Re: elk decoys.
We used decoys in heavy timber last year.
It was in the pitch of night as we made our way back, a good 2 miles in the dark,
We knew this place well,
having taken a couple nice bulls, 3 to be exact over the last 4 years, this fruitful ground hold many cows, and where you find cows, a couple hundred +-, you'll find bulls. Yes there are still plenty to be had here, by the early glimmers of light we were finally there.
We caught the herd as it was going up in the morning.
This part of the story will be picked up at a later date.
But (2) satellite bulls fell that morning, as well as a cow,
and by the end of the day we were pretty well whooped from cutting and packing.
But the conclusion I'll share with you now.
We all took the next day off.
That day off wasn't good for the lad who didnít fill his tag though. He moved around camp, kind of whimpering and complaining about just about everything in life.
Convincingly we all assured him that letting the area relax for a day was good.
That day seamed to last forever for him especially as he groper around.
Stopping in front of the elk racks leaning up against the trees,
Heíd shake his head , mutter some words to himself then he'd go pick up the ax,
chop up a few chunks off the logging tree, place the ax back in the stump,
then go off to his next little can-do project. by the end of the day heíd made it back to that chopping log a lot of times.
This was all a good thing, cause by the end of the day we had a sweet pile of wood stacked,
all our messes cleaned up, and the camp was looking spiffy.
That evening thing got better, I think it was because he know somehow, maybe it was
his sixth sense told him that tomorrow was going to happen and that it was only a dreams time away.
The next day came early, I don't know if Fred ever went to sleep.
Fred was up stirring around in the cook tent when I finally crawled out, 4:00 am,
A quick something warm to eat, thatís what I needed.
Now our cook tent is rapped W/ 3 tables and coolers galore.
Like walking into a grocery store all the tables are loaded with grub. All the snack food is places out neat and orderly on the tables for all to see.
Kind of set up in smorgasbord style with just about anything you need for you days pack,
itís real scary for a person that been in bear country to see such, heck been doing it that way for 18 years.
And thatís why we keep it in the cook tent. Rather have him in there chewing down there then in my tent eating a feather sandwich.
Anyway I need something warm, my typical breakfast is couple bags of instant oatmeal poured into a coffee cup and hot water followed with a coffee chaser.
Mike was right behind me as we entered the cook tent. Said morning to each other and Fred gave a nod and commenced packing our packs and fixing our grub.
4:15 and we were heading out, we were heading back to our honey hole.
Like I said we found this spot about 4 years earlier, a sinkhole valley with a supper pasture and ridged all around. Black timber on the north face and it was on that side we came in on.
That day 2 of us went with Fred and to call and run the decoys.
Even in the darkest timber they work.
The morning went without locating a good cow; Fred had just that a cow tag.
Basically all the cows were with the herds now with the rut going at full tilt. So finding that loan cow meandering around was like looking for a penny in the creek. You werenít going to find one. So by midmorning we made our way towards the area we were sure the elk would frequent. Stopping lessening and discussing strategies, we had reached a spot about 3/4 the way to the top and about 300 yards to our right was their bedding area. We were at around 10,000 ft. elevation according to our GPS.
Now that little gismo is a story by its self (later) The wind was in our favor, nothing but the natural up flow caused by the heating of the day. We could see the top ridge, it came right down to us. It would be easy walking if we had to get to the top.
We decided to plant our selves there.
Our location was about 35 yards or so above a saddle to a connecting arm that branched off into a different valley and we knew if there was going to be any putt zing around of the elk that this would be a good catch them spot.
So we to shut up, we didnít make a sound for about 2 hours.
Like wise they too werenít talking either.
Knowing the elk would come to a water hole for an afternoon drink we set up on the open
side, placing 3 elk in line heading down the trail going toward the sweet spot (water).
It was 1:05 pm when we heard the first twig snap then another I glanced at my watch, gave myself a little grin , the trick was about to happen.
We all got to our knees in a flash.
Out of our resting beds we had made in the pine needles.
Fresh pine brows placed on the ground as a bed smell so good. And itís a good cover up scent.
Staring hard looking down hill I wondered, did they somehow get past us,
were we all asleep.
I know I was or just resting. Oh no!
Then a mew, it came from our right. I softly called back with a little purr, followed by mike,
Fred snatched up his bow, I chirped to him, he looked back at me and I motioned that I was stepping back and heading down closer to the water. Both he and Mike nodded.
Mike halted me with a hand jester and pointed at the Instant Elk decoys.
Then he made his way to me. I grabbed another decoy out of his pack.
Quickly we moved down just past the decoys, set up another and began calling.
We saw a calf then another crest a saddle to our right.
They were on a trail that was to cross below us about 40 yards.
We mewed on our calls.
Instantly the kids looked at our location and
stood at full attention.
Then their mothers appeared they too were looking and walking up to our location. taking a connecting trail, if you have ever been in the dark timber you will know all trails lead together somewhere, and they were on that somewhere trail coming straight to us.
The lead cow had our decoys fixed.
Without even the slightest hesitation they came up our way.
As if they wanted to say hi what going, who ar...
Mewing and talking back and forth the whole time. Holy smokes we even had the herd bull screaming, with a couple wantobes trying to get into the act.
Now this usually doesn't happen on a afternoon stretch to get water.
Our hair or at least mine was standing on end.
Fred came to full draw on what may have been the herd cow.
She passed within 20 feet or so below him. Fred let her own his arrow at a perfect going away shot, she jumped with the sting then settled down still focused on our decoys.
She stood her ground for no more than 30 or so seconds then she sat down, then she laid down.
She was gone.
It was like she had said, "hay lets lay down here" and so the whole bunch of them did.
We lithely had to scare the rest of the elk away
to take care of that girl.
The decoys work, and work great in dark timber.