Finished up the Muzzleloader season on Sep. 18th and I am happy to report had a very enjoyable and in the end successful hunt, for my Dad at least. He connected on the last Saturday of the season with a nice six point bull. It wasn't a record breaker by a long shot, but anybody who knows what hunting on public land is like, a trophy none the less.
We put in our share of preseason scouting and were lucky to find a place pretty much loaded with Elk. The rut hadn't started so we were unable to bugle or cow talk these elk in. We had to resort to glassing them on the high ridges they were on and then putting on a stalk. Remember these were muzzleloaders, so effective lethal range was under 150 yards. Not the usual 300+ with a centerfire rifle.
On opening morning, I glassed a decent bull on a ridge about two miles above our usual glassing location and stalked up a ridge within about two hundred yards of him. The wind had been in my favor up to that point and he was feeding broadside calm as day. The wind suddenly shifted and he caught my scent and bounded back to the ridge he had been feeding from. He stopped at about three hundred yards looking from side to side before heading into the timber out of sight.
We hunted the next few days glassing different small herds and putting on stalks, but things didn't end up in our favor and I had to get back to work.
My Dad decided to go back the following Friday and catch that evening as well as Saturday for a good last effort. I had other business, I had to attend to so, I couldn't make it, but a good family friend Tommy who had a bow tag was to meet up with my dad that Friday evening.
My dad spotted a two different small herds of elk that Friday evening that were too far to put a move on. He and Tommy who made it in that night were going to give it a good try in the morning.
That next morning they spotted a big herd on one of the lower slopes and were headed out to try and intercept it. They were following A creek and in a drainage before they got to the initial herd ran into a bull feeding in the open.
Tommy actually saw the bull first but being that he had a bow and the bull was about a 100 yards out in the open he told my Dad to go for it. My dad crawled up a ways closing the distance to about 75 yard and put a perfect shot into the boiler room taking out both lungs. The elk ran about fifty yards and collapsed in a heap.
I, of course was recruited to come pack a hind quarter out the following day, but was more then happy to do so!
Also wanted to mention that we used Spike in the mornings when that damn alarm would go off at 5:00 A.M. and I found it to be perfect for boosting my energy and focus when I was trudging up those ridges. My dad who normally doesn't like boosters used it a few mornings as well and noticed at one cap it increased mental alertness and mood. We also had Grow bars in our day packs which were light to carry and provided a good trail meal when needed.
One last thing big props to my Dad! He turned 62 the beginning of Sep. and he was kicking ass in the high country. I am immensely proud of him!