The trail went beyond the forest service boundary, onto private land. Smart bull. Brian and I wandered dark timber all day. I found fresh tracks and scat, eventually leading me to a glimpse of a fleeting elk. A big, lonely bull? I will never know.
11/27 Will arrived in the morning darkness. He hiked high and far. Will was rewarded for his efforts, seeing elk, eventually being surrounded by barking cows and a few spikes. Nothing worth shooting at this point. Brian and I wandered familiar country, looking for fresh sign.
11/28 Day 5 and still no fresh snow. Brian and I went north out of camp, glassing some meadows at daybreak. The elk have gone nocturnal, not showing themselves in the open at all. We rushed back to camp at lunch, eating in minutes and heading out in a new direction. Our final hunt was in a scenic bowl that elk seemed to have used since the last snow. Not today, however. Will returned to camp again late, with only good stories of elk spotted. He would see a nice bull on his final day, but never get a shot.

Our elk camp wrapped up with a few close calls, a lot of good meals in the wall tent and of wishes for fresh snow next time. Luckily, half of the fun of elk camp, is camp.

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