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Old October 24, 2005, 09:12 AM   #1
Al Norris
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Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
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Idaho Elk Hunt.

I've been practicing for this hunt for almost 2 years now.

My son, Mike, is a career Marine and arrived home on Saturday. We both got our draws. He drew a bull permit (he wants the trophy) and I drew for a cow (I want that sweet meat). The area is some of the best elk hunting in Idaho. South of the Blackfoot river to just north of Bear lake. East of Soda Springs over to the Wyoming border. Officially they are units 66a and unit 70 (for those with Idaho regs).

I've been practicing long distance shooting ever since I bought my vaquero. Now, I'm not the best shot in the world, but I can hit a notebook sized piece of paper, 6 out of 6 times at 100yds. 4 out of 6 times at 150yds, standing with a hand rest. So I think I'm good to go.

I'm using 240gr Lasercast RNFP slugs over 24.5gr of H110 (usual warnings apply) using CCI 350 primers. Chronos at 1431fps. My vaquero seems to like this load and I know it will do the job if I do mine.

Mike is using his 300wthby to shoot. Hornady 190gr BTSP over 74.8gr of H4831sc with Fed 215 primer. Chronos at 2985fps. Mike has a Sheffield scope and he gets less than 1 inch groups at his 200yds zero, prone position and bipods.

Since there is no snow, this will be a real hunt. No horses or 4 wheelers. Just our two feet, our rope and our skill at tracking. Weather forecast is dry until Thursday with 40% chance of rain/snow decreasing Friday and Saturday. Sunny next Sunday. Temps should range from highs in the 60's to lows in the mid 20's.

Leaving tomorrow the 25th and we will be gone for a week, unless we get our elk earlier. I'll have my camera and will post some pics, however it goes, when I get back. This will be Mike's first elk hunt and my first in 14 years.
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Old November 1, 2005, 10:47 AM   #2
Al Norris
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After Action Report.

Day 1

We left the house shortly after 10am Tuesday morning, Oct 25th. Got to Dry Valley around 2PM, after stopping to see some friends in Lava Hot Springs. Travelled up the length of the valley, explored some promising areas and went over the mountain to Slug Creek. Explored some more and settled on a camp site at the upper end of Slug Creek.

After camp was setup, we went over to Dry Canyon Road and hiked both sides of the canyon until we got to the cutoff to Goodheart Canyon. Hunted that until we had doubled back to the main road up Slug Creek. Altogether, we hunted/hiked about 5 miles. It was now getting too dark to do anything else, so we walked back to the truck (another mile and a half) and headed back to camp. Built a fire and fixed some dinner. Went to bed.

Day 2

Got up at 0-dark thirty (way early for you city folk), built a small fire to warm ourselves and made a pot of coffee. After we finished our coffee, we doused the fire and headed out for Cold Springs, just up from our camp. Hiked to the spring, where we found fresh track and attempted to follow. Worked our way over into Dry Valley on one side of the canyon. We were separated by about a hundred yards horizontally and about 200 feet in altitude. Lost the tracks as the elk moved into the forest and the hoarfrost melted. Made it to Hess Springs and turned around. Made our way back into Slug Creek, this time form the other side of the canyon, then back into our camp. A brisk 8 mile trek, one way, in about 5 hours. It was 10am and breakfast time.

At about 3PM, we headed out west of our camp, over towards Harrington Peak (El 8553) via Horseshoe Canyon. Got back to camp at about 8PM. Another 7-8 mile trek. Made a fire, cooked dinner and hit the sack.

This was to become our routine. Get up well before dawn. Get on the trail just as it was getting light enough to see. Get back after 4 or 5 hours and eat. Lounge around a bit and back out for another 4 to 5 hours, returning after dark. Eat our evening meal and sack out.

It started raining on Thursday the 27th. Continued rain until Friday late, when it turned to snow. Snowed all day Saturday and Sunday. Returned home late Sunday night.

We had hoped to find better tracks in the snow, but they were few and very far between. Partly because the snow wasn't sticking during the day.

We ended up hunting many of the small canyons and alpine valleys on both Slug Creek and Dry Valley. Mostly places where there were no ATV trails.

Our thinking was that since most of the people there were running up and down the trails with their ATVs, they were herding the elk into other places. Places where we were hunting, on foot. A reasonable assumption, since almost no one was seeing any elk, let alone getting their elk.

Altogether we saw 7 elk being taken out of the area. This is an area where the Yellowstone herd (15K+) migrates down from the Palisades and Tetons and winters over (Caribou Nat'l Forest). We have come to the conclusion that because of the abnormally high temps, the herds hadn't started their migration and were still up in the high country. What were coming down, were groups of twos and threes. What was being taken was by happenstance and luck. Our happen never stood and our luck wasn't!

We were cold, gritty, filthy, and exhausted when we got home... Still, it was worthwhile just getting away from the everyday pace, for a few days. That alone was worth the time, effort and expense.
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Old November 1, 2005, 11:18 AM   #3
redhawk41
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Excellent report Antipitas. Starting next month Idaho Falls will be my new home and I look forward to exploring some of the areas you have just described!

The weather has been unseasonably warm, which doesn't bother me too much, since I will be making a few trips through the Snake River Canyon and Palisades over the next month, some with a moving truck.

After I get there though it can snow all it wants!
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Old November 1, 2005, 12:23 PM   #4
Foxman
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Antipitas, you really are lucky, what a great trip and with your son too, I am sure even though you didnt get your Elk , you will remember the trip with many great memories. Are you going again and if so please tell us how you go on.
( Mmmm wish I'd been there , camping too mmmm)
Mike
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Old November 1, 2005, 08:32 PM   #5
Al Norris
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Since nothing really exciting happened on that trip, I didn't take many photos. But to give you an idea of what that part of the US looks like, here are 3 views from the campsite. The pictures are a little "hazy" due to a lite but very fine snow falling.



This is looking south from the flat where we were camped (El. 7200). The guy sitting and playing with his (useless) cell phone is my son, Mike.



Looking east, towards the wyoming border, about 10 miles out.



Looking west, into the storm, which has completely hid the mountains.

I didn't show the north view, but that only shows our tent and a dense wall of forest. What you also can't see (because of the snow) is that the terrain is sagebrush on the southern and western slopes and sage down in the canyon bottoms, but forested on the northern and eastern slopes. Made for an altogether interesting hunt.
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Old November 1, 2005, 08:59 PM   #6
Twycross
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Quote:
Officially they are units 66a and unit 70 (for those with Idaho regs).
Hmmm *consults regs*. Do you mean 66A and 76?

*Gazes fondly at pictures* Yep, that would be Idaho. Sorry you didn't get anything.

BTW, what camo pattern is that that your son if wearing?
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Old November 2, 2005, 12:31 AM   #7
Al Norris
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Yeah. Units 66a and 76. Can I claim my keyboard stuck, or do I have to copt to a memory lapse?

Not sure. I'll have to ask Mike what pattern it is. All I know is that he picked it up at Cabelas on his drive over from LeJuene... Ah! Woodlands style #305 by GameHides. Billed as "Naked North." Worked real well in the woods, but he stood out like a sore thumb in the sage!
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Old November 2, 2005, 10:04 PM   #8
MARINE1
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No al I bought at Herb bauers in california.

Twycross
The pattern is Naked North from Gamehide. They worked up this pattern for us hunters in the north where we don't have many leaves in the winter. unlike Mossy Oak has green everywhere on it. They also make a sage pattern for more open areas like Wyoming and most of the west. I hope this helps
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:51 PM   #9
FrontSight
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Wow, that sounds like an awesome trip, even if you didn't bag anything, sorry. Can anyone tell me what an average elk hunt like the one you took costs?
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Old November 3, 2005, 03:08 PM   #10
Foxman
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Looks a great area, you must not keep showing me pictures like this ( wife says). I have been in the den cleaned rifles and counted all amunition and put on lots of hunting videos and tried on new woodland camo jacket and trousers. Must check campin gear next! Lol
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Old November 3, 2005, 06:54 PM   #11
Al Norris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrap5000
Can anyone tell me what an average elk hunt like the one you took costs?
I can only say for us, Scrap.

Food & beverages for two for a week cost us just about $100. Gas for a round trip plus running around the valleys cost about $110. Propane for the camp stove and tent heater was $32.

That's it.
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