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  1. #1
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    Tag Soup 2013!!!!

    We all hear about the successful hunts, big bucks, bulls, antelope, fun hunts, ect. This is a thread for everyone that went out there and gave it all they had and came home with a tag in their pocket and alot of great memories they will never forget! Honestly some of my most memorable hunts were some high country hunts where i never even got close to pulling the trigger, yet i explored some awesome country, endured September snow storms, carried my pack until I couldnt take another step, saw mountain goats, sheep, moose, and every animal except the one I had a tag for, and took pictures I look at years later and say "I sure wish i was there right now"! The ONLY requirement to this thread is you have to enjoyed making your 'tag soup'. If you are unhappy about the tag thats still in your pocket DO NOT post on this thread! Stories, pics, whatever you want to share about your 'tag soup' hunt lets see it guys

  2. #2
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    This year I went on an elk hunt here in my home state. The general tag is for spike only in these units and you have to buy a general tag to get PPs for the any bull tag takes over 10 points to draw. Armed with my general tag i set our to fill my freezer and get to know the area for someday when i draw a tag. This area is only a few hours from where I live but I had never been in it. After studying maps and google earth I choose an area where i could drive to the edge of the wilderness, set up my canvas tent, and hike into the wilderness. I got there mid afternoon, set up camp, and walked up into a saddle behind camp and glassed until dark. Next morning I headed out before first light and climbed to the top of a hill behind camp where I could see for miles. I stayed there and glassed and took pics until late morning then worked a mile or so down the ridge. The next couple days I worked farther into the wilderness area working down different ridges and finding good vantage points to glass. Next to the last day I was up before sunup and when I looked out of the tent it was socked in fog and I couldnt see 50 feet. I got a fire going in my little wood stove and decided to wait a bit hoping it would clear. About every time it would start to clear and I was going to go it would start to rain. It did this several times and finally it cleared some and I decided to go out. Next morning I broke camp and headed home, doing some glassing on the way out. I was there 5 days and never saw an elk or deer! Still i had a great time, saw some new country, and decided that is not the unit i want to apply in next year!! The only elk I saw was a small 5 point on top of someones SUV going out when I was going in. Next year I will choose another area in this group pf units and try it againClick image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    I've never had tag soup... what does it taste like? Just kidding! I have several tags every year and eat at least one or two. These are usually over the counter or easy to get tags though. I've never eaten a tag that was a hard to draw heart breaker (maybe because I've only had a few premium tags over the years). I'm sure my time will come though... This is an interesting thread, thanks for posting it up!

  4. #4
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    After dining on some not so delicious tag soup on a 2012 Colorado elk hunt, I found a new area that looked fun to try. After months of google earth research, and several PM's back and forth from Ivorytip, I had settled on the drainage I would hunt.
    On our first afternoon, we packed in about 2 miles before finding a great vantage point. My brother and buddy set up the tents, while I grabbed my bino's.. Holy crap!! Elk! A bull!!! After spending a week in Colorado last year, and rarely seeing elk, it felt really good to spot this guy. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	7758. We ended up seeing 9 more that night.

    We camped for the night, and spent the better part of the next day getting further in, and wrapping around to the other side of the drainage where we first spotted the elk. We finally dropped down into the main canyon, as we were nearly out of water, and much to our dismay, the creek was dry.. WTF. We hiked another mile up the canyon, finally found water, and camped for the night.
    The next morning, we climbed about 800 feet in elevation, set up on a bugling bull, and ended up calling in a 5 point to about 100 yards. He wanted to come in SO BAD, but just couldn't talk himself into it. Click image for larger version. 

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    For the next 4-5 days, we messed with these elk, hunting them very cautiously, to avoid bumping them out. On the 6th day of our hunt, we finally ran into our first people, two guides that advised they were bringing in two hunters on Sunday night, 3 days from now. Over the next few days, we would run into them every once in a while, and ended up talking to them quite a bit. They seemed like pretty good guys, so I told them that I would be hunting this area the next week, and told them the general area that I had been hunting, in hopes that we could all spread out, as we were the only ones in the canyon.

    Friday night, day 7, we had an encounter with an awesome bull, I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert at scoring bulls, but this guy had a serious set of horns. He skirted around us, bugling every 100 yards or so. I tried to stalk along with him, but man those jokers can move through the timber. Click image for larger version. 

