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#7253888 - 01/01/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: dogzapper]
Talus_in_Arizona Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 1048
Loc: AZ
Well DZ, how about posting a story about the 'very hardest possible way'? That sounds like a good one. I like the remote, tough country, too. Mostly because I don't want to see many people. It is different out there.

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#7253982 - 01/01/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Talus_in_Arizona]
dogzapper Offline
Campfire Kahuna Emeritus &
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 7802
Originally Posted By: Talus_in_Arizona
Well DZ, how about posting a story about the 'very hardest possible way'? That sounds like a good one. I like the remote, tough country, too. Mostly because I don't want to see many people. It is different out there.




Nobody would believe.

It was close to zero degrees. I killed a huge old cow and the top (probably 5,000 feet ASL) of whatever creek is to the north of Rush Creek. She fell and started sliding in the icy grass ... and down ... and down ... and over a five-hundred foot cliff ... and down ... and down ... over another cliff that almost killed me descending ... and slid maybe another two thousand vertical feet.

I will not say show far she slid, I actually know, but it was far.

I eventually got down to the old bitch and butchered her properly

It all started at nine in the morning and I had to descend to Snake River, walk up to Rush Creek and up the creek to our camp. I arrived way, way, way after dark.

I was tired to the bone, even in the finest physical shape of my life. BUT, I was alive.

Never get greedy, especially in hard country. That comment goes triple when guiding paid-hunters; they are normally of no practical use whatsoever.

Dominus vobuscum,

Steve

_________________________
"God Loves Each Of Us As If There Were Only One Of Us"
Saint Augustine of Hippo - AD 397

Steve's Blog: http://stevetimmcatholicfsblog.intuitwebsites.com/






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#7254000 - 01/01/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: dogzapper]
Mauser_Hunter Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/28/11
Posts: 4195
Loc: Colorado
DAMN!!
_________________________
Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a hunting license and that's pretty close.

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#7254465 - 01/01/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: dogzapper]
rl11 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 706
Loc: Montana
Gotcha.


Edited by rl11 (01/02/13)

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#7254737 - 01/02/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: rl11]
dogzapper Offline
Campfire Kahuna Emeritus &
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 7802

Not elk killing, but one wet year we were late and going down the trail from Warnock Corral to our 3,500 foot camp on Temperance Creek. We had golly knows how many horses and mules and we were carrying the whole camp with us ... plus some feed.

Anyway, it was a dark and rainy night and the mud was running down the horse trail like cement flowing down a chute. I was kinda in the middle and my horse was just following the pack horse in front of him.

Anyway, I can't see sh!t, it's just black and we hit a steep part of the down trail and I can feel my horse, Gus, lock his front legs stiff and rare back. He's sitting down on his back legs and we're skidding uncontrolled down the trail. Did I mention I couldn't see sh!t? grin

Then, I hear a horse wreck in front of me. The outfitter was in front of me with maybe ten dallied horses and his horse absolutely COULD NOT negotiate the turn in the trail. The horse just plain went up and over and into a thicket and down into the creek.

Horses were screaming. The outfitter is yelling. Horses are thrashing around.

Then, I saw the outfitter's flashlite pop on.

Sh!t, things are serious. All you horse hunters know that you NEVER light a flashlight in the dark. It kills your horses night vision for a time.

When the outfitter lit that light and I knew things were bad.

Then, I came closer to the light and I never had a chance. My horse went right off the end of the trail (the one flowing mud like sh!tting cement) and I'm off and into the slew of downed, thrashing and dicked-up tailed horses.

Gut hit the creek and I went over his head, right into four feet of Temperance Creek ... It was maybe 35ļ and the creek was prolly colder. Gus was thrashing around and my tailed mules were screaming, thrashing and mostly down & fighting.

The noise, the confusion, was unreal.

I never heard it when Karen came to the edge and somehow her horse made the corner and down the trail. She heard us, of course and the literal combat zone.

Not so, the outfitter's wife. Her horse almost made the corner, but slipped off and into the brush slightly further down. She also ended up in the creek. Her language and putting together of words we all know ... well, it was very inventive grin

That was it, three horse wrecks out of four bunches of tailed horses & mules.

The miracle was that nobody; no person, no horse, no mule was hurt. A couple of the mules had scrapes, but nobody died and there were no broken bones.

