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Author Topic: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt  (Read 4083 times)

Offline Elkfever

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Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« on: October 15, 2017, 10:35:18 PM »
All the cutting and wrapping of a few hundred pounds of elk steak, roast and burger is complete and with the slam of the chest freezer, i feel extremely blessed.  There are a multitude of reasons for feeling this way but to start, this hunt almost didn't happen. 

As the draw results posted in early June, with it revealed that I had been selected for one of the Peaches Ridge muzzleloader tags.  I had drawn my one and only choice for my 19 quality points and was thrilled.  Several gracious forum members gave me some starting points through PM's and phone calls, google earth was flown over daily and the puzzle pieces started falling in place. 

I had finally made it out for a three day scouting trip in August with my two year old son but the next week, lightening strikes across the state created a 55,000 acre wild fire in the Norse Peak wilderness.  What area that wasn't on fire was soon closed down to public access and with that, my ability to access some of our states finest elk country.  My dad and best bud, Cory had made the commitment prior to join me and be a part of the experience, help call and if things went to plan, help pack.  Come late September, things weren't looking good.  I was contemplating exchanging my tag for my points back or hunting the Taneum, leaving the hunt in jeopardy until a weather front blew in and dumped rain and snow across the northwest.  With that change in weather, the fire growth stalled and kept from extending out of the wilderness.  Literally days before the hunt was to open, the forest service opened up the national forest outside the wilderness and immediately, we all three scrambled to fall back to our original plan.  This was easier said than done with my dad flying back from Vegas for work and Cory rearranging child care and vacation plans but a few days later, somehow, we were all three heading east.

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 10:39:14 PM »
We made good time in getting to our camp spot along the Little Naches River and soon, familiar sights, sounds and smells of elk camp were in place.  The canvas wall tent pitched, fresh cut Pine stacked, woodsmoke drifting from the stove pipe, Chris Stapleton tunes, cold beer in hand and laughter.  Life was good. 

We scouted Thursday night and all of Friday leading up to the opener on Saturday.  Most areas we went to check out not only held Elk but bugling bulls and in some cases 2-3 bugling bulls.  On numerous occasions, we would bugle from the road and without much prompting, bulls would start bugling their way over to us.  I can recall retreating back to the truck, smiling at cory sarcastically, "This isn't going to be any fun."  It was hard to sleep Friday night, not just because there was a bull bugling outside our tent but because the excitement of knowing that the next day was "game day."


Offline Crunchy

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 10:43:27 PM »
You could stop there, and it would be an awesome hunt.  Nothing better than what you described already.  Bugling bulls, tag in your pocket, cold beer, wood stove crackling.  Wish every month was September. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 10:49:58 PM »
The next five days involved some of the most incredible elk hunting any of us had ever experienced.  On five different occasions, I had a 290"-330" herd bull 10-40 yards away, the safety on my muzzleloader clicked off and my wide eyes desperately searching for an ethical shot through the thick timber.  The amount of opportunities allowed me to be more aggressive in my setups than I had ever been before.  We rode the roller coaster of highs and lows that come with elk hunting but with constant elk encounters and enjoying each others company, the quality of this trip would be hard to match in coming seasons.  On the night of day five, we said our goodbyes to Cory as he had to return home. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 11:00:19 PM »
Too much fun.

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 11:08:11 PM »
One of my favorite pictures from the hunt. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 11:13:08 PM »
It was second to the last day and I had passed on a really nice satellite bull (the bull I ended up harvesting) the day before due to the other opportunities for more mature, bigger bulls in the area.  But on this day, I had come to the realization that as a team, we had put in the effort every day, had my chances at mature bulls and had already achieved the hunt experience we'd hoped for.  If blessed with a good opportunity on a legal bull elk, I was going to take it and fill the freezer with some of the best mountain organic meat there is. 

