Michelle had to work late Thursday, so Gordon and Erik went out earlier in the day to scout for the morning hunt.  Michelle met the guys at camp and had dinner started by time they made it back in the evening.
We got up and out of the camper by 4:30am.  An inch or so of fresh snow awaited us on the 45 minute drive to the honey hole.  We first attempted to get to the top of the ridge and drop down to the elk Erik and Gordon had put to bed.  However, that road was too drifted to get through so we headed to the bottom.  It was flurrying, cold and black dark when we got to our spot and the wind was out of the ENE.  We took our time getting to a vantage point Erik thought would let us see the elk as it got light.  We made it in plenty of time and just as it was getting light Michelle heard an elk call.  After two more calls, Erik spotted the herd just to our East.  We were not in a good position and if it were any lighter we would have been stuck.  It was still dark enough that we were able to get off the ridge and make our way to the elk.  As we moved toward them the lead bull bugled a few times, what a great sound.  We topped the ridge to our right to realize that the elk were feeding to the North and we were just too far away for a shot.  So, we backed out and headed North to cut them off.  On our way to the next ridge we bumped several mule deer and two small bulls.  The bulls had gone straight North, so we didn’t worry too much about them.  We continued making our way and the next thing we knew, the same two little bulls were running back down the ridge straight for the herd.  We thought for sure they were going to blow the hunt by alerting the others.  We made it to the rim of the hill and set up in a position where Gordon could shoot.  Sure enough the two bulls alerted the others to a problem and they were somewhat nervous and herding up.  However, they didn’t take off out of the country, so we had time to pick out the big bull.

Gordon

Erik sat to Gordon’s left and helped him pick out the bull to shoot in this herd of dozens of cows and several nice 6 points.  Only moments past and I heard the boom from the 300mag and the very distinct ‘thwap’ as it hit the bull.  Immediately the herd started to ball up, but they still didn’t leave the area.  It was difficult for us to see the bull that Gordon hit until the herd finally started moving off and the lead bull was unable to keep up.  Another shot that hit its mark put the bull on the ground.  What a magnificent bull!  A 6×7 majesty with a black mane and buck skin body.  He had a huge body and gigantic hooves.

Erik & Gordon

This was a trophy for more reasons than just being a nice bull.  Gordon, at age 78, killed the biggest elk of his life.  He worked hard on this five mile trek and suffered frigid temperatures and deep snow.  We can only hope to be in half as good of shape as he when we are that age.  The trip out was another adventure in itself.  Snow kept piling up as the morning wore on and winds drifted in our trail within minutes.  Truly without divine intervention we would have been in a heap of trouble getting out this day.  Thank you, Lord for being with us on all of our adventures and always keeping us safe!!

loaded on the Ranger

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