The outfitter's wife and I about froze to death on the way to camp and I ended up walking quite a bit, holding Gus' tail (he was GREAT that way) on the flats. Downhill or up, I mounted Gus and relied on his steadiness.

Anyway, it all ended well, but I surely thought we had some dead or horribly disabled horseflesh, not to mention our own safety.

Obviously, this is all first-draft and if I wrote it up for an article, it would probably double in size and, hopefully, be finer writing. But, it will never see print ... only right here.

Dominus vobiscum,

Steve
_________________________
"God Loves Each Of Us As If There Were Only One Of Us"
Saint Augustine of Hippo - AD 397

Steve's Blog: http://stevetimmcatholicfsblog.intuitwebsites.com/






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#7255923 - 01/02/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: dogzapper]
Jaguar Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 147
Loc: WY
Holy Moly dogzapper! It sounds like you have been blessed with that old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". So far your stories look like material for a whole book with sequels!

I can't even come close to your tales! Back in CO, I once ran into what may have been a rogue cow who had retired as lead cow. I sure got some lessons from her. This was back when I was younger and my knee didnít need replacing yet. I have never had the luck to hunt supported by riding stock, so my lot is to hunt shanks-mare. One day after more than a week of days of slogging up and down the mountain, postholing in the horse tracks along the access trails, and hunting blowdown criscrossed timber, I was a little worn down. Racing the horse hunters was just not working. So I decided to take an easier day and hunt a lower finger ridge where I had once seen a really nice mule deer buck. I was poking my way down the top of the ridge, tehoretically deer hunting, when I cut another hunterís very fresh tracks coming from the opposite end, so I knew he had cleared off the ridgetop. Nevertheless, I continued down the ridge to see what tracks I might cut. Shortly I found a huge elk bed. Close inspection indicated that he had blown out an enormous cow who had been bedded solitary and securely in a very defensible position. Her leaps down off the ridge were impressive, Olympian, despite knee to crotch deep snow! Shortly I ran into the hunter and upon inquiry, not only was he unaware of the cow, but he had no intention of following.

Unfortunately I had a cow tag, and am apparently lousy at promising myself I wonít do something stupid. I had vowed not to undertake a marathon that morning, but here I was looking at fresh cow tracks leaping off the ridge, crossing the valley, and heading up the mountain. Sigh! I had to follow. She had a good head start. I hoped, foolishly, that she might have gotten over her fright, and relaxed, and even might bed down in the timber. I am a timber hunter, so that idea appealed greatly.

Ha! That old biddy crashed off the ridge, ran up the next ridge, got into some horrible deadfall, and then stopped Ė standing in the top of a deadfall of lodgepole with its needles still on. She had waited there for a long time. She must have seen me on her trail and left. She went through open talus in heavy snow, then through a bedding area where she stood in an elk bed and jumped uphill almost 15 feet into the tracks of other elk. That took a while to sort out, I have to admit. Then she took me through more tangle, always up lung-busting steep hillsides. She stood and waited in several places to see if I was still coming. Bye and bye, I knew I could not possibly get her, but I had to see what would happen. She doubled back, used other fresh elk tracks, reversed direction, and dragged me through several open areas of deep snow with talus or sage where she could easily watch for me. I finally saw her. After the last steep talus patch, when I was practically crawling, I spotted just her ears and eyes watching me from the other side of a ridge. She was standing in the gully on the far side, out of sight except up to the bottom of her eye sockets. It was maybe 60 yards. Our eyes met, and she was off again. I was a pawn. She made a monkey of me in the end. After many hours of that chase I was beat, but I sure got an education. I parted then, wishing her well, and hoping she had left behind a string of offspring with her wisdom. Given her size, she must have been amcient, and should have had a string of maybe 18 to 20 calves brought up. Hopefully they inherited her smarts. If wolves ever move down there, they will need all the smarts they can get.

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#7275978 - 01/06/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Jaguar]
Talus_in_Arizona Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 1048
Loc: AZ
"and am apparently lousy at promising myself I wonít do something stupid."

I know the feeling.

