I'm Mad At Elk

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sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Well the elk are continuing to give me fits, thursday they were right where I expected them to be but it was starting to storm & I was running out of light, I thought it best to back off & work them the next morning.
The next morning was a total bust, it was so fogged in I could barely see my boots at times. I knew I was close to the herd but didn't want to cover that last quarter mile without being able to see. I built a fire & stayed for 5 hrs & it just kept getting worse.
Something you have to be very careful about during this time of year is over extending & getting yourself in trouble, kind of like I did 7 yrs ago in the same area, this very moutain almost got me. In heavy fog you can easily get on the wrong side of a ridge or draw & not know it, then you drop off in a deep canyon & things can go bad in a hurry. The only safe way out on this little jaunt was to backtrack my foot prints in the snow. The deep snow was up to the top of my gaiters & the ground was still soft underneath, the walking was treacherous to say the least. It was a long walk back to my 4 wheeler & then a 10 mile ride out in bad conditions. It was 7 degrees & that beef stew I had in the dutch oven back at camp put a little extra zip in the offense!
Day 3 I'm back on the mountain, its cleared off & I'm in hot pursuit of some elk, I seen them ghost into some heavy pines & just had to wait & see what happened next. I could see some deer, & 2 moose were also part of the view, I was having a good time in spite of the elk being way across the canyon. I built another fire & set down to see how things played out, you can easily wear yourself out in a foot race with elk, better to let them feed out & plan your next move.
A little side note about fires, you absolutley must be able to build a fire in these extreme conditions, a book of paper matches & yesterdays toilet paper just might not be sufficient to save your life or at least bring a little comfort as you wait for something to happen. My little fire kit is some lint from the dryer, also included is some newspaper I've ran through the shredder, I then find some dry wood (if possible) & slice some shavings to add to my starter. Paper soaked in wax is good, also pine pitch is helpful if everything is wet. I alway have a minimum of 2 butane lighters with me, usually 3. Both days everything was wet, you have to be capable of building a fire under bad conditions, it can very difinitely save your bacon! Also, mentally having a fire can really be comforting.
I took a few pictures & waited 5-6 hrs for the elk to reappear, they didn't, these elk are in a slow migration cycle & the area I'm in will get better & better but you just have to be patient sometimes & I"m not a very patient person.
The weather had warmed during the day & a lot of the snow was melting, when I finally reached my 4 wheeler the trail was so muddy I thought I was a contestant in the Calgary Stampede, that 4 wheeler was sideways most of the time & I had 10 miles ahead of me. There were several road hunters that had driven their trucks back into this mess & they were all in trouble, trucks were off the road, some really bad, all of them, even with chains on were duking it out with mother nature & she wasn't real happy with them for road hunting. I've never seen road hunting so bad, makes me sick. One day I did see 3 young roosters walking up my footprints from the day before, I caught & passed one of them & he was probably only 30 yrs old, thats a shame. They throw their beer cans out the window, its way to tough to haul them empty cans out in that 3/4 ton truck!
I knew I had to get my camper out of the mountains until another storm moved in but would have to wait until morning so the ground would freeze, there was no way I could pull it out of there in that mud bog!
Did get a few photo's but when you are in the fog its not much to look at.
Other than getting wet probably nothing is more dangerous than fog.
100_1694.jpg

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This cow moose was about 600 yds away, I got a reading on the pine tree below & right of her. She had a boy friend a short distance away, he probaly had "bad" intentions!
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Nothing is more comforting on a cold moutain top than a nice, warm fire.
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This old tree stump would have been a great photo if the sun would have popped out, I love filming old stumps! They just have character!!
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Opps!
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I still have 3 more weeks so I'll just wait for the next storm system & head out for a re-match. If I don't kill something pretty soon I'm going to kill something!

Dick
 

BDM

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
5
Great report, and wonderful pictures, super photography, always a real treat, always look forward to your pics. Thanks!
 

mb111263

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
452
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks for the report Dick... As always, if we pay attention, we can learn something from you! Other than carrying a butane lighter in my pack, I haven't put together a fire kit yet...thanks for the reminder!
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,758
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
For the folks who haven't hunted hard in the mountains like that don't understand the seriousness of Dicks statements about fire, backing off, trying later etc. Mother nature can and will kill you in places & conditions like that.
Road hunters,,,, I ain't even gonna start! (May they all get stuck, heaters quit, broken chains, no fire makings, and the battery die all at once in the middle of a nice big mudhole!)
 

