Elk season 2007 was a great year for my party. I had been looking forward to it for many months. We only draw this tag every 4-5 years, so when we found out the results of our draw, I was ecstatic to say the least. So, I began getting ready after archery season was done. I was feeling pretty lucky, since I was the only women in our group to get a mule deer during archery season. Not even my husband got one, so I knew the pressure was on during rifle elk season. Got the old backpack out, went and bought some new waterproof clothing, and new Danner boots to keep me warm. It is usually in the 20-30’s during the first season of rifle elk. Went out and bought a new GPS and gave the other one to my husband’s friend, and made sure my pack had plenty of Hot Hands for my feet and hands. There is nothing like getting cold on opening hunting morning. That just sets the precedence for the rest of the hunt, and I just knew in my heart this was going to be a good year.
My husband and I got to our hunting area on Saturday, and the season didn’t start until the following Wednesday. It was a nice time to hike around, scout out the elk and just enjoy the scenery. It is absolutely gorgeous in elk country and there is nothing better than to check out the sites and get a little coyote hunting in while waiting for opening morning.
We found the elk each day and knew their pattern. We knew where we wanted to be opening morning and were really pumped up for the hunt. The rest of our party arrived on Tuesday, the day before the season started. Everyone was ready to go, and we had a plan of attack. No one could sleep that night it great anticipation of the hunt the next day. It seems like every year before opening morning, I can never sleep. Anyway, we got up before sunrise and hiked to our hunting area. It was really quite nice out. Not too cold, in the mid 30’s, and I was rather warm by the time we made it to our perch overlooking the area that we would glass the elk.
We all were glassing and notice the elk starting to move our way. They were still about a mile off, but they were heading our way. That was a good feeling; I could just feel myself getting more anxious with every step they moved closer. There were several decent bulls in the group, and I didn’t care about the size as long as I got a shot. Then, something spooked them and they turned and ran out on the flats. We ran back to the 4-wheelers and got down the mountain. We spotted the elk off in the distance and had to come up with a new game plan, and fast. They were out in the sage flats and it makes it pretty difficult to sneak on them since the sagebrush is low. We decided it wouldn’t hurt to try, so we took off our backpacks and put our guns over our back, and decided to belly crawl about 1000 yards to get to a good resting point. It was a long crawl with my trusty Browning 7mm short mag strapped around my back, but I wanted to get up there to get a shot. I couldn’t let the guys beat me.
So, my husband, our friend and myself finally made it to an old fence that we could use as a rest, and we called out which elk we were eyeing. I could feel my heart racing, and I took a nice deep breathe. I wanted to stop shaking. I was tired from the crawl, but here was a heard of about 250 elk in front of me and that would get anyone’s heart racing. On the count of 1-2-3 we fired. I was sure I saw horns in my scope on the ground, but looked again and couldn’t find them. I started to doubt myself, and I think my husband doubted me too. As we walked the 300 yards to where the elk had been, I was nervous and exhilarated all at the same time. Then to my thankfulness, there they were laying there in all there shining glory. I had gotten a 3×3 and my husband a 6×6. They were both nice size elk and I was just happy they were down.
My husband gutted and tagged his and I went off on my own to do the dirty work on mine. By now the weather was pretty warm, so I started gutting my elk. My husband and his buddy went off to find one more elk, as he hadn’t gotten one of the ones we had just shot at. They finally returned with an elk, and they helped me load up my elk on the Rhino. We got back to camp and found that my friend had gotten a very nice six by six. We had four elk down in the first few hours of hunting. That was a great year for us.
As we sat around the camp fire that night and told our stories of the hunt, we all came to realize what an amazing area we have to hunt, and how lucky we are to be able to enjoy such splendid beauty. I love the hunt, but you can not beat the amazing beauty and solitude that surrounds you during the hunt. Sometimes that is almost as wonderful as the hunt itself. What more can we ask for, all of our elk hanging and skinned opening morning, great friends, and some wonderful memories to carry with us forever.