Idaho has great Elk. However it is difficult to plan because there is not a point system and everything is a random draw. I have put in for many years and have drawn lots of deer tags in Idaho but never had any luck getting an elk tag. That is until this year. I finally drew an Idaho elk tag in 2014. Only problem was that in addition to an Idaho elk and deer tag, I had drawn tags in three other states and had a pretty busy fall lined out. Not to mention hunts I would be going on with my brothers and nephews. Having too many great tags in a year is a good problem to have.
I had hunted deer in this unit before so we knew some of it. We still made a few phone calls to some friends to help cover our bases on where to start looking. Jed from Albion took us out and showed us some good spots and Kirk went out on the hunt with us. Couple of good ole Idaho boys.
Based on the other hunts I was going on, I planned to hunt the opening day and to come back the last week of the hunt. On the opener I saw a nice 6 point bull that scored around 310”. My nephews tease me that I am too greedy and that would be a great bull for Idaho, but I was hoping for something a little better. Having a bunch of tags in your pocket is nice and it allows me to be a little pickier. It was really fun hunting elk in the desert where not many people would guess there was elk. After a full day of hitting it hard and not finding anything big enough we headed off to hunt deer. We were super successful with deer this year. I will post pictures and stories of the deer also.
After hunting deer for a few weeks I had planned on headed back to Idaho to hunt elk for a week or so. Unfortunately, my wife needed neck surgery. I love her with all of my heart and she comes before any hunt. After her surgery she quickly recovered and told me to get out of the house and go back to Idaho. I was probably driving her crazy and she must have needed a break. So with two days left to hunt, my brother and I went back to Idaho. We also met up with Kirk.
Kirk took us to where he had seen some bulls and we saw nothing. They had been pushed pretty hard because of the cow elk hunt and all of the deer hunts. The elk had dug in deep and I was beginning to think about eating my tag. Seeing nothing, we worked our way up on to the highest ridge and began to stretch the optics. Just another plug for investing in good optics. It will save you a lot of steps in the boots. Much to my surprise I see some elk. I am surprised because I am looking into the sun and the elk were 4 miles (GPS) away in some cedars across a private valley. It was pure desert but I was pretty sure they were bulls.
We had not seen anything else and the clock was winding down, so we decide to go chase the elk in the cedars. We ride the horses the 7 miles back to the truck and trailer and load up. This meant we were able to stop and grab lunch in town (much better than a smashed sandwich out of the saddle bag). After lunch we drove the truck over to the base of the mountain where we had seen them. The road was too rough so we unhooked the trailer and drove the truck up a road that took us to about 1/2-3/4 mile from where we had last seen the elk disappear into a sea of cedar trees. We had high hopes of the elk coming back out where we had seen them, but as you know cedar flats are extremely hard to hunt and get a vantage point. We glassed and quietly waited until it was almost dark. My brother who we call the “elk guide”, (because he only glasses for elk even if you are hunting deer, antelope, or bear) tells me that I should go sneak in on them because they were not going to come out until after dark. I know the odds of me sneaking in on them in the cedars and getting a shot are really low, especially if you are trying for a big bull (not just hunting any elk). Anyone who has done that knows it is next to impossible and is a waste of time and I told him so.
Soooooo......after telling him what a stupid idea that was I going sneaking into the cedars. I do it because i have no better idea. Not too far in to the trees, I bust the elk. First bull I see is a little guy. “Nope” I tell myself. Next bull looks really good but is at a dead run. I pull up and take a quick good shot. It was only about 60 yards away. When I shoot, elk start running everywhere. I was right in the middle of them. My mind is racing, “Did I hit him”. I had a good look but he was running through the cedars. I raced to the edge of the cedar patch to get a better view. I see small bulls running left. I see small bulls running right. I am sure that I shot at a bigger bull. Then at 240 yards I see two bulls working through some burnt cedars. One has tall horns and I can see he is limping. I had hit him. I put another one in the chamber and put another round in him. He piles up and then gets up and disappears. I know I hit him good both times, but my mind is second guessing. I slowly work my way over to where I had last seen him. I did not want to push him so I took my time.
As I get closer I can see horns sticking up out of the grass. I am flooded with emotion because I am so excited I actually got one. As I get closer My excitement is dashed because the horn looks much smaller than I the one I had shot. “Crap, I had shot a small bull running in the trees”. As I get to the animal I see that the one side is broken up pretty good and the other side is a real nice tall 6. He was a heck of a bull and he had busted up his rack fighting with the other bulls.
I had hit him hard both times with my .300 WSM. Man, these animals are tough. I rolled the dice and was able to get a great bull after 3 days hunting. Getting him out was the another chapter of the adventure. The horses were 7 miles away. Needless to say we walked in the door at 6am the next morning (Sunday). We had started the day at 4am. Talk about a great way to spend 26 hours. What a crazy adventure! Thank heavens for great hunting partners and a wife that loves me in spite of my addiction to being on the mountain hunting. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to harvest such a fine mature bull. Monday we are headed to Colorado hunting elk. I will post pictures and the story of my brothers bull elk soon. Until then, remember, “Never miss the HUNT of a lifetime”.
We use an app called PointHunter to help us apply for these hunts.
Try it out for yourself.
Watch how it works on youtube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwWaV0trHrw
Download now athttps://www.gotmytag.com/download/BFB
Sorry I cannot make the picts who directly.