I suppose a write-up is due, I was able to accompany family and friends on their antlerless elk hunts this year in northern Arizona. We ended up with a total of 8 tags in camp, which is the largest elk camp we've ever had. I was not drawn this year but was able to get the time off to help find/skin elk for family and friends. My camera died fairly early into the hunt which was a bonehead move on my part not to charge it, so a lot of these pics are cell phone pics. Anyway, better than nothing I guess.
Here's a partial view of camp, we had a another tent and a camper set up but we were in thick enough junipers that I couldn't get a whole view. Wasn't snow on the ground like last year, but that wood stove in the wall tent sure feels good in the mornings:
The first morning I was hunting with my little brother. We didn't see a single elk all morning but about 3:30pm we heard a shot that we figured was our old man. Sure enough, he got on the radio and said those oh so awesome words; "cow down." We headed for his whereabouts (I love GPS radios) and he had it gutted as we walked up. I helped him go get the truck while my little brother kept hunting.
My dad was still hunting the thick bedding areas and came up on a cow and calf grazing. Shot was broadside at about 50-60 yards, clipped the aorta above the heart. It dropped about 1/2 mile from a road but we were able to get the truck right to it. It's SOOO nice to be able to drive to them:
Skinning her back at camp:
We had her skinned, quartered, cleaned and hanging just after dark when my brother rolled up in his truck and said "You boys ain't done yet, I have a cow down too!" Him and I took a quad and my cousin and his buddy followed us in a Polaris Ranger and we followed the GPS right to his downed elk. He had seen them a few ridges over and miscalculated his sneak. Popped onto a ridge and jumped the elk he thought were still a ridge away. They ran across a ravine but he shot this one at about 200 yards. By the time he got on the tracks and found her dead it was about dark so he just headed for camp to fetch the cavalry. Here's how we found it:
I would like to take a minute to tell y'all about how awesome the Polaris Ranger is. That thing will go a lot of places and a gutted cow elk fits PERFECTLY into the bed. We used the Ranger on my elk last year and I recognized it's genius, but this year it really got a workout (hauled 4 elk) and it is definitely a sweet deal. 3 guys in the cab and a whole elk in the bed... Saves a whole lot of sweat and tears.
Anyway thanks to the Ranger we got this big old cow back in one piece and got to work. Here's my brother doing a skinning job. It's one of the bigger cow elk we've ever killed:
Over the next few days a total of 5 tags were filled. My brother in law James and his old roommate Tyler had tags but they could not get on any elk. Tyler had to leave after 4 days and I think he only saw 3 elk in 4 days. I spent the last 3 days with James trying to find him a cow but was unsuccessful. I think I only saw 5 elk in daylight hours the whole hunt and 4 of those were bulls. This particular hunt can get pretty tough compared to others, but it is still discouraging to hunt 7 days and not find a cow elk to shoot. Could have killed bulls easily, but no cows. So it goes sometimes, we'll be ready next year.