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Author Topic: Hirshey's Hunts 2018  (Read 25332 times)

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2018, 07:28:43 PM »
The next day started as most; me being ready and Jeff tinkering.  :chuckle:

The morning started to emerge from the depths of the night as we were already well on our path for the day. The terrain attempted to shroud the distant bugling, but to no avail; we already knew those animals were in the vicinity. The light penetrated the timbered slopes, revealing hills previously shrouded by shadow. Taking the opportunity, I put up my binoculars and immediately found elk. These were not the ones we were after; the terrain they were on had bested us ten times over in years past... they had a multitude of outs, and pretty much every opportunity to detect you before you could close the distance. As troublesome as it was to continue past, the bugles were getting closer with every step, and in terrain better suited for us to win the deadly game of hide and seek. We continued on, allowing for someone else to get schooled by those particular animals. We crossed a creek and worked up a steep, frozen slope still shrouded in snow. The bugles were below us now as we worked to close the distance along a spine ridge. The plan was to get above them and let them work up to us, and we were in ideal position to let this happen. The only thing that could foil us? Our own curiosity.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 09:45:51 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2018, 07:43:46 PM »
The lone bugle seemed to maintain its distance into mid-morning. What enchanted us more were the bugles from a sub-drainage to our southwest; bugles erupted from the landscape at a rate of 5-10 per minute, and many were interrupted by their competitor's. What was going on down there? Could we wait on this lone bugle to see if he had a spike in his harem, or should we chance it and go for the bigger group?

Well, if any of you know Jeff, you'll be sure to reinforce that he doesn't do well out of motion. He is as active as they come, and his curiosity and excitement is contagious; it was quickly decided that we would try to close the distance on the group. He set out to get above them, and I moved carefully through fireweed and winding water hoping to ambush them in their current abode. With each step we took, it appeared the elk took ten. By noon, the animals were still vocal and still increasing their distance between us. Jeff and I reconvened on a saddle, having invested many more miles than our intent was for the day, but we couldn't say no to those bugles. We made one more plan to try to get on them; I'd go directly towards them, and Jeff would wrap the top of the peak they were under. We parted ways and I parted the thick lodgepole saplings on my descent towards the calls. The thick carpet of trees didn't deaden the muzzleloader percussion I heard in front of me. My mind raced; did Jeff get on animals and pursue? Was it someone else? Who else was as crazy as us to be this far from a road??

My question was answered within a half mile as I worked across the terrain and found two hunters. They had missed a spike in the group we had heard vocalizing. I communicated with Jeff and made a plan with the two hunters who wanted to maintain their elevation: Jeff would get around the slope as quickly as he could and wait. There was a very good chance he was in position for a follow-up shot on the herd. The two hunters planned on slowly working across the slope. If Jeff shot and pushed them back, they'd be in good position. I would lose elevation and slowly work across the slope to pick up the rest.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 08:17:46 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2018, 07:52:03 PM »
Bugles resonated off of every surface and echoed through my chest; I was SO close to these animals! My path across the hillside had gifted me a well-worn game trail and I moved effortlessly through the timber as I continued to close the distance. The first elk seemed to blossom from the hillside as I pulled up my binoculars to confirm: it was a true spike. I slowly lowered my binoculars and fumbled with my range finder before confirming it was still a little too far. I abandoned my game trail, trying to claim a tree with the perfect shooting rest 50 yards in front of me, but I only made it halfway to my destination before a cow and the spike were staring hard my direction. I was frozen, and the pain in my legs from the awkward position was still present even after the animals had fed over the adjacent hill. I decided a direct pursuit wasn't wise, so I reclaimed my game trail and worked slowly around the slope. The scene I was presented was a treat I'll recall for a long while.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2018, 08:07:44 PM »
With all the precipitation we had received in the past few days, I was surprised to see DUST intermingled with the trees ahead, but the sound of antlers interlocked as two incredible bulls pushed each other across the landscape morphed surprise into awe. I sat down among the carpet of seedling and sapling lodgepole and watched the brutes finish their tiff and continue to bugle over each other. At this point, I could see no animals aside from the two beautiful bulls. Something in me told me to hit my diaphragm call. I made the best chirp I could, and both bulls locked up once more. Two smaller bulls emerged from the folds in the terrain and started coming my direction. They walked past at 40 yards, showing me my shooting lanes if I was fortunate enough to have the spike follow. Cows and calves by the dozens started to filter by, following the same path as the younger bulls. The two mature bulls followed, stopping to fight at less than 35 yards.  :yike: I couldn't help it; I pulled out my camera to take photos. As I was trying to get photos of the fighting bulls, another bugle sounded directly behind me. Surprised, I turned around to see two MORE large bulls at less than 30 yards, tailed by half a dozen cows and the spike. Two cows caught my movement and were staring at me, as were a few from the group in front of me. I compare their reaction (or lack thereof) to a stranger crashing a house party. Nobody recognized me, noone invited me, but everyone assumed someone else invited me, so didn't sound the alarm. I set down the camera and tried to swivel ever so slightly to get a good shot on the spike. I was seated, shooting over my left knee/behind me in a very awkward position, but I felt confident. I took off the safety and recall thinking "Jeff and I are going to have a LOT of work to do tonight!". I squeezed the trigger. The muzzleloader did what I asked it to do, and I felt the recoil in my shoulder. All the elk stayed frozen for what seemed like an eternity before erupting in every direction. I watched the spike move up the hill, confused, and uninjured. I was SHOCKED!  :yike: what happened? This gun drives tacks!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 09:53:37 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline JBar

