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The Monkey Is Off My Back


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#1 McBruce

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:16 AM

Real story to follow....but yesterday was opening day of 3rd season rifle elk. I had a land owners voucher tag, and by 12:30 had a cow on the ground and was skinning her out. ( the full story is much more exciting then the end result ) but for now I have to get back out to Silverheels Ranch and finish processing a bunch of meat.
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#2 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:21 AM

Congratulations on the Elk. After trying to bag one on public land a couple of years ago it is just not so easy to do. Hey with the monkey off your back are you any better looking. Lol
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#3 Chrud

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:06 AM

Congrats Bruce!

#4 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:03 AM

Congrats my brother from another mother! That is one story I'll be waiting to hear. And don't forget the photo coverage please. Can't wait. Posted Image Posted Image
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#5 Spirithawk

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:15 AM

Congrats Bruce. Enjoy all that good eating bud.

#6 REDGREEN

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:58 AM

Way to go Bruce. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

#7 Larry $

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 12:57 PM

Nice job Bwana! :clap: :clap: :clap:

See you in a few hours. 3:)

(Bruce actually had a chance at two of the private land vouchers and was generous to offer the other one to me, so Melody and I are packing up the camper and heading that way. Hope to have another story to add to his soon!)
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#8 Woody

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 02:23 PM

congrats Bruce!!!!!! Happy Eating eh Posted Image Posted Image
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#9 Leo

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 02:54 PM

That's great! I am trully happy for you!
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#10 Phil

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 05:36 PM

Huge congrats Bruce and best of luck to Larry & Mel ( remember to check the freezer plug!)
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#11 McBruce

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:40 PM

The day started out with JT and I hunting. We decided to let someone else do the work for us being opening weekend and heavy hunting pressure. JT has watched a pattern of when the elk are pressured, they come down and cross their ranch and head back up into national forest or they get pressured from national forest and cross his land and head across the hwy and up into a different GMU ( game management unit. So we set up where we figured they would come down and cross. 4 hours of waiting, only hearing 2 sets of shots way off in the distance, we figured there wasn't enough pressure. I went to drop JT off at his place and on the way out saw elk coming down the hillside. I stopped, turned around and pulled back into their 1 1/2 mile long drive way and proceeded to do a stalk down the drive and to be in place where I figured the elk would cross. It was perfect. there were about 30 head of elk working their way along a creek bottom and I was in the right spot. But they were all balled up. I couldn't pick out one animal to shoot. I kept watching and watching, I had the scope on one then on another just as I was ready to pull the trigger one would either walk infront of or behind the one I was going to shoot. it was 314 yard shot and I just kept waiting & waiting as they worked their way down the creek bottom. Finally they seperated out and I had a shot at a cow at the back of the herd. I take the deep breath...hold up...set my 300 yard slash right on the boiler room, squeeze off a shot and she jumps forward, spins and the elk start mulling around. I watch and she doesn't drop, doesn't even show signs of being hit, I rack another round in the chamber and pull off a 2nd shot...again she spins and runs the other direction...and it appears a clean miss. I rack a 3rd round in the chamber and now the herd is moving way and I am watching and get a 3rd shot at her and again, nothing.

Ok I stop shooting. I have either wounded an animal and its not laying down, or I have clean misses. but I can't tell. I watch to see if one is slow or staggering, running off a ways before laying down, but nope they all just run off towards national forest.

There is NO WAY I could have missed 3 shots. I have the rifle sighted in for that yardage. I go back to the pickup and my cell phone is ringing, Its JT, he has watched the whole thing from the house with his spotting scope. He didn't see any animals go down either.

We figure they are gone and we head out to his rifle range at the back of his ranch and set up at 280 yards ( as far as we can get back without shooting through fences. ) we put out 3 shots and then drive down and check the paper. Not awesome groups but all in kill zones. Its not the scope, I simply pulled the shots, plain and simple. So I offer to buy JT lunch and take a break from all of this, when JT says look at that. The elk had never left his property. They had made it to some aspens and had held up. Now the lead cow was taking them up over the fence and up a hill onto national forest. I grab some ammo, and made sure I had my license. We take off on foot over the fence and head up and away from the elk. Knowing how fast they can cover ground, we had to get up and farther down the ridge line so we could cut them off. Now JT is a 25 year old 6 ft 3 colorado cowboy who hikes up and down these mountains for fun, just to be ready for a chase. me I'm getting old and fat and I'm sucking air and my lungs are burning like you wouldn't believe trying to keep up with this kid. Not to mention I'm almost twice his age and much shorter ...just walking behind him you have to run to keep up with his walk. In any case we crest the ridge and on the other side is a little draw and an aspen grove.

