1st Bull Elk - Oregon Coast 2nd Rifle story

ZCoastie

Newbie
Joined
Sep 29, 2022
Messages
6
First story post here of my 1st successful Bull elk hunt! Long winded version of my story below here. TLDR version is a 5x4-5ish bull for my first kill.

This was technically my second season for elk hunting, but last year was basically a short part of 1 day so I don't necessarily count it, but I did have an unpunched tag. Solo for the hunt.

I opted for 2nd Rifle season here on the Oregon Coast since I'd have 2 days to go out and try my hand at tagging one of these beasts. This is my 2nd year hunting across the board so call me lucky for both years. Last year I was able to get a decent sized forky during deer season. This year at tag soup for a buck. Along comes elk season...

During other seasons this year I spotted a couple elk here and there but only 1 spike. He was in an area that I wouldn't really be able to get to with my physical ability (no disabilities, just fat and out of shape), so I didn't keep that one on my list for this year. When we spotted that one, it was chuckling a bit and this was during rifle deer season. I hadn't really heard that in person before so that was a pretty cool experience and got my hyped up!

Come opening day for Elk, I decided to go to an area that I hadn't been to this year yet. I did some very basic e-scouting to drop a couple waypoints of area's I think looked good. When doing so in person, they looked pretty awesome but either had people there already or no recent signs. Granted this was very minimal hiking and a lot of road driving. For anyone familiar with the Alsea unit in Oregon, there's logging roads *everywhere*. In many ways, you're at a disadvantage not using a vehicle more. Checked out many areas with no luck for signs of any life really and lots of people. I rolled up into one area that looked amazing and as I was getting out of the car to go hike for a bit, I hear a couple shots ahead of me but couldn't see anyone. Hopefully those people had success, but that was enough for me to get out of that area and let them have it.

Feeling a little defeated I was working my way back home and saw a couple little spur roads that looked halfway decent on the map. One of them I was very surprised to not find any vehicles at. I parked in a forested area and decided to walk into the clear cut areas. The further I walked in, the better the area looked. Nice creek down on one edge butted up against some thick dark timber. I was up higher but not quite on a ridgeline so I felt like it was a good place to move around with a little concealment since I could walk back on the road a bit and have a few hundred yards of clearcut between me and the creek. As I walked a bit further in, I saw this tall grassy meadow along the creek and I just felt like that was a fantastic place to camp out for a couple hours until sunset.

Maybe 30 minutes before sunset, I was about to give up then I heard something crashing through the timber. A few seconds later there was some more branches breaking or something but it was getting louder and closer to the creek. Then you could hear big splash after splash as something was jumping into the creek. I was getting excited hearing all this and I couldn't even see what it was yet but I basically knew it had to be elk since it was clearly a small herd of something. It was pretty cool hearing all that even not knowing what they were at the time.

A few minutes later I spotted 4 cow elk starting to graze in the pasture I was scoping out. About 8-9 elk came out... all cows. Then I think I spotted a spike, but when I had to reposition to get in a better shooting setup in case one came out, I couldn't find it again so I wasn't sure. I still sat there trying to be patient. There were 2 elk I could see part of that hadn't made it into the meadow yet and couldn't tell what they were yet. Eventually one came out, it was a cow, then the 2nd one was a nice branch bull!! I couldn't tell how many points through my scope, but it was obviously more than a spike. Adrenaline started pumping, I got a little shaky and was like "holy crap, I may have a shot at this!!" I was watching him as he came out more then he turned broadside and started eating.

I double checked my range since I was in a good spot, posted up on a stump behind a couple small tree's for cover. 325 yards. Totally doable and where I felt comfortable and consistent at the range. Dial my scope (cds from Leupold) to 3.25 and take aim trying to breathe slowly and not let the adrenaline and shakiness affect my shot. I pull the trigger and nothing happens, no click, nothing.... "oh **it" rookie mistake of not flipping the safety off. Flip that and fire! First shot I was confident double lunged him but he didn't drop. He started moving as I racked another one and fired while he was on the move. He fell down with the second shot. I repositioned a little since the tree I was behind had a branch obstructing my view a little. He was raising his head up and tried to stand but couldn't. I decided to fire a third shot to finish the job since I didn't want to risk him running off where I couldn't find him across the creek.

