Great write up. You have no idea of how lucky you were even with all of that time spent. Your scouting was good, and your plan was good. It was good that you stuck with it. You made some good decisions.
I doubt that I'll ever forget that message on the answering machine! "Roy! Roy! I got a BIG one!!!." The you voice revealed, tiredness, happiness and excitement. (my wife erased it. She's pretty much technically illiterate......)
When you called, passing through Idaho Fall, I was in the spud fields way west of Shelley and headed across the lavas to the Shelley exit to I-15 (#108). Just as I came out of the Lava Rocks the road is perpendicular to the Interstate, you drove with those elk antlers proudly displayed. It drew a bit of a grin...... I was happy for ya.
It was very enjoyable be a little part of you hunt.
I hope that things are just as successfull for you this year.
I may well be able to spend some time up there with you, one never knows what farmers are gonna do....
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!