Tuesday, December 7, 2021

idaho Second Chance Draw- Muzzleloader Elk

After many unsuccessful draws and a few successful ones I had my fall season all figured out.  In August Idaho released the tags available through the second draw and there were 6 tags for a hunt I was interested in.  I threw my name in and low and behold my name was picked.  This hunt was for any elk with a muzzleloader. I also wouldn't be alone on this hunt as my idaho resident friend (Scott) drew the same tag. Opening day approached and we scouted a range that held a few elk...about 300-400! The first day we spotted many elk including a group of 9 bulls that were in a great spot however some other hunters beat us to them and were able to take a bull. That evening we did a few mile hike and found a group of 80 elk bedded. I decided to go after them. The stalk was about 1/2 mile through timber and deep snow. When I got to the saddle that the elk were in They were all up and feeding into he open at 500 yards. I was a bit deflated as there was no way to get closer. As I sat and watched them I heard a few cows calling about 60 yards away around a knoll.the cows continued to call and were interupted by a loud bugle. I crept slowly around the knoll and spotted a few cows feeding. One was actively calling and that is when the bull entered the picture and bumped her with his nose.  He was a nice 5x5 with extra points on each royal making him six. I got ready and let out a few cow calls. The bull turned and came right to me. As his body came into view and he was only 25 yards. I rested the sights on his chest and pulled the trigger, only to be greeted with the loud pop of the percussion cap going off but no gunfire.... the bull ran off out of my sights and the frustration was overwhelming.  I sat for the next 15 minutes, gathered myself and headed back to the truck. Shit happens and even when they are close there are no guarantees or gimme.
The next morning found us on the ridge where the 9 bulls were the day before. Our non hunting buddy(Jeremy) that joined the camp was glassing for us and turned up 4 bulls and they were headed the same direction, right to us. Scott and I got set up and the bulls fed right to us. A nice 5x5 was the first to come in range and it was on my side. The elk were getting weary so we decided to take what we could get. My shot was 60 yards and hot center of mass. The bull walked off and stopped for a good follow up shot. The other bulls stood at about 90 yards and Scott went for a shot and hit low below a nice 6x6. My bull was a nice 5x5. We all worked on the bull and got him back to the atv by mid day.  That evening we saw elk but none in good areas for a stalk. 
The next morning found us in the same spot and there were elk! 15 cows and a couple bulls followed the same path as the elk the last two days. Scott was ready, however when the elk got to a few hundred yards of my elk carcus they spooked. We watched them head into a string of timber to bed. The timber patch was small and we figured it was a good spot for a good ol fashion elk drive. We hiked in and Scott got set up while Jeremy and I went to the opposite side, downwind and started our way to the timber. The elk started to funnel out away from Scott right towards us! I ran uphill to try and cutting them off but I was too late...well almost. One of the bulls held back and was standing on the edge if the timber at 60 yards. I cow called a few times and he turned and walked into the timber. About 30 seconds later, BOOM! Scotts elk came right by him and Scott made a great shot. 2 elk in three days with primitive weapons! What a hunt! The hunts was one of my favorites not for the success but for sharing the camp with two great guys willing to put everything on hold to help out on a second chance draw tag!

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