A minute later I'm confident he wasn't moving but here I am, by myself having killed my first elk. Still shaking and thinking, this really just happened. I didn't really have a plan so that was poorly thought out. I had a smidge of cell phone service (that's pretty common in this area when higher up), so I called a friend, sent a few texts hoping to get a hold of someone. I was super stoked! Luckily one friend answered and said he was on his way! It was getting dark fast so I knew this would be a long night to hike down to him and pack him out. While waiting for friend 1 to show up, a couple other friends who were also out hunting replied and said they were on their way too.

First friend and I hiked in to locate him. As we got closer I could see a tiny little thing reflecting light back, so we cautiously approached and it was him! Tossed a stick to make sure he was dead. Shined a light on him and he was very clearly a 5x4. Had a tiny point starting to form, it could hold a ring, so maybe some would say it's a 5x5?

and began field dressing which was a slow process since we both had never done an elk, and only just learned on a deer the year prior.

It's amazing having friends willing to drop everything and come field dress an animal and help haul it out of the woods in the dark. There were 5 of us total so we were able to pack it out in one haul back to their truck. It was maybe a half mile and up a reasonable incline, but it wasn't nearly as bad as most. All in all it was about 5 hours before we got out of there from the kill to the truck.

So now here we are with the quartered elk hanging in a barn to age for a bit. My first elk is a 5x4/5x5 and I'm pumped about it! Meat in the freezer for my family, and decent bragging rights with my friends.

elk1.jpg

elk2.jpg

elk3.jpg
 

Rogue Bay

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
110
Location
Oregon coast
Congrats on an awesome first bull and thanks for the great write up! All elk are special, but the first is a little more so in my opinion. Hats off to you for getting it done solo as well!
 

Jacob_Outdoors

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
397
Location
Oregon
Great write up, and congrats on the elk. I’ve spent time off and on in the Alsea the last few years.


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TripleJ

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
1,423
Location
OR
Congrats, great job! That unit isn't the easiest to find success in for sure.
 

A.hol1

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
89
Nice work!
I love those Rosie racks. Oregon coast hunting can be tough, I’ve been all over stotts mountain unit, congrats!!


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Wyohunth

Newbie
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
8
Nicely done! And congrats having 4 good friends to help. When I get one down my friends are usually 'busy' :).
 
OP
Z

ZCoastie

Newbie
Joined
Sep 29, 2022
Messages
6
Thanks everyone! We've had a few good meals so far with it too. Have some plans for making jerky, sausage, etc...

The Alsea Unit is all I've known hunting wise so far. Still a lot to learn here, but definitely want to branch out to other units. Some of the canyons are pretty darn steep and brush is crazy thick in a lot of places. I feel very lucky for this kill where it wasn't bad at all compared to some I've had friends do.

Here at least I know I can get OTC tags for everything while I build up points.
 

Dalton138

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
32
First story post here of my 1st successful Bull elk hunt! Long winded version of my story below here. TLDR version is a 5x4-5ish bull for my first kill.

This was technically my second season for elk hunting, but last year was basically a short part of 1 day so I don't necessarily count it, but I did have an unpunched tag. Solo for the hunt.

I opted for 2nd Rifle season here on the Oregon Coast since I'd have 2 days to go out and try my hand at tagging one of these beasts. This is my 2nd year hunting across the board so call me lucky for both years. Last year I was able to get a decent sized forky during deer season. This year at tag soup for a buck. Along comes elk season...

During other seasons this year I spotted a couple elk here and there but only 1 spike. He was in an area that I wouldn't really be able to get to with my physical ability (no disabilities, just fat and out of shape), so I didn't keep that one on my list for this year. When we spotted that one, it was chuckling a bit and this was during rifle deer season. I hadn't really heard that in person before so that was a pretty cool experience and got my hyped up!

Come opening day for Elk, I decided to go to an area that I hadn't been to this year yet. I did some very basic e-scouting to drop a couple waypoints of area's I think looked good. When doing so in person, they looked pretty awesome but either had people there already or no recent signs. Granted this was very minimal hiking and a lot of road driving. For anyone familiar with the Alsea unit in Oregon, there's logging roads *everywhere*. In many ways, you're at a disadvantage not using a vehicle more. Checked out many areas with no luck for signs of any life really and lots of people. I rolled up into one area that looked amazing and as I was getting out of the car to go hike for a bit, I hear a couple shots ahead of me but couldn't see anyone. Hopefully those people had success, but that was enough for me to get out of that area and let them have it.

