My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Quiet T-day
This year I drew a cow elk tag for hunting. I have only really hunted elk in a serious manner once before. I didn't have a deer tag so we really wanted to get something to fill the freezer. Last Saturday was the opening day for this hunt. Most of the guys I hunt with had LOP (Land Owner Preference) tags so they can only shoot their animal on the specific owner's land. We hunted that area hard. We found 4 animals and one guy got a quick shot and was successful. My tag was for the whole unit so I had more options for areas to hunt.
We went out the next day and ran into some friends of friends that knew where some elk were hiding out. There were some communication problems. I was the only hunter with a tag for this other area we were in. It is called Sickfoot. There is a road that is named Sickfoot Road and that is the area were in at the time. So 10 minutes after heading into the woods on foot this guy I don't really know shoots. I can't see him so I am not sure if he has been successful. I hear something coming so I stand still and 6 head of elk parade across in front of me 5 cows and a rag horn bull. I have several seconds to shoot but I don't know if the other guy has an animal on the ground. So I had a special moment with the elk about 30-40 yards away.
I am not a local so I don't know all of the local thinking. Their idea is that if you have the chance, shoot until your gun is empty. My friend Tom says I did the right thing. My oldest son was happy, as it was on Sunday.
On Monday we hunted Promise and Sickfoot again but didn't see anything except a lone bull. Each day we saw lots of deer, grouse and coyote tracks.
Our plan was to go home on Tuesday. We had a few things to do and possibly little bro's family was going to stay at our house. So I was feeling a little pressure. A land owner out there in Wallowa had stopped by the house of our friends and gave us permission to hunt on her land. We (the whole family) hiked/hunted through one of her pieces of property on Tuesday morning. We ran across two trails of only one elk each, otherwise we didn't see anything. As a last resort we went up Smith Mt around lunch time. The Mrs., number two son and I started hunting on foot through a large area. We set off from the road in a Road Closure area then crossed into the land owner's property. Because we don't know our way around all these new areas we came out to the road sooner than we were supposed to. When we crossed the fence onto the road there were tracks righ along the fence, on the road side. We were headed up the road to where we had stashed a 4-wheeler to ride home. As we were wandering along we noticed that an animal had recently walked right up the middle of the road. We then caught a glipse of a big brown critter up ahead. It jumped the fence and went into some private land that we couldn't hunt on. When we got up to the spot where it had jumped and could look at the tracks, they seemed odd. The color of the animal was a bit odd too. It had to be a moose! We had been talking about the fact that there was an article in the paper about 30-40 moose had moved into that corner of Oregon.
We got our four-wheeler and started back toward town. Youngest son was driving which made him very happy. We came to a side road that that we were supposed to have hiked out on. As a last shot we went up it on the 4-wheeler. We took one fork of the road and after just a short distance saw some elk. I took off after them trying to get a shot. The only shot I had was through the hind quaters of an animal I couldn't see the head of. Better not pull the trigger... I chased after them but to no avail.
I finally caught up with my ride and was frustrated and ready to go home. It had been 4 days of hunting hard and I was tired. So we headed out. When we came to the fork in the road I thought why not go down the other way just to see the country. After a few minutes, guess what? Elk. I jumped off and had a good target through the trees over 150 yards away. When they are moving through the trees it can be tough to keep track of one animal out of the bunch. I wounded one with my first shots. I ran through the trees and finally got a good rest and made a head shot at about 100 yards.
We had a small adventure getting out of the woods involving the four wheeler, an elk and 5 people. Four wheelers are great! By the time we got the elk skinned and to the meat cutter it was after dark. Looks like we aren't going to make it home on Tuesday.
I had to make some calls to extend our stay another day. We made it home without any problems. We had rain the first two days of our hunting which turned to snow. Monday and Tuesday we had snow and temperatures around freezing. About half of the time my youngest son hiked with me through the mud and snow. Here and there oldest son and the Mrs. hunted with me. An eight year old getting up at 5:30 AM and hiking some miles each day is pretty impressive. Each night at bed time he would say he was excited to wake up so he could go hunting.
We arrived home at dinner time on Wednesday. Everyone was really tired and tired of riding in the car. We had planned to attend the family get-together but it was just too much after almost 6 days of being gone. We spent a quiet day at home counting our blessings and enjoying our little family. DMP


Post a Comment

<< Home