Two Man Elk Drive

Once again fall was in the air and adrenalin began to flow as rifle elk season drew near. I’d stayed up all night packing to make sure I had not missed any items. This was the time of year when weather can do crazy things so I knew we needed to pack for any climate. Another year arrived to hunt with family and friends in search of a nice bull. We arrived at the cabin in Eastern Oregon a few days early so we could scout  out our favorite area.

Scouting for elk

Scouting

On this particular trip I had invited Gary Lewis along who had always wanted to travel and hunt with our family after hearing of so many great adventures while hunting elk.

Author Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis

Gary and I go way back knowing each other through church and business relations. Gary shares a passion for the great outdoors along with a desire to mentor children. Gary and I spent the first few days getting up early and hunting lots of favorite little secret spots we call “honey holes”.

Honey Hole

"Honey Hole"

Of course lots of hunters name areas with funny titles like – PBJ Creek or Snickers Ridge, TP Flats and others like Wheelbarrel Knob or Ruttin Wallow, etc. – you get the idea…

Wheelbarrel Knob

Wheelbarrel Knob

As Gary & I used concealment, elk scent and played the wind, we encountered many close calls using our two man drive strategy. The idea was to work areas we thought would hold elk and then push them into each other for a shot. Working this tactic, we observed lots of wallows, rubs and bedding areas with fresh sign that hightened our sense of urgency to kill a bull.

Wallow

This last photo is one of our annual “honey holes” where elk tend to bed and live all season.

Bull Rubs

Bulls in the Area!

Notice the fresh rubs from elk acting up establishing territorial rights while leaving scent as the breeding season moves into full swing. Gary & I would use calls from time to time while trying to locate or entice elk to move closer to us and see what they were missing. Here is a young bull that worked in using some soft cow calling techniques while maintaining concealment with scent control.

Calling All Elk

Calling All Elk????

Curious Bull
"Wheelin"

"Wheelin"

Since we had tried multiple methods and hiked thousands of feet in elevation, our bodies were starting to breakdown and plea for “Advil” to relieve the pain. Mornings were becoming much harder to get out of bed and the weather began to turn for the worse. As we went to bed on the fouth night of the season with only one day left, the rain set in. I remember the rain pinging on the roof all night as we tossed and turned trying to sleep. Morning came and the others at camp who still layed in their warm sleeping bags said, “the heck with this” and rolled over as they went back to sleep. Gary & I looked at each other and agreed to head out for another try. We had to do a little “4-wheelin” and navigate the road to another secret “honey hole” before first light.

Driving up the trail, the rain continued to fall causing Gary & I concern since we did not have much for rain gear and started to miss the warm sleeping bag and hot chocolate.

Morning Rain

Morning Rain

Once we arrived at our destination, the skies began to part as the early morning fog started to lift from convection and thermals. Gary and I made a plan to drive a thicket on the back of a spring area where elk like to go after morning feeding. Gary walked the fence line road as I walked tip toe through some lower cover before entering a small funnel with meadow grass. I looked to the horizon and saw a nice mature bull walking slowly through some christmas trees with a herd of cows almost as if they were sneaking from Gary above. A small window of opportunity appeared so I placed the scope and centered it on the bull’s spine at approx. 250 yards. I took the shot and saw lots of elk scramble running right down the draw right at me! One after another, cows ran through headed for who knows where??? My heart was racing and I wondered if I hit the bull. It seemed like forever to wait, then all of the sudden I saw a pair of dark legs walking through the thicket very cautious looking to see where the cows had gone knowing danger was in the path. Yes – the bull stepped out at about twenty yards and looked right at me as I proceeded to fire another shot with my father’s 30-06 model 70. The bull just stood there and looked at me as if I had missed so….. I fired another shot – “BANG” and down the bull went as he took his last breath. I performed the famous victory shout – “Wahoo” as Gary came walking down asking what I had shot. I told him it was a little spike! Gary walked up and realized we had shot a nice 6X6 mature bull. We thanked the Lord and enjoyed quartering the bull and packing it out with a Polaris 6X6 about 500 yards back to the rig.

Oregon Rifle Bull

In conclusion, Gary and I learned… never let another person’s attitude ruin your hunt and praise the Lord for blessing us with this beautiful animal that now hangs in the entry way. Thanks Gary for the memory and let’s hunt again while blessing others “Pursue The Outdoors”!

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About the Author

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann lives in Central Oregon with his wife of 19 years and their three children. You can find Troy with his family, friends and partners out most weekends enjoying the Lord's creation "Pursuing The Outdoors".