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    We took my buddy to the airport Saturday afternoon, making it back to camp on sunday night. Monday morning was the first day the guides would be taking their hunters. We woke early, to bulls bugling like crazy above us. We gained about 600 feet of elevation, and were now above a total rut fest, 5 bulls going absolutely nuts in a little drainage. The bulls bugled non stop until about 11am, when they went to bed about a half mile or so from us. We soon heard one of the guides bugling and cow calling below us, in the drainage the elk were currently in. As they moved closer, we decided to no longer play it safe, and tried to stalk the bulls in their beds, as it was just a matter of time before these elk blew out of the drainage.

    By 12:30, we had gained elevation, got above the elk, and got the wind perfect, blowing right up the canyon, from them to us. As we kept closing the distance, the guide below us continued to do the same, bugling the whole way, which worked perfect, as it made our bull respond ever time. After what seemed like an eternity (kinda like this story), we were within 50 yards of the bull. The vegetation was so thick, we couldn't see him. At last I spotted him, 50 yards below us. I continued the stalk, as he suddenly started ramping up his bugling. At 40 yards his bugling was totally awesome. I made it to 32 yards when the bull stood up and started meandering around. Click image for larger version. 

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    I saw that he was going to walk through an opening, so I stood, stepped into a lane and drew. He walked into the opening, and a quartering away, downhill angle. A perfect shot for a guy used to sticking whitetails out of a treestand.

    And then, a million things went through my mind... Oh wow, this thing is way bigger than a whitey, if I stick him here, I might only get one lung. Is one lung enough? I don't want to wound him. God, he's big.

    And then he walked out of the opening. My heart sank. A cow walked right by me at 10 yards, I asked my brother if I should shoot her. "No way dude, that bull is still right there!"

    We stood there for 20 minutes, watching bits and pieces of elk walking around through the timber, as the guide's bugling got closer and closer. Finally, the entire herd came blowing out from below us, running right by me. They had finally been spooked. Game over.

    We stuck around for 2 more days, not hearing any more bugles, before we headed home.. It was my brothers first wedding anniversary, and I couldn't have him miss that!

    All in all, this was easily the best tag soup I've ever eaten. We were into elk nearly every day, and if I had a rifle, I could have easily killed 3 6 points and 2 5 points. The weather was wonderful, except for a little bit of rain here and there, no one got hurt, and we spent a week and a half in an OTC unit, and only saw 2 other people the entire trip. Can't wait to get back. Click image for larger version. 

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    My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

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  6. #5
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    Great story and pics Fink. Thanks for sharing!! I been thinking about this thread since my elk hunt. Thought it would be a fun topic!

  7. #6
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    Awesome story and pics Fink! This is what keeps us coming back for more... glad you enjoyed your soup so much! I'd gladly have a bowl of that too.

  8. #7
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    Great stories guys. Tag soup isn't as hard to swallow when you saw what you were after. MM you elk hunt reminds me of many I have had in the past. Fink, even without tagging out, that sound like a hell of a fun hunt!

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  10. #8
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    My son and I flew to a lake east of Tok and hunted for about 5 days. The day that we flew in I did some cow calling, just to see if I could entice some far away bull to come closer during the night. As you know, we can't hunt on the same day that we fly up here. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later a nice bull showed up across the lake from us. He was talking and coming right to us and ended up swimming the lake to get to our side. He was a nice looking bull in the 50"-55" range with really big brow tines that had lots of points but his palms were narrow. He didn't hang around for the following day.

    The first legal day of hunting was beautiful weather, short sleeve shirts! That evening I cow-called a bull into about 100 yards but he was smaller than the previous bull, about 45". We never had a good shot at him and he ended up leaving the area too.

    The next three days gave us everything that the weather could think of; cold, warm, snow, rain and dense fog. We managed to find a lonely cow but the bulls weren't talking or moving. The season closed on the 17th without us firing a shot! Of course, on the 18th I called a nice bull right to us. He hung around close to camp for quite sometime and would have been about a 25 yard pack-out to the lake! Maybe next season!
    This trip gave me some of the most valuable time spent with my son that I could ever hope for. The closeness that we shared in a camp, watching the aurora at night (when we could see it), talking over a fire, reading our bibles together, there is nothing finer in this life.
    I wouldn't care if I ate "tag soup" for the rest of my life, if all my hunts were like this one. Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #9
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    Sounds like those guys sure know when you can and cant hunt! That sounds like something that would happen to me. LOL! great story!

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    These are some photos that I didn't get attached to the story. The bull is the last one to come in, sorry about the poor quality photo!

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