2 new hunters, 2 new gut piles
I've been encouraging my family to hunt with me for several years. This year I had a bit of success. My father, brother, and brother in law decided to hunt with me. We've had a great time getting rifles, gear, shooting, and scouting.
My brother in law is first because he had only monday off to hunt. Adam is the manager of an about to open department store. Sunday afternoon found Adam and I glassing from one of my spots. Adams tag said "spike only" elk. We spotted a herd immediately. A quick look at the map determined the elk were two miles away. We picked a bald spot on a ridge a half mile from the elk to shoot from. After a hard hike we reached our shooting spot just barely too late. In the fading light, we just couldn't pick out a spike.
Five a m found us strapping on backpacks and heading out for our ridge. The hike in the frosty dark was exciting as several bugles broke the stillness. Reaching our ridge we waited on the backside to catch our breath and let it lighten enough to turn off the flashlights. After catching our breath we crept over the ridge. Setting up in the pre dawn grey, it took only a few minutes to spot elk on the distant hillside. They were there!
Half an hour passed as the elk fed in and out of the brush and it got light enough to tell if any were spikes. Suddenly, a new brown form was moving down to join the herd. As he stepped into the open I could see he was a spike. I relayed the info to Adam. A few moments passed as Adam got on the spike and prepared to shoot. I had already ranged the elk, and Adam had already dialed for the range. No wind.
"Ready", said Adam. "Send it", I said. The shot was a clean miss. I saw nothing through the spotting scope. The elk were looking around, curious it seemed, but unalarmed. Where did the shot go? "Hold on", I said. I tried to verify the 830 yard range and adjustment but couldn't get a reading. As the elk had returned to feeding I traded the spottting scope for the rangefinder on the tripod. I was now able to get an accurate range of 935. No wonder!!
Meanwhile the elk started moving toward us. They moved steadily for a couple hundred yards until back in the shadow of the mountain. We ranged and dialed and waited for a broadside shot. For twenty minutes the elk fed. Visible but obscured by brush. Finally a cow fed into a small opening. The spike followed. "Ready", said Adam. "Send it". I saw the trace pass just over the bulls back. "Down two minutes", I called. Adam turned the knob down. "Ready", he said. "Send it". The big Berger hit hard! I watched the schock ripple hide just behind the front shoulder. The spike then hit the ground like a wrecking ball had been dropped on him!
Adam had killed his first big game animal on the first morning of his first hunt at 752 yards! He hit the bull with his third shot despite two poor range readings. After helping Dad and Adam clean the bull and taking off two quarters I headed for the truck and the horses.
I wanted to put Adams photo here, but it didn't work. So, I'll tell Dads story and then put the photos up.
After recovering Adams elk and processing it Dad and I headed for southern Utah for Dads antelope. This would be my first antelope hunt. I planned for it to be dads first succesfull hunt. Dad somehow managed to teach his nine kids to love the outdoors, hunting, and fishing, without ever taking an animal himself. I put him in for antelope, figuring if he couldn't kill one of those he couldn't scratch an itch.
Dad and I had a pleasant trip south, catching up on family stories. We arrived late and set up camp. After a nice supper and some more catching up we turned in. I had never hunted antelope, but knew the area and what to expect. Dad was still tired from the elk hunt. I figured the antelope hunt would be just a tired dads pace. We woke early and had a nice breakfast, enjoying our hot chocolates and listening to a few coyotes.
We left camp just as yellow was starting to show in the sky. We didn't have far to go to reach our glassing spot. We drove slowly and glassed several herds of antelope on the way. Not seeing a buck we wanted. An hour later, from our vantage point we picked out a big pronghorn. The herd was a mile from us. We picked a ridge in the middle and worked our way to it. As we crested the ridge we crawled to a shooting spot. The sun was at our backs, and the antelope didn't see us.
By the time we had the rifle and spotting scope set up the herd had bedded down. The big buck was in the middle, with a fair buck to the left and right of him. An hour passed slowly as Dad and I watched and whispered, enjoying the morning. Dad had rolled onto his back to rest when the big buck stood. "He's up", I said. "He's on the left, next to a doe, just the two of them, he's broadside now, shoot when you're ready". Ten seconds trickle by, fifteen, twenty, BOOM!
"I didn't see it", I say incredulously! "He's moving straight away, he's broadside again. Wait"!! Another buck had stepped into the field of view in my spotting scope. The buck was hunched up and I could see blood dripping underneath him. " You shot one of the smaller bucks, Dad"! "Oh, he was in my scope when I rolled back over. I assumed it was him", dad said. "Get back on him, and shoot him again", I said. The buck was standing still facing away. We watched for a minute, the blood running out reflected brightly. Finally the buck took a step and presented a broadside shot. "Go ahead", I told dad. Then the buck collapsed. No follow up shot necessary. "Nice shot dad. That antelope was 835 yards away"!
Two first timers, two stories with a bit of drama, and two great shots. I loved it! I can hardly wait for the deer hunt next week.
Now to work on the photos.
Last edited by grit; 10-13-2008 at 12:21 AM.