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2018, 08:34:20 PM »
 :bash:
Shut up and Hunt!

Offline mtn.goat

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2018, 08:41:27 PM »
I too, love your writing and storytelling.  You probably already know your great elk hunt, thus far...is in the deer section.   :dunno: :chuckle:

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2018, 09:24:14 PM »
Jeff came down to assist me in searching for blood, just in case something was not as it appeared. We walked to where the spike had been standing broadside and started looking for blood. An hour of searching, and not a drop. It was an absolute truth at this point.... I'd missed!

BUT, I hadn't been the only one that day.

Jeff had also had an opportunity above me at another spike at roughly 70 yards, and had also missed.

My father who is usually a dead ringer? Also a miss.

The day was full of opportunities not seized, but we were happy to have spent the time in the woods, and together. I was still very bothered by my miss, because I had by far had the closest shot. I went to bed wondering what exactly had gone awry. I woke up in the middle of the night with a potential answer, but decided to wait until daylight to prove it to myself. I reenacted the position I had been in on the hillside, and it demonstrated that I couldn't quite seat my cheek against the stock as was my normal position. With the 1/4 inch of space between my face and the stock, where I had determined was a lethal shot on the animal was actually a complete miss when pressed against the stock as normal. The challenges of shooting in unique positions with open sights... at least I took something away from the endeavor.

The new day brought a deluge of water, but that didn't stop three of us from continuing to explore and seek out the mighty wapiti. What we found is that elk don't disintegrate in the rain; we still found bull elk and cows, but no spikes. The following day Jeff left for work and general season deer was fast approaching, so I promised myself I would only hunt until noon. It was a promise I soon broke as I found several small groups of bulls and cows, a 2x1 I snuck to 30 yards on, and a spike in a larger group I couldn't quite seal the deal on. I was no more than 200 yards from elk for more hours of daylight than not. I arrived back at camp with enough daylight to break down the wall tent, decline a marriage proposal from our hunting friend (ring and all) :chuckle:, wish my parents and friends the best of luck in the remainder of the season and headed out of the mountains to prepare for modern rifle deer season; I was preparing meal plans for four of us for seven days, and needed to get backpacking gear ready to go. THIS was the season I was most excited for, and it was almost here!
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2018, 09:35:24 PM »
Derrick had to work a pay period longer than I did, so he was also fresh off of his fire season when he arrived in my home town to pack for our remote deer hunt. This week-long hunt spent together would be more time than we'd had in each other's company since May, so it was an exciting adventure for many reasons. We had decided to only take two deer out of our hunt area to maintain the quality of animals we had come to appreciate, so Derrick and Jeff were the ones we agreed to concentrate on in Washington this season. When Derrick arrived in town, we confirmed his rifle was still a precision machine and he helped confirm all the preparations for the trip were complete. Jeff and his friend Dan joined us on the night of the 11th since our rigorous trek into the mountains takes a full day.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2018, 09:39:41 PM »
((WA Mule deer continued tomorrow... the photos and the mystery page 2 issues took a little time tonight.))

 :sry:
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2018, 09:43:01 PM »
I too, love your writing and storytelling.  You probably already know your great elk hunt, thus far...is in the deer section.   :dunno: :chuckle:

I'm doing the entire story in one big thread.  ;) Almost to the deer, I promise. Deer/elk gets a little intertwined in Idaho, so I thought I'd do it this way.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline JakeLand

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2018, 09:43:16 PM »
Nice !!

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2018, 09:48:17 PM »
 :tup: :tup: :tup:
Cut em!
It's not the shells!  It's the shooter!

Offline lokidog

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2018, 09:52:17 PM »
What an awesome bull in the photos!

Offline Blacktail135

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2018, 11:29:34 PM »
 Great story! Better than the "Hairy Apemen Attack of 1924" rabbit trail I just left.

Offline trophyhunt

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Re: Hirshey's Hunts 2018
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2018, 07:01:37 AM »
Read half of this on my way to work, couldn't put it down!  After almost wrecking 3 times I decided to wait to finish the story at work!  Love your post, thank you and keep them coming.
“In common with”..... not so much!!

 


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