I went Elk hunting for the first season coast this year. I have hunted this area since I was a kid. It used to be that you could get up there anytime you wanted to and you could spend an entire week and not hardly see anyone. It sure has gotten busy up there since I was a kid. So I made sure to get to up to the area I was in a few days early and get camp all set up. I got there on a Wednesday and enjoyed the next few days with nothing more than enjoying friends, camp fire and beer. The weather was great until Friday night as well. It was cold but it was dry. This is the first year I have taken people with me that have never hunted. I had a cousin and one friend with me. I enjoy sharing knowledge and teaching people. I always have. But I don't think I will be doing that again. Maybe one at a time. But for the money I spend to get an elk, it almost isn't worth it. I think if I am going to teach someone the ropes, I will skip on my tag and my hunting season...and that's not likely ha ha. So just to get it out, no elk this year. But I enjoyed the time with my daughter and friends and family anyway. And my 3 year old son came to visit me in camp on Sunday night.
Sunday morning we drove to the area we were going to hunt. We got there a bit later than we had wanted to. We had two trucks and 4 people in our group, 5 if you include my 13 y/o daughter who just wanted to stay in the truck adn sleep ha ha. So I sent two of my friends up around to the top of this landing to get set up in a clear cut and my cousin and I were going to walk a trail that leads through the thick timber at the bottom of the clear cut and see if we might spook something up. The plan was to cut out of the timber and head up the hill to the landing once we got to the back edge of the clear cut. On our way in we met a guy and he told us that he had seen someone on the opposing hill working on a Elk. After talking to him for a minute we all set out to our spots. My cousin and I got to the point where I thought we were supposed to cut up out of the timber and we started up the hill. Something wasn't looking right to me and I knew we are on the next hill over but had nothing to confirm that yet. We got about half way up the hill and I saw a bright orange hat off to my left so I threw my bi noculars on it and it was my friend on the oppiste hill. So I contacted him by walkie talkie and made the plan for him to wait there and told him we were headed over. Mind you we are about 600-800ft straight up the side of a hill that we just walked up and now have to walk back down and up the same distance on the other side ha ha!! This is going to be fun!!! My cousin and I took our packs off and sat down for a short break before we started our trek. We go got back up and got all ready and moved out and around the other side of a tree and a couple stumps we were hiding behind for our break. I had taken maybe 5 or 6 steps on the other side of the tree and I stopped dead in my tracks and grabbed my cousin who was behind me and stopped him. There in front of us, not 20 yards away was 2 elk. At first I thought they were sleeping and then realized how stupid that was. But they were whole elk and I hadn't head any shots that morning. They hadn't been cut up at all. I didn't see any horns and the bigger of the two looked like it's head had been cut off. Later to find that her head was tucked her. So we came up on them slowly to inspect what was going on. It looked to us that it was a cow and a calf that had been poached. They may not have been, but I know of no cow tags that are valid in the area this time of year. There were a few bullet wounds in each. The cows stomach had been ripped wide open and she still had blood dripping from her anus. We radioed over to my friend on the oppisite hill and told him what was going on and he informed us that there was a guy to the right side of the hill from us that had been looking around all over the hill side. Well we didn't wait around for this guy to find us with his kills if that was the case at all. We took some pictures and got off the hill and to my friends truck and attempted to locate a game warden. We couldn't find one or raise one on the CB so when I got home Tuesday night, I sent an e mail to TIP and am waiting to hear from them. The next few days were uneventful. Found some nice new areas to hunt and just generally enjoyed the rest of the trip.