As Brittany mentioned in the last Blog we went hunting for Elk in the St. Joe drainage around the Calder area. And I did get a nice lead cow. What a great time a long time dream fulfilled. So I thought I’d post the story, I never get tired of telling it to be honest with you. So here is the story of our 2011 Elk hunt.
Elk Season 2011, a time my wife/hunting partner and I had been looking forward to for many years. Having moved to Idaho from Michigan we had the waiting period to become residents and then job commitments to fill but the time was finally here.
September 6th arrived and after I got off of work we headed out 3 hours north of our home to the location we had picked for our first ever Elk hunt. We had spent time in June and August scouting the mountain drainage and knew the elk were there as well as whitetail and mule deer, which we also had tags for.
We arrived at our area to set up camp with just enough time to get the tent up and get settled in for the night. With the building excitement of the next morning sleep was sparse to say the least. The next morning we got up and headed to our glassing location. We saw several whitetail deer but no elk, so we spent the rest of our first day wandering the mountain and calling. Evening came with us back to the glassing spot only to see more deer.
After two more days of the same, we decided to move camp farther in to the drainage closer to a very good creek that ran through the valley, thinking that with the temperatures in the mid 90’s, water was the best place to find our prize. The first afternoon we relaxed, we shot at our target to get limbered up and keep tuned in. That evening we explored our new area for sign and listened for any calling as the pre rut should be going according to the calendar.
The morning of September 10th we had decided to walk down a logging road that followed the creek, to see if we could see anything catching a drink, before we heading back into the mountains and the dark timber for the day. We headed north toward where the logging road intersected with the creek and another logging road.After walking about ¾ of a mile down the logging road my wife Brittany saw a place she wanted to go and sit along the creek just to see if anything came in it. So I left her to sit and I continued down the logging road still hunting around every bend to see what if anything was at the water’s edge.
I walked all the way down to where the logging roads intersect but saw nothing until my return trip to camp for breakfast and coffee. As I came over a small rise I spooked some respectable whitetail does, with no shot opportunity and being caught out in the open, I continued on my way to meet back up with my wife.
When I got close to the place I had left her, I bird called to see if she was ready to head back to camp. She responded, but from further down the trail. I met her about another 50 yards down the trail and reported back what I had seen on my outing and listened to her morning experience.
Brittany told me she had seen a cow and calf come running down an active logging road across the creek and then barreled through the creek down from where she sat. She had made her way to where she thought she could intercept them and had cow called but could not get them to slow down and up the mountain they ran.
At the end of her recap, we heard some branches breaking up the mountain about 40 yards. When I looked toward the sound I saw two heads through an opening in the branches. At first I thought it was the cow and calf moose we had seen the evening before, but then a third animal passed through the opening and I could see that it was a group of elk.
I immediately nocked an arrow and when the lead cow stepped out, I estimated the range at 30 yards and settled my pin on her, not seconds later I released my arrow. She wheeled to the right and back up the mountain she ran. I started fumbling for my diaphragm call and Brittany started cow calling with her mouth. To our surprise she got six responses. Just then a herd of about twenty cows and calves with one small spike bull poured down from the mountain about another forty yards down the trail, crossing over towards the creek.We heard them splash across the creek and thunder up the mountain on the other side of the drainage. We then began to look for my arrow and blood. Although we did not find my arrow we did find a little blood 20yards up the mountain side where my cow had joined back up with the heard. We decided that we would give her some time, go back to camp and get some food and shed our jackets as the day was warming back up. We continued on our way back to camp. While walking down the logging road I looked to the left toward the creek and could not believe what I saw lying there. Barely fifty yards from where I had arrowed my first Elk, that I had dreamed of hunting for since I was a small boy, was my cow.This pretty much says it all.
She had not followed the herd across the creek but had turned to go back up the mountain she had originally come down from. Unfortunately I can not upload the video I wanted to, it shows how the elk had expired not 10 yrds off of the old logging road and about half a mile from camp.I cannot explain how much enchantment and satisfaction I felt at that moment; and to have shared it all with my best hunting companion! It was all we could have hoped for and more!