Fowler

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
106
One thing I learned years ago here in the Colorado high country is that nature is a mother. The ability to build a fire when ever you need one is real confidence builder and it allows you to worry about the hunt not on your comfort because you know you will live to hunt another day.

I carry a can or two of Sterno in my pack and I always have one in my survival kit that has been everywhere hunting with me for 20 years now. With Streno you can pop the top off and light it to warm your hands without spooking game. Or dig a bit of gel out of the can with a knife and it makes a pretty good fire starter. They weigh 2 oz each and cost darn near nothing.

If I am hunting in snow I normally carry a small Whisperlite back pack stove, a insulated coffee cup, and a small pot to cook with. The ability to stop and have a hot cup of coffee when you are cold and wet is worth the 2 pounds or so it weighs. Lets not mention how nice it would be if you found yourself having to spend the night in the woods.

Dick keep the hunting stories coming.
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Fowler, you are spot on about the Sterno, I've used it since the 60's with great satisfaction, they make a little metal adaptor so you can cook off the top of it, works great & when that wood is really wet its nice to be able to dry it out with the sterno.
Seven years ago on this very mountain in the photo's I spent many hours working my way out of there. I was caught in a blizzard, the snow was very deep & it was 2am before I reached the top & finally, just by blind luck found the snow machine. I had an 8'X8' piece of plastic in my pack, the little 4 piece stove in the photo's, a small cooking pot, some soup, chocolate, cheese & crackers, I knew I could survive the night if I had to stay up there because I was prepared ahead of time. You don't usually get a second chance with mother nature, she can have a very final & nasty attitude to those who aren't prepared.
The plastic is very important, you have to get out of the wind, the wind will KILL you. When I did reach the top of the mountain I couldn't see 20', I knew the snow machine was somewhere but couldn't stumble on to it in the blizzard. Earlier in the day I had built a big fire & stayed by it for hours, glassing for big bucks, this was late novermber & there was 2' of snow on the level.
I had walked past that snow machine several times but didn't know it, finally the wind came up & I spotted the glowing coals from the fire I had built the afternoon before, then I found the sled & made the 10 mile ride out to my camper, there were no other hunters within miles of me. In a case like that you have to be able to take care of yourself & survive.
So, stay dry, build a fire & get out of the wind!!

This is the 4 piece stove I carry, it runs off small cans of propane, I've had it since the late 70's. Folded it measures about 1 1/2" thick
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This is the 4 parts, minus the can of fuel.
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This is what it looks like assembled.
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I used this little stove for 17 straight days in Alaska, everything I ate came off that stove.
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Dick
 

KTM

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
129
Location
Wisconsin
Dick, great writing, great photos, great advise! I hope you get a trophy elk, you certainly deserve it!

Hey, I have that same stove, it's a nice little stove packs small and works great. I got mine in the late 1970's, it has never let me down.
 

Chukar hunter

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
58
Location
Out West
I liked your story and pictures! I've been thinking of doing an Elk hunt. Even when deer or bird hunting out here in the dry country, I carry survival stuff. I usually have in a small plastic container,

A box of waterproof matches

Two Travel packs of toilet paper

An extra compass

A butane lighter

Two Days worth of my prescription meds

A little "aircraft survival tinder kit"

Some extra food, like energy bars, chocolate, and hard candy

A signal mirror

Now, a blast match.

A whistle

This doesnt take up too much space in my game vest. I'm also thinking of a stove... Have you seen the Snow peak titanium model? the burner is not nuch lager than a pack of cigarettes...and the canisters are light... you can carry that and a 1 man titanium cookset, plus a freeze died meal for about 3 pounds...
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
515
Location
MT
Chukar Hunter,you should also look at the Jetboil stove.It is all self contained in it's own insulated pot,about 4"x7" and is one of the most effecient and fastest boiling stoves on the market.It doesn't need an extra windscreen and is self igniting.Pot and cup are all part of the self contained outfit.Mine weighs 1 lb 6 oz complete,including fuel canister and because of the insulated "pot",fuel canisters go a lot farther than most stoves.Add a freeze dried meal and some coffee or hot chocalate and you are still under 2 lbs.it's too big for a vest but definitely goes easily in a day pack or large fanny.
 