We can see the tracks in the snow where the elk crossed over and headed down into the aspens. We hold the high ridge line and follow along the aspens. JT looks at me and says we need to drop down into the draw and get to the other side. We are headed directly towards a very popular camping spot. He says there is no way the elk are going to keep going that direction. We need to be where we can see over that next ridge. We drop down into the draw and we cut tracks. However it only appears to be 7 - 10 animals, not the whole herd. Hmmm where could of the rest gone? So we keep going looking for tracks and we reach the next ridge, there are hunters on the other side below us. From the sounds of it, they were trying to break trail with a pickup and got stuck. We can hear them trying to rock it out, then cussing then rock it out again, then cussing, we laugh and start heading on up the ridge. JT keeps saying, I can't believe the Elk would go this way, not with that clearing up ahead that always has hunters camp in it. Just as he says it, I see the elk. Across the draw coming back down. They are probably 60 yards across, with a thick aspen grove between us. We are trying to find a shooting lane as they are now directly across from us and moving quickly and quietly through the trees. They have their heads down, they aren't running, but they are not taking their time. They are feeling pressure and just want out of there, however they are strung out going by in twos and three's. In seconds we find a shooting lane. maybe 2 ft wide with cross branches all up and down it. I pick a window and look through the scope. JT calls the shots for me, telling me to hold because they are stacked up and we don't want one bullet hitting two animals. Then he says SINGLE and as she steps into the opening I pull the trigger. CLICK! a miss fire. I rack the bolt open and apparently my bullets had jammed in the mag. I pop them loose and rack a round in ( this time watching to make sure the receiver picks up the bullet and puts it into the chamber. JT keeps saying...stay calm, we have lots of elk coming through, you'll get the perfect shot, just wait...wait...wait....Ok Single and just as Im' ready to squeeze the shot she drops down out of my sights, apparently she went down and below some tree's instead of staying on the line the other elk were taking....I hold the window and watch more elk come through, JT is saying, more coming, don't worry, we are good...single. She steps into the window and I watch her come through the cross hairs of my scope. I squeeze the trigger and the 300 win mag sounds off, she hits the ground, it was an upper neck shot that took out her spine. The herd had never seen us, even with all the movements, the miss fire, JT's coaching...they had no clue where the shot came from and they broke and ran, swinging back towards us. Here we have 30-40 head of elk charge straight at us, they come with in 20 yards and stop dead in their tracks just looking at us. then turn back north the direction we had originally been following them and charged through the aspens. In just a split moment they were gone.

Now the work of skinning, 1/4ering and packing her out began. The shot was taken around 12:30 pm and by 3:00 oclock, JT and I had her skinned and loaded onto packs, with the help of my business partner who we called and guilt'd into coming and helping, we brought her out in one load each.

We got her back to the shop and hung her up. Today we spent the entire day, cutting, boning, grinding and packaging the meat. All said and done we have around 90 lbs of burger done up and about 35 lbs of steaks.

I couldn't have done it without JT's help. He and his wife and myself, cut meat all day. There isn't enough thanks that can go to them for all the help.

Now its my turn to head back out and help Larry out and see if we can do a repeat. I only hope if he gets the 300 yard shot, he doesn't get buck fever like I did...its a drama I could live without :)
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#12 Hungry Horse

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:32 AM

Bubba: Great hunt and story. Glad the elk gave you all those opportunities. Congratulations on your cow elk, and hope Mel and Larry have as much fun and success. HH in Pa Posted Image

#13 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:58 AM

Thanks for sharing that story Bruce. I enjoyed reading it. Elk - it's what for dinner for some months to come and man is it good.


Larry good luck and Bruce take your camera some how.
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#14 bonecollector34

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:34 PM

congrats buddy

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#15 Fossil

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 11:10 AM

Way to go Bruce and congrads-liked the story too............
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