October/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - Every fall I anticipate the upcoming elk season. Being an opportunist, I look for ways to hunt elk, whether it’s over-the-counter archery in Idaho, preference points in other states, or guided. This year I had set up a guided hunt in Oregon with Blue Mountain Adventures.
Growing up in eastern Oregon, I knew this hunt area was rough country, so it was time to step up my workout routine to help make my upcoming hunt more enjoyable and hopefully successful. I started jogging at first and then after a few months I was running in the hills. I also set up some backpacking trips on the weekend to scout for elk in my home state of Washington. I spent hours at the range, shooting in all positions out to 500 yards.
I’ve been lucky enough to harvest a few good bulls. Prior to this season, my biggest was a 316 DIY bull taken in Idaho with my bow. My goal for this hunt was to take a 340-plus bull - a high standard for a sleeper state like Oregon, not to mention I don’t like to go home emptyhanded. Prior to this hunt, I had only ever passed on one branch-antlered bull, so passing on smaller bulls would be a challenge for me.
November is a great time to elk hunt. The bulls are pulling off the herd and settling into patternable routines. They tend to find a small area in a basin and concentrate on feeding, not moving more than a few hundred yards.
I would be hunting canyon country where you can glass well. It’s picturesque country with long knife ridges and lots of fingers off of the main canyon. Overall, it’s a fantastic place and even greater hunt.
I finally showed up in camp, settled in, and talked with the guide, Bob. Later that afternoon, we found ourselves on a perch, glassing a bull we’ll call "Four-Point”, because his backs looked like a four-point buck on his left antler. This was a great thing to see the night before season opened, but there were at least five other guys glassing him, so we watched him and three other bulls until the light faded. I thought to myself that he would probably just disappear like all the big ones seem to when season starts, but I felt blessed just to see a bull like that on public land.
For a full account of Matt's adventure, go to page 26 in the October/November 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.