2009 Elk Season

The year started off by going with my brother, who drew the Ochoco archery tag, up into the national forest. This is a unit we have never hunted before, archery or rifle. The first couple of weeks he got into plenty of elk and bulls, just never could put a close on his encounters.

I ended up going out with him the 19-22 of September, figuring the bulls would be talking by then. It turns out we didn’t hear a bugle until about 1 a.m. of the 22nd. We woke up to about 4 different bulls bugling back and forth to each other all around our tent. Talk about an exciting night to be spending in the woods! Let me just say we were ready to go by shooting light. Not a quarter of a mile away from camp we come across a bugle that stopped us in our tracks, looked up and there was the perpetrator; a nice 6 point bull chasing a cow. After doing some calling and stalking, we could only get within 100 yards of this bad boy. A great adventure and a fun time watching the bull and my brother bugling back and forth for about a half hour. Earlier in the trip we got on two raghorns, but the closest was 64 yards and my brother didn’t feel comfortable with that shot on an elk.

Rifle season rolled around and my father and I had drew 1st season rifle tags. We scouted the weekend before season started and found lots of elk and knew exactly where we wanted to be on opening morning. We figured with this much elk, there would be other hunters around as well. This competition usually comes with public land D-I-Y hunting. Opening morning was filled with anticipation, but that quickly wore off after hiking the first two miles in the dark, sweating in 30 degree weather. With our pack frames on, we were ready for a long day ahead of us.

Opening morning sunrise

At first light we were ready and prepared as we were glassing from a vantage point. Right away we found the elk, they were everywhere and quite abundant. We left our glassing point and headed where we thought the elk were headed. As we neared our destination we continued on going on by listening to the elk talk and pinpointing the direction they were. Soon enough there were shots echoing throughout the draws. Finally, there was a rest in the gunshots and a small heard of about 20 cows and one spike came by, but decided not to shoot as it was opening morning. About a half hour later, we hear some cows talking and head that way. One by one, the cows began walking through the trees by us. 28 cows had walked by and not one bull, than it happened. A raghorn 5×4 finally walked out last but not least. However, he would not stop for a broadside shot. After following the elk a quarter of a mile we finally made it happen with the use of cow calls and patience. The bull stopped broadside clear of all the other cows 75 yards away. A good, clean double lung shot put the bull down in a shorter distance than the shot.

Opening Morning Bull

As the saying goes, “now the work starts,” held true here. The rest of the day was filled with hauling packs back to camp. The next few days were spent trying to get my dad on a good bull, as we already had some meat in the freezer. On Thursday and Friday we got onto some elk, but could not locate the bulls. There was what appeared to be a wounded bull in a large herd, but wecould only spot the cows and nightfall came.

A happy hunter despite of the heavy, loaded up pack.

On Saturday morning, we spotted the large herd once again from our glassing point. The same events took place as did on opening morning. We followed the sound of the herd talk to get us within range. When we spotted the elk again, they were 400 yards away. Making a quick decision, we headed for the nearest group of trees and found ourselves almost too close. There were spikes and small raghorns within bow range. After a few minutes of listening and watching them, two five points came out and the bigger of the two offered an excellent broadside shot for my dad. With the use of shooting sticks at 60 yards, it couldn’t have been a better placed shot. A lung shot with the .300 weatherby, put the bull down fairly quick.

After another long haul back to camp, both bulls together.

It was a great way to spend the year hunting with family and friends. The freezer is full and both tags were filled, couldn’t ask for much more than that on an Oregon public land, D-I-Y hunting trip. I can only hope that the future years will be as successful as 2009 was.

About the Author

Seth Webb

Seth Webb

Seth Webb is from Redmond, Oregon, and enjoys elk, chukar, and quail hunting, as well as shed hunting.