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#7277498 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Talus_in_Arizona]
Rock Chuck Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 29740
Loc: Filer, ID
Early in the rut, you'll often see the lead cow galloping cross country with the other cows behind and the bull dragging his tongue trying to keep up. My theory is that it's her duty to find as many stray cows as possible for her bull and covering the max amount of distance is the way she does it.
One year I saw a herd about a dozen barreling down the side of a long, steep, bare slope. She stopped at the bottom in some trees. When the bull finally caught up, she took off again, right back up the same slope.
In Idaho, archery season opens just as the rut starts so bow hunters see some stuff like this that most rifle hunters don't. This early rut running seems to be fairly common around Labor Day and I've seen it many times.
_________________________
I've figured out how to finally get that smoking hot body...
I've decided to be cremated.

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#7277593 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Rock Chuck]
Jaguar Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 147
Loc: WY
Very interesting, RC. That almost sounds like a fitness test for the bull, administered by the lead cow. If he can't keep up with her, he is of inadequate fitness to sire the next generation. Huh. Facinating what tidbits show up in these forums.

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#7277847 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Jaguar]
Rock Chuck Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 29740
Loc: Filer, ID
I don't know if it's for fitness testing or for finding cows, but they do do it. One year, we watched a herd of about 16 cows race over a ridge and off to one side of us. They were followed by a 4x4. We had to scratch our heads about how he got all those cows and concluded that he stole them when the herd bull was off fighting or something. Anyway, they were really covering the ground at that fast trot they have. We ran into them again 1/2 hr later. However, the little bull had just been reduced to satellite bull status by a nice 6x6. He was less than pleased about losing his harem.
_________________________
I've figured out how to finally get that smoking hot body...
I've decided to be cremated.

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#7278091 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Rock Chuck]
Jaguar Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 147
Loc: WY
I would bet they never really were "his". That may be why he wasn't keeping up. Possibly the original herd bull got whacked, and the little guy tried to become the big guy. I have watched that behavior in pronghorn. Any satellite buck or bull had better try to get his job done fast, 'cause he is not going to keep a harem long. When that happens with pronghorn - the herd buck being whacked - those does bust out pretty quick and make an escape. They are always followed by whatever satellite bucks are hanging around the edges.

Be an interesting study if one had enough time.

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#7280394 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: Rock Chuck]
Alamosa Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 10/06/06
Posts: 1974
Loc: Southern Colorado
They often tell this as a joke, but it endures because is much truth in it. It has much wider applications.

The young bull says, "let's run down there and have our way with one of those cows."
The old bull replies, "let's walk down there slow and have our way with the whole herd."

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#7280936 - 01/07/13 Re: How smart are old bull elk ? [Re: saddlesore]
elkhunter130 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 495
Loc: Grants Pass, Oregon
Originally Posted By: saddlesore
For years I have been trying to tell guys that when the elk hear back packers, horse packers, people setting up camp, pounding stakes,cutting poles, etc, moving in right before the season,the elk line out and leave.Then these same guys camp right in the middle of prime elk habitat and wonder where the elk go. Same thing, they then procede to walk around in the timber with the pretense of "scouting". What elk may be left from the previous noise of the packers, leave also. Add acouple of ATV's to the equations and you end up with a camping trip instead of a hunting trip. Guaranteed this will have repsonses from guys that say they see elk right around camp, etc, butvthatis theexceptionto therule

Where hunter pressure is low, this isn't as common, especially on private land where elk come in contact with landowners working the land more.

Any bull that lives to be 3 yrs old gets educated real fast.One big educator is these guys that persist on calling bulls in and then the bull either bust them or the guys decides that bull isn't big enough and spooks the bull on purpose.
Those bull stick that info away in the recesses of thier brain and use it the next time they hear a bugle.

Gotta remember it's life and death to them and just a game to hunters.



I have found this to be the simple truth. I have seen it more time than I care to count. Heck I was one of those guys for a long time wondering where in the heck did the elk go.

Now I play the escape routes. I try and learn my area well enough and just try and anticipate the pressure. Then I just try and get high and glass. Elk will camp on the same bench all season if something has moved them there. Why move if you feel comfortable.

I have found in several of my areas that the elk have established travel routes. Traditionally those have paid off but don't get the idea I kill elk every year. I don't. It's just sometimes they are where they are supposed to be and sometimes...
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"A .358 Norma Mag is not for everyone but then again Bear hunting isn't either."

Unknown Bear guide on the Kodiak coast

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