Chukar hunter

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
58
Location
Out West
Thanks for the suggestion about the Jetboil. That heat insulating system is awesome. I did the math on my snow peak giga power stove, 1 man cook kit, titanium spork, and 1 110 gm canister of fuel plus a mountain house pro pack freeze dried beef stew. It comes in at just over 17 ounces. Throw in some tea bags(dont do coffee) and cocoa mix. Looks like under 2 lbs, could even bring another pro pack meal. That is what I planned for deer hunting too! I also for got to mention that I keep one of those travel toothbrushes and toothpaste in my hunting vest. Also a very tiny set of reading glasses, my almost 50 eyes might need those in an emergency situation...
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
515
Location
MT
Gotcha.17 oz is really good.I also know what you mean about the glasses.I carry a set to help me fill out my tags but I also carry a weak pair of 1 or 1.5 diopter glasses to shoot the revolver with,assuming I have time to get them on.They help a ton when looking at the iron sights.
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Short Barrel, I'll have to check out the Jetboil, I remember it from your earlier post on your backpacking trip. The fuel canisters for mine are getting very hard to find.

Thanks, Dick, I sent you a PM
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
515
Location
MT
Dick I don't know a ot about the different types of canisters but i would imagine a lot of the ones made now use the same type.www.rei.com is a good place to look up and compare different types.There are other light,compact ones too.The thing I like about their site is,they give advice on choosing whatever equipment you are looking for AND people can leave reviews on the product and you actually get real feedback of how it works in the field-not just advertising talk.I have always used a tried and true Swiss Svea for backpacking since the early '70's and though a little finicky to prime and light,it is a great stove and I've always trusted it. I was a little reluctant to change my ways but I did like the idea of a push button ignition.All you have to do is attach the canister and push the button and it's roaring.I think it boils 20 some oz of water in abou 3 minutes.The insulated pot has to be filled with liquid to keep the "cozy" from melting,so you couldn't fry spam or trout in it as is,though I believe now they make a different top for it so you can cook with other pots and pans.I think they are getting popular as you used to only see them in backpacking stores but the hunting stores here now sell them. Like I say,there are also many other brands and models that have the auto starting ignition too.Check them out.If you want to try before you buy,holler at me and I'll send this one down and you can fire it up.I won't need it till Summer.Now go get an elk.
 

Chukar hunter

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
58
Location
Out West
Short barrel, I am a Svea 123 owner myself. I still have two of them, one in a Sigg tourist cookset. The self priming stoves are interesting, you have to fill the little depression with fuel, and set it ablaze. Dont try that in a 2 man tent! I remember those canister stoves like the one in the picture, they came in a black nylon bag. It can be difficult to find cartridges for them and some of the other stoves. I've even had a bit of trouble finding Snow Peak cartridges. Jetboil does have different cooking gear on their website. If I didnt already have a couple of these Snow peaks (1 titanium, 1 steel) I'd think about a Jetboil. I keep the steel one in an emergency kit in the car. I use 1.5 diopters for my readers. I usually have some kind of knife in my pocket, and a leatherman tool on my belt for pulling cactus spines out with. That is a real good idea about the plastic sheet. I think I'll have to get that or an industrial trash bag of thick poly to put in my survival stuff.
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Short Barrel, I looked at them on their website & I think I'll just buy one, do you know if Sportsmens Warehouse has them?
I'm waiting for one more storm system to roll in, I still have 3 weeks & they should be migrating quite well in the next few days. I know one thing, they are wearing me out. Maybe I should go back to rifles & become a dedicated road hunter! :wink:

Chukar Hunter, just buy one of the blue plastic tarps in the size you want, they weigh next to nothing & fold up real small, the grommets come in handy for tie downs.

Dick
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
515
Location
MT
Dick,I'm not sure if they have them or not.I should be able to answer that.I was just in one 2 days ago and went through where they had that stuff.It would be worth a look.I have seen them here in 2 local stores that cater more to hunters than backpackers. You're not ready for the rifle and road hunting yet.You have had a pretty impressive year so far and to me,elk are always tough.A lot can happen in 3 weeks.We are starting to get something today.the wind is howling. I haven't even started yet except for a week spent looking for the bear in Oct..I might get out tomorrow but a may wait till the worst of the wind passes.Good luck with those elk.I count on you for pictures when I can't get out and I enjoy the pictures leading up to the kill just as much.Keep them coming.
 

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