It was a cold morning with everything covered in a layer of frost but with not a cloud in the sky, the sun was already peaking up over the distant mountains.  Nearing where I was going to park the truck, a big six point bull and his herd ran across the rutted up road and down into the reprod where I would hopefully have a chance at him later in the morning.  I kept driving around the corner and parked the truck.  As I got out, my dad and I could hear what sounded like Jurassic Park in the drainage below us.  There were at least two bulls lip bawling and bugling back and forth.  Knowing there was a big Meadow and creek down in the drainage, we slung on our packs, loaded my muzzleloader and sprinted down the ridge.  As we neared the edge of the meadow, dad stayed inside the tree line and began to bugle and rake a tree.  With cow elk filtering though the timber on the other side of the Meadow and bulls screaming back and forth, I snuck up next to a tree in the middle of the Meadow and rested my gun across the top of my pack for a rest.  With my dad calling behind me, I could hear hoofed steps coming toward me and with the flash of antler tine through the trees, I knew this was it.  At twenty yards, the bull bugled a challenge in our direction but with too many tree branches blocking his vitals, I waited for a clear shot.  I could see the bull's hot breath lofting up from his bugle when after a moment of hesitation, the bull walked around a clump of pine trees and came to my left, broadside and at eleven yards!  Just as he slowed to stop and look around, I put one shot behind the shoulder.  Through the cloud of black powder and shaky hands reloading, I watched the bull only run about 15 yards and stop, quartering away.  One more shot to insure a quick kill and the bull was down and done.  I looked behind me to see my dad standing at the edge of the meadow, smiling.  After watching to make sure the bull wasn't going to resurrect, we shared in the moment together that was quiet, respectful and somewhat emotional.  Neither of us enjoy killing but we do enjoy the hunt, the commaradery and successfully harvesting our own.  After a few pics, we trimmed off every bit of meat and put it all into game bags to keep the meat clean and the bugs off.  Then, three heavy trips later, my dad and I had packed out all the meat and antlers to the truck.  Seven hours from shooting the bull till we were pulling away in the truck.  What a productive day! 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2017, 11:14:39 PM »
Walking up on our bull.

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2017, 11:15:31 PM »
Taking it in. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2017, 11:18:55 PM »
Hunt of a lifetime with my best hunting partner. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2017, 11:23:22 PM »
Dad broke his bugle while raking a tree when my the bull was coming in. He improvised and held the two pieces back together and kept on bugling.  Lol. 

Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2017, 11:29:14 PM »
Again, I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced this hunt with my dad and best friend and to fill the freezer of a couple families at the same time.  I look forward to thinking back on those 9 days spent elk hunting when I cook up an elk steak dinner or glance at the antlers on the wall. 

First and foremost, thank you to my dad, Elksnout and my best bud, Cory for making it the priority to share his hunt with me.  Big thank you to several forum members for their advice, especially Teanawayslayer.  Heath, your offers to help and provide answers to my questions really inspire me to pay it forward someday. 

Now c'mon WDFW, give my dad this tag next year so we can go back for round #2!

Offline Watimberghost

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 04:32:27 AM »
Great story and awesome bull! Congrats  :tup:

Offline Elkcollector82

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 05:32:51 AM »
Amazing write up. Great bull. Glad you had a hunt of a lifetime.  :tup:

Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2017, 05:36:41 AM »
Awesome..... :tup:  Nice choice of meadows.  :chuckle: Been in there a few times.

Offline full choke

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2017, 05:52:34 AM »
Perfect! :tup:
Thanks for sharing!
Winter is coming.

Offline trophyhunt

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2017, 06:24:18 AM »
That was an awesome hunt, thank you very much for posting and taking us along!!!  Very cool, congrats.
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Offline elkboy

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2017, 06:33:04 AM »
You could stop there, and it would be an awesome hunt.  Nothing better than what you described already.  Bugling bulls, tag in your pocket, cold beer, wood stove crackling.  Wish every month was September.

100% agree.  That's heaven on earth. 

Offline elkboy

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2017, 06:36:47 AM »
And congratulations on a nice bull, taken at spear-throwing range!  Thanks for sharing the hunt in pictures and words. 

Offline renewed

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2017, 07:11:13 AM »
Great write up..
Great Hunt..
And the animal was just the iceing on it all.

Great to hunt with your dad. 

That's a great elk by any standard.

Offline RB

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2017, 07:38:40 AM »
Good story and great Bull congrats!
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Offline Elkfever

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2017, 08:13:17 AM »
My boy's excitement for my hunt and putting his hands on a bull elk for the first time was priceless.

Offline Ridgerunner

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2017, 08:29:35 AM »
Sounds like an awesome hunt, way to get it done and make great memories.  Love those big 5 points, cool bull.

Offline mp.hunter

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2017, 08:50:20 AM »
Way to go, nice job.


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Offline Brushbuster

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Re: Elkfever's Peaches Ridge Hunt
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2017, 09:09:06 AM »
What a perfect hunt! Thank you for taking us along on your adventure.  :tup:

 

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