My Little Elk Hunt Adventure
Aug. 2012 elk hunt
Hunting coastal Roosevelt elk in Oregon is a lesson in Zen. Opening day, Aug 25th has me crouching a mere 79 yards from a herd hoping they move east (to my left) so I can drop down and line up a shot from the brush line (shown at bottom of pic) near the elk.
As my buddy lures them towards him with cow calls, I start down the slope. Suddenly I’m falling…there is no dirt under the salmonberry. I have stepped right into a drop-off that only looked like a slope. I fall eight feet and stop…creating a huge crash. My feet are dangling and I’m all wrapped up in roots and vines that stopped my fall. I can’t believe it. How FN stupid is this? I hate salmonberry!! Now a week later I still have thorns imbedded in my hands.
I throw my bow up and try to climb out but my feet and legs are enwrapped so my only way out is to pull myself out using my arms. No easy task for a guy with my middle-aged center of gravity and the only thing to hang onto is covered in thorns. But hey, elk are a fine motivator and I was able to wiggle out in a few minutes just as the herd came back around to see what all the noise was about. I sit and watch as the herd stares in my direction. They seemed to be thinking. “Where’s the big bull we just heard crashing in?”
So there we are, the herd is in a pasture slowly moving to the west and I cannot move without being busted by 19 sets of elk eyes. Behind me is the mountain they are going to seek refuge in…and a little over 100 yards to my right is where their game trail runs up the steep mountain. First they have to travel about 120 yards thru overgrown pasture. Another brush line parallels their route from mine to the game trail so I wait until the lingering herd finally moves behind the brush and I begin to speed walk down a trail adjacent to the elk. I stop in places where the brush separating us opens up so see if they are there. Nothing. I move further down to the next opening. Nothing. I do this twice more when I see the charging up the game trail a mere 56 yards away. I don’t even draw my bow, my practice groups beyond 40 yards in ideal conditions are unreliable and they are not in the open. Had I just ran to the game trail I would have shot that 5X5 but hey, that’s elk hunting. Sometimes all ya can do is look down, turn around and walk away.
Lemme tell ya, coastal NW Oregon has mountain terrain that chewed me up like an old dog bone.