2009 Eastern Oregon elk hunt


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2003
Hermiston, Oregon
Just returned from a long 9 day season in Eastern Oregon chasing elk.

I drew a big bull tag after 11 years for Mt. Emily. My family and friends were also up there looking for spikes.

Jmad_81 came up for opening weekend and was ready to video a big bull for me. No such luck on the big bull opening weekend. Saw lots of spikes and raghorns, cows, but no big bull.

Opening morning we had 3 spikes and a herd of cows bedded below us on the ridge 500 yards away. Talk about easy...Never have that happen when you have a spike tag in your pocket.

Couple days came and went and by tuesday night I still hadn't seen a nice mature bull, and we were suppose to have a storm roll in for a few days. That kinda put me in a pickle. I waited 11 years to shoot a big bull, I didn't wanna shoot less then a 300 bull untill the last 3 days. I also didn't wanna go home with nothing and eat a tag.

Wednesday morning started out really nice. Right off the bat I spotted a herd of about 40 elk 2 ridges away. It was still kinda dark, but I could make out at least 5-6 blond ones through the swaro1500 rangefinder.

I told my dad to gather his gear and lets sidehill to the other ridge. It took us about 30 minutes to get over to the next ridge. The elk had started to feed down the ridge towards us. We belly crawled for about the last 20 yards trhough some trees to an opening. I got the swaro1500 out and started looking over the herd. I spotted 1 nice 6x6, 5 raghorns, 1 spike, and about 30 cows. The range to the 6x6 was 504 yards. I looked him over for just a quick second and figured he would do. He was the biggest bull I had seen up to this point, and with the storm coming in, I didn't wanna take my chances of eating this tag. It was now or never.

I flipped the Harris bi-pod legs down and dialed up the required MOA. Pretty much straight across, so didn't have to worry about the angle. I waited for him to turn broadside as the 20x leupold fine duplex crosshair rested right behind his shoulder. I took a nice breath and tickled the 1.5# trigger and unleashed a 300g SMK at 2850fps. After recovering from the shot, elk were running everywhere. I didn't hear the usual WHOP and was getting worried. I jacked in another shell and located the 6x6. He had only ran about 20 yards and slid down the canyon halfway. I hit him right where I was aiming. About an inch behind the shoulder, and it exited the offside shoulder. His lungs were gone and the 300g SMK left about a 2" hole.

He wasn't exactly as big as I had hoped/thought. At first glance I was pretty dissappointed in myself, but after looking at him, he is not that bad of a bull. There are surely bigger, then again surely smaller, but hes not bad for an Oregon bull.

To make a long story short, we ended up getting 7 spikes and a 6x6 this year for 2nd season, add 5 spikes for 1st season, add that up and you get 13 bulls this year our party killed. We got to adding it up and over the last 6 years, our party has killed 56 bulls during 1st and 2nd seasons. This is all do it yourself on national forest. Not to many out there that have the success we do. Here are some pics.
First time getting down to the bull. This is my cousin and I.


Finally got to the top of the ridge!! Decided he wasn't big enough for a shoulder mount, so he will get a european mount. He broke the base of his horn on the tumble down the canyon, so he can be as wide as you make him...My dad, myself, my uncle.


The country I spent most my time looking at elk.


5 spike heads and the 6x6 at camp. 2 of the guys with the other spikes left camp early, so no pic of all 8...


Back home hanging the meat

That is a lot of elk meat, I am sure you guys will enjoy it a lot. Congrats on the bull, I guess most of us would have done the same, with the circumstances you had, bad weather, 11 year bull elk tag, etc. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed reading and watching the pictures.
Good going, remman! Thanks for posting your story.

I jumped a couple of fires in '91 up on Mt. Emily. Gorgeous country and great hunting all around La Grande.
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Thanks guys.

It was a blast and we all had a good time as usual.

Forgot to mention that on friday the weather broke a bit in the morning and my uncle and a guy he was with saw a monster 6x7 probly 350 class. The bull I was really really looking to shoot. However, he only came out for an hour or so and I had already shot my bull wednesday morning. However, the chances of getting down to where my uncle and the bull was within that hour of time frame may or may not have happened.

Just never know. Guess thats why they call it hunting. We talked to several guys though that were pretty dissappointed overall in the quality of bulls they were seeing during this hunt. Not to many guys were seeing anything over 300 class, which is really really odd. I think the pressure from 1st season got to them and that pushed them all in the bottom timber which is not how we, or I like to hunt elk. Nice to be able to see what your going after, in other words. I know that during bow season, they were seeing several 350-380 bulls, but by the time 2nd season rolls around, they've been pushed around so much that they just go hide and done come out to often.

The 338 EDGE w/300g SMK performed flawlessly IMO. I was thinking of going to a lighter bullet, but I think I'm gonna stick with the big 300 grainer. It just flat gets the job done.

My cousins name is Brad, close, but probly not the guy your thinking of.
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