Feeling a little defeated I was working my way back home and saw a couple little spur roads that looked halfway decent on the map. One of them I was very surprised to not find any vehicles at. I parked in a forested area and decided to walk into the clear cut areas. The further I walked in, the better the area looked. Nice creek down on one edge butted up against some thick dark timber. I was up higher but not quite on a ridgeline so I felt like it was a good place to move around with a little concealment since I could walk back on the road a bit and have a few hundred yards of clearcut between me and the creek. As I walked a bit further in, I saw this tall grassy meadow along the creek and I just felt like that was a fantastic place to camp out for a couple hours until sunset.

Maybe 30 minutes before sunset, I was about to give up then I heard something crashing through the timber. A few seconds later there was some more branches breaking or something but it was getting louder and closer to the creek. Then you could hear big splash after splash as something was jumping into the creek. I was getting excited hearing all this and I couldn't even see what it was yet but I basically knew it had to be elk since it was clearly a small herd of something. It was pretty cool hearing all that even not knowing what they were at the time.

A few minutes later I spotted 4 cow elk starting to graze in the pasture I was scoping out. About 8-9 elk came out... all cows. Then I think I spotted a spike, but when I had to reposition to get in a better shooting setup in case one came out, I couldn't find it again so I wasn't sure. I still sat there trying to be patient. There were 2 elk I could see part of that hadn't made it into the meadow yet and couldn't tell what they were yet. Eventually one came out, it was a cow, then the 2nd one was a nice branch bull!! I couldn't tell how many points through my scope, but it was obviously more than a spike. Adrenaline started pumping, I got a little shaky and was like "holy crap, I may have a shot at this!!" I was watching him as he came out more then he turned broadside and started eating.

I double checked my range since I was in a good spot, posted up on a stump behind a couple small tree's for cover. 325 yards. Totally doable and where I felt comfortable and consistent at the range. Dial my scope (cds from Leupold) to 3.25 and take aim trying to breathe slowly and not let the adrenaline and shakiness affect my shot. I pull the trigger and nothing happens, no click, nothing.... "oh **it" rookie mistake of not flipping the safety off. Flip that and fire! First shot I was confident double lunged him but he didn't drop. He started moving as I racked another one and fired while he was on the move. He fell down with the second shot. I repositioned a little since the tree I was behind had a branch obstructing my view a little. He was raising his head up and tried to stand but couldn't. I decided to fire a third shot to finish the job since I didn't want to risk him running off where I couldn't find him across the creek.

A minute later I'm confident he wasn't moving but here I am, by myself having killed my first elk. Still shaking and thinking, this really just happened. I didn't really have a plan so that was poorly thought out. I had a smidge of cell phone service (that's pretty common in this area when higher up), so I called a friend, sent a few texts hoping to get a hold of someone. I was super stoked! Luckily one friend answered and said he was on his way! It was getting dark fast so I knew this would be a long night to hike down to him and pack him out. While waiting for friend 1 to show up, a couple other friends who were also out hunting replied and said they were on their way too.

First friend and I hiked in to locate him. As we got closer I could see a tiny little thing reflecting light back, so we cautiously approached and it was him! Tossed a stick to make sure he was dead. Shined a light on him and he was very clearly a 5x4. Had a tiny point starting to form, it could hold a ring, so maybe some would say it's a 5x5?

and began field dressing which was a slow process since we both had never done an elk, and only just learned on a deer the year prior.

It's amazing having friends willing to drop everything and come field dress an animal and help haul it out of the woods in the dark. There were 5 of us total so we were able to pack it out in one haul back to their truck. It was maybe a half mile and up a reasonable incline, but it wasn't nearly as bad as most. All in all it was about 5 hours before we got out of there from the kill to the truck.

So now here we are with the quartered elk hanging in a barn to age for a bit. My first elk is a 5x4/5x5 and I'm pumped about it! Meat in the freezer for my family, and decent bragging rights with my friends.

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Strong work man!
 
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