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Well, the big hunting trip has gone and past and I'm sitting here with a sad face, empty chest and am just plain frustrated.

It all started last year when I found a pretty consistent funnel area on public land that exited a 3000 acre private ranch with meadow and river in it, which I had permission to hunt. However, the public land area and backside provided more encounters and last year I called in a big bull two different days without offering a glimpse. His chuckles sent shivers down your spine.

Determined to hit the same area this year I was instantly rewarded when on the first morning I had a growler working the travel route only to skirt around me at 50 yards, not coming into bow range and continuing up the drainage with his cows. Happy to be on elk so early, I knew it was going to be a great week.

The week was also hot, 40 degree mornings and 90 degree days. On Thursday a weather front moved in and we had rain, 50-60 degree days and 20-degree mornings. This was good.

Back in my travel route on Friday I called in another bull. where I hunt is thick so they can get within 30 yards and you still don't see them.

Saturday morning came fast and finally with cooler temperatures the forest errupted with elk. I had 3-5 bulls working around me and one with a distinct bugle that made me think he could be the big bull I called in last year (never to be seen however)

he was on fire, as well as a nice rag horn who's game was to run half-circles around me screaming and growling like a young teenager. A high pitched whistle also could be heard. I thought it to be from one of the three spikes that were in the area. It was awesome. Slowly the bugles drifted out and they were traveling out of the meadow into the timber. Intent to see the bulls we ran with them and as I came to the road that our car was parked on, there was a man with an elk whistle, broken arrow and dangling peep sight. They parked right up from my truck and as they heard the bugles they started calling from the road which lured the elk up and out, not to mention they spooked them as they crossed.

He shot at a cow at 10-yards and missed. His arrow blew up on him. That area is bull only this year and he told me he had a disability tag that allowed him to shoot a cow. Yeah right, road hunter to say the least. I think he got what he deserved.

I had an idea of where the bull was heading so we jumped in the truck and headed off to cut his trail a couple miles up the logging roads. I turned down a logging road to head up there and astonished and amazed, i see the biggest bull I've ever seen in my life in the woods, a whale-tailed 6x6 with the lightest tan coat you've ever seen and white tips to boot. We instantly stopped and watched has he bounded off the road, not too fast though. I left immediate, planning to return that night. I looked at his tracks and it was the same tracks I was seeing in the area.

When we returned that night it was as if he was waiting. The bulls' bugles ripped through the air and I called him in to less than 50 yards three different times. he would not close the distance though. Last year, I bugled too much i think so this year I concentrated more on cow calling. I did bugle but not nearly as much. He really liked my primos terminator with just the tube and a diaphragm. That night as shooting light diminished and the big bull toar a tree not more than 50 yards from my parked truck, cows running around us, I sat there, wondering how this could happen again, like last years, a big bull, with a chuckle so distinquisable you know he's huge, called in multiple times, multiple days, patterns tracked, yet no shots or even a good look while on pursuit.

I made another go one more time my last morning before heading out. I just couldn't let it go. Unfortunatley I was late getting there and missed him. I could hear him bugling up the canyon. Determined to cut tracks again i headed up to the western side and ran into another local who's family has hunted the area for more than 50 years. I've known of his hunting success for years and he's the guy who always has the secret spots. He told me he's hunting one of the biggest branch antlered bull he's seen in the area for quite some years. He told me he had whale tails and thick mass and sported an impressive light colored rack. However he said the bull wouldn't bugle and come into him. He also confirmed my travel route and hinted that I was in a very good travel section which happened to be in line with where I found him at. We talked for an hour and a half and I know one thing, my honey hole might not be a secret but it's provided plenty of elk kills for the mans family the last 50 years.

The big bull is there and the season just peaked. Cool weather has arrived with some moisture and the bulls are talking more than ever. Two of my friends who were there with me also know about the beast. In some strange greedy way, I hope he lives so next year, I have one more chance at a true public land legend. There headed there tomorrow though so we'll see. I wish them both the best of luck but deep down, I think the bull has a thing for my calling. I heard him bugle at least 30 different times.

I need to puke again:(
 

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ELK Hunting

I feel your sorrow, earlier this season found a great 5 point and was OH so close, then he just vanished...but as you say the chase will be awaiting you for the following season.

How well would treestands work in your "travel" corridor? Might be able to clean up some shooting lanes..in multiple directions enough to possibly see the elk that were circling you??? Just throwin out ideas.

Jason
 

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I dont understand all the gloom. That sounds like a good, no great season to me! Lots of elk close. Great bugling. I am usually happier when I dont kill an elk. It means I get to hunt the whole season. This year I killed one within a week. Been a boring last 18 days of my season. I should have held out for a smaller elk I am beginning to think.

Ever move closer to elk instead of waiting for them to to come to you when they get close?
 

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Boy I wish I could have made the trip this year to Oregon to chase elk, I hunted Oregon last year and had a great time. You have a great state.
From what I read your hunt sounds pretty successful. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
you're right it was a great hunt. One of the best I"ve ever experienced but I really feel if I had one more week he would be mine.

Definitley could be wrong. what if, could of, should of. shoot I don't know!

The thing is I've never killed an elk and I thought this was the year.

I was aggressive but I always stopped at like 50-70 yards not wanting to run into one that was coming in quiet. the elk there get pretty call shy from the weekend warriors and as you've all experienced, the next thing you know, there right there on top of you.

However, I think you're right. I had him raking trees in 4 different areas going crazy. I should have closed the distance. My buddy forgot his elk calls, couldn't use a diaphragm so all he could do was rake trees. It definitely worked though. I was working a diaphragm, hot lips, HS estrus call, and using the tube bugle with a red primos diaphragm.

he was eating it up. It was honestly unbelievable.

We sat the last night till 10 talking back with him. OHhhhhhh So close. I'll be talking about him for a lifetime. Definitley a true stud and smart animal.

THe local who I know had scouted him all summer since he was grouped up with 30 cows. Bull wouldn't come in to him at all either.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
no one shot the bull during archery season.

happy about that. Rifle season starts for a week coming up, maybe today or next week.

THe local who was chasing him also told my buddy if he didn't shoot it that last day, his daughter was going to get it since she has a rifle tag.

I'm crossing my fingers they don't kill him. He is the big beast of that area and if he makes it this year, I"m killing him next year.

Been on him for two years I think and he's huge. I think I have to be more aggressive. I had him raking trees like four times for 5-10 minutes. That's when I need to sneak in like a ninja and finish the job. I always stop at 50 and he holds up also and won't come in. He's a smart one.
335 days and counting.
 

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I feel your pain. I just spent a week in Steens Mountain in southern Oregon hunting mulies. Saw plenty of antelope and kicked up a bunch of muley does. But it wasn't until the last evening of the last day of the hunt that I actually got a chance at a buck. In the end, though, the big boy eluded me. Even so, still had a great time.
 

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Are the elk still rutting at all right now? I heard that they still bugle during the rifle season, which starts next Sat. I got a cascade elk rifle tag for here in Oregon because I archery hunted in Co. this year. I only hope that my honey hole from last archery season is still a honey hole this year for rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
my buddy got back from NM this past Monday and said that during the week he was there the bulls were going crazy and bugling up a storm. That was Oct. 6th.

I dont' know about next week, especially on public lands and in Oregon. but I would think that if there were any late born calfs and cows who weren't bred the first time, they could possibly be late coming into estrus and extending the breeding period.

However, after the month long archery season, week to two week rifle season, those deer and elk are pretty spooked and call shy.

I'd suggest just cutting tracks and going after them and to try to find a clearcut where they're feeding.

good luck, don't shoot my bull!
 
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