Where to hunt in Western Washington
by S Cook
(St. Louis, Mo.)
Not to pick some of you alls good spots but... on TDY here in seattle, and I had to bring the rifle. We got whitetail in missouri, but nothing big. Bought a tag for western washington, have been driving in circles for a few day- any suggestions?
Western Washington hunt
by David Niles
My first kill after 15 years
Well I have been a recreational hunter for about 15 years. Why do I say it is recreation hunting. Well for the last 15 years I have been hiking with a rifle. I bought my tag every year, went and set up camp. Went out every morning and every afternoon and walked in the woods with my rifle. I have never shot at or saw anything, till this year. I was at my favorite hunting area. Packwood Washington. Meandering up the trail which is an old washed out logging road. I had my new back pack, made from a friend, my coffee cup that clips to my belt, my bino's and my trusty Marlin 30/30 that has only killed a paper target in the 20 years that I have owned it. We have about six inches of snow on the ground and I am enjoying the crunch of my feet and the early morning fog of my breath as I labor up the road. I have been up this road many times in the past and I know that it is about two and a half miles to the top. As I walk I notice numerous deer tracks and rabbit tracks and bird tracks. I get about half way up and I see this stump under the trees over looking a fairly clear draw down the mountain. So I decide it would be a great place for a breather. When I get there I look down the draw and see a doe and a couple of babies. I get behind the stump and scope them, thinking, I bet they got the word that this is Elk season and they are safe. I watched them for about fifteen minutes until they wondered off. I then started back up the mountain. The snow was getting deeper and I started breaking trail. Was not being to quite but not to loud either. I was still stoked from seeing the dear so I knew I would have a little story to tell when I got back to camp. Well I get to the top of the road, at the top is a clearing and a rock slide going down the side of the road. I decided I would walk up to the end and look down, kinda like I do every year. I walk over look down and a nice 5 plus point Bull is looking at me as I look at him. I said to myself, well here go's nothing. Brought up my rifle, scoped the elk at about 75 yards, made sure that my rifle was off safe, held my breath and fired. The elk, jumped, took off on a 70 degree slope down hill in thick tree's. I figured I must of missed but I will get to tell the story of seeing and elk, firing and missing back at camp later in the day. That was my luck and I was OK with it. I decided I would slide down the rocks just to make sure there was not blood splatter. When I got down there I looked around at the tree line and at first did not see anything. I was not looking forward to climbing back up the mountain to the road in the deep snow. Then I spotted it a blood spot, no way I thought. Jeese, I hope it did not run to far this is mighty steep terrain. I followed the elks run and I spotted more and more blood. I got in the woods about twenty yards when I spot this brown log. Strange I thought, no snow on it. I then looked closer and said, Crap, I killed it, now what do I do. I inch closer and then remembered that if I got one I was suppose to shoot in the air twice to let my brother know that I got one. So I figured I would shoot twice and see if the elk moves. I did and it did not. I then inched closer and touched it with my boot. still no movement. I said to myself, crap, now what do I do, I have never skinned or gutted an elk by myself before. I then remembered that I had bought these fancy GMRS radios, so I tried to call my brother. Nothing. I then tried to call him on his cell. left a message. He called back and left a message. After about four phone tags I finally got him. He was about five minutes from camp, he was getting the knife set, cheese clothes and such. I let him know where I was at and decided to head back and meet him half way. I really did not want to stay there with the dead elk that I did not know what to do with.
When I met up with my brother he was more excited then I was, he did not believe me at first so I showed him a photo that I had taken with my cell phone. I had shot a 5x6, not bad for my first elk. Any ways when my brother and I got to the elk we decided that we would drag the elk down the mountain to what we thought was the road down below us. This was not an easy task but we thought that it would be easier then working the elk at the incline that we currently were at. We dragged it down the hill about four hundred yards when my bro decided to take a GPS reading and find out how far we were from the road. What this revealed is that the road was about a tenth of a mile from where we were at to the left of us. I do not know how to adequately describe how steep and how thick the terrain was but we had made a big mistake dragging this elk down hill. Mind you, we had not gutted the elk yet.
So we decided that we had gone far enough. We braced the elk between a couple of trees so that it would not slide further down the mountain. Robert my bro broke out some directions on how to gut a deer, we thought elk/deer, how different can it be? We made it though the process, took about an hour and a half to gut it. down hill did help on getting the gut pile away from us. After we gutted it we packed it with snow and decided to find a path back to the road and the car. This took us about two hours in dense tree's and brush and snow to find our way to the car using the GPS. At this point we (me) was so burned out, dehydrated and bone wherry we decided to go back to camp and recuperate.
We did not go back until the next morning. Yes we worried about scavenger, and about spoilage, but the weather was cold about 20 degrees and it was snowing hard so we figured it would be fine. The next morning we headed out bright and early guided by the GPS. We were able to find the elk, skin it, quarter it and hall it out. It took us 8 hours to do it but we got it done. Two bits of advice, one, do not use a home made back pack. they suck and two, do use a GPS they are a life savor, if it was not for my brother I would have never gotten it out. We helped motivate each other and keep each other going. No one ever talks about what a pain it is to gut, skin and quarter your kill in the field and now I know why, if everyone knew what a pain in the arse it was we would not have very many hunters. LOL