here are some photos of what the country looked like. i tried to keep specific landmarks out so no one gets upset. I'll never draw the tag again so if anyone wants to know specifics PM me.
it was the most fun hunt ive ever been on. I scouted (physically scouted) 1 time in late july. we counted 200 branch bulls that weekend and hundreds of deer as well.
needless to say after that trip i could hardly wait for the hunt. we found 2 bulls during the july scouting trip that i really had my eye on. both were estimated at the time to be approx 360 class bulls. one we named captain morgan and the other the Lizard bull. (whole nother post to explain the names!)
finally season came and i went during the overlapping archery / rifle season. could have killed small bulls during the archery hunt but really wanted Captain Morgan or Lizard.
day in and day out we saw 20-30 bulls / day, just no big bulls. On the opener of the rifle season i got word that the camp around the corner had shot Captain Morgan. It took the wind out of me. It really was a let down, but we congratulated the hunter, looked at the photo on his phone to make sure it was him and continued to hit the glass looking for another.
On the 3rd day of the rifle hunt we finally found a great 7x7 and he was heading out way but about 1/2 mile away. we jumped on the ridge he was on and tried to meet him in the middle. we got to about where we thought he would be and the bugling started. this ridgetop was a large juniper flat which really made it hard to see the elk. we played cat and mouse for about a hour, before we saw the bull. it was a good one but not the 7x7. i quickely decided that this bull was big enough to shoot and continued after him.
thankfully he continued to bugle about every minute because your visability is about 50 yards in that juniper flat.
i got to within 30 yards and in front of them but unfortunately the cows were leading the way. they busted! when they did they headed back towards the end of the road where we had parked. i took off running trying to catch up and when i came to an opening i could see them walking in a small meadow about 300 yards away.
he made his mistake stopping in that small meadow. the rest is history.
i guess if you stick with them long enough, they will make a mistake. just be there to capitalize on it.
he died about 100 yards from the end of the road. It was awesome!
Over the years I have seen several elk and deer hides left in the woods by hunters and I have to wonder why they do this? I fully understand and agree about getting the hide off the animal as soon as possible to cool the meat, but why not pack out the hide with you and use it? As far as I know there are no state laws that require you to take the hide home, but to me why waste such a beautiful part of the animal? Some might think they have no use for the hide or